Sunday, March 30, 2014

3/30/14 Report - Gold Band Find, iPhone Find, Beach Conditions & Cracked Mayan Skulls

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Gold Band Beach Find.
It is one of those days that the Chamber of Commerce would order everyday.  Beautiful blue sky, practically no wind, lots of tourists on the roads and beach - I hated it!   No, just kidding.  It isn't my favorite.  I'd rather have wind and rain, but I'm odd that way.

It was a good day to be on the beach.  At least it isn't 100 degrees with 99 percent humidity.  There were a lot of sun-bathers and boaters out, some of whom are bound to lose things.

The high tides have been high and the low tides low.  The low tide this afternoon was nice and low and combined with the smooth surf made for easy water hunting or allowed beach detectors to get far down the beach front if that is what they wanted to do.

There weren't big shell piles, but there were some shells to be found at the beaches that are good for that type of thing.  Also a few little fossil peaces were seen.

I checked around, looking at some of the wreck beaches first.  It was sandy.  See the photos below.  Didn't take my detector out there.

I did see some small cuts, shown below, but didn't spend my time there either.

I went on to a beach visited by tourists.  Finds included the gold band, a common design, and an Apple iPhone, which was down a little more than a foot and drowned beyond repair.  Too bad for somebody.  That probably could have been returned if it was working.

Two Sandy Wreck Beaches This Afternoon.

One Treasure Coast Beach Showing a Small Cut Near the Hide Tide Line.
I'd rather hunt the wreck beaches, but when they look so poor, I'll move on and hunt the modern stuff.  That is my choice right now.

The first part of 2014 has been slow for hunting old stuff.  We had a good spell in November of 2013, but since then, not much.

Here is the dug iPhone.   I was surprised how deep it was.  It was at the water level at lowest tide.

Archaeologists found evidence that the Mayan used clubs with spikes on them.  They looked at skulls and found the forensic wounds.

Here is part of what the following linked article said about that.

 Close examination of 116 skulls left over from 200 years of warfare indicates that ancient Mayan armies used nasty spiked clubs for combat in open terrain.

The widespread adoption of these clubs, as well as projectiles, may have been due to larger armies enlisting more commoners.

A recent published study follows previous research into Mayan skeletal trauma indicating a fondness for flaying and decapitation, heart extraction, dismemberment, de-fleshing, parry fractures and head fractures.

Here is the link if you want to read more of the story.

Sometimes people don't like history.  Mel Gibson took a lot of heat for the movie in which he showed such things. 

The political correctness movement wants to decide who did what to whom rather than look at the evidence.

Slavery and brutality was in the New World long before the Europeans arrived.

I got new supplies for my acid test kit.  The nugget tests gold for sure, but I have determined that the very small whitish pieces that I showed are not gold or platinum or silver, at least not of any high purity.

That's all for today.  Still time to detect before the day is over, especially if you want to check the locations where the crowds congregated today.

Happy hunting,

Saturday, March 29, 2014

3/29/14 Report - Treasure Coast Gold Coin, Mystery Object and Several Older Items From the Treasure Coast

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Source of picture:
I got word that a $2.5 gold piece similar to the one shown here was recently found in the Vero area.  This is not the found coin.  The found coin was a 1927, which in fine condition would be worth something like $225.

 In the picture of the found coin that I saw it didn't look in that good of condition.  Still, a really great find.

As I always say, you never know what might pop up.

Mystery Object
Find and photo by Dan B.
Here is a mystery object.  Can you help identify it?  Please let me know if you have any ideas.

The mystery object was found by Dan B.

Looks like roses or flowers in the middle circle.

As you can see there are some good objects coming in from off-beach sites lately.

Here is a very good list of books and resources on the topic of Spanish Florida.  Several can be access totally online.  A good number are written in the Spanish language.

Here is one book from that list that was published in 1905, entitled The Spanish Settlements Within the Present Limits of the United States Florida 1562 - 1574.

Most of us are familiar with some of the history of the 1715 Fleet, but many are not familiar with some of the other earlier history.  This book provides a lot of good information from the 16th Century.

Here is the link.

A chapter on the treasure fleets starts on page 9 and concludes on page 27.  Also on page 9 you'll find mention of some pirates that you might not know about.

This is a history book of the early days of Spanish Florida, 1562 - 1574.    Well worth browsing.

Here are some more nice older Treasure Coast finds from William M.  All of the photos below are by William M.

 Great finds Dan and William!

Thanks for sharing the finds and photos.

You can find old places that aren't hunted out by doing some research.  That is why I gave you the bibliography today.

On the Treasure Coast we'll have a higher high tide today and a low low.  That might help the beaches a little.

Tomorrow there will be a pretty smooth surf too.

Combining the tides and smooth surf should provide a few opportunities.

Don't forget to give you ideas on the mystery object.

Happy hunting.

Friday, March 28, 2014

3/28/14 Report - Evalatuting Beaches From Common Items, Gaming Chip, Crown Caps, Shipwreck & Gold Coins

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

1988 One Dollar Silver Stardust
Hotel and Casino Chip Beach Find
 Kovels Komments says,

Chips are worth cash at the casino, but some are worth more as collectibles. Each casino has its own unique chips. Collectors of gambling tokens specialize in chips used by particular casinos, or look for chips of a particular denomination. The more legendary the casino, the more valuable the chip, especially if the casino has closed. In the 1950s and ’60s, most chips were made from “clay” that was really a ceramic composite. The printed graphic on the center of a chip is called an “inlay.” It includes the chip’s value, the casino’s name and sometimes an image or logo that can also increase a chip’s value. The Casino Chips & Gaming Tokens Collectors Club ( holds an annual convention every year in Las Vegas.

Here is the source link.

The Stardust Hotel and Casino was demolished in 2007, but the chip seems to sell for only a few dollars.

Another type of collectible mentioned in the above Kovels article is crown bottle caps.  They say...

