Friday, January 31, 2014

1/31/14 Report - Some Cuts on Treasure Coast, Gold Box Found But Precious Reliquary Missing & Pirates Camp at Fort Pierce

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Missing Reliquary.

More about this missing reliquary below.

I took a look at a couple of Treasure Coast beaches this afternoon near low tide.

The water got up pretty high.  We've been having some fairly big tides.  Nothing real big, but the water did get higher on the beach than it has for quite a while.

Here is a picture of one cut that I found.  It is just over a foot or so high.  It is recent renourishment sand, so it will be among the first to go.  It is pretty clean sand too.

Cut Beach.

Sea glass and fossils are still available with the shells.

At another beach I took a look at there was no cutting at all, but you could tell that the high tide had been up high there too.

The high tide along with the North winds was responsible for the few small cuts, which were high on the beach.

The surf web sites are predicting a high surf a week out.

You know how it is with that kind of prediction.  Usually it never happens.

Treasure Coast Beach With No Cuts

Below is a link to a great web site containing many photos of Revolutionary War and War of 1812 items.  I've posted some items that I've found in the past that match items found on this web site.  For one example, I've shown a dug 76th Foot button that matches the first button shown on the site.

There is also an item that closely resembles a whatzit that I've posted in this blog. Unfortunately it isn't named on the web site either.

Take a look.  There are a lot of interesting items to look at.

Thanks to William M. for telling me about this web site.

For those with a serious research need, here is a link to the Naval Records of the American Revolution.

A gold reliquary case and church crucifix have been found but a precious relic (See photo at top of post.) is still missing after thieves stole and then discarded the items.

That is one way that treasures can end up in unexpected places.

Pirate Camp at Riverside Park
The pirates have set up camp at Pirate Fest in Fort Pierce.  Here is one pirate's home.

When I went past a band of buccaneers was entertaining and pirates were walking around in costume although the Fest barely got started.

If you go, dress for the occasion.

There is a weapons code.

Happy hunting,

Thursday, January 30, 2014

1/30/14 Report - General Store, Recent Off-Beach Detecting Finds and Mastodon Bones

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Author Inspecting Old General Store

I've been talking about photography and cameras a bit lately.  Here is a photo that I really like, taken in the 40s.

It seems the author needed a lift to get a better view of the area.

Old photos can provide good leads and show where the action was back in the day.

This particular photo is a family photo.  The store was operated by my grandparents, which are now deceased.

The building still stands in the same location although it has been changed quite a bit.  It has been a personal residence, a barber shop and now, I understand, a pizza shop.

And behind the store in the low area next to the creek, arrowheads where found when the bottom was plowed.  Potatoes grew well there.

If you watch the Pickers TV show, you know that those old soda and gasoline signs are worth a pretty penny today.

I just read an interesting little fact.  The price of a bottle of coca cola remained 5 cents for half a century.

And another fact, or so they say.   Coca Cola is more dense than water, and a can of Coca Cola will sink in water, but not a can of diet Coke.   I haven't tried it, but that is what I read.   I don't know if that holds for salt water.

Have you ever noticed that people used to have only antiques.  :)

I once found an old blue square telephone sign on one of my walks on the Treasure Coast.   Too bad it was mostly rusted and gone.  It would have been a good find if more of it was there.

Yesterday I mentioned that there have been some nice off-beach finds lately.   One reader said

Today I found my first Seminole War item. The button is the same one in the Fort Pierce Collection, page 7, item K.

Congratulations!   I might get a photo of that button to show you soon.

Often when things aren't going too well, it can be a blessing in disguise.  That is very often true in life in general as well as metal detecting.

If you don't just give up, problems can force you out of your comfort zone and force you to do and learn new things.  Then you find something new.

William M. has gone off-beach recently too.  He found this WW II St. Christopher aviator hat pin in an old Fort Pierce park.

Nice find William.   Thanks for the photo.

Whatever happened to the mammoths or mastodons, giant beavers and the megafauna that used to roam Florida just over a thousand years ago.  One theory is that they were hunted to death by humans.  (The Treasure Coast beaches occasionally yields mastodon bones.  I've posted a few in this blog.)

Here is another theory.  It says that they pretty much died off before they were killed off.  Here is a link that will take you to an article about that.

You might have read or seen how Atlanta was paralyzed by three inches of snow.  I don't think it was the snow.  It was the ice.  Those people normally don't have snow tires or much experience driving in anything worse than rain.

I moved there back in the day, and just after moving there from the North, one morning it snowed.  I drove downtown to work, went up to the 20 something floor, looked out the window, and my car was the only one in the huge parking lot down below.  There was one set of tire tracks in the newly fallen, maybe one inch of snow.  Mine!   Nobody else drove into the city that day.  That is just one of those things I'll always remember.  Looking out the window and seeing my car all alone and one set of tire tracks.

Here is a link about Atlanta's recent snow.

On the Treasure Coast the wind increased and was coming from the North yesterday.  It was pretty breezy.  The surf was still coming pretty much from the East and was only about four feet.  Today it should be a touch higher.

The only promising thing, and I'm not getting excited about it yet, is the 8 foot seas in the predictions about a week out.  As we know, big surf predicted a week in advance never materializes.

Happy hunting,

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

1/29/14 Report - Treasure Coast Sea Glass and Fort Pierce Pirate Fest

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Exceptional Piece of Red Sea Glass Found
on a Treasure Coast Beach
I mentioned sea glass a day or two ago.  You might think that picking up sea glass is a nice thing to do, something like collecting shells but having no particular value.  That is wrong.  Not only can sea glass be valuable in an economic sense, but for the detectorist it can be an important indicator.

If you see sea glass while detecting, think about what it might tell you.  See if you can determine anything about its age or source.  That might help you determine if the site is worth detecting.

