Sunday, August 31, 2014

8/31/14 Report - More On The 1715 Fleet Reliquary Pendant Found By The Booty. More On The Cob Tests. Brevard Beaches Improving.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Photos of Reliquaries 

Submitted by L. Strolia

The most read post of July was the 7/31/14 post.  I've been going back to see which posts were the most popular, or to be more exact, the most read posts.

It is not surprising that the 7/31/14 post was the most read post of July.  That is the post that reported on the amazing find made by the crew of the Booty on the Treasure Coast.

I incorrectly referred to that find as a gold pyx.  Laura Strolia, author and researcher has since told us why it is a reliquary pendant rather than a pyx.  I posted on report by author Strolia a few weeks ago, but she was kind enough to provide additional explanation, which you'll find immediately below.

More on the 1715 Fleet Triptych Reliquary Pendant

Here are some more thoughts regarding the TRIPTYCH RELIQUARY PENDANT of the 1715 fleet.
First off, I would like to better explain why this artifact is not a pyx.  A small container called a pyx was used by a priest to transport the consecrated Sacred Host to a sick or dying person.  It was crucial that nothing could penetrate into the body of this vessel and allow absorption.  The material used for a pyx would never have small or narrow spaces, such as we see in filigree work, because there would be a danger the Host would become corrupted.
Upon leaving a church, the priest placed the pyx in a purse or pouch, called a burse, which was hung around his neck by a cord. Even the burse, usually made of leather, cotton, or wool, was not enough to protect a receptacle of filigree metal since all these materials were permeable to water and air.
Another point to consider is the size of the circular opening that would encase a consecrated Host if it was a pyx.  The circle on the 1715 artifact reflects an opening that is too small based on diameters of the average vessel or ciborium of that time period. Additionally a pyx always had a closed lid, and the interior of it was made of precious metal which consisted of solid elements. This was necessary in preserving the sacredness of the Eucharist.  After the sick received Holy Communion, the pyx was then purified by the priest.
Why do Catholics exert such effort to protect and keep a Blessed Host safe?  One of my favorite stories about a Eucharistic miracle ( can hopefully answer this question. Catholics believe Jesus is alive and has a real presence in a Sacred Host.
The Reliquary Pendant found at Douglass Beach is also called a triptych, a term meaning that a work of art is made up of three hinged panels that can be opened for display, or folded shut when desired.  The circular opening on the 1715 reliquary would have held a holy remain behind a piece of rock crystal.  A fabric-covered paste board would have been stitched to the back of it.
It is intriguing to wonder about the final destination of this 1715 reliquary if the hurricane never happened.  Perhaps it was meant to hang in a private chapel of a wealthy household, or near the bedside of a clergy member?  We will never know the answer. But in this modern day of age, we are so fortunate to be able to view an artifact, such as this one, that holds such beauty and significance. – Laura Strolia
The reliquaries shown above are housed at St. Anthony’s Chapel in Pittsburgh (
Thanks Laura!

You can see how the reliquaries shown above are similar to the item found by the crew of the Booty.

I've received a few thoughts from readers concerning the reason for some smaller cobs producing better signals than some larger cobs.  One thought is that it is due to the composition of the metal and another is that it is due to the shape of the object, with more round objects being thought to produce better signals.  I look into that subject more in the future.

The past two days I posted information about tests that I did on some cobs using the Ace 250 and Excalibur detectors.  I used the same cobs for the same tests using the Dual Surf PI, which, as you may know is reputed to be a very deep seeking detector.  I might give more detail on that some other time, but here I'll just say that the PI had difficulties simply detecting the cobs under the circumstances.  The ambient interference made the PI very erratic, and it barely could detect any of the cobs.  It did, but not very well.  I varied the gain, loudness, and delay and still could not do nearly as well with the PI as with the other two detectors.  I am sure the PI would do better on the beach.

That again shows how one detector can be best in one situation while another would be best in another situation.  It also shows why you need to know your detector.

Concerning local beach conditions Dan W. wrote and said that the Brevard beaches have been producing older coins for the first time since the beaches were renourished.

I think they got a little bigger surf up that way, but it could be more a matter of angles.

Thanks for the report Dan!

Today and tomorrow the Treasure Coast will have a one to two foot surf.  There are no storms or anything right now.

That is all for today.

Happy hunting,

Saturday, August 30, 2014

8/30/14 Report - Silver Cobs Metal Detector Test Continued With Results. Quartz Crystal Pendant.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Silver Quartz Crystal Pendant

Here is a beach find.  Oxidized silver and quartz with a tigers eye.

Notice the phantom in the quartz. 

I don't know how old it might be.

Now I'm going to pick up today where I left off yesterday.  I'm going to show you something new that might surprise you.  It also shows how specific you have to be about detector tests, particularly the types of targets you are interested in and the environments they are used in.  A number of factors have to be considered when selecting a detector for a particular job.

A lot of people seem to accept what they hear or accept the results of simple tests on clad coins that actually leave out a lot of important factors.  They think if detector A is a good detector or has a good reputation it is the detector to use.  The fact is, as I'll show today, it is much more complicated.  And as I showed yesterday, there are situations when an inexpensive detector will actually do a better job than a highly regarded more expensive detector.  The basic questions are, what do you want to find and where are you going to hunt.  I say those are basic questions, but to answer them well involves more factors than you might think.

If you haven't read yesterday's post yet, I recommend that you do that before continuing.

Here are the same small beach cobs that I used for the tests that I reported on yesterday.  The one on the left weighs about 0.4 grams, the next 0.5 grams, the next 0.6 grams, and the next 2.0 grams.  I will refer to these cobs going left to right as 1 - 4.

Four Treasure Coast 1715 Fleet Beach Cobs.  Three Half-Reales and One 1-Reale.

Yesterday I tested these in a high EMI environment using the Ace 250.  Today I'll report on my results using an Excalibur.

I used both discrimination mode and pinpoint mode for all my Excalibur tests.

Which cob do you think consistently produced the best (loudest and clearest) signal?  It was cob 3.  You might expect it to be cob 4.  I did.   But cob three consistently produced a signal that was a loud and distinct, and a slight bit better than cob 4.  That was true on many attempts varying the sweep speed, and sweeping at different directions.