The first crown cork-lined bottle cap was patented in 1892. Most wanted today are cork-lined caps and caps from small breweries or brands that were not made in large quantities. Common bottle caps sell for 25 cents, while rare caps sell for hundreds of dollars. Collectors belong to the Crowncap Collectors Society International ( American Breweriana Association has a beer brand Crown Cap Exchange where collectors donate caps and get some.

Of course caps found on salt water beaches are usually in very poor condition, but you can use them and other items diagnostically to help you evaluate a beach.  Notice that the first crown cork-lined caps were patented in 1892.  You can often get an idea of how old a beach dug cap is from its condition and style or graphics if any remain.  Mostly only new caps will show graphics.

Here is a crown cap in unused rather than dug condition.

Many common items can provide clues to help diagnose a beach.  You've found a few of those if you use a pulse detector.   Do you know when bobby pins became popular?

I'll tell you below.

How about all-aluminum soft drink cans?

The first soft drinks to be sold in all-aluminium cans were R.C. Cola and Diet-Rite Cola, both made by the Royal Crown Cola company, in 1964.

The ring type pull tabs came first and then somebody got the idea of making the pull tabs that are supposed to remain attached to the can.  You and I know that they often don't.

Those little rectangular tabs came out about 1980.

So you can use pull tabs to evaluate a beach.  If you are detecting a back beach where the water hasn't been and you are finding ring tabs along with the newer stay tabs, the area probably hasn't been detected very well since back before 1980.  

I use simple things like that a lot.  Generally, I'd rather detect a beach where there are ring tabs.  If junk like that remains after such a long time, most likely other things remain as well.

About the bobby pins, they became popular in the 1920s.

How about paper clips?  They may be older than you think.  The gem paper clip was introduced as far back as 1892.

Another tip from Kovels.  The U.S. government passed the Pure Food and Drug Act in 1906. It regulated so-called cures and remedies and the claims made for these products in ads and on packaging. Proof of a claim's accuracy was required. So it can be assumed that an American bottle with the word "cure" or "remedy" embossed on the side was probably made before 1906.

Those are some things you can use to evaluate a beach.  I generally like to be in the oldest sand I can find unless I'm hunting modern jewelry, and even then there are times I prefer to get down into old sand if the area was popular over the years.

The junk you dig can tell you a lot about what went on at a beach in the past as well as how well it has been detected.

A Ponte Vedra wreck has been identified after being uncovered.

29 Byzantine gold coins like the one below were discovered in Luxor.

Source: See link immediately above.

The wind on the Treasure Coast is now out of the southeast and is fairly strong. 

The surf is around four feet, but will be decreasing the next couple of days.

The tides are pretty big right now.

I'd expect some more clad and modern finds but not much in the way of older things.

Happy hunting,

Thursday, March 27, 2014

3/27/14 Report - Lots of Clad, Movement of Ocean Debris, Trained Dolphins, and Treasure Coast Conditions

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

A lot of clad was found by Steve of Iowa who hunted the Treasure Coast yesterday at some of the swimming beaches from South Hutchinson Island to Stuart.

Here is what Steve said.

In town for one day, got up early and hit Jensen Beach. Saw a long cut so
I headed right out on the mid- to south end while some guy was at the
north end. Got some clad and then hit the fisherman beach about a mile
south of Jensen. A big cut there where I found more clad. Then I hit
Stuart beach and got the most clad there, spread mostly south. Total take
was almost four dollars. Lots of fun. Met a fellow from Tennessee who is a
coin collector who wants to start detecting so I gave him some ideas on
detectors. He had a pocketful of older coins and gave me a 1916 Mercury

Steve from Iowa

Thanks for your report Steve.  Keep it up.

There are still a lot of people from up North down here.  The day before yesterday I talked to a family from Washington State who were in the area for a couple of weeks. 

There has been a lot of talk about ocean debris lately, especially as they hunt for debris from the Malaysian air liner.

You might remember me talking about how debris from the Japan tsunami circulated.  A model has been developed by the International Pacific Research Center to show how debris from the tsunami is distributed.  At first only currents were taken into account, but later the effect of wind upon lighter materials was also added to the model.

Here is an article about the model.

And here is the model in action.  Watch the date at the top of the animation for the date as the model proceeds.

The animation shows high windage items as bright colors and low windage items as dark color.  So the items that are high windage, those items that are affected most by wind are bright orange, while those affected least by wind are dark purple.

You can see how the lightest items hit the North American continent first.  Some being turned north and some south.

You can also see how the highest windage and lightest materials eventually get separated completely and caught in limbo between currents making a line to the south of the main debris field.

Lately items like heavy logs have been hitting Hawaii.

What does all of this have to due with treasure hunting or metal detecting? 

Imagine a shipwreck, say in 1715, in which a ship gets torn apart.  There are materials that float and those that don't.  And there are materials that don't float by themselves but are in or on other materials that do float, such as on wood sections of the hull, or in boxes, or olive jars, etc.

The debris from the tsunami covered a good portion of the Pacific, some hitting from Alaska to such far away places as Hawaii.  You can see how the current circles around the North Pacific.

The tsunami debris animation might help you think bout how shipwreck debris might separate from and be dispersed before finally landing on a beach or ocean bottom.  We tend to think that everything sinks right to the bottom.    And salvage vessels are usually dealing with some of the heavier items, that without being attached to or riding in or on other things will settle to the bottom relatively quickly, but if you think about what this model is showing, timbers, sealed olive jars, and other things might end up very far from where a shipwreck occurred.  Even heavy items that are embedded in or attached to wood, boxed in crates, or sealed in olive jars or other containers could float off a good distance.

Of course we do have more light debris than would have been the case in previous centuries.  They didn't have Styrofoam or plastics, for example.  Nonetheless, I think this model is helpful when it comes to thinking about debris fields.  There may be things that end up very far from the site of the shipwreck.

The Soviet Union began training dolphins and other marine mammals to locate mines, mark underwater obstacles and detect – and if necessary kill – enemy frogmen in the 1960s. The program is shrouded in myth, but the dolphins are believed to have been trained to kill frogmen with special harpoons or knives fitted to their backs, or drag them to the surface to be captured.
They were also reported to be fitted with packets of explosives and trained to carry out suicide attacks against enemy vessels, using their natural sonar to distinguish Soviet submarines from potential targets.
Here is the link for more of that story.