You might not know it, but like most collectibles that are bought and sold, sea glass has enough economic value, that it is often counterfeited or faked.  Some people actually try to create sea glass by tumbling or etching glass and then try to sell it as sea glass.

Obviously genuine sea glass has more actual value, and there are ways to tell the difference between genuine sea glass and fake sea glass. 

For one thing, tumbled sea glass has a more uniform surface than sea glass that is tumbled in the ocean.  Genuine sea glass also has a different surface patina created by being submerged in the water for years.  And that difference is not just due to salt residue.  There is an actually a change to the surface of the glass.

One vendor of sea glass jewelry uses the term "certified genuine" sea glass.

This web site explains how to tell the difference between genuine sea glass and fake sea glass.

Here is one interesting paragraph from the above web site that addresses the issue of fake sea glass.

Cost is the best determiner. If you see a bag of blue or red sea glass for $5.99 and claiming it is real sea glass, it is not. For example - A single piece of bright aqua sea glass (unset in jewelry) recently sold for over $260. Single unset top quality red pieces can go for well over $100 in a pendant size. A pair of genuine blue earrings can sell for a much as $70 where a pair of artificial or faux sea glass will sell for around $25.

As you see, pieces of genuine sea glass can sell for hundreds of dollars.  

Of course not all genuine sea glass is of the same quality.  Very good sea glass can be described as jewelry quality.

Three Small Pieces of Sea Glass Found
on the Treasure Coast a Couple of Days Ago
The red is rare, the green much more common.

Some sea glass has not been in the ocean very long and has not been smoothed or changed enough.

Some beaches produce better sea glass than others.  Some have older sea glass, and some areas have a rougher surf and rocks or shells that smooth the surface of the glass over time. 

Rarity determines price too.  Yellow and orange sea glass are the most rare, with red following right behind.  Those three colors are highly sought after.   Blue is more common than those, and green, brown and clear are very common.

Red sea glass is sometimes from old warning lanterns.

Here is a web site that lists some Florida beaches where people can look for sea glass.  Some are rated.

And the following web site talks about the rarity of red sea glass specifically.

Very old sea glass, such as what is called black glass, can be a sign of a nearby shipwreck or other human activity from the past.

If you hold black glass up to a bright light, you will often see that it is not actually black, but olive green.  Also look for bubbles in the interior of the glass that might indicate that it was hand blown.

The piece of glass at the top of this post was being held up so that the sun light cane through it.  It is an exceptional piece of sea glass and would make a nice piece of jewelry.  It is not nearly as bright when not held up to the sun though.  It is a rare color, has a very good "cushion" shape, and is well smoothed.  It is about one fourth as thick as wide.


As an unpaid advertisement, or actually more like a news item, Pirate Fest will be held in Fort Pierce beginning January 31 and ending Feb. 2.

Here is the link to learn more about that.

On the Treasure Coast we have a two to three foot surf today.  Still not much, but the tide will be dropping more today.  That might give more access to shells and sea glass.

The surf will be increasing a little the next tow days, but not much.  Not enough to improved detecting conditions, but if you look out a week or so in the predictions, a higher surf is now predicted.   We'll have to wait and see if that actually comes to pass.

Happy hunting,

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

1/28/14 Report - Low Tech Alternatives to Beach Detecting. Summer-like Beach Conditions. Surface Finds.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Summer-Like Beach With Shells and Sand Bar
As It Appeared Today.

I took a look at a couple of beaches today.  The beach looked like a summer beach.  The near continuous small surf and slight breeze from the Southeast has been piling up lots of sand.

Here is one beach.  This beach is a little different than most.  It has a sand bar out front.  The sand bar is made of renourishment sand that was washed off of the beach over the past few weeks.

This beach was renourished about a year ago.  Already the majority of that sand has washed back into the ocean.  You just can't expect renourishment sand to stay on the beach very long.

At the above beach there were a good number of shells, which I think you can see in the photo.  There were also numerous small pieces of broken fossils.  Also some pieces of sea glass.

I enjoy looking for things like that.  Native American relics also appear on this beach in good numbers.

Here is a quick video clip showing another sandy beach.

You can see how deep the foot prints are in this video.  That shows that the sand is really mushy.

Notice the small surf.

Beach detecting conditions are poor on the Treasure Coast, but if you are interested in shells, sea glass, or fossils, there are things to be found.

The Gasparilla Pirate Fest was held in Tampa on January 18.  I meant to mention that earlier but forgot.

Here is a link about that.

A Pirate Fest will be coming up soon in Fort Pierce.  More on that tomorrow.

Yesterday I was talking about cameras and photography.  I noticed this neat item that would be great for anyone who wants to make a video of whatever he is doing in the field.   You mount the camera on a tripod, put a transmitter on yourself, and the camera tracks you.   That would be handy if you want to make videos of yourself without a camera crew.

Here is the link.

When beach detecting conditions are poor there are a lot of alternatives.  Some don't even require a detector, such as hunting shells (some shells can be valuable), sea glass (which can often be sold for a small price) or other things.

You don't even have to go to the beach to do a little low-tech eye-balling.  I sometimes do what I call mucking around.  I've talked about that before.

Here are some examples of what I found on a short little walk I took yesterday other day without a detector.

Eye-balled Bottle

Ceramic Insulator and Maybe a Another Oil Lamp Top
One other thing found with these items was a Mr. PIBB soda bottle.  I don't believe I ever tried one of those.

While these things aren't valuable, they can be signs to point you to good detecting sites.

It is surprising what can be found just walking around.

There are interesting things being found off-beach now.   I'll report on a few more of those tomorrow. 