Tests were done with the coil at the approximate same height over the cobs, and also at different heights to give a rough measure of depth.  By varying the height of the coil I essentially did a type of air test but with a sugar sand background and relatively high EMI environment.

In case you wondered, signal loudness and distinctness correlated with air-test depth.  In other words, cobs that produced a fainter signal when the coil was at the same height for all cobs, were detected only at smaller distances from the coil.  Those cobs that produced louder more distinct signals were detected at greater heights when the coil was raised.  So relative signal strength, as you might have suspected, is a decent (not perfect) measure of how deep a target would be detected.  That makes sense, but the test results did strongly support that conclusion.

Now the question is why did cob three, even though smaller by weight and presenting less surface area produce a louder signal.   I do not yet know.   Yesterday I suggested that one possibility could be different alloys or composition of the silver.  We know that the composition of cobs was regulated,  but we also know that there were some differences.

Surprisingly, cob 1 consistently produced a more distinct signal than cob 2 despite its smaller surface area.  It is thicker.  All other cobs produced better signals than cob 2 without exception.

Another reason could possibly be the ground under the cobs, but I changed where I did the tests and the results were the same.

The results did not change when I switched from discrimination to pin point mode. 

I often hunt in pin point or all metals mode.

Ordered by signal strength, it was cob 3, 4, 1 and last, 2.

Being in a high EMI environment, I varied my sensitivity.  I actually got slightly better signals with reduced sensitivity. 

Some people are afraid to reduce sensitivity.  I seldom reduce sensitivity and am accustomed to identifying signals in noise, but there are times to do it.

I always recommend testing your detector and settings with the type of target that you want to find and in the environment that you will be hunting before beginning to hunt.  I think these tests support that recommendation.  Things are not always simple, and if you want to optimize your detector and settings, do it in the environment and with the most desired targets.

When selecting a test target, Id select a smaller test target.  Generally if you are set for the smalls, you will find the larger targets too, whereas the other way around is not necessarily true.

A lot of people are running around with detector settings that would not detect the smaller cobs shown above if the cobs were laying on the surface with the detector coil right over them.  I know I have met people on the beach who were discriminating out anything that small.

As I showed yesterday using the Ace 250, these test cobs generally were identified as nickels.  That's not bad.

The best way to learn how to better understand and use your detector is to experiment.  What you read may or may not be true, and your detector and your environment might not be the same as those you read about. 

On the Treasure Coast we're back to a one-foot surf again.  Nothing much in the Atlantic either.  Just one disturbance down by Central America.

Get to know your detector better.

Happy hunting,

Friday, August 29, 2014

8/29/14 Report - Detector Test Using Silver Cobs in High EMI Environment. A Couple Tips For Detecting Junky Sites.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Four Treasure Coast 1715 Fleet Beach Cobs.  Three Half-Reales and One 1-Reale.

There are times when it is a good idea to try something new.  If you try something new there is a good chance that you will strike out, but you very well might learn something valuable in the process.

When you try a new site, the first visit might not be much more than a scouting trip or site preparation.   Too many people give up on a new site too quickly.  They do a little detecting and decide that there is nothing there or that the site is too junky.  Before giving up, they should analyze the situation, test different areas, and find out where things used to be and what might be there.

Sometimes on your first visit you'll be accomplishing a lot if you simply remove the surface trash.  That can be true on either a beach or inland site.

For trashy sites you might want to use a magnetic rake.  They are made for post-construction clean-ups, but you can use them for pre-detecting cleaning.  They come in a variety of types.  Below is a link that shows a few of those types.

Using a magnetic rake can really help you prepare a trashy site.  Trash can mask a lot of good targets so it is good to get rid of a lot of it.

And it is always a good idea to have a magnet like the one shown in the following video when you have to deal with nails and things like that.  I sometimes tape a magnet like this one to the handle end of my scoop.

This procedure works very well.  You can waste a lot of time searching for a small screw or bit or iron. 

After pinpointing an iron item, pick it up with the magnet.  As you can tell if you carefully listen to the video, you can hear when an iron object gets picked up by the magnet. 

I've been noticing a lot of good potential land detecting sites lately. Keep your eyes open as you drive. 

I did some new tests.  I used the four silver cobs shown at the top of the post.  Left to right they weight about 0.4 grams, 0.5 grams, 0.6 grams and 2.0 grams.  All four are very much under weight for their denomination.  That is not unusual for beach cobs.

The first part of the test was conducted with the Ace 250, an inexpensive detector with target ID.  I've talked about that detector in the past.

The setting was a front yard where there is considerable electromagnetic interference from power lines, underground cables, etc.

I simply put the four cobs on the ground (didn't bury them) spaced apart about a foot.

When using the Ace all four cobs were easily detected, mostly being identified as nickels.  Two cobs jumped a little on the target ID - one one way and the other the other way. 

Here is where it starts to get interesting.  You would assume that the silver in all four cobs is of similar purity.  I know that might not be exactly the case, but I would not expect them to vary a lot.

But I got a hint of something interesting in this part of the test.  The heaviest cobs did not always give the best signal.  And the cobs presenting the most surface area did not always give the best signal. 

Using the Ace, the third cob from the right occasionally jumped into the pull tab range, while the second cob occasionally jumped from the nickel to foil ID range.

I repeated this process many times with different sweep speeds, slightly varying the height of the coil, and changing the centering of the coil.  Same results.  The smallest and largest of the two cobs without exception were identified as nickels.  Only the other two differed, one towards the upper end of the range and the other towards the lower.

I did not take this too seriously yet.  I then tested the same cobs with two other detectors.  In another post I'll discuss how that added to the evidence found in this part of the test.

What I did conclude from this first test is that it is not always the larger target or the target presenting the most surface area that creates the loudest signal.  Bigger is not always louder, even when the metal is the same (or nearly so).  These conclusions were supported using two other very different detectors.  Like I said, more on that some other time.

Another thing I concluded is that ( and not taking depth into account) the Ace worked as well as the Dual Surf PI and Excalibur for detecting these small surface cobs in this environment.  The Ace, which was operated with the default settings (not maximum sensitivity) was not as much affected by EMI and did as well as the other two detectors.

One thing I want to reiterate is the importance of testing detectors on specific targets and under specific circumstances.   Here you have a case where an inexpensive detector that some call a toy worked as well or better than much more expensive detectors. 