I always thought it would be handy to have a trained dolphin or otter to do some salvage work.  I'm sure you could train them to bring back interesting looking objects.

On the Treasure Coast, the cuts that I showed yesterday disappeared by this morning.  Those were  cuts in natural rather than replenishment sand. 

The wind is coming out of the East now.  That is what was expected.  I took a look this morning even though I saw exactly what I expected.

You can probably find some more clad and modern stuff, but conditions for finding older things are  no better than a 1 on my rating scale.

These cold fronts have been coming through quickly this year.  We've been getting a little bit of north wind and then it all turns around before much develops.

Happy hunting,

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

3/26/14 Report - Cuts On Treasure Coast On Some Beaches and Helicopter Metal Detecting

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

A Three Foot Cut on the Treasure Coast This Morning
 Since I entered my pre post, I got out to the beach to see what the cold front did as it came through with the North winds.

First off, the modern jewelry hole that I had been working with good success disappeared.

Too bad.  But when sand moves, it adds at one place and disappears at another.

What I often try to do is find where the sand just left.

It did move yesterday and this morning.  I found two beaches that were cut pretty nicely and two that weren't cut.

The cut beaches had cuts that ran hundreds of yards.  The cuts that I saw were from one foot in height up to just over four feet.

Scallops on One Treasure Coast Beach This Morning.
At some places there were scallops.

I would rate beach conditions as about 1.5 right now.  It is starting to get interesting, but from what I saw this morning I wouldn't say it is good enough for a two rating on my Treasure Coast Treasure Beach Detecting Conditions Rating Scale.

It could improve enough for an upgrade if the north winds keeps blowing. 

What has been happening lately is that the wind direction changes quickly again.  If it does change and we start getting the wind out of the East, don't expect any more improvement in conditions.

Long Cut of Two To Three Feet
 If you look closely at the face of the cuts you will notice something important. 

There is no layering.  All of the sand was of the same type and there were no layers of shells.  It was therefore probably built up during a single period of accumulation.

If you remember I commented not very long ago that a lot of sand had recently accumulated.

Unfortunately the cuts that I found this morning were where a bunch of that new sand had recently built up.  It was very mushy before.  That newly accumulated sand is what eroded.  And there were very few targets in it, and very few signals along these cuts today.

I did run into one of those stubborn targets that you can detect but not recover (DBNRs).  It was in detecting range but just beyond recovery range.  It was in the wet sand down a little over a foot, and the sand kept falling in before I could get the target out.

More Cuts This Morning.
Pictures can come in handy.  If you inspect cuts at the same location at different times, especially those that have produced targets at one time and not another, look for differences that might be clues.

One thing I am pointing out today is how the face of the cut reveals something about the history of the sand and the probability of targets coming out of it.

The sand that eroded today was in front of the beach.  The slope was very gentle. 

The eroded sand created a front beach that extended out about fifty yards at most locations.

The surf tomorrow will be about four feet.   Unfortunately they are predicting a change in direction.  They predict the wind coming out of the South/Southeast.  If that happens, the cuts will probably fill in again rather than improve.

There were very few people on the beach this morning.

One more thing, I saw very few shells where I was.  Didn't even encounter shells in the holes that I dug.

The Navy is using a helicopter equipped with a 16 magnetometers.  Flying at a height of 5 feet it can detect metal as small as two pounds.  It will detect metal down several feet.  Looks like a good way to cover a lot of ground.

Here is the link for video and article.,0,1045196.story

Thanks for the link Doug.

One reader reports that the dredge was back south of Jupiter Inlet Tuesday.

Happy hunting,

Monday, March 24, 2014

3/24/14 How To Detect Fake Bullion Coins, Another Gold Ring & 18th Century Spanish Colonial Platinum

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Gold Diamond and Pearl Ring.

As I've been showing, there are some holes that continue to produce gold along the Treasure Coast.  Old finds on the beach are rare now though.  This ring came from one hole that has been producing on a regular basis.

Today was a good day to get down low on the beach.

Whether you have found or bought bullion coins you should know that for bullion coins, like virtually everything else of value, there are fakes or counterfeits.  I found the following linked web site for bullion coin collectors that makes a clear distinction between fakes and copies.  According to their definitions, fakes are made of the wrong metal while copies are made of the correct metals.

A fake silver bullion coin, for example, might be made of silver-plated copper, while a copy of the same coin would be made of he correct purity of silver.

Copies are therefor made when the value of the coin is considerable greater than its melt value, such as with rare coins.

Here is the link to that article.

The article also explains that gold and platinum are very dense metals, and fake bullion coins are usually made of lighter metals, therefore the fake coin will usually be either too light or too big.  That makes it fairly easy to detect fake gold or platinum bullion coins.

Here is a list of some known fake bullion coins as described in the above linked article.

Silver Pandas. Around 2005, fake pandas started being distributed, apparently from China, and apparently made out of silver-plated copper.

2002 1/10 oz platinum eagle. This fake coin was made of a copper-colored alloy, with a white platinum colored coating, and is lighter than a genuine coin (2.13g versus 3.112g).  

Canadian Maples. There are likely many counterfeit Canadian maples, probably all fakes (wrong metal), but most likely all the 1oz size.

Krugerrands. There are likely many counterfeit Krugerrands, probably all fakes (wrong metal), but most likely all the 1oz size.

1994 Australian Nuggets/Koalas. These are actually replicas that were created for Monex to show what the coins look like. They appear nearly identical to the genuine coin (even the hard plastic holder is nearly identical), except the reverse is blank. It is believed that only 1 oz and larger (10 oz and 1 kilogram) sizes were made.

There is a device that will help you check bullion coins such as those listed above.  It is called a "Fische."   Here is a link where you can learn more about that.