Happy hunting,

Sunday, January 26, 2014

1/26/14 Report - Cameras and Detectors Work Together OR Photography for Dectectorists

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Photography is a valuable tool for the detectorist.  The older I get, the more I appreciate and make use of that fact.

Stack of Find Photos From the Past.
The Top Photo On The Stack Shows Finds For One Particular Day.
Almost everyday you see a photograph of something someone found in this blog.  It is easy to share photos these days.  For the detectorist that means sharing finds and thrills.  It also means being able to get the opinions of others about your finds, which is very useful when you don't know exactly what an item is or where it came from.

I often post unidentified finds in my blog hoping to get some information, and I often send photos of finds to experts in different fields.

Beyond the most obvious benefits of sharing photos of finds, there are some other good reasons to photograph finds.  One good reason is to document the item.  That could be done for insurance purposes, for example.

If you take your good finds to a bank safe deposit box, as I always recommend, it is especially helpful to have good photos that you can refer to at home.

I recommend taking photos of finds on a periodic basis.  If you hunt everyday and make frequent finds you might take photos once a week, or example.

Photos aren't enough if you want to really document finds.   Keep additional information: where items were found, when they were found, and any relevant circumstances that might be helpful, such as was the beach eroded, or whatever.

It is probably best to keep photos of individual items or groups in time sequence, or at least make sure the time is marked on the photo.

Sometimes multiple photos are necessary.  You might want close-ups of specific details, such as hallmarks, or various views or sides of an item.

It is good to take before and after photos of items that need to be cleaned and preserved.  Once an item is cleaned, you might want to be able to see what it looked like before it was cleaned.

It can also be helpful to take a photo of the beach where you hunted and found the items.

Just like detectors, different cameras are different, so you might end up getting more than one.

Also like detectors, if you are going to take photos in the field, it can be worth having a water-proof or water-resistant camera, or at least some method of protecting it.

Also a submersible camera can be really useful if you dive.  You can take pictures of things you aren't allowed to remove.

I've enjoyed my new Celestron Microscope camera, and I've shown a number of close-ups that I've taken with it.

There are times when you might notice a mark or something on an item in a good close-up that you never noticed before.  With different editing programs you can change the contrast, sharpness and other details.

I'm not a person that likes to spend a lot of time on equipment, so I like to make sure that whatever I get, it can be used well with very few adjustments.

You might think that you'll remember your finds and all the details surrounding them, but the more you find and the longer you hunt, the easier it is for things to fade out of memory.

When I look at my old photos of finds, it brings a lot of memories back.  Surprisingly often when I look at old finds, there are many that I can remember exactly how I felt as they came out of the sand or  water.  A photo can really help to bring the details back.

A Sample of Photos Showing Groups of Finds

When I looked at the photo shown at the top of this post, I remembered that day.  It was a four-hour hunt.  Two hours followed by a necessary interruption, and then I returned to hunt two more hours at the same location.  I knew there were a lot more items remaining to be dug when I had to leave after the first two hours.  I remember exactly where I was and how the items were in a line.  I remember a lot about that day.  The photo set off that series of memories.

I can go through that stack of photos and remember time after time after time.  You might think your memory is good, but sometimes it might need some help.  Photos can help.

It also can be really helpful to take pictures of your favorite beaches from time to time so you can compare sand levels and different things.  It will help you identify the right times and conditions for finding different items.  You can also mark on the photo where items are found in the past.  One thing GPS won't give you is a picture of the spot where the item was located at the specific time it was dug.

Here is a web site showing photos of unusual things washed up on beaches.  Actually they aren't real unusual, but you might enjoy looking.

I've notices some changes in how people take photos of finds since I started this blog.  Back at the beginning everybody was including a coin for size comparison.  Now it seems that a lot of people are holding the item when they take the photo.  The hand has become the item for size comparison.
Of course, when size is critical a ruler or something is better.

Cameras are different now too.  With so many people using their smart phone or whatever, more people are taking photos in the field and find it easier to hold the item to get it framed well.

On the Treasure Coast, we'll be having an increasing surf for a week or so.  However the surf won't get big enought to cause a real change in beach detecting conditions in that time period unless the current predictions are wrong.

Happy hunting,

Saturday, January 25, 2014

1/25/14 Report - Historic Survey of St. Lucie County, Gold Prices and Scatter Pattern of Santa Margarita

Written by the Treasureguide for the exclusive use of

I'm not going to write much today, but I'm going to give you a lot to read.

Part of that is the 2003 survey of historic properties in St. Lucie County.

Thanks to Joan T. for giving me the link.

The survey gives a lot of history of the area and lists (many with photographs such as the one to the left here) many historic properties.

Often beach detectorists get spoiled.  They fall into the habit of going out to the beach and wandering around to see what they can find.  As a result many don't do any research.

There are different ways that research on the history of the area can come in handy.  One way is providing alternatives for detecting when the beaches aren't doing much.

This is a very extensive survey.  Although it does give some older history, many of the historic properties are 19th or 20th Century.  Still it makes for interesting reading, especially if you, like most detectorists, are into history.

Here is the link.

Note: it is a PDF file and will take a little while to load.

Here is another photo from the survey, just as one more example.

The price of gold has generally been increasing in 2014 after losing 28% in 2013.  So which way will it go?  Who knows?  Not me.  But momentum is currently with sellers so far this year.

Here is a link.

Here is a scatter pattern of finds on the Santa Margarita wreck site from the Mel Fisher web site.

Purple dots indicate silver.  Take a look.

Nothing much has changed at the beach yet.

Happy researching and happy hunting,

Friday, January 24, 2014

1/24/14 Report - Pole Ax, Coded Message, Jars of Gold Dust and Mounted Coins

Written by the Treasureguide for the exclusive use of

Pole Ax After Electrolysis and Sealing.
Found and photo submitted by blog reader.
Back a while ago I posted a picture of this pole ax before it was completely cleaned and sealed.  This is what it looks like now.

