Saturday, September 27, 2014

9/27/14 Report - Million Dollar Hoard Found By Metal Detector. Success of Portable Antiquities Scheme. Probability.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Seaton Down Hoard
Source: See link.
The Seaton Down Hoard, found by an amateur detectorist, consists of 22,000 coins and is valued at nearly $1.5 million dollars. 

The hoard has the distinction of including the one millionth object reported as a part of England's very successful Portable Antiquities Scheme, which, unlike the American system, rewards those who find and report antiquities.  The PAS has been hugely successful.  Too bad we don't have something similar.

The Seton Down Hoard was located by amateur detectorist, Laurence Egerton.

The Independent reports, Laurence Egerton, 51, a semi-retired builder from East Devon, discovered two ancient coins “the size of a thumbnail” buried near the surface of a field with his metal detector in November last year.

After digging deeper, his shovel came up full of the copper-alloy coins. “They just spilled out all over the field,” he said. “It was an exciting moment. I had found one or two Roman coins before but never so many together.”

 Coin From Seaton Down Hoard
Source: Same link.

This is an interesting article that you'll want to read.

Probability is an interesting subject and very relevant to anyone that takes detecting seriously. 

Skill might be defined as anything you intentionally do in such a way that it increases the probability of success.

Different people will define success differently.  For some it might be finding a valuable object.  For others it might be finding something old.  For others it might be finding a personal item of sentimental value and returning it to the owner.

There are many metal detecting skills.  You can skillfully use a detector, read a beach, or conduct research, to name just a few.

A good knowledge of probability will help you.   It is not something you can be totally precise about, but by deriving a good estimate of the probability of success at different sites or under different circumstances, you can increase your rate of success over the long run.

Just a few basics.  One site can produce a lot of coins but little of much economic value.  Lets say the average gold find at that site is worth $50.  And you make a gold find at that site once every five hunts on average.   That means the average gold find would be  1/5 X 50, or $10.

At another site, the gold is of higher value but you find it less often.  Let;s say the average gold find there is worth $200, but you only make a gold find at that site once every ten trips.   That means your average expected gold find per hunt would be 1/10 X 200 or $20. 

That means that the second site produces more value on average even though you find gold at that site less often. 

There are other things that should be taken into account.  One of those is personal preferences.  

Some people get discouraged easily and like to find something nearly every hunt even if it isn't very valuable, for example.  They might stick to high-probability but low-value sites just because of personal preferences.  Those people are not suited for something like the search for the Atocha.  They would get discouraged and give up way before finding that kind of high-value target.

There is always the element of chance involved in metal detecting.  There are factors which you have no control over, or at least which you did not take into account, that will affect the probability of success.  The element of chance provides a good bit of the excitement of metal detecting.

The history-buff that owns President Eisenhower's Rolex did not accept an auction bid of $475,000.

The other day I was talking about lightning.  You can check for lightning in your area at various web sites.  One is

Speaking of probability, what is the probability of being killed by lightning?

The National Safety Council says 1 in 136,011.   That is hugely better than the odds of winning PowerBall.

Here is a link to that site which presents a list of causes of death and the associated probabilities.

If you go back to your car to avoid lightning, there is a good chance that you will be killed as a pedestrian.   1 in 723.

And if you then drive home, you might consdier that the chance of being killed in a motor vehicle incident (in your lifetime) is 1 in 112.

I know there are a lot of qualifications and ifs, ands and buts.   I'm just having some fun with the numbers. 

I do find it interesting how fears and behavior are so often proved to be irrational when you really get down to the numbers.  

Nobody wants to ban cars even though they kill way more people than guns.  They are just too convenient and too much a part of daily life.

I have more Treasure Coast find photos to show but that is all for today.

There is no weather in the Atlantic to watch now, and the surf on the Treasure Coast remains in the two to three foot range.

Happy hunting,