If you've been reading this blog you know that I recently discovered a series journal articles that describes what appears to be the earliest discovery and refinement of platinum.  Documentation from the Archives of the Indies talks about early attempts to separate and refine platinum at the Bogota mint by assayer Sanchez in the first third of the 18th Century.

At first platinum was considered nothing other than a nuisance.  However before long they had learned to refine platinum into a malleable form and were able to manufacture items made of platinum.  Apparently the first refinement of platinum was actually an alloy.

One of the first "uses" of platinum was to debase gold and cobs.  It was easier to overlook some of the inexpensive metal than to remove it.

Those who had learned how to work platinum were told not to disclose their methods.   The king wanted Spain to have a monopoly on the new noble metal.

The king wanted platinum to be shipped to Spain but tried to keep the desirability of the metal from being discovered so that he could get it cheaply.  However, miners and others got the idea that it might have value since the king was not only wanting it but was willing to pay for this metal that was previously being tossed into the river or otherwise discarded.  They illegally stockpiled the metal and the price increased.

Several orders of platinum were requested and sent to Spain via Cartegena during the 18th Century.  The first documented official shipment was in January of 1766.  Some was shipped earlier.

Treasure clues can be found in this literature, including shipments, storage and disposal of the metal.  Specific locations are mentioned where platinum was dumped into rivers or valleys.

Below is a paragraph that illustrates the kinds of things you can learn from the historical articles published in various issues of Platinum Metals Review.

The success Chabaneau had achieved in producing malleable platinum in some quantity immediately prompted the Spanish government to order the Viceroy of New Granada - now Antonio Caballero y Gongora - to collect all the platinum he could obtain while keeping its new value a secret. About 150 pounds of native metal were shipped to Spain, this time the miners being paid two or three reales
a pound. Further shipments necessitated the price being raised to four reales a pound, and the authorities in Madrid recommended the importation of many more negro slaves to work the deposits and approved a scheme for the importa­tion of tools for sale to the workers in the hope of increasing output. In 1788 it was decreed that platinum was to be sold only to the crown and penalties were established for anyone detected in hoarding the metal. By the end of that year more than three thousand pounds of platinum had been despatched from the Choc√≥ to Cartagena for shipment to Spain, but great quantities were still smuggled out.

And here is the link to one of a number of articles that I have found in the journal on the subject of early platinum separation and refinement in 18th Century.

It is known that by the mid-18th century a few articles had been made of platinum.  I also feel rather certain that platinum could be found in gold coming from Bogota, some of it included unintentionally and some unintentionally.

The surf on the Treasure Coast is down around two feet today.  The tide is fairly flat.  The surf will be increasing tomorrow to up around three of four feet and staying that way for a while.

The wind seems mixed.  It will be from the North now and then but only for short times.

Happy hunting,

Sunday, March 23, 2014

3/23/14 Report - Another Gold Medallion Found, CoinQuest Site On Spanish Colonial Coins & 10 Million Dollar Item

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

14K Medallion Found.

Even though conditions have been poor on the Treasure Coast for finding old things, there are a few good holes out there that continue to produce modern jewelry day after day.  The surf is up enough to stir the holes up a little every day.  Here is a recent find from one of those holes.

You might want to review some of my old posts on coin holes and coin lines.

Here is a web site by coinquest that gives a nice summary on Spanish colonial coins including general prices ranges for major types.  Good overview.

Have you ever tried to sell something that wouldn't sell.   It just never seemed to want to go away.

Here is a news story about a fellow that tried to sell an item, and it was a good thing he wasn't successful on his first attempt.

He bought an item at a flea market for $14,000 and ended up selling it for something more like $10 million.  He tried to sell it for much less, but it didn't sell.  He eventually properly identified the item, and although the selling price hasn't been revealed, it is thought to be more in the range of $10 million.  The key was proper identification.

It turns out the item that he was going to scrap for the metals and gems was actually a famous Faberge Egg given by Czar Alexander to his wife before it disappeared. 

Here is the video for more of that story.

Sometimes it seems like an item doesn't want to go away.  I don't know how many times that has happened to me.  I'm not talking about something that ended up being worth $10 million or even one million, but there are items that don't sell for the price you want and then it turns out that you are glad it didn't sell.  It isn't always only about economic value.  Sometimes an item that doesn't seem to want to go is valuable in another way.

For me it has often been a book.   I know one book that I tried to sell a number of times.  I didn't put an outrageous prices on it.  I thought it should easily sell.   Yet it never did, although I offered it several times. I couldn't understand why it wouldn't sell.

One book like that is over a hundred years old and has a paper dust jacket.  That is fairly rare.  You don't find many 100-year-old books with a dust jacket in nice condition.  It isn't a fiction book either.  That makes it even more unusual.

The topic of the book is the subjective mind of man, which is the part of the mind that supposedly has a lot of knowledge and what I think most people might call super-natural abilities.  It is the part of the mind supposedly used during ESP, hypnotic phenomena etc.

Since giving up on getting a decent price for the book, I've read it through a number of times and most recently read part of it a night or two ago.  I'm glad I didn't sell it.  That is just one example.

I know it is easy to read too much into events, and this could be one of those cases.  Sometimes it seems there is an order, or purpose to things that is governed by something greater than ourselves.  Some people say there is no such thing as a coincidence.

Many people feel that everything in life has a purpose.  They attribute some type of intelligence or will to the universe that guides events.  Some have no problem explaining that.  They believe it is God that guides things.

An active mind will always try to put two and two together.  It will always try to see the reason for things.  And maybe sometimes that gives meaning and purpose to things.  That isn't all bad.

It is certainly true that there is something bigger than the individual and that we can't grasp it all.  I don't think anybody can or would deny that.

I have some new test acid on order and should receive it before long so will be able to answer some questions soon.

I haven't completed my presentation on beach dynamics yet either.  Will have to get back to that someday before long.

Doesn't look much will be changing on the Treasure Coast real soon.  We'll be stuck with a two or three foot surf for a while.