The results might change if the cobs were buried at depth and for a time.  I don't know that yet.

On the Treasure Coast today we had a 2 - 3 foot surf.  Tomorrow the surf is predicted to be down around one foot.

We only have one tropical wave right now, and it is down below the islands and apparently headed towards Central America.

That is all for now.

Happy hunting,

Thursday, August 28, 2014

8/28/14 Report - Million Dollar Eight Reale? Christobal & Three Disturbances. Battle of Blair Mountain. Error State Quarters.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Million Dollar Coin?
Source of photo:
Is this a million dollar coin?  We'll find out this November when it is auctioned by Sedwick Coins in Orlando.

The auction estimate is $500,000 to $1,000,000.

Minted in Mexico in 1538, this 8 reale was found on a shipwreck in the 1990s.  This is one of three known to exist and is considered to be the first dollar-sized coin minted in the New World.  This is the first time it will be offered publicly.

Here is the link for more information.

Three Disturbances and Christobal
We're certainly seeing more activity in the Atlantic.  Christobal is headed towards Iceland.  One disturbance passed over the West Indies and is heading towards the Gulf.  One is sitting over the Southern coast of Texas, and one is just about to leave Africa.

Padre Island is getting four to six foot waves, building to overhead today.

The 2014 Outer Banks Pro (surfing competition) started Wednesday because the waves were coming in at the head high to overhead range.  

Wouldn't it be nice to be able to pop down on any beach at any time you wanted? 

On the Treasure Coast, if that is where you are, this is the last day of 3 - 5 foot surf.  This weekend it will slack off and get back to a 1 - 2 foot surf.  At least that will give you a chance to get out a little farther where the waves were hitting the past few days.

I'm curious about the path of these next two potential storms.

Source: link.

Here is a pistol from the 1921 Battle of Blair Mountain. 

Detectorists helped to locate the position of skirmishes by locating concentrations of bullets and shells.  I don't remember that being mentioned in the article, but maybe it was.  It has been a while since I read the article.

The following link provides a good article on the effort to save the mountain as a historic site, ironically, from mining operations.

Coin errors are out there and they can make a big difference in the value of a coin.  I've found a few while detecting.  There are so many possible die errors that it can be difficult to know what to look for.

There are a lot of mint errors on the state quarters.  Here is one article showing a lot of the easily noticed errors as well as a few of the more difficult to detect errors.

Source: link above.

Some of these errors make the quarter worth hundreds of dollars.  That is something you won't want to miss.

For example, this 1999-P Pennsylvania state quarter shows the faint image of the opposite side of the coin on both sides.  This quarter is worth about $700.

It is easy to let some good treasures go simply because you don't know about them. 

It can be worth taking a good look at your coin finds and doing some research.

And here is a another web site showing some more difficult to detect errors found on state quarters.  Some of these you really have to know about or you would never notice them.  For example on one you need to know how many trees there are supposed to be.

Have some fun hunting error coins.

Happy hunting,

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

8/27/14 Report - Vero and Sebastian Beach Conditions. Abandoned Burt Reynolds Property. USS Houston. Flourescent Fossil Shell.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of


Turtle Trail Access Looking North

Sebastian North of McCarty
I took a look at a few beaches this morning.  Here are some of them.  I also looked at Rio Mar.

All of the beaches looked pretty much the same.  They all still have some renourishment sand. 

I didn't see any cuts.  There were a few scallops around Rio Mar. 

Nothing to make me upgrade my beach conditions rating.  They were all pretty mushy.  And all had a some new sea weed - not a good sign.

As it turns out, Christobal didn't do much for us.

The first target I dug produced this very small children's silver ring.

The small items tell you that you probably aren't missing much.

Here is an interesting video.   I thought it was anyhow.   It shows the abandoned and neglected Burt Reynolds property in Jupiter.

There are over grown paths, old docks falling apart, old film sets and all kinds of junk.

I found it interesting.  Think about where you would detect as these two looney guys explore the property.

Navy divers explored the wreck of the USS Houston.

Christobal is up by North Carolina now.  There are two other disturbances that could develop.  One nearing the West Indies and one in the Gulf by Texas.


We still have a 3 to 5 foot surf on the Treasure Coast.  The surf is supposed to decrease a bit after Thursday.   Maybe the next system will kick things up again.

Right now it will be hard to find anything but modern items. 

There haven't been hardly any shells on the beach lately.  And I haven't seen any fossils for a while.  I did run across my old black light and took a photo of a phosphorescent fossilized shell

I didn't know if I could take a photo of it or not.

Not bad.

The crystals glow yellow.

Haven't posted any fossils lately.

Happy hunting,

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

8/26/14 Report - Rare and Valuable 1725 OMD 8 Reale. Few Small Cuts On Treasure Coast. 3 - 5 Foot Surf Continues. Ace 250 Tested On Beach. New Disturbance in Gulf.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

To be auctioned during the upcoming SedwickCoins Nov. 6, 2014 auction.
For more information here is the link.

One Foot Cut On A Treasure Coast Beach.
Above is one of the few scattered cuts that I found on the Treasure Coast.  It is about one foot.

It is actually the front ledge.  Behind is cut is the remains of a cut that was created quite a while ago.

The sand in front of the cut is mushy.  Not very promising at all.  To top it off, the sand that was eroded is newly accumulated sand.   No reason for a beach conditions rating upgrade.

The above video was taken at another beach after yesterday's high tide.  Again no significant improvement in beach conditions.

Christobal has produced a little bigger surf on the Treasure Coast, but so far it hasn't done a lot to improve beach conditions.

Yesterday I gave the Ace 250 its first beach test.  Previously I tested the 250 inland and posted the results.

Once again my expectations were exceeded.  Perhaps it was because my expectations were not very high.  I did not expect it to do well in wet salt sand.

Before I get into that though, it worked fine in the dry sand.  I'm not talking about earth shaking depth, but decent depth and good target ID and discrimination with no other problems.  The light 250 was a joy to swing after swinging a heavy underwater detector with a weighted coil.

