Thursday, July 24, 2014

7/24/14 Report - Carolus III Reale & Other Silver Found. Coin Cleaning Experiment. Tropical Depression 2.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Silver Finds by Ben R.
Photo submitted by Ben
Tropical depression number 2 is now only a tropical disturbance over the Lesser Antilles.

Here are some great finds.  Ben R. sent me this picture of his finds along with the following email message.

I have been reading your blog since this past February when I spent a week in Fort Pierce and spent about 30 hours on the beach detecting hoping to find shipwreck treasure. In those 30 hours I found nothing but clad, and after returning home to Wisconsin I couldn't believe I had been totally skunked! I started reading your blog from the beginning and trying to educate myself about beach hunting. My dad and his brothers are very into detecting up here in the Midwest and I think I finally caught the bug, however there aren't many beaches up here in Wisconsin. In my ignorance, I had been detecting on mostly replenished beaches and I'm certain any treasure that was there was buried under a few feet of sand. I had learned the importance of research and had the sunburn to prove it.

Last weekend, after a few hours of research, I had found a spot that seemed promising up here in Wisconsin. After only an hour I had found 4 silver coins, and then right in the middle of a walking path I heard a solid tone from the DFX. At first I thought it was a half, but as I brushed away the dirt I saw the date. It was a 1781 Carolus iii dei Gratia reale. I found my Spanish treasure in the place I least expected it, out in the woods in Wisconsin. Hopefully this November my father and I can make the trip back to the treasure coast to detect after a big surf.

Thanks for taking the time to share your passion for detecting, your blog is great and is having an impact on the detecting community!
Thanks for sharing Ben.  Those are some great coins!  I hope we get some better beach conditions for detecting here on the Treasure Coast.

I've been talking a lot about off-beach and out-of-area treasure lately.  There are times when you have to adapt, and one of my old sayings is "There is always some place to hunt and something to be found."  I also believe that you usually learn something when you try new places.

Ben reminds us of something important  -  the importance of research.  If you want to find old stuff you have to hunt the right spots.  That goes with something I said yesterday, or was it the day before - a detector is basically a pin-pointing device.  It won't tell you treasure is there until you put the coil over a treasure.   Even when the detector coil is over something good, the item can be missed - thanks in part to the miracle of discrimination.  I'll talk more about that again very soon.

Yesterday I began an experiment on freezing items in water as a method of cleaning dirty items like coins.  I gave you a link to an article about that and wanted to do a test of my own.

You might remember this fire-fighter's prayer token. I posted it shortly after finding it a couple of months ago.

Close-up of part of the token before cleaning.
Here is the item as seen shortly after found, and then the second picture shows it after being frozen in water over night and then thawed out. 
You can see the crust obscuring the words of the prayer in the first close-up.

The second photo shows the token after being frozen and thawing.

The cleaning procedure definitely worked to some extent.  Unfortunately I don't know the metal this token is made of.  It does not appear to be either copper or silver.

Although the procedure worked, some crust remains.  Perhaps another freezing might clean it more.

Same Token After Freezing and Thawing

Wheat Cent Before And After Freezing

I also tried the same treatment with this wheat cent that had been buried in soil (not sand) for many years  The surface showed only faint detail.  It was difficult to read the date even after other attempts at cleaning.  I froze this one and thawed it twice because the first attempt did not accomplish much.

 Here are the before and after photos of the wheat.  You can definitely see some of the details better in the photo of the treated coin.  Notice the layer that appears to be coming off of the lower right edge.  I don't know if that surface dirt or not.

Some of the spotty removal actually made the coin harder to see in some places, such as over the wheat on the left.

Some results this time, but not what you would hope.  Again, this coin was cleaned before without hardly any results, so it represents a really stubborn case.  It was about the worst looking dirt dug coin that I've seen, so maybe not the best test.

Overall, I'd say freezing might be a good treatment in some cases, but don't expect dramatic results on stubborn coins.

I first learned of this method in the following link, which you might want to read for more detail.

 I have experiments on the effect of using different detector modes to detect gold items.  The results so far didn't surprise me, but they illustrate some very important things that you should know.  I'll post that some time soon.

On the Treasure Coast, as I said above, Tropical Depression 2 died, and there are no significant changes in beach detecting conditions.

Happy hunting,