Happy hunting,

Saturday, March 22, 2014

3/22/14 - Bogota Mint Platinum In The 18th Century & Gold Religious Medallion Beach Find

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

14K Religious Medallion Find From The Treasure Coast
With the nice weather and the large number of tourists this year, there are a good number of modern jewelry items being lost and found on the swimming beaches even on the Treasure Coast.

Here is one new find.

It is easy to make a mistake by throwing something away before you really know enough about it.  I know because I made a number of mistakes like that in the past.  Unfortunately we often learn our lesson when it is too late.  We can keep learning though and cut down on the number of mistakes we make in the future. 

A few posts ago I showed some very small and very heavy lumps of metal that were detected on a wreck beach back a week or so ago when it was cut.  I know that a lot of people would quickly dismiss those small beads of material.  I can understand that, and the beads are probably not anything of interest, but due to the fact that I don't know exactly what they are yet, my curiosity is more than enough for me to hold onto them for a while.  I'll test them more thoroughly later. 

I haven't bothered to run many tests on them yet, partly because I'm out of some of my acids.  There is no harm in waiting anyhow.  I've learned that there is no harm in holding onto something that is probably nothing important.  If nothing else, the presence of items like that often leads to research and learning.  That has already been the case with these items even though they are most likely nothing very interesting. 
I ran across an interesting article last night that could possibly be remotely relevant.   It is an article published in Platinum Metals Review, 1992, 36, (I), 40-47, which discusses a manuscript written by an assayer at the Bogota mint dealing with platinum and its separation from gold and its refinement.

Here is the link to that article.

And here is the abstract of that article.

It is generally accepted that the first description of “platina” to appear in Europe was by a young Spanish naval officer, Antonio de Ulloa, whose famous work “Relacibn del Viaje a la America Meridional” was publishedin 1748. Important though this was, of even greater significance was the fact that the primary metallurgy of platinum must have been established much earlier, enabling it to be extracted, purified and manufactured. These processes appear to have been kept secret from
other European countries, and until recently their details had not been  deduced. Now manuscripts discovered in the Colombian Archives enable known methods of purification to be linked to the description of the primitive manufacturing process.

So it turns out that some of the earliest work, if not the first metallurgical work with platinum was conducted at the Casa de la Moneda de Santa Fe de Bogota.

Platinum for some time was thought to be little more than a waste product to be removed from gold, but later it was separated and used itself to construct items.

Jose Sanchez de la Torre y Armas was the assayer at the Bogota mint from January 1722 to 1732 and wrote extensively on the refinement and use of platinum.  It appears that much of what he wrote was known well before the time that he wrote it down.

More from the same article.

In the light of present knowledge, we consider that the platinum obtained by Sanchez would have been practically pure, although it is certain that his objective would have been the separation of platinum from the gold, rather than the refining of the platinum. Sanchez states that he produced calcined platinum and platinum grains, in which state the platinum could be readily hot-forged.

Notice the use of the word "grains."
 Assayer Sanchez wrote an explanation of a few says that platinum could be separated and the costs associated with the different methods.

Here is another paragraph from the article.

Of even greater importance is the fact that fabricated platinum articles existed in the first third of the Eighteenth Century, necessitating a refining or purification process and, in the absence of the means to melt it, a hot-pressing or sintering process that enabled the platinum to be worked subsequently.

So sometime in the first third of the 18th century, platinum that was mined with gold was separated and refined and actually used to manufacture things such as medallions, buckles, and even sword handles.

One last little interesting tidbit from the article.

The act of throwing the platinum into the rivers can easily be justified. The cost to the Spanish Crown of the introduction of just 5.4 per cent of platinum into the gold alloy would be the value of ...

Hmmmm.   Throwing platinum into the river!   

So what does all of that mean to us Treasure Coast detectorists.   One of the things that interested me is that items or parts of items were created from platinum early in the 18th Century.

Another thing is that when gold is less than 22k there could be platinum in it.  The heavy cost of removing the platinum provided enough incentive to overlook the "impurity."

And if gold nuggets were transported legally or illegally, is it possible that platinum in one form or another (including forms such as grains) was also intentionally or unintentionally transported with the ore.

Those are a just a few thoughts.  You might dismiss some or all of them quickly.

One thing I know is that the very small beads of heavy metal that I posted the other day will be tested more thoroughly because of what I learned in this article.  I still think they are more than likely lead, but am not ready to dismiss them without testing.

Lead or not, I learned something from the research and the remote possibility that the found beads could possibly be platinum rendered I read more interesting and meaningful to me.  And I learned a little more simply because they were on my mind and influenced my reading.

I did find it difficult to post from such a technical article.  It took a lot of time.  I hope you get something out of it.  I did.

I did a post on modern platinum items in my 6/6/13 post.  You might want to go back and read that.

On the Treasure Coast we now have a little bigger surf.  It is running around four feet and will not change much for several days.

I would expect to find some nice coin holes and modern gold other than recent drops out there during current conditions.

Happy hunting,

Friday, March 21, 2014

3/21/14 Report - Artifacts of Historic Battle Between Spanish and Native Americans, Colonial Silver Spoon & Clay Shaman

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Olive Jar Sherds Found in the Midwest.

Five years after the sinking of the 1715 Fleet along the Treasure Coast a historic battle between the Spanish and Native Americans took place in what is now Nebraska.

The battle was known but these sherds are among the first artifacts giving evidence of the battle.  The Spanish jars are thought to be loot resulting from the battle.

The battle ended the incursion of the Spanish eastward into the US from Mexico.

Here is some information from the article that might help you tell the difference between early Spanish sherds and Native American sherds.

... analysis revealed important similarities among the samples, like granite-based sand that had been added to the pottery mixture, unlike indigenous ceramics made using natural clays, and telltale horizontal “throwing marks” that are still visible on the vessels’ interiors.
“Olive jars were thrown on a potters wheel, a forming technique unknown in the New World,” Hill said. “The parallel throwing marks on the exterior of the olive jar sherds are evidence of this technique.”
Here is the link for more on this historic battle and the artifacts.