After testing in the dry sand, I tested the 250 on the beach front where the water was washing up over the berm.  In fact it was right behind the cut you see at the top of the post, but near high tide when the water was washing up over the berm.   The 250 detected coins easily at decent depth in mushy wet sand.  When the moving water hit the coil or when a hole was dug in the newly wet sand, false signals did occur.  Detecting in the wet sand when the water was not rushing caused no problems.  Basically the same thing happens with more expensive detectors such as the Excalibur are used at the water line with moving salt water.  The difference is that with the Excalibur I would switch modes to deal with that, but there was no good solution with the 250.  What do you expect?  The price is only about 20% as much.

This test was not a highly controlled or very precise test.  It was just my simple first test of the 250 at the beach and in wet sand.   It did better than I expected in the wet sand.   It is fine in the dry sand, and workable in wet sand as long as conditions aren't too rough.


Besides Christobal, which is heading north, we now have two other areas to watch.  Note the new one in the Gulf.

The surf on the Treasure Coast is predicted to be 3 - 5 feet Tuesday and Wednesday.  The wind is blowing this morning and the surf is up. 

Thursday the surf will begin to decrease again.

While Christobal heads north, there is another disturbance that is approaching the West Indies. 

Happy hunting,

Monday, August 25, 2014

8/25/14 Report - Surf Increasing Already This Morning As Christobal Heads North. Some Cuts on Treasure Coast. Reasons and How to Conduct A Pre Hunt Detector Test.


Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Tropical Storm Christbal will stay to the East of us and the rest of the United States.  It looks like it will be a fish storm now, but it looks like the Treasure Coast will still get a four or five foot surf by Wednesday.  The surf has begun to increase (Monday morning).

Monday morning there were also some one-foot cuts along the Treasure Coast.  Unfortunately those scattered cuts are in sand that has piled up in the past few weeks.  That will not change my beach conditions rating yet - still poor.  It, however, might cause a change in conditions if things keep going in the same direction.

There is also a second disturbance coming off of Africa.

Source of maps:

Looks like the Atlantic is becoming more lively.

Both of the above weather maps are from

Sometimes detectors will fool you.   One will have a grand reputation for depth and excellance but will be outperformed by a cheaper detector or a detector with a poor reputation.   The thing is that there are a lot of factors that will affect the performance and depth that a detector gets on a specific target.  That is a big reason why I explained how to really test a detector yesterday.

You have to be specific about the type of target and the environment.  You also have to be specific about the operating characteristics of the detector.  The detectors performance will also be affected by your settings and how you use it.

One important factor is your sweep speed.  Sweeping either too fast or too slow can cause loss of depth and good targets.  So how do you know how fast to sweep?

I've discussed this in the past but it is worth mentioning again.  Put the type of target on the ground (preferable the type of ground where you expect to hunt) and sweep your coil over the object.  Listen to the signal.   Sweep over it again, this time slower.  Did the signal get louder or less loud?  If it got louder, that tells you that you were sweeping too fast to begin with.  Vary the sweep speed over the object until you get the loudest most distinct signal.  Maintain a constant distance between the coil and object on each attempt.

That is how you can find the near optimal sweep speed for you detector in the environment you plan to work.   The optimal sweep speed can be different for dry land and for wet salt sand, for example.  The best idea is to do your tests where you plan to hunt.

I like the practice of testing my detector each time before I begin a hunt.  It takes only a few seconds to get your sweep speed right.   Try to develop muscle memory for the best sweep speed for each detector.

I think it is natural to get in a hurry and go to fast.

Also test your settings.  Adjust your settings to produce the loudest signal on the type of object you want to find.

Target specificity is important.  Don't test your detector on an object you don't much care about.  Don't use a zinc penny for the test unless that is what you most want to find.

Testing your settings before you get far into your hunt can save a lot of wasted time.  It is easy enough for knobs to get turned between hunts.  It is a big waste of time to spend your first half hour with maximum discrimination simply because you failed to check the settings.  Yes you can simply look at the knobs, but a lot can be accomplished quickly by simply doing a test on an appropriate test object before your hunt.   I can remember times in the distant past when I started my hunt and spent quite a few minutes before discovering an incorrect setting and had to go back and cover the same ground with the corrected settings.  If you have a lot of electromagnetic or radio interference, you might choose to lower the sensitivity setting.

One type of location that can be tough to detect well is around electric lines, underground cables or radio transmissions.  Some detectors will be much more affected by those things than others.  A detector that is not the best in one environment can be the best choice in another.

Coils are different too.  A Dual Surf PI has a larger coil than an Excalibur, but the Excalibur coil gives you more depth under the entire coil than the PI.  The area of maximum depth is only obtained under a relatively small part of the PI coil.  That means that you should overlap sweeps more when using the PI.  You can quickly test coil coverage while doing a sweep speed test.

While doing a sweep speed test, move the coil front to back between sweeps.  You might notice that some parts of the coil give a much louder signal than others.  Check to see where your maximum sensitivity is located under the coil.  You will learn how broad your maximum detection area is and where under the coil it is located.

Just the other day, I tested a Surf PI, Excalibur and ACE 250 on an inland area having a lot of electrical interference.   I used a thin gold ring as my test target.  The Excal gave a good loud signal over the ring.  The 250 did almost as well.  The PI barely gave a signal under those conditions, and only when the ring was located under a small part of the coil and when the coil was moved at a near perfect sweep speed.  The results were remarkable enough that it surprised me.

That is just one example.  Do not over-generalize from that simple test.  In some environments the PI can perform better than the other detectors.  My point is that different detectors will perform differently in different environments, on different types of objects, but the response will also depend upon your settings and sweep speed.

On most tests I will optimize my settings for the loudest and most distinct signal.  In the above test, I  made a variety of adjustments, particularly on the PI to see if I could improve the results.

Once again I want to emphasize the value of testing your detector or detectors properly.  You'll get best results when you spend a lot of time testing so that you really know your detector.

Watch for the higher surf the next couple of days.

Happy hunting,

Sunday, August 24, 2014

8/24/14 Report - New Tropical Storm Christobal Formed. Predicted Track Better Defined. Detector Reviews & How To Really Evaluate a Detector.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Predicted Track of Christobal
Yesterday I was doing something that I normally don't do.  I was reading reviews of various metal detectors.  I'm not in the habit of doing that because I prefer to do my own tests, which I conduct in my own way.

It is truly remarkable how much people disagree about detectors.  Some people will swear by a particular detector, while others will not have anything good to say about the same detector.  It is really hard to draw any conclusions from the online reviews.