Very nice example.

There is some wind on the Treasure Coast this morning and it is still chilly.  I'm still not expecting any more than about a three foot surf though.

The tides are fairly flat now too.

I'm not expecting any change in detecting conditions real soon.

12 jars of gold dust worth about $300,000 were discovered when the baseboards were removed from a 1910 house in Minneapolis last month.  Also found were letters and postcards dating from 1907 - 1909.

Here is the link.

A speechless grandmother left a coded message behind when she died.  After 18 years it was put on the internet and partially solved.

Here is the link.

See if you can decode the rest.

Beach Find.
One of the easiest ways to find gold coins is mounted in jewelry.

This one looked good when it was dug but is fake.

Very old gold coins when mounted usually look too good to be true, as is the case with this one.

A lot of reproductions are mounted, including pieces of eight.

One jewelry store that I visited recently made some very handsome examples, but if you've seen many real cobs you would know that they were reproductions.

Be careful.  Many copies aren't well marked.  Sometimes the clerks won't tell you, and maybe some don't know.

Some are marked faintly or where the mark won't be easily noticed.  Sometimes it looks like someone tried to file off the "COPY" mark.  I've seen that before.

Of the more common genuine gold coins that you will find in jewelry are the Mexican DOS PESOS coins, which are a good size for mounting and also relatively inexpensive.

I think I've shown one or more of those in the past along with other genuine mounted gold coins.

Be careful when digging those.  You can really reduce the value of genuine coins by hitting them with your scoop or whatever.

If you have trouble with that practice pin-pointing and digging.   It isn't difficult to master, but will take some practice.  Also you might want to get a pin-pointer.  

It is also good to have a gold test kit of some sort.

Happy hunting,

Thursday, January 23, 2014

1/23/14 Report - Slide Charm Bracelets and Watches

Written by the Treasureguide for the exclusive use of

Moon Shining on the Indian River.

The nice clear nights on the Treasure Coast have been very nice lately.  Unfortunately it is difficult to capture a moon-lit scene with a camera.

If you are into metal detecting you just keep learning all kinds of things.  A lot of the time you'll have something sitting around for a long time and then all of a sudden learn something new about it.

Well I was looking at an old find that I never paid much attention to before and decided to look it up.  I thought it might be called a slider watch.  I didn't find anything using those exact search terms, but eventually I learned about what are called "slide charms."

Many sites say that Queen Victoria made charm bracelets popular.

In those days watches were relatively large and heavy and worn on a chain around the neck.  As a result sliders were used to add a decorative touch but also to keep the chain from twisting.  The slider could also be used to alter the length of the chain.

The sliders were often made from brooches or stick pins.

Here are a three charms showing how one of the two chains passes into and through each slide charm.  These are on a relatively modern watch.

Bracelets can be made by selecting vintage sliders, custom made sliders, and sliders that are personally meaningful or have a theme.

Some companies make reproductions of Victorian or other vintage sliders.

Below is a slide charm watch that got me started looking into this.  It was found on a beach years ago.

Shown are two of the many charms on the watch band.  Although you can find vintage or antique slide charms, these have a vintage look but could well be reproductions.  At this point I haven't really looked into that.

Notice each charm has four holes, and two chains pass through each charm.

You can see how this spaces and keeps the chain from twisting as it would have on the original old watch chains.

Some slide charms are made of quality materials, including gold or platinum and sell for hundreds of dollars.  Others, of course, are not as expensive.

Selecting individual charms for a bracelet would make a nice project and heir loom for a girl.

In summary, I just learned a little something about slide charms as used on bracelets and watches.

If anyone can come up with a photo of a really side charm bracelet or watch  from the Victorian era, I'd love to see it.  So far I haven't had any luck with that.

Here is a web site that gives some history and background on slide bracelets.

Rodney B. said,

did u see the new mini series Black Sails? Its set in 1715 and the Pirates are currently in the Bahammas. From the previews it looks like the next stop is the Plate fleet laying on the beaches of florida. Im excited
I hadn't seen it, but it sounds like something that will be interesting to everybody.  I'll watch for it now.

Thats all for now,
Happy hunting,

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

1/22/14 Report - Harness Pendant, Mystery Object, Diamond Ring Donation, Treasure Trove Laws in Scotland

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Diamond Ring Dropped in Salvation Army Kettle This Year.
Photo: See link.
Every year unusual donations are placed in the Salvation Army kettles that you see at Christmas time.  Gold coins and jewelry are some of the items that are donated.  For several years an expensive piece of jewelry has been dropped in a kettle in Florida with a note from the same woman.

Here is the diamond ring that was dropped in a kettle this year.

Here is the link to that story.

Here is a web site that explains the treasure trove laws in Scotland.  It is nice that they clearly post guidelines and procedures that the public can actually understand and support.

Notice that they are not interested in coins later than 1707.  They also have a brief gallery on the web site.

I was in the process of looking for the most detectorist-friendly countries, and those that make the best use of volunteers and detectorists in order to better preserve the countries historic heritage.  Detectorists and others interested in history could provide a very valuable resource to governments that do not persist in portraying the public as the enemy, which is where we seem to be headed in the U. S.

Here is the link to the Scotland treasure trove web site.

Below is a small lead or pewter beach find.  It isn't a new find but I got a close-up photo and now it appears that there might actually be writing around the inner circle rather than just radiating lines, but I can't make out what, if anything, it says.  See what you think.

Lead or Pewter Object
Is there writing around the inner circle?