This 1500-year-old shaman sculpture was found guarding bodies in a burial shaft in Mexico.

The square shaft, which is around one-and-a-half metres deep, is thought to date to between 300 AD and 600AD and leads to an underground vault measuring approximately two metres squared, containing bones of either one or two individuals...

Here is the source link.

How much is a silver American colonial spoon worth?   Of course that depends upon a lot of things.

The spoon shown here was offered for nearly $223,000.

Source: Kovels Komments
Link below.
Here is what Kovels Komments says about the spoon.

A marrow spoon attributed to silversmiths Daniel Henchman and Nathaniel Hurd will be for sale at an antiques fair in England in April. Asking price: almost a quarter million dollars. The spoon has a cast 3-D hand at the end of the handle and a scalloped bowl. It's dated 1766-68. The high price is based on the quality of the silver work and the spoon's history (provenance), proven by the engraved words "John Wentworth Esq to Thomas Smith." Wentworth was the wealthy British Colonial governor of New Hampshire from 1767 to 1775, and Smith, also important in the Colonies, was his friend. It is suggested that the hand on the spoon's shaft represented their friendship. Recorded high prices for other pieces of antique American silver have been $708,000 for a coffeepot (c.1770-1775) by Paul Revere Jr. that sold in 2004; $775,750 for a wine cup (c.1660) made by John Hull and Robert Sanderson Jr. that sold in 1993; and a punch bowl by Cornelius Kierstede (c.1700-1710) for $5,906,500 that sold in 2010.

The word for the day is "adaptability."

On the Treasure Coast we have around a four foot surf.  It isn't too much different than yesterday.  Still a lot of tourists on the beach.  

There are new modern gold jewelry beach finds.  I'll show some in future posts.

Happy hunting,

Thursday, March 20, 2014

3/20/14 Report - Treasure Coast Gold Ring, Working A Steep Slope In Rushing Water and Satellite Images

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Treasure Coast Gold For Today

I had some things I had to do today and didn't know if I'd have time to get to the beach.  As it turned out I got to stop and take a look at three spots this morning.  The timing was not good.  It was just before high tide.

Under the circumstances I forgot to take my camera.  Too bad.  There were a few things that I could have used as illustrations.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, I'm only going to be able to convey a small fraction of one picture in this post.

The first beach I looked at was a 1715 Fleet beach.  It was where we had a cut a week or so ago and where the gold nugget was found.  Tons of new sand had piled up on that beach.  You would never guess that it had been cut a few days ago.  I didn't bother to take my detector out of the car.

The high tide had been pretty high and the swells were pretty big, hitting the beach directly from the East.  That all adds up to sand piling high and deep on the beach.

The second beach I took a quick look at was similar.  I didn't bother to take my detector out of the car again.

The third beach that I  looked at was tourist swimming beach.  There were a good number of people out.

This beach was completely different.  Due to man-made structures. it has been eroding for several weeks on and off.  Too bad the erosion, as you might suspect, was in renourishment sand and there is still tons of that.

The slope on the front of this beach was steep.  The beach curves sharply as it goes north to south.   After surveying the lay of the land I quickly went to the sharpest part of the curve where the force of the water onto the beach was greatest.  The water there was funneled higher up onto the slope.

I quickly went to the sharp point of the curve and immediately began to find coins.  It was a classic coin hole, but very high up on the beach.

The hole was created by the force of water being focused towards this part of the curve.

There were big swells with a primary period of about 11 seconds and a secondary of about 7 seconds.  That is important for what I am going to tell you about.

Sorry if this is confusing.  I should have taken my camera.  It would have been much easier.

After hitting the first coin in the coin hole I slowed down, stayed and worked the coin hole.  When the hole seemed worked out I checked north and south to see if there were any more coin holes to be worked, but I found no others.

If I could have chosen, I would have picked a time closer to low tide.  It wasn't easy working down the slope where the swells were being focused.

I mentioned the swells and the periods.  I tried to work low on the beach between swells as much as possible.  I was hurrying down the slope mostly in between swells or sets.  There was a lot of water coming and going over the coin hole that I was working.

I had several seconds between waves to work my way down the slope, detect the target, dig it and get it out before the next wave hit.  Of course I could work through swells sometimes, but  had to be careful when trying to recover a target in rushing water.

When the water went out, I hurried down behind it while swinging the coil.  But here is when it gets tricky.   If you get a signal on a steep slope either between waves or while the water is coming or going, you have to get it very securely in the scoop.  If you take a scoop of sand but the target is either very small, still on the slope and not covered by enough sand to hold it in place, or on the edge of sand in the scoop, or if the target falls out of the scoop, it is very possible that the water will quickly sweep the target away.

If you do not get the target in the first scoop and a lot of water is coming, one thing you can do is put your foot on the target to hold it so it won't get washed away.  Then dig again in between waves.

When you get the target in the scoop, move quickly up the slope and either sift or dump it on safe ground.

Sifting over swiftly moving water is dangerous if the item is small enough to fall through the holes in the scoop, or if the target is dropped or washes out of the scoop.

If I can tell from the signal that the object will not likely fall through the holes and if it is not in sand that will fall off the front of the scoop, then I'll use the water rushing down the slope to wash the sand through the holes in the scoop.  Keep the opening of the scoop facing up the slope.

My scoop is big and if I get a scoop full of wet sand, it can be very heavy for easy shaking and sifting.  Let the water returning down the slope go through the scoop and do the sifting for you.  Be careful though that the item is not on the edge where it can be washed out or can go through the holes.

It wasn't the easiest coin hole to work but it paid off in a short time.  In not even a half hour several coins were dug as well as the above ring.

Remains of the missing Malaysian airliner has possibly been found by using satellite images provided by Digital Globe, a commercial satellite company based in Colorado.  They provide high resolution satellite images via three satellites.  The images were made available so that individuals could search for debris from the airliner.

Here is what the following web site said.

DigitalGlobe used its satellites to capture some 3,200 square km of the area where the flight could have gone down--since then the area has updated to 24,000 square km--and it asked the community to help look through all of it to identify and flag anything of note. 