I kept reading things like the Fisher 1280 didn't work in salt water or that it didn't find gold, for example.  Those are things that I know from vast personal  experience are not true.

I could only wonder how people could arrive at a conclusions like that.  It made me think that the reviews were either posted by people having a motive or bias (maybe they worked for a particular company or sold that type of detector), or they did not know how to really conduct a meaningful test.  A third possibility, which I have a hard time accepting, is that quality control is so poor that the detector manufacturers ship detectors that vary a lot in quality and capability.

From what I've seen written, I tend to believe that the second is the most likely.  It seems that people do not know how to conduct meaningful tests or do not know how to evaluate a detector, maybe because they don't really know how to use it well.

The second detector that I ever owned, and the first underwater detector that I owned was a Fisher 1280.  That was over twenty years or more ago, and I dug plenty of gold with that detector on salt water beaches and in the water.  That was an older version.  I can't believe that the ones Fisher makes today are not as good.   That is why I know that some of the reports that I read about that detector are baloney.   My 1280 found big gold and small gold in very good quantities over years of use.

When I first used the 1280 I only found medium to large gold rings with it.  In fact I remember concluding that men must lose a lot more rings than women.   However when I learned to turn down the discrimination, I started to find as many small gold rings as large gold rings.   The incorrect conclusion that I reached earlier was because of how I used the detector, not because of the detector's limitations.

You can not pay too much attention to most of the detector reviews.  I did not find one review that was based upon a really good and thorough test.   Usually people go out and use a detector a while and give their impressions.  Usually their impressions are formed before they have really learned how to use the detector or without a fair comparison with other detectors.

If you really want to compare the performance of two detectors, test them both on the same targets under field conditions.  Don't, however, use valuable test targets under field conditions that are so challenging that you might lose the test target. 

I know you can't carry two detectors around at the same time, but have someone else carry the second one.  You simply can't conduct a fair test without testing two detectors on the same targets under field conditions.

The next best thing is to take the two detectors you want to compare to the beach or wherever you plan to hunt, and also take a variety of test targets.   Test the detectors on the same targets in the same environment. 

Using test targets that you take with you is not the ideal.   Test targets will not be exactly the same as targets that have been buried by nature over time even if you do carefully bury them.  In my opinion you will do just as well to lay the test targets on the ground as to bury them because when you dig a hole and bury a test target, the sand or dirt surrounding the object is not compact like it would be if it was buried by nature and if there was time for leaching and the halo effect to form.

Even though using your own test targets is not the ideal it provides a good first step to begin with.  It provides the advantage of allowing you to select the type of targets that you are most interested in and the type of environment you plan to hunt.

If you want to find gold jewelry, don't test your detector with coins.  Use the types of targets you really want to find.

Here is the ideal.   Take the two detectors to be compared to the type of place you want to hunt.  If you want to compare them on the beach, do that, but it you want to know how they will work in the water or on dry land, test them there.

This will take two detectorists, or at least one detectorist and one person to carry the second detector.  When a signal is received, don't dig the target before switching detectors and testing how the second detector responds to the very same target under exactly the same circumstances.   After carefully listening to the signals produced by both detectors without disturbing the target, adjust the settings on both detectors to maximize the signal on the target.

The detector's settings are very important.  If they aren't maximized, your test will not reveal what the detector could do if it was being operated optimally.  That means you will be comparing how well you are using the detectors, not the detectors' capabilities.

You must know enough about the detectors to use them well for the types of targets that you want to find.  Otherwise the test is meaningless.

I believe that many of the reviews are not worth reading simply because the detectorist has not learned how to use the detector very well. 

When I tested the ACE 250 just out of the box, I was not testing it against another detector to see how it compared.  I was not trying to see if it was the best detector, only if it would work well enough to find things.   It passed that test.  I have not yet tested it on a beach and have not compared it with other detectors in a salt water environment.  Some day I'll do that.

You can't go out one day and compare what you find with one detector one day with what you find with another detector on another.  There are too many factors that are not controlled, including different targets, different ground conditions, etc.

How you use a detector is as important as the detector you use.   A person who knows how to use a lower quality detector can out-perform a person that does not know how to use a better detector.   Let me repeat - how you use your detector is a very big factor.  Don't blame your detector if you aren't using it well.

In the past I've described procedures that will help you learn to use your detector.  Test it on various types of targets.  See how changing the settings affects how it reacts to those targets.  Change your sweep speed and observe the results.  And remember, you have to put your coil over a good target before you can detect it.  Knowing where to search is very important too.

My main point today is that you can't really compare two detectors by reading the reviews that you find online.  If you really want to compare two detectors, you will need a more thorough and meaningful test than what you are likely to find online.

Well, we have a new tropical storm.  It is named Christobal.  With the forming of the storm we also got a better prediction of the track it will take.

As you can see they expect Christobal to remain to the east of the Bahamas.   That means we will not get the full force.  As a result, the surf predictions for the Treasure Coast have been slightly reduced from yesterday.  The peak surf expected for the Treasure Coast Tuesday and Wednesday is now more like four feet.  That is not normally enough to increase my beach conditions rating, but could result in a small rating change if other factors such as the angle of the wind and waves are good.

I'm happy for any increase in surf.  I'd like to see a little sand get stirred up and perhaps even a dip or two created.

Happy hunting,

Saturday, August 23, 2014

8/23/14 Report - Up To Six Foot Surf Predicted For Next Week! Nice Lead Ingot Find. How To Pick Up A Little Extra Cash While Detecting.

Wrutten by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Lead Ingot Found by William M.
Photo by William
Yesterday I showed a number of finds made by William M.

Here is one more.  This lead ingot says at the top, ANCO Lead Co.  It has an A on the second circle and N on the third.

The Anco Lead Corporation is no longer active.  It began on Nov. 2, 1965.  I don't know when it folded.

There were a number of smaller lead objects dug by William at the same location, including some FEC seals.

Lead is selling for around 55 cents per pound at recycling centers.

The ingot is too interesting as an artifact to scrap.

If you pick up a lot of the trash you dig while detecting the scrap value can add up quicker than you might think.

Think of all the lead sinkers you have dug.  I've dug buckets of them.  If you keep them rather than toss them to find again another day, you can turn them into cash.  The same goes for other trash metals such as copper and aluminum.