I thought it might be part of a lead seal or button, although I'm leaning toward seal, but after looking at the gallery in the web site above, I see another possibility.  Notice the harness pendant.  That appears to be another possibility.  Here is that pendant.

Harness Pendant
Source: Scotland web site linked here.

Here is the harness pendant that I found in the gallery on the Scotland treasure trove web site.

Joan T. sent me a good St. Lucie County document for research purposes.  It discusses the coastal areas.

There is a table that lists the various public access areas for water access.  There are more than I thought.

And the appendix at the end of the document lists a page and a half of historic sites.  That is one of the most interesting parts of this document.  It is one of the better lists for St. Lucie County that I think you will find.

Here is the link to that document.

Thanks Joan!  Very interesting.

Same old beach conditions on the Treasure Coast.  Nothing changing much.

Happy hunting,

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

1/21/14 Report - 14K Coin Mount, Thin Gold Chain, and Thin Gold Ring & Horse Tooth Fossil

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

14k Beach Find.

Here is an unusual beach find.  Obviously something is missing.  I don't know exactly what it is, but it looks like it once held a mounted coin.  That is the approximate size and shape of the mounting anyhow.

Too bad it, whatever it was, is missing.

Dan B. who sent in a photo of the ring he found in a yard that I posed yesterday was metal detecting a shell pile yesterday and found his largest tooth ever, even though he had been hunting sharks teeth all of his life.

I always say, keep your eyes open while detecting.

His fossil find is shown below.

California has been having a bad drought and water levels are at a historic low in places such as Folsom Lake.

Boat docks are sitting on dry land.  When I see something like that I always think about the good new exposed ground for easy metal detecting.

Fifty years ago there was a plane that wrecked in the Folsom Lake and the wreck and people were never found.  One private individual has volunteered his boat and sonar equipment to hunt for the airplane wreck and bodies.

Here is the link ot that story.

Very Thin Beach Found 14K Gold Chain.

It isn't easy to find small gold, especially very thin gold chains unless they have a medallion on them.  Here is a VERY tiny thin gold chain.

The small units above the chain are 1/16 inch, so you can see that the thickness of the wire must be something like 1/64 inch.

Something like that can difficult to detect with a detector unless you are doing a lot right.

If you have a similarly thin chain, try it out with the detector and settings that you use the most.

While on the subject of skinnies, here is a very thin gold ring.  The setting has a colored gem stone and small diamonds.

Although the ring size is large (some lady had chubby fingers) the band is very thin.

Thin Band on14K Beach Found Ring

Hard to believe this is actually the band to an adult's ring.

As I look at it the band is only about 1/20 centimeter thick.

No wonder it is bent.

Again, the ring size if fairly large.

And here is Dan's horse tooth fossil that was found while detecting a shell pile.

On the Treasure Coast the ocean remains pretty smooth (around two feet).

The tides are pretty flat too.

I still don't see anything in the next week or so that will improve detecting conditions.

If your tired of the beach, it might be a good time to try something else, or try a little water hunting wherever you are allowed to do that.  Maybe a day trip could be a good idea, or hunt some yards or old home sites, or look through any shell piles.

Happy hunting,

Monday, January 20, 2014

1/20/14 Report - For Everything There Is a Season and Recent Ring Finds

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.  You'll find that in the Bible and hear it in popular music.

14K and Diamond Beach Find.
I was thinking about seasons last night.  The seasons undoubtedly had a lot to do with survival and controlled many of the details of life in early human history, no matter if you were a hunter gatherer or planted crops.  The solar year and the seasons are so entrenched in our society that they even today determine how long a sports team is considered to be the champion whether you are talking about the NFL, NBA, NHA, or MLB.  It all is based upon a season.  You are a champion for one year and then it is on to the next season.

With indoor stadiums and everything there is less and less reason for sports seasons being based upon the relative position of the sun, but seasons are seasons.

My mother, once employed as a school psychologist, asked a back-woods ten-year-old what are the four seasons.  In his long drawn out country drawl he said deer season, rabbit season, bear season, and fishing season.   I think she said she gave him credit.  It is a good illustration of a cultural bias in tests that doesn't have anything to do with skin color.

In Florida we don't get huge seasonal changes like those in some parts of the country, but we are now feeling the winter season.  We don't see the leaves change color, but we see the changing color of license plates as they head down I-95. 

I like to get some cold but can grow tired of it after a while.  And after a while there is also a welcome relief from the summer sun and the 90 degree heat.

As far as detecting goes there are definitely seasons.  On the Treasure Coast winter is generally the best time for detecting old items on the beach, and summer is the time for salvage vessels to be at work in the calmer water.  Of course if we get a summer storm to reverse the usual summer sand accretion caused by frequent gentle southeast winds, summer can also be a good beach detecting time.

There are other seasonal changes.  For example, if you hunt tourist beaches, some of them change with the time of year, while others are fairly constant.

If you look at your records over the years, assuming that you kept them, you'll probably see seasonal changes.  Those are things to pay attention to.  If you identify and understand the seasonal changes and adapt to them, you can improve your overall success.

Yard Find by Dan B.

Here are a couple of finds by readers of this blog.

Photo submitted by John B.
Congratulations Dan and John!

Even tough beach detecting conditions are not good, things are still be found.

John's was a beach find and is his first ring of 2014, while Dan is still having success hunting yards.

Dan found the dogtag I showed a in a previous post.  He was able to locate the family of the dogtag's owner.   Good work Dan.

You might remember that I posted the the official statement by the military back a week or more ago concerning military items and how they should be handled.

On the Treasure Coast we are still having those west winds and small surf.  The tides have been pretty flat too.

There isn't anything in the predictions that looks like it will improve beach conditions any time real soon.