It took just a couple of days for 2 million or so volunteers to tag 645,000 items. The way the systems works is that it shows the same images to many different people, and if enough people tag the same little square on the grid, an expert will review that area to see if the item of interest is worth investigating.

Read more:,0,1370580.story

Of course these same images could be used for identifying archaeological sites or treasure.

You can log in to the digital globe images by using the following link.

Use the user name "public" and password "view."

I think everybody in the world is doing that today so you might have trouble getting access.

In these days with massive data, it takes a lot of eyes and brains to analyze the data.  That is where the public came in.   I've expressed my opinions about that concerning the NSA data collection before.

I hurried this post, but that is it for today.

Happy hunting,

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

3/19/14 Report - Treasure Coast Gold Find, Nairobi Gaming Chip, & Personal Under Water Drones

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

14K Gold Bracelet Found On Treasure Coast
Find and Photo by Charlie S.

Conditions haven't been great for finding old things on the beach so far in 2014.  November of 2013 was the last really good period.  Nonetheless, there are always things to be found.

Here is a nice find by Charlie S, and here is what he said.

I have been reading your blog for a few years now, really enjoy it.  I thought you may enjoy this treasure coast gold find from last week.

This is a 14kp (solid 14 Karat Gold) bracelet that was taken just above the surf line on the incoming tide.  Unfortunately the incoming water made it a tough recovery and it ended up quite mangled, (or may have already been so, no way to know).  This bracelet weighed out at 14.7 grams, which calculated out to $374 in pure gold at spot.

Thanks for sharing Charlie and congratulations on the great find!

Not too long ago I did a few posts on tokens and casino chips.  Here is a gaming chip that was found on the beach from the Nairobi Casino in Kenya. 

One of the interesting things about Florida and resort areas in general is the finds that come from all over the country and world.

This gaming chip has a silver center and was evidently a recent drop in very nice condition.

The face value of the chip is 10 shillings.

The news is talking about under water drones.  That sounds new and gets attention, but it looks to me like what they are talking about is nothing much different than the ROVs that we are familiar with.  I guess there are some new things about them, but the big difference is in using the word drone.

The Navy is getting into underwater drones in a big way now.  The Pentagon is doubling the amount they are spending on drones that will take over a lot of the work previously done by men.

One company is making underwater drones that individuals can purchase for under $1000.   They have a video camera and come in a kit form.

Looks like fun, but doesn't look very heavy duty to me.  I don't think it would be much good in shallow water where you have currents or a semi-rough surf.

Take a look at the video.

I would think a good submersible video camera that could be attached to a pole, cable or whatever would do just as well.  Of course once you see an object you have to have a way to grab onto it, but I think that can be accomplished simply and inexpensively by other means.

I'm not thinking of going down a mile anyhow.  That makes things much easier.

The richest man in the world believes in God.  That is what one article says.  They are talking about Bill Gates.

I think Putin is actually richer than Bill Gates.

On the Treasure Coast the surf is supposed to be up a little tomorrow to something around 3 to 5 feet.  That isn't very much but if there was going to be a strong North wind and a good angle to the waves, it might accomplish a little.  As it is, the angles don't look all that good.

The predictions do provide a hint of a bigger surf in the near future.

Happy hunting,

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

3/18/14 Report - Mini Sub, Small Unidentified Objects, What To Know About GPS Enabled Camera Images & Modern Pirates

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Spy Master One Man Mini Sub

Here is a nifty device that will allow you to scooter around underwater.

It is the Spy Master mini sub.

Here is the link for more information.

I like finding very small items.  I know if I am finding the smalls, larger items will be easy enough.  It also tells you that you are using your detector effectively.

Here are some of the small items I found in a grouping on a beach.  They weren't exactly close, but they only were found in a relatively small patch.

I saw another detectorist pass through the patch without seeming to detect them.

A Few Of Several Small Bits of Metal Detected On A Beach.
I haven't identified the metal yet.  They are heavy, not magnetic and could be lead, but I haven't finished testing yet.

Those, of course, will slip right through a scoop and will test your vision as well as your detecting.

If you find a good patch of dense metal items it is worth checking the area very well.

I have found gold in with concentrations of lead enough times to make it worth double checking.

Yesterday I showed a gold nugget that was found on a shipwreck beach in the same area as these items.

Speaking of neat technologies, did you know that if you use a smart phone or other GPS enabled camera, it can keep a record of where the photo was taken.  That can be handy for future reference, but if you want to share your photos on the web and do not want anyone to be able to determine the exact location where the photo was taken, you should know that that information can be included in the image file.   Concerning that,  Bill M. sent me an email.  Here is what he said.

, ... Photos uploaded to the web can sometimes give the exact GPS location of where the photo was taken.

Just today I found an example of someone who posted a photo of a metal detector find, and unbeknownst to the person who uploaded it, that photo included the exact GPS location of where the item was found.

...I checked the photos you've posted at Treasure Beaches Report, and they only show that the photos were from the Picassa album.  But no other details are shown.

Still, you have to be careful, especially when shooting photos of locations that you might want to keep secret.

 Thanks for the reminder Bill.

I don't directly upload image files that I receive without doing some conversion first.

If you want to find out what information is stored with photo and video images from smart phones and GPS enabled cameras you should check out the file properties.  That will show you what data is stored with the photo.  If you find anything that you don't want to be included with the photo, such as the GPS coordinates, you can remove that data.

This web site will show you how to remove unwanted data.

Navy Seals captured a pirated oil tanker.  There are still pirates.

The surf is still small on the Treasure Coast.  Last night the wind was blowing pretty strong form the West.

The surf is predicted to increase in a day or two but not by a huge amount.

Happy hunting,

Monday, March 17, 2014

3/17/14 Report - Shipwreck Gold Nuggets, Gold Nuggets In General & Black Sails

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

1.5 Centimeter Long Gold Beach Nugget
Yesterday I posted a gold nugget that was found on the Treasure Coast near a 1715 wreck site.  Here is a better picture.  It is just over 1.5 centimeters long, and is fairly thin.  It could easily be missed by a detector.

