Friday, January 30, 2015

1/30/15 Report - V Nickle Find. Copper 1943 S Penny. Some More Observations On Learning To Use A Detector.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

V Nickle Find
Photo by Dan B.

Here is Dan's first V Nickel find.

Congratulations Dan.


Have you ever found a copper 1943 S penny?  I really doubt it.  If you have you are very lucky.

Here is how one such penny was found.  Kenneth Wing was 14 years old in 1944 when he made his rarest penny find. The penny was dated 1943-S, but it was made of copper, rather than the expected zinc-coated steel. Wing took the coin to his local coin dealer who made him a very generous offer for the time, $500, but Wing said he didn't want to sell the coin...

Kenneth tried to have the coin authenticated, obtaining the opinion of experts from the Smithsonian as well as coin grading services and other experts.  Some thought it was not authentic, but eventually it was accepted as authentic. 

The coin was put in a safe deposit box and forgotten until Kenneth passed away.  The heirs were able to sell the coin with documentation for $72,500.

Click here to see the entire story about this copper 1943 S penny.


According to Kovels Komments,  New York State now includes mammoth ivory in its ivory ban. The state decided the federal ban wasn’t strong enough. Jewelers have been making expensive jewelry with mammoth ivory legally found on private property. This means antique scrimshaw and jewelry with mammoth ivory can’t be sold or exported. Jewelers say it is possible to tell ancient mammoth ivory from new ivory. But the New York State conservation office says it is difficult and that new ivory may be altered to look like old, so the ban is needed. New Jersey has also banned mammoth ivory and California has a bill in the works.


Some detectors can be mastered relatively quickly, but others can take much more time.

Recently I saw a fellow at a beach using a cheap detector.  I felt a little sorry for the fellow.  I doubt that he knew what his detector would or wouldn't do.  He was swinging the coil about a foot off of the ground.  If I wasn't in such a hurry I would have stopped and had a talk with him.  I seriously doubt that he could have detected a coin on the surface with that detector, certainly not while his coil was so high off the ground. 

Something like that is easy to demonstrate.  I've said it before.  Do some tests.  I bet that fellow would have been shocked and disappointed to learn that he couldn't detect a single coin the way he was going.

The longer I detect the more use I find for test objects.  I almost always have a few test objects with me when I'm in the field now, most especially when I'm using a detector that I haven't thoroughly mastered.  I'm also thinking that a lot of the time people have not thoroughly mastered their detector, even sometimes when the think they have.

As you move from one environment to another, performance will change.  As you move from dry sand to wet sand to moving water, performance will change.  Lately I've been testing a new detector and using test objects to see how the detector responds to different types of objects under different circumstances.   I've learned how some settings will change performance in some environments, but not all of them.  I pretty much know how many inches I'll lose in a high EMI environment as compared to a low EMI environment, for example.  I also pretty much know about how many inches I gain or lose on different types of targets as I move from one environment to another.

Maybe I'm slow, but it is taking me quite a while to really get it all down.  You can learn a lot by using different test objects in different environments with different settings.  I'm continuing to learn and know that I have a lot more tests to do before I can be satisfied that I really know as much as I want to know about using this new detector.


On the Treasure Coast expect more of the same with maybe a slight increase in the surf this weekend. 

If you look at the surfing web site, they are predicting a big surf (something like 10 feet) for next weekend.  As I've commented before, those big predictions that are a week out are seldom correct.  My bet would be that the big surf predicted for next weekend will change in a couple days.  Nine out of ten times it does.

Happy hunting,

Thursday, January 29, 2015

1/29/15 Report - Closed Beaches. TreasureGuide Beach Cam. Tommy Thompson Found in West Boca. Odyssey Marine Working S. S. Central America.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Wabasso Beach Access Closed This Morning.
Both the Wabasso Beach Access and the Turtle Trail access were closed this morning.  I know the Turtle Trail access has been closed for a while.  I'd guess that another big sand dump is coming.  I saw survey markers above Seagreape Trail too.

Vero Looking Towards Rio Mar Near Low Tide This Morning.
As you can see, no cuts here.  There were a few barely noticeable scallops.  Not many people out either. 

Early this morning it was pretty windy and cloudy.

Seagrape Trail Access Looking North This Morning.
Not much in the way of cuts here either.  The water did hit the cliff and there were some cuts that were only a few inches high out in front of the cliffs part of the way.

From about where the steps are in this picture to the next set of steps in the distance, there were a number of targets in the wet sand and near the water - mostly junk.

Couple Detectorist Caught By The TreasureGuide Beach Cam This Morning.
These detectorists were working along  near the foot of the cliff.  One other detectorist left a little earlier. 