Happy hunting,

Sunday, January 19, 2014

1/19/14 Report - Submerged Cultural Resources Report & Huge County Beach Renourishment Projects

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Figure From Report Linked Below.

First off today,  William K wrote about all the sand being dumped on the beaches by Brevard County.

Here is what he said.

It appears that the Corp of Engineers in concert with the folks at Brevard County have been hauling in sand from  the Cape by the truckfull............beaches are now under several feet of sand, All I've found since they started is debris.......

Thanks for the report William.

Doesn't sound good up there.  Here is a web site where you can learn more about the Brevard County renourishment projects.

Klondike, the new TV miniseries, will be on the Discovery channel tonight at 9 PM Eastern.  I think most of you will find it interesting.

You can find a lot of good research material on the web anymore.  I found one submerged cultural materials survey report that is really good reading.  It was conducted prior to commercial development of a waterfront area in Puerto Rico.  I don't know if any of you have detected in Puerto Rico before, but it really doesn't matter.  This report provides a lot of information, including a three page table of shipwrecks, including many Spanish ships of the early years and also talks about pirates, native tribes, beach studies, etc.  There is a huge amount of interesting and useful information in this report, much of which applies no matter where you detect.

Here are a few photos, figures or illustrations from the report just to give you the idea.  The link follows.

Worn Brick and Pot Fragments Found in Water.

Just Three of the Many Bulleted Conclusions From the Report.

That is just a very brief sample of what you can find in the report.  I'd recommend at least browsing it.  

Here is the link.

I stumbled onto the above report when I was looking for information on the tribes that might be associated with the pot shard that I talked about the past couple of days.  It appears that the most likely candidate is the Carib Indians, which also had silver and gold artifacts.

Just like metal detecting - you start out looking for one thing and find something else.

Well once again, the earlier predicted increase in surf for next Saturday disappeared.  That happens so frequently, it is obviously a systematic error that could and should be fixed.

As it stands now, it looks like the Treasure Coast will have mostly a two to three foot surf for a week or so.  Not very encouraging.

Its a bit cool out there.  Too much cold air pouring in from the West.  Those West winds will continue for at least another day.

Happy hunting,

Saturday, January 18, 2014

1/18/14 Report - Metal Detecting Interests, Holed Pot Shard Mystery Solved & Religious Gold Pendant Find

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

14K Pendant Beach Find.

What peaks your interest?  As I said the other day, different people like different things.  But people change over time too.  What interests you at one point, might not interest you at all a year later.

There is such a wide variety of types of targets that can be found on beaches, and that can help anyone remain interested.  If you get bored with modern jewelry, you can hunt fossils.  No matter what it is, there is always something else you can target.

When you are very much into one kind of item, such as maybe shipwreck items, you might not see how or why others are interested in other things.  But when you get to know more about those other things, you might learn what is interesting about them.

The more knowledge you have of different kinds of items, the easier it is to maintain a high level of interest.

I've never had the problem of being bored.  Yes my interest level rises and drops for certain things, but there is always something that has my interest.

I do tend to get bored with certain types of targets when they become easy and routine, and I often feel that the things that I haven't found as much are more interesting.

When I first started detecting my goals were small.  I counted coins and face value of finds.  My counts got higher and higher and I'd gradually change my expectations and goals.   It wasn't long before the number of coins wasn't really of much interest at all, then I started counting gold rings.  Coins then became primarily of interest as a sign or indicator of what the beach was doing at a given area.

Anytime I could find a hot spot (accumulation of coins that had been on the beach a while) I new there was also a good chance of also finding older jewelry that had also accumulated.

As time goes by I continue to raise my standards.  What was a good day when I started detecting would not be considered a good day today.  And what was a good day after ten years, would not be considered a good day today.   My standards and expectations keep increasing.

I think it is good to keep records and set goals.  It lets you know where you are and gives you a way of judging your performance.  It also pushes you to keep learning and improving.

Another change is that I'm less and less interested in the monetary value of finds.  Now I like things that either have some mystery about them or that have some style or history to them.

The pendant shown today, for example, isn't anything great, but it just seems to me to be more attractive than most, and it isn't a type that I've already found two or three times before.  It isn't hugely interesting to me, but I like it better than some simply because it is attractive to me.  Small, compact, nice square lines, not gaudy.  Just more attractive to me than most.

Another View.
I also like things that I haven't found before or don't know much about, like those pot shards with holes, like I showed yesterday.

The shards are most likely old, but the mystery remained for some time.  I couldn't figure out how it was used or what it came from.

You can see that photo in yesterday's post.

I did learn what it is just today.  William M. said that Native Americans drilled holes in pots that cracked and used ropes to tie them together.

It did look to me like it was a hole for a rope.  William also said he might be able to send photos of some examples.

The identity of that item was a long standing mystery for me, and I'm glad to have it figured out.

Thanks William.

In any case, metal detecting never gets boring if you keep learning, studying and raising your standards.  It might be difficult to get excited by things that have become routine, but there are always new things and new surprises.

One thing to remember is, you wont' continue to learn and improve if you think you already know everything.

On the Treasure Coast today the surf is around two or three feet.   The cool wind is still coming in from the West.  That is expected to not change for a while.

About a week out, they are predicting a higher surf, but as I usually note, the predicted higher surf when it is that far out, often does not happen.

Happy hunting,

Friday, January 17, 2014

1/17/14 Report - Mystery Item and 18th or 17th Century Pewter Fork Handle Find

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Holed Piece of Pottery.

Some things you never figure out.  No matter how much data was being collected they never figured out what the Boston bombers were up to until it was too late.

To the left is a photo of an item I saw on a Caribbean Island along with a variety of 18th Century and earlier items.  I never figured this item out.

It is about one inch square and a little less than half an inch thick, with an obvious round hole made in the middle.