Those metal finds can often be worth more than the few clad coins that you find.  Not only will you be making a little money, but you'll also be cleaning up the beach, which is good for detectorists and non-detectorists alike.  You'll also be saving energy and resources.  Every little bit helps.

Here is a web site with some fun facts about recycling.

Here is a brief taste of what it offers.

A used aluminum can is recycled and back on the grocery shelf as a new can, in as little as 60 days. That's closed loop recycling at its finest!

Used aluminum beverage cans are the most recycled item in the U.S., but other types of aluminum, such as siding, gutters, car components, storm window frames, and lawn furniture can also be recycled.
Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to run a TV for three hours -- or the equivalent of a half a gallon of gasoline.
Those and many many more facts come from the following web site.

And if you want prices for scrap material, here is a good list.

If you have an old computer and don't know what to do with it, you can get money for recycling it.

There a lot of things you can get a little money for if you do not just send it to the landfill.

Check out the site.

Finally!  If the surfing web sites are correct, we'll be getting some nice surf action next week.

A 4 - 7 foot surf is predicted for Tuesday and 5 - 7 is predicted for Wednesday on the Treasure Coast.
That is up where there is a real possibility that we could get some significant improvement in beach detecting conditions.

I generally hope for at least a 6 to 8 foot surf for a very good chance of improved conditions, although it can happen with less.

I haven't been giving my beach conditions rating much lately due to the consistently poor conditions all summer, so I might need to remind you that my Treasure Coast Treasure Beach Detecting Conditions Rating Scale is a five point scale that goes from 1 to 5.  1 indicates poor conditions such as those we've been having, in which there is very little chance of finding older objects on the beach, to 5 which indicates excellent beach detecting conditions.   Level five conditions mostly happened during or immediately after a big storm or hurricane.

As I always remind, the rating scale starts with a 1 instead of a 0 because there is always some very small chance that something will pop up on a beach, even under the poorest conditions.  We saw an example of that just a few days ago.

We've had a few level three beach conditions ratings during the past couple of years, such as after Sandy, when a good number of silver cobs were found by detectorists on the beach.  I conducted a survey and posted those survey results back then.

I reported on those poll results back in my 11/29/13 post.  Here is a sample of the conclusions, which found that 15 of the 100 poll respondents found a cob back then.'

My highest Treasure Coast Treasure Beach Detecting Conditions rating during November was a 3. If you generalize from the results of this poll, your chances of finding a cob or treasure coin is something close to 15% when I issue a 3 rating on the scale.  And of course a 2 rating would indicate your chances are somewhat less -  maybe something more like 1 in 5 or 10 or somewhere in between.  I'll continue to try to better calibrate my scale.  These numbers do help.

You might want to go back and read that post.  The above is only a very small part of it.


This disturbance now has an 80 percent chance of becoming a cyclone in the next 48 hours.

No telling where it will go at this point, but Florida is one possibility.

A hurricane isn't necessary to improve beach conditions.  As I mentioned above, the surf is expected to increase up to seven feet.  That can certainly stir things up on the beach, depending upon the direction of the wind and waves.

That is the most encouraging thing I've been able to post for a while.

Happy hunting,

Friday, August 22, 2014

8/22/14 Report - Hunted Treasure Coast Inland Site Very Productive. 1924 Quarter. FEC Seals. Possible Storm and Increased Surf Heading Our Way.

Written by the Treasureguide for the exclusive use of


William M. has been doing a lot of digging at a land site.

Just look at this picture.

Here is what William said.

I put in a very long day at a new to site.

Several people told me it had been hunted many times... I couldn't tell.

Dug ALOT... wound up with a 1942 Washington.. A 1924 SLQ and several F.E.C. bale seals as well as a flat lead piece stamped J on one side and B on the other??

A few wheat pennies ... many many other targets.

Also..a huge lead object under roots of a large tree what I saw the tops of these I thought for sure I had found jars filled with coins boy was that a lot of work.
happy hunting and thank you

1924 Quarter
FEC Seals, Lead Item & Some Coins


Washington Silver Quarter.

These finds and photos are all by William M.

Congrats William!

That is a lot of work.

Don't give up on a site just because you think it has already been detected.

In fact, I recommend covering a site more than once if it is promising at all.

I did a post once of FEC seals.   You can use the search box if you want to go back and see that.

Thanks for sharing William.   I bet a lot of people have been sitting around thinking there is no place worth hunting.  

One factor in William's success is that he obviously didn't use much if any discrimination. 

By the way, I've been seeing some older and very unusual pull tabs this year for some reason.  I didn't know there were so many varieties.  Almost made me think of starting a pull tab collection. 


The tropical disturbance that I've been watching has become a little more promising.  It has not become a storm yet but now has a sixty percent chance in the next 48 hours.

You can see that it has turned to the north.

If it becomes a named storm, it will be Christobal.

If you check the surfing web sites, the surf will begin increasing a little by Sunday and will get up to 3 or 4 feet by Tuesday.

We haven't had that much surf in months.

I've been making needed repairs to some of my equipment.  I wish they would make things more sturdy.

Some new Mayan cities have been discovered.  Good article.

On the Treasure Coast I'm waiting for the sand to get stirred up a little.   I'll be glad to see any movement of sand.  It has been so looong.

I showed the other day that there were a few spots where things were uncovered.  Hard to find them though. 

Happy hunting,

Thursday, August 21, 2014

8/21/14 Report - Possible Storm Heading Our Way. Metal Awl Dating Back Thousands Of Years Found.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Tropical Disturbance Just East of the West Indies.

This disturbance has about a 50% chance of becoming a cyclone in the next 48 hours. 

One computer model predicts that it will hit South Florida, however the computer models aren't very accurate before you have a developed storm.  Note that at this point there is only a 50% chance of development in the next couple of days.

If it does develop, it will have a C name.  I heard it, but forgot what it will be.

My guess is that it is a long shot for us.   Still, worth watching.

The oldest metal object ever found in the Middle East is a recently found copper awl dating to around 5200  to 4600 BCE.

Sea mammals brought tuberculosis from Africa to the New World, not Europeans.   That is what this article suggests, though they don't go there.

My most read post of June 2014 was the following.