The quartz and pyrite could throw you off a little if you just saw the nugget and weren't very familiar with gold nuggets.

As you can see, it is not an alluvial nugget.  Nuggets from streams etc. tend to get smoothed out.  This one is very rough.

In the picture above, you can see the quartz in the depressions on this side.  The other side of the nugget has even more quartz.  There are a few spots of pyrite too.

I looked through the Mel Fisher artifact database (http://www.melfisherartifacts.comand found pictures of gold nuggets that were found on the Atocha and Margarita wreck sites but none from the 1715 wrecks.  It does not seem that the database is very comprehensive though, and I get the feeling it hasn't been updated for years.

But maybe it was simply dropped by a school kid carrying around part of his dad's collection.  You never know where things come from when they are found on a beach.

Most of the nuggets in the Fisher database are smoothed out, obviously alluvial, but below are a couple rougher ones shown in the database.  The last one shows some quartz and pyrite.

Nugget Shown in Mel Fisher Artifact Database
The nugget showing heavy quartz and pyrite is from

Nugget Showing Heavy Quartz and Pyrite 
The goldrushnuggets web site is a very nice web site that you might want to look at.

They sell nuggets but also have provide a number of helpful and interesting articles.

One of the the articles on that web site was about how to identify fake gold nuggets.  Like anything of value, they are faked.  Here is that link.

Here is the link.
Nugget Shown in Mel Fisher Artifact Database


All of the relevant tests have been done on this nugget now.

Someone asked about the purity of gold placer nuggets on the following site.

If you look through that discussion you'll see this response by Old Miner that reads as follows.

All placer gold (gold nuggets) varies in fineness, in my local area it usually runs 87% gold, 11% silver, 1% copper and 1% other. Plus or minus a couple percent. This combination makes for a pretty color of gold. A hundred miles away another area I mined ran 57% gold 9% silver and a lot of copper, and the nuggets were pretty ugly. A friend has claims that he says average the low 90's fineness and the gold does look very good. The fineness is usually pretty stable by local area, but can vary between 50% and 90+% gold over the world. That does not include the quarts or other rock that may be in the nugget, we just call that smelt loss or character depending on who is buying.

If you have the Starz channels on Comcast, you can watch Black Sails, a program that chronicles pirate life in the Carribbean.

You can watch it online here.

On the Treasure Coast it looks like we'll have one more day of very small surf and then a possible increase up to four to six feet.

We still have a south wind this afternoon.

Happy hunting,

Sunday, March 16, 2014

3/16/14 Report - Gold Nugget Dug on Treasure Coast, Old Buttons, Black Madonna & Note On TV Show Casting

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Small Gold Nugget Found on Shipwreck Beach.

It has happened before.  I personally know of a few times, but it doesn't happen often.

Here is a small gold nugget found on one of the Treasure Coast shipwreck beaches about three days ago. 

It was acid tested.

You may know of the gold dust just off Rio Mar that they have attempted to salvage with very little success. 

I've seen a couple of nuggets found by others on Treasure Coast beaches.  And I know of one that was found down near the House of Refuge.  This one was found on a 1715 Fleet beach.

If you dig enough stuff, eventually you'll get a few real surprises.

Some of the beaches that I've been looking at lately, even though at first glance they look like the sand is low, when compared to known landmarks, they are not very low at all. 

Use stumps, rocks and things that are stable landmarks to judge the sand level.  Even some large deep objects can provide good measures of sand depth as you pass over them with your detector.

Up above Vero there is one beach that has what sounds like a metal fence post buried under a good bit of sand.  I've seen people try to remove it before without any success.  It is buried too deep and too close to the water level.  It has been there for a number of years now and is still there.  You can measure the depth of sand there by the signal you get from that buried object.

Here is an item that was in the group of items found by William M. that I posted yesterday.  This is a close-up of the one item.

Do you know what it is?   From the words on the front you might think that maybe it is a token for somGoe kind of candy or pastry.

That isn't it.

Sweet Orr made overalls and work clothes.  It is probably a button from some one's overalls.

Here is what wikipedia says.

The firm of Sweet, Orr & Co., were pioneers in the manufacture of overalls. After a large business experience in the Village of Wappingers Falls, he (Clayton E. Sweet) moved to Newburgh in 1887, to which city the business offices of the company were changed that year.

Sweet Orr set up a factory building on Mill Street of Main Street in the late 1800s. The company manufactured denim overalls and jeans sold all over the country. The building burned down in the 1990s and is now the site of one of the village's parking lots.

The company is still in operation.

If you recall, William also found a Disston medallion.  He thinks it was on a case instead of a saw though.  The piece of wood it was on does not look like it was a saw handle.

Put the two together, a jeans or overall button and a Disston saw medallion and you start to get a little bit of a picture.  The two items certainly make sense together.

Here is a button I found. It looks to me like it could

I haven't found the company history on this one.  If you can help with that, please send me an email.

If you want to get more information about where to apply for the treasure reality TV show that I posted about yesterday, send me an email giving a web site or some background information.  I want to have some idea about how you fit their casting needs before giving out all the contact information.

Putin had the Black Madonna flown over the Suchi Olympics as a blessing.  That was the first time the Black Madonna was used in Russia to bless a peaceful operation.  It turns out that it may have actually been used to bless a military operation - the invasion of Crimea that people didn't know about at the time instead of the Olympics.

A leopard doesn't change it spots.

Here is a link about that.

Actually the original Black Madonna was destroyed in 1904 and there are now hundreds of them.

It is funny that with all of our NSA surveillance and the unlimited data collection and all of the intelligence, it seems that no one was able to anticipate the invasion.

On the Treasure Coast we have a nearly flat surf.  That will remain for a few days.

The wind is from the South/Southeast.   The tides are a touch bigger now.

Again, if you want information on how to apply for the TV program tell me a little about your experience.  If you are a frequent contributor to this blog, I'll give you a head start.

Happy hunting,