I don't  think I ever received any guesses on what it might be.  There was more than one of these types of whatzits at the site.

My feeling is that maybe a rope went through the middle or that it was used something like a washer, but that is just a wild guess.

Anybody have any other ideas?

Battles took place at that particular site and there was a fort nearby right around 1800.  Of course there was activity in that area hundreds of years earlier, and it could be much earlier.  I don't know.

On the other hand, it might take a while but eventually some items do get identified.  I feel fairly confident about the following item.

Pewter Find.

See if you can guess what it is?

It was found on a Treasure Coast shipwreck beach quite a number of years ago.

It is pewter, about five inches long and 3/8 inch across and deep.

It is hollow.

What I think it is, thanks to the input from others who I am pretty sure know more about it than I, is a fork handle.  The handle, according to those others, was likely filled with plaster.  I think that is right.

I never would have guessed, but I have seen other similar  items identified as 18th or 17th Century forks since, and they are very similar but more complete.

I can hardly believe that it was all the way back in June that I talked about the massive NSA data collection efforts and referred to George Orwell's novel, 1984.  In the past few days, not only has the President decided that changes needed to be made to the NSA data collection efforts, but I've been hearing a variety of Orwellian references.

On the Treasure Coast we've been having a succession of cold fronts.  Nice chilly weather, but the West winds haven't been doing anything for beach detecting conditions.

Tomorrow the surf will get up to a lofty two or three feet!  Wow!

Maybe we'll get some change eventually.

A few days ago I posted some bottles that were found on the Treasure Coast and I heard from at least one fellow that was out giving bottle hunting a try.

The winter is still young and hopefully we'll get some improved detecting conditions.

Happy hunting,

Thursday, January 16, 2014

1/16/14 Report - Gold Coin Sells at Orlando FUN for $4.5 Million & Chest of Gold Coins Found by Oyster Diver,

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

We all know that storms uncover treasures.  So do tsunamis!  I've talked about that before.

Gold Coin 17th Century and Earlier.
Photo: Dailymail. See link.
Remember the 2004 tsunami?  I'm sure you do.  Well, it evidently uncovered a chest full of gold coins that was just recently reported discovered.  The coins were minted between 1200 and 1600.

The chest of coins was found by an oyster diver in Indonesia, which set off a frenzied search.

The poor lady turned over the found coins to authorities and was compensated  Most civilized societies other than the US compensate people for their finds.  Some of the stray coins, though, were \sold to speculators, which is what most often happens when there isn't a good system for dealing with finds.

Here is the link to the article.

While on the subject of gold coins, here is something closer to home.   A gold coin sold in Orlando last week for around $4.5 million!

The coin was sold at the FUN Convention in Orlando by Heritage Auctions during the US Coin Signature Auction.

You might remember that I mentioned the FUN Convention and Sedwick Coins being there.

The $4.5 million dollar coin is known as the "Brasher doubloon," which is said to be the most valuable coin
Brasher Dubloon.

The Brasher doubloon was minted in 1787 by Ephraim Brasher.
Here is the link for more about that.

We had a few gold coins reported found on Treasure Coast beaches in the past year.  I posted a photo of one of those, but lately hunting on the Treasure Coast hasn't been so good.  In fact after November it has been kind of boring - a bit of a let down after all of that fun.

Things will pick up again, but not likely this week.   The wind is out of the west and predicted to stay that way for at least a few days.  The predictions are for a two foot surf or less for several days.  That means no improvement.

There is one thing in the predictions that I almost don't want to mention.  They are predicting up to a seven foot surf about a week from now.  The reason I'm hesitant to even mention that is because predictions for a bigger surf when predicted a week or more in advance seldom actually happens.  For some reason they disappear.  So we'll have to wait and see.  In the mean time, nothing very promising.  Of course you can always go for the modern jewelry or take a day trip or whatever.

It is a little chilly.  At least we won't be drowning in our own sweat.

Happy hunting,

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

1/15/14 Report - Surprising Value of Engagement Ring Napolean Gave to Josephine, Confederate Shipwrecks & Coca Cola Bottles

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Engagment Ring
ABC News Photo
What would you say this ring sold for?

It is a diamond and sapphire ring.  Does that help?

Take a guess.

It actually sold for nearly $1 million.


Because of its history.  It was given to Josephine by Napolean.

It isn't the most expensive looking ring in the world.  You may have found a few that look a lot more expensive.  The materials aren't the only thing that determines the value.  In this case that is especially true.

The auctioneers weren't expecting much more than $20,000 for this ring, but the final bid was $948,000.

Just goes to show once again, an item is worth what someone will pay for it.  If you want to get a good price for an item, you need to find the person who wants it the most and has the ability to pay.  The one thing I like about that, and something I like about selling items, is if you find someone who will pay a lot, they either appreciate the item or will likely find someone else that does.

Here is the link to the source story.

Different people like different things.  I like a lot of different kinds of things myself.  In this blog I talk about fossils, artifacts and relics, treasure coins, soda bottles, etc. etc.  I'm less and less focused on the price of the items.  There are things that aren't worth much that I like more than some things that are worth a lot more.  I get a little tired of all the TV programs such as Storage Wars or even Antiques Roadshow where the climactic question is always, "What's it worth?"  I'm often more interested in the items history.   Who made it, who lost it, how was it made, how was it used, how did it end up where it was found, what does it mean and what does it tell you.   Delve into those questions when you find something and you'll have more fun detecting and probably more success too.

Yesterday I talked about Legacy, the newsletter of the SCIAA and pointed out a few articles from the 2013 issue.  The newsletter goes back years.

