Friday, May 2, 2014

5/2/14 Report - Sedwick Auction Results, 5000 Years of California Violence, Digging Up Your Personal Past and My Most Valuable Find

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

There was one standout among the gold cobs auctioned off by Sedwick yesterday.  It brought in over $76,000.  The next highest price for a gold cob was around 23,000.  A common price range for gold cobs was one to two thousand, with just a handful bringing in less than one thousand.

Here is the lot description for the big winner.

Lima, Peru, cob 8 escudos, 1701H, Philip V, extremely rare, from the 1715 Fleet. S-L25a; KM-38.1. 26.95 grams. Almost round, evenly struck and perfectly centered, this would be an exceptional specimen for any date, let alone one that is missing in Calico and the State of Florida collection (theirs is Charles II). In fact we can trace only one other example for Philip V, an AU 55 of demonstrably inferior strike but with perhaps slightly more evidence of the coins' having been created from a modified 1700 die. The present coin is at least AU 58 but bears areas of red staining and gray coral that preclude professional encapsulation. What is more important is that the strike is nearly perfect--well centered and even--and the effect in hand is sheer beauty. From the 1715 Fleet.

The two standouts among the world gold coins were two had final prices of nearly $5000. 

Both of those were Brazil (Rio mint) reis.  Each of those sold for just under five thousand dollars.  A good number of lots in this category did not sell.  An the expected standout in this category did not sell.

There was a clear standout in the US gold coins.  It was the USA (Philadelphia mint), $10 capped-bust Liberty, 1801, encapsulated NGC UNC details / improperly cleaned. KM-30. Lustrous and attractive, with minor marks only, the surfaces very faintly hairlined from cleaning, popular early gold with high catalog value.

It sold for just over $15,000.

The auction continues today.

Two more days remaining to respond to the blog poll.  It is proceeding very nicely.  I'll get more out of the results than might be immediately apparent.

On the Treasure Coast the wind is out of the South right now.   The higher surf will be this morning, then decreasing through the day and for a few more days.

It seems to me that we get a very sanitized, or should I say "politically correct" version of history, so much so that I was really surprised when I learned just how dangerous life was on the US frontier in the 1700s.  I did some research and read about some of my ancestors, including one thirteen-year-old boy, who, with his mother and brother were captured by the Indians, took a bullet in the leg but managed to heal during captivity, later escaping to freedom by swimming across the Monongahela River in an area that I personally know to be about a hundred yards across. 

I guess I actually bought into the sanitized view of history that I received.  However a new study shows that California, the land of Flower Power and Peace, has a long history of violence that goes way back before the white man arrived.

Here are some excerpts taken from an article describing an archaeological study that examined 16,820 burials from over 5000 years of history in Central California.

From shooting their enemies with darts and arrows to crushing their skulls and even harvesting body parts as trophies, the ancient foragers of central California engaged in sporadic, and sometimes severe, violence, according to a new archaeological study spanning 5,000 years.

The article goes on to say, Chronicling 16,820 burials from 329 sites among 13 different ethnographic groups, the data reveal that the most common type of violence over the millennia was so-called sharp-force trauma, caused by projectiles like arrows or atlatl darts, which appeared in 7.2% of the burials studied.

Another 4.3% of the hunter-gatherers suffered apparent blunt-force trauma to the head, while just under 1% showed evidence of dismemberment, with limbs, scalps, or heads having been removed after death.

Interesting article! 

Here is the link if you want to read more about that study.

I'm going to recommend genealogical research to you once again.  I know I've done it before, but I am continually amazed by what all can be found on the computer these days.  It has been very productive for me and in ways that I never would have imagined.  Not only have I learned a lot about my ancestors, but I've discovered tons of good detecting leads in the process.

I've mentioned this before, but you can join for a free trial period.  That will give you a access to a lot of very good resources.

Yesterday I showed an example of a land use map from 1870 that I found on the web site.  That was only one example of the many types of excellent research resources you will find there.

Of course you can compare those old maps to more current maps if you need to.   I was using maps of land that I was very familiar with, so I didn't have to do that.

One thing I learned is that reading history is one thing, but finding your personal connection makes it really come alive.  There is another step beyond that though.  You can visit the places where your roots were formed and actually touch the past.

One thing I learned in a new way is that history can be very personal.  If you make the connections,  you can learn a lot about out how your family ended up where it is today and how it connected to what was going on in the world.

I have learned a lot about my father's family that I am sure he never knew.  He was too young to know some of the whys and hows of his early life, yet through all of the digitized records I've been able to piece much of it together. 

I've communicated with cousins this year on both coasts that I never knew I had until I did this research and learned that they were also researching the family.  That is how I was able to make contact with them and learned from them what they had discovered through their research.  We exchanged both information and pictures.
Besides discovering relatives that you never knew about, and you might even learn what happened to crazy so and so.  After going through the process myself, I'd be surprised if you don't discover a lot you never knew about your family.  I benefited greatly from the time my wife put into the process.  It is much like detecting, the more time you put into it, the more you benefit.  Things come together more quickly when you have already collected some of the pieces.

Every day history is being made.  Every day information about you and I is being accumulated online.   More of it is going online than I ever suspected.   It is really surprising how much can be found.

History is going into the ground every day too -  much more than could ever be excavated or studied.

My now deceased father nearly a half century ago told me that his father or grandfather had tools stamped with a swastika.   I don't know why he told me that or why it is something that I remembered, but I guess it made an impression.  Not only did I remember that one statement, but now I have a pair of those pliers and found the swastika, which proves what he said.  It seems unlikely that one casual comment made about fifty years ago would result in an item of personal history being resurrected from the earth. 

I thoroughly enjoyed digging up some of my personal history, including some of my old toys from the small home where I was raised.  When I visited that home, I was able to walk directly to the exact area where there was a slight depression just to one side of an old Pussy Willow tree that created a nice shady spot to play in the cool dirt in the summer.  I made roads in the dirt with my toy tractors and trucks there, and sadly, that is also where my yellow baby duck that I had just won at the county fair by throwing coins into cups ate a toadstool and died. 

I could not see it any more clearly than if I were there today, and I guess in a way I am.

Nobody else in the world knew that spot like I did.  Nobody else knew how I played there, what toys I used and how special that one small area was to one young boy.  Talk about an advantage for a detectorist!  I can actually see the past, and in more ways than one.  

Nobody knew that one small spot like I did and never will.  I walked right to it, and quickly dug up a part of my personal history.  No find has ever been more valuable to me than that.

I think I'll leave it there for today.

Happy hunting,