6/29/14 Report - National Archives For Research, Detecting Military Shells With a 2-Box Detector, Getting To More Remote Beaches, & US Religious Shrine

A massive tomb was found in Greece

When such huge discoveries are still being made, you know there is a lot out there remaining to be discovered.

Just a short post today.  A lot of people liked yesterdays post.  It  showed the development and anatomy of a recent coin hole.  Take a look if you haven't seen it.

Happy hunting,

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

8/20/14 Report - Illustration Of The Development Of A Coin Hole. Five Metal Detector Annoyances. Okeechobee Battlefield. Indian Scout. Two Tropical Disturbances.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Diagram Of Coin Hole Found Yesterday

My camera batteries were dead yesterday when I wanted to take a picture of the coin hole that I was detecting.  I made this simple sketch to try to show the situation.

The coin hole was evidently relatively fresh.  You could tell that it had not be disturbed by man or nature since it was created.   I can also tell that the conditions that created it were short-lived. 

First I noticed the dune cliff and where it had been undercut.  Good sign!

When a dune face is undercut, the material above the undercut will fall down to the bottom of the cliff where it will be washed down the slope of the beach.  The sand will be washed farther and faster, leaving a spread of coins behind.

Around the Treasure Coast 18th Century items are usually a foot or two deep in the dunes.

That means those older things will wash out when the cliff face is down around two feet.

Cliffs that are less than a foot high, will often, but not always, produce only modern items.  There is not any guarantee that larger cliffs will yield older items.  It depends on what remains in the area from different time periods.

I'm talking here about a situation where the items are being washed out of the dunes, not when items are being washed up from the water.

Always look at a dune cliff face to see if you can see evidence of different labels and see if there are any signs of the different time periods.

In this case there was a very clear pattern showing how the coins washed out of the dunes.

This is the type of detecting that I really like.  You can quickly identify the promising area, and you can quickly identify the source and boundaries of the coin hole.

Sometimes a coin hole will be near the foot of the cliff and other times farther away.

Items will get sorted out by the moving water to some extent, but when the items wash out is another factor that will determine where they end up.

There was a deep drop-off and strong current running in front of this beach.  Objects that made it into the water will disappear into deeper water as the strong currents continue to take sand away.

Not too far along the beach in the direction of the current, the sand was being dropped off.  Light objects were on top of the accumulating sand pile in the water in that direction.   Some were undoubtedly come from the dunes and washed down.

If you find a pile like that you can sometimes back track it to the source where you might find the better objects.

That is one reason I don't like discrimination.  The junk often tells you something important.

This is the kind of area that you have to go over a few times to make sure you get everything.

You'll hear more subtle signals after you've removed the bigger louder targets.

Finds from various time periods will be found together because when the cliff is undercut, objects from all time periods above the undercut will fall to the foot of the dune before being washed down the slope.

Five things about metal detectors that annoy me.

1.  Parts that break with nothing other than normal usage.
2.  Parts that freeze up unless you constantly maintain them.
3.  Difficult routine maintenance such as changing batteries.
4.  Knobs, switches and adjustments that can not easily manipulated while detecting.
5.  Settings that do not provide clear feedback concerning the position or setting selected.

Yesterday I showed how I reinforced my detector rod stem.

Somebody reported seeing detectorists detecting  a battlefield in Okeechobee.  I don't know if that was a permitted hunt with archaeologists or on private property or what.   In any case, here is what I said in a previous post.

Just a little west of the Treasure Coast is the field where the Battle of Okeechobee took place in 1837. 

The troops of Zachary Taylor took a beating there as the Seminoles out-witted Taylor and the Missouri Volunteers.

The battlefield is threatened by development and a State Park has been created to preserve the area.

Here is a link to learn more about the battle of Okeechobee.

That reminds me of Lewis Wetzel, Indian scout from the 18th Century that scouted around Wheeling, Virginia and the brother of one of my ancestors.   It didn't become West Virginia until the the Civil War.

He was known by whites and Indians alike for the fact that he could load his musket while running.

That cost the lives of numerous Indians who thought that after firing one shot, he wouldn't be shooting again. 

He would shoot one, then reload while running, and then fire again, repeating until the pursuers were either killed or thought better of following.

His notched rifle is said to be in a museum in Charleston WV.

There are some interesting books about his life and adventures.

We still have two disturbances in the Atlantic.  They seem to be staying south.  The one near South America has a thirty percent chance of becoming a cyclone in the next 48 hours.


On the Treasure Coast the same one-foot surf prevails.   They are harder to find, but there are still some interesting places to hunt despite the poor beach conditions that we've had for so long.

Happy hunting,

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

8/19/14 Report - Three Surprises. One Dense Coin Hole. Brass Button Found. How To Reinforce Metal Detector Rod Stem.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Concave Brass Button Found This Morning
I went out this morning to do a little detecting near low tide and had a couple of surprises.  The first was that my camera battery was dead.  That turned out to be especially disappointing because of the next surprise.

I was digging a target at the waterline while facing the beach when I heard something behind me.  I turned around a saw an unusually large manatee not much more than five yards behind me.  The beach dropped off very steeply there.  Anyhow I wish I had my camera working at that point.

I guess I need to check more than my detector before going out.  I did check my detector but not my camera.

I spent most of my time in an area not much bigger than ten square yards.  The targets were dense.  Probably near fifty coins and things in that small area.  Mostly modern coins.

 I like those kinds of areas even if most targets are nothing special.  When they are densely packed, there will usually be at least one or two better things.

I didn't get a picture because of the above mentioned reason, but I'll try to draw a diagram to show what it was like and how the targets were distributed.  I'll try to do that tomorrow.  It is instructive.

That was the kind of area that you can spot a mile away (exaggeration), and the kind of place that I would never pass up.

There was very little trash in that area. 

This area is seldom detected.  I don't think I've ever seen anyone else detect there over the years.

Whites detectors seem to have some problems with the plastic parts.  I don't know if they suffer from the Florida heat or what, but I've had a few broken plastic parts that received no unusual amount of stress.

The plastic part that connects one ear phone to the ear phone holder broke.   And two different lower rod stems broke. 

Working in the water does put more stress on a detector.  

In the old days I broke about six arm rests on an old Fisher Aquanaut before I got a metal one to replace the weak plastic ones. 

But since two Whites lower rod stems broke on me, that seems to be a weakness, and so I decided to reinforce that area.