Here is one article about the discovery of the wreck of the Gold Spike.  The article was published in 2002.  It tells about Confederate forces scuttling supplies and sinking the CSS Chicora, CSS Palmettor State, CSS Charleston, and the CSS Indian Chief, in Charleston Harbor in order to avoid capture by the Union forces.

Congress appropriated $25,000 for removal of the CSS Charleston many years later.  A clamshell bucket was used along with dynamite, saving much money.

Here is the link to that interesting article.

As you probably know, I've been trying to better identify a straight-side Fort Pierce Coca Cola bottle.  It seems it could be from between 1900 to 1919.  Before that Coke bottles were Hutchinson bottles with the stopper top, and after that came the contour bottles.  Bottles of that period had paper labels, which could explain why this one does not have embossing that says Coca Cola more prominently.  More research remains to be done.

Here is a good overall article on Coca Cola bottle collecting that you might want to read.

On the Treasure Coast we're going to get some colder weather.  The wind is out of the West.

The surf is low, only about two feet and will be that way for a while.  That means no immediate improvement in detecting conditions.

Happy hunting,

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

1/14/14 - One Excellent Resource, Legacy, Metal Detecting Argonne Lost Battalion, and More

Written by the TreaureGuide for the exclusive use of

South Indian River Drive Washout.
The problem is changing.  There was a time when you could own all of the best books on a subject, or pretty nearly so.  Now that we've moved largely from a hard copy world to a digital world, there is even more at your fingertips, but it can be difficult to find what you want.  The problem is often not that the information is not available, the problem very often is sifting through the tons and tons of available but poorly organized information to find what is relevant to you and your question.

You can easily find information on an individual with a unique name, but try to find information on a particular John Smith.  You'll find tons and tons of information on John Smith, but finding the specific information on a particular John Smith will be difficult because of the vast amount of John Smith information you'll have to sift through to find that one particular John Smith.  It will be a real challenge.

Why am I talking about this?   It is a very practical issue.  I can give any of an endless variety of examples.

A day or two ago I found a couple of bottles I needed to research: a Milkette bottle and a Coca Cola bottle.  You might think that there would be more information on the Coca Cola bottle than the Milkette bottle.   And I think that is probably true, but I found the information I wanted on the Milkette bottle, but not yet the Coca Cola bottle.

When looking up the Coca Cola bottle, I found tons of information on Coca Cola bottles, but haven't managed to sift through the vast amount of information on Coca Cola bottles to find information on the specific Coca Cola bottle that I was interested in.

I hope someone can provide a little information on that Fort Pierce straight-side Coca Cola bottle.

The problem is very much like hunting a public park picnic area where nobody has ever metal detected before.   Too many signals!   It makes it difficult to pick out the few good targets that might actually be of interest.

Too much information can be a problem unless it is well organized and properly coded.

In archaeology today there are actually too many artifacts.  Too many artifacts, not too few?   What kind of craziness is that?   Can there be so many insignificant artifacts that add nothing to the knowledge base that it becomes difficult to maintain and access more significant examples?   Could it be that 99% of the items sitting in basements actually do more harm than good by becoming a wasteful distraction and drain on precious resources?  Is it possible, or practical, to claim and preserve everything that has been left behind over the last million years?  I think the answer to that is obvious.

What is needed in the public trust is not a million more redundant or insignificant objects.  I know there will be questions like how can you know what will become significant in the future?  I could take the time to answer that question, but won't right now.

What is needed are very focused questions and studies and a very clear set of priorities - not an endless collection of anything and everything extending back to the Big Bang.

I ran across a very useful resource produced by the SCIAA, Legacy.   

One article in the lastest issue was On the Importance of Proper Curation of Collections, by Chester B. DePratter.

Some collections are well curated, and some are not so.  The article talks about that.  Many artifacts are stored in boxes in bed rooms and are difficult to locate and many go missing.

It can be difficult to locate the information needed simply because there is so much and it isn't in a coordinated comprehensive database or anything.

It appears to me that archaeology needs to spend more time effort organizing and providing better access to what has been collected and what is already known rather than adding more random stuff that doesn't add anything but rather becomes a deterrent.

WWI Metal Detector Finds
Figure From the Argonne Article in Legacy.
Link below.
Another article in the same issue was about a metal detecting project to learn the who, what and whens of the Lost Battalion in the Argonne during WW I.   You might enjoy reading that article too.  It was written by James Legg and begins on page 13.  They benefited from much that had already been documented and was already available through military records.

Artifacts can now be studied, photographed and stored as 3-D digital images and made accessible to the public.  In my opinion much can be gained from better use of present collections rather than adding an infinite number of insignificant redundancies to our public collections.

I'm not saying there is no need to maintain physical collections, but there is "less" need to accumulate and endless collections of random or redundant physical artifacts.  The need, in my opinion, is to get more existing examples properly coded in a digital form and organized for easy access. That requires judgement and decision making, which is not required by the "collect everything and anything you can lay your hands on" attitude that seems to prevail.

The public picks up the tab and has a right to be able to access artifacts and knowledge derived from the projects that they pay for.  Failing to move more fully into the digital world, piles of unstudied artifacts are being collected but poorly curated.  Not only is the public short changed, but archaeologists are too.

Another Figure From an Article in Legacy.
Source: link to the right.

One "must read" in this issue for the readers of this blog is Recording the Beginnings of South Carolina River Diving by Drew Ruddy, which begins on page 18 of this issue of Legacy.  It talks about the contributions of hobby divers and the need to document that as history.

Here is the link to the 2013 issue of Legacy that I've been talking about.

You might also take a look at older issues of Legacy.


On the Treasure Coast this morning the wind is out of the West.

I'm expecting West and South winds for a few days.

The surf is small.  The low tides will be decent.

Beach detecting conditions remain poor.

Happy hunting,