Whites Reinforced Lower Rod Stem.
The above picture shows the reinforced lower rod assembly.   A section of pvc pipe that would not fit over the entire lower stem without slitting was cut to a short length, and then the section was slit along the length of the section, and then slipped on over the lower stem.  The slit along the section of pipe allowed the short section to open just enough so that it would fit very tightly on the stem.   That should provide additional strength so that the stem will not break again.

The lines drawn on the pvc section shows the larger rod on the left, which the smaller diameter stem fits into.  Two pins go through both the larger rod and stem to hold the stem in place.

On the two breaks that I've seen, the stem broke at the lower of the two pins where the red line is drawn on the illustration.

We'll see if this reinforcement keeps the new rod stem from breaking.  I think it will.

One more surprise.  Treasure Coast conditions remain poor.  That is no surprise.  The button shown above was found.  That is a surprise, given the poor conditions.

It was found where old things have not been found before even though a lot of modern things have been found there.

The button is 2 centimeters in diameter, and is in unusually good condition, and appears to have a good bit of remaining gilt.  It must have been buried safely for a long time.   Unfortunately there is no back mark or anything to date or identify it.

The best web site about old Spanish military artifacts that I know of is the one listed in my rerference list.  

If you've never looked at it, you should.  The button information is absolutely great.

Here is a link to see similar buttons.

The above button looks something like the example labeled Presidio.

Source: www.nhc.noaa.gove
On the Treasure Coast we still have a one-foot surf, and will for a while.

There are, however, two weather systems in the Atlantic to watch.  The one nearest us has a 30% of becoming a cyclone in the next 48 hours.

Happy hunting,

Monday, August 18, 2014

8/18/14 Report - A Million Dollar Reliquary Pendant MD Find. More On Reliquary Pendants. Beaches Change During Level 1 Conditions Too!

Written by the Treasureguide for the exclusive use of

16th Century Reliquary Pendat
Source; ukwirenews link.
Back in 2010 a four year old and his father using a metal detector found a 16th Century gold religious pendant (See photo.).  I reported on the find, but in light of the recently posted information from Laura Strolia that  identified the Booty's find as a reliquary pendant , I wanted to point out the fact that I also recently learned that the 16th century pendant was also a reliquary pendant.   It once had a back panel that opened. 

I think that is a very attractive and unusual item.

Here are two links for more details on the 16th century pendant.

And my 11/20/10 post.

That is one attractive and neat pendant.  Worth a lot too!

While on the subject of reliquaries, Laura Strolia sent me some additional information and another link on the subject. 

The Maria Stein Shrine of the Holy Relics in Ohio has hundreds of reliquaries, including relics enclosed in golden sunbursts of many different designs.  The round clear cases containing the relics are sometimes only an inch in diameter or less.  Many reliquaries throughout history were intentionally made with built-in metal rings for the purpose of hanging on walls – Laura Strolia  
One can see examples at:

Thanks again, Laura.

Beaches can change very significantly, even when there is very little surf, as has been the case lately.   I'm not talking about the big changes that occur when you have a big surf that can change my beach conditions rating.  I'm talking here about the very subtle changes, that unless you are really paying close attention, might not be noticed.  If you are hunting recently dropped items, those small changes can be very significant.

As you probably know my beach conditions ratings are designed to give some estimation of the chances of finding old items on the beach.  When we are having storms or big waves, huge amounts of sand can be moved in very little time.  Those changes are hard to miss.  Big cuts occur.  Where there was once a big pile of sand, there will be cliffs and erosion.  That isn't what I'm talking about today.

The changes that I'm talking about now are the changes that occur when the weather is more like what we have been having for the past month or more.  Those changes occur during periods of calm surf.  They aren't nearly as obvious and they don't increase the chances of finding old items.  They do, however, affect the beach enough to determine where you will have the best chance of finding recently dropped items.

A few weeks ago one beach had a hard flat front beach.  Modern items including coins and jewelry were being found clustered in a few hot spots on the wet sand area of the beach.  Now the hot spots have moved.

Unless you were observing carefully you might not have noticed the change to that beach, but a foot or maybe more of sand has been added to that front beach area and the old hot spots disappeared.

It is not easy to see the change in the level of sand like that.   If I had a stationary post or something to measure the change in the level of sand, I suspect it might measure a foot or two of additional sand, but to the casual observer the change in level isn't noticeable since it is so gradual and spread over such a large area.

I used to often say that there is always some where to hunt and something to be found.  Lately it has been challenging to find the few scattered better areas where concentration of good items could be found.   There are still a few out there even though they are few and far between.

Some of the hot spots of a week or more ago have moved.  I suspect the change is due at least in part to the big tides we had.  On the beach where I was working a hot spot back a week or so ago, the best spot is now maybe twenty yards to the East and out in the water  

When the sand accumulates in one place, it came from someplace else.  The trick is to find the place where the sand has moved from.  That is where you will often find items besides those that were dropped just a few hours ago and possibly even items that were out of detector range for a while. 

I hope it is clear that I'm talking today about areas that are affected by moving water and not the dry sand today.  

Today I want to alert you to the fact that even when we aren't seeing the kind of beach changes that affect my beach conditions ratings, there are still small but important changes taking place.  They determine where you will have the best chance of finding modern items.  Those change occur during times of level 1 beach conditions.  Those changes are much less obvious, but still important when you are hunting modern items.  Hot spots still exist, as few and scattered as they might be, but they can move from day to day.

People have been getting ready for school to start again.   When school starts there will be fewer beach goers on the beach during week days until the snow birds return.

The weather disturbance that I've been mentioning for a few days is now nearly half way between us and the Atlantic.  Still far out and hasn't formed yet.

On the Treasure Coast it is still the same old thing.  Very calm surf.

As I explained today, there are still some scattered concentrations out there.  A lot of people have simply been hunting the dry sand.

Like I said yesterday, there is one very exciting inland project going on.  Very exciting.  Can't wait until I can tell you about it.

The posts about the hull pins, reliquary pendant and 1715 Fleet inscriptions are the kind of thing that I think makes very good posts.   I don't know how others feel about it though.   That is why using the plus button can help me know which ones you like.  I can't go by number of readers alone, because that fluctuates around holidays and different things as well as how much publicity a post receives.

Happy hunting,