The big treasure news of the week is that Tommy Thompson was found.  I did a post back in the summer about him missing.  He was being sued by investors who claim they never got their share.

Tommy found the S. S. Central America and salvaged a reported $50 million worth of treasure.

C Man sent me this link.

L. B. sent me this link on that topic.

This article has some good news too.

Thanks for the links guys.

Odyssey Marine Explorations has been salvaging the S. S. Central America site.

Their third quarter report said, Completed the 2014 season's offshore operations at the SS Central America shipwreck site and recovered more than 15,500 silver and gold coins, 45 gold ingots, gold dust, nuggets, jewelry, and various other artifacts. Odyssey's share of the expected proceeds from the recovered cargo is far in excess of the project costs and is expected to generate a significant profit margin to Odyssey.


On the Treasure Coast expect something like a 2 to 4 foot surf for the next few days.  The primary beaches have been worked hard and targets or any kind are generally scarce.  You'll have to do a little more than go to the same beaches that everyone else is doing.

Happy hunting,

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

1/28/14 Report - Treasure Coast Eight Reale. What Civil War Artifacts Will Be Found On The Bottom of The Congaree River. Tommy Thompson Found.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Photos by Captain Jonah.

Here is a neat Treasure Coast Potosi Pillar and Waves Eight-Reale.

You can see the Potosi mint mark.  Also a three digit date in the bottom column of the middle row.

The picture below is the other side of the same cob.

I'm not certain I am reading the date correctly, but it looks like (1)715 to me.  What do you think?

It appears to nicely match some examples that are in Menzel's book.  That book shows a 1715 eight-reale that is also chunky and cracked like this one.

Menzel says that mint production for that decade was low and quality control was poor.  The book said that is rare to find a well struck Potosi cob around that time period.

Another excellent Treasure Coast find by a Treasure Coast salvage crew.

You might remember my comment from a recent post indicating that in 1700 and after, Potosi Pillars and Waves cobs had a three digit date while earlier Pillars and Waves cobs had a two digit date.


COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA—A planned environmental clean-up of the Congaree River in South Carolina could recover Confederate munitions that Union troops, under the command of General William T. Sherman, captured in 1865. Sherman’s army burned a third of the city and captured 1.2 million ball cartridges; 100,000 percussion caps; 6,000 unfinished arms; 4,000 bayonet scabbards; and 3,100 sabers. The soldiers reportedly dumped what they couldn’t carry in the river. Since then, fishermen and swimmers have recovered some of the weapons...

Here is the link to read the article.


One thing I continue to be impressed by is the importance of the threshold setting on a pulse induction metal detector.   A threshold that is either too high or too low will cause a loss of depth and signals.  It is so important that I often test my threshold by using a well known gold test target so that I know I have the best threshold setting.  In my opinion, selecting the threshold is too important to do casually.


When learning a new detector learn first in a familiar test garden if that is possible.  Then move to an easy setting such as dry sand.  Then to wet sand, and finally in water.

I think if you become very familiar with a detector in a less challenging environment first, it will make it easier to move to a more challenging environment.


When I was at the beach yesterday, almost all the targets I found were discolored, corroded, and deep.  The recent surface drops had already been picked up, yet there were a good number of deep targets remaining.

It was also my observation that there is less junk out there these days.  I think more people are removing the junk.   There were a good number of bottle caps at some beaches.  There are also some beaches with a lot of small iron.


Just got the news that Tommy Thompson was captured.  I did a post giving a link about him missing a few months ago.  You can find that post by using the blog search box.


On the Treasure Coast, the wind changed direction.  It was coming from the North.  Tomorrow the surf will be a little higher.

Happy hunting,

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

1/27/15 Report - Mexican Minted Cob. Embossed Bottle Finds. Lot Of Walking And Digging.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Photos by Leo.

Here is a nice hefty cob that Leo is getting ready to clean.  I have a link to Bill's coin cleaning instructions listed on my reference list but unfortunately that post got deleted when I was deleting some of the oldest posts.

You will find a similar procedure described by using the following link.

I can't see a date on this cob, but you can tell from both the style of the cross and what you can see of the mint mark, "OM," that it is from the Mexico mint.

Very nice cob.  It doesn't need a lot of cleaning, and it won't take long.  Under-clean rather than over-clean.

I'll probably show you a Treasure Coast Potosi eight-reale before long. 

Yesterday after I came home from a little beach detecting, I decided to take a little walk and do some eye-balling.  I found a couple embossed bottles.

Coincidently both bottle were from Baltimore companies and both companies were founded in 1889.

 The one on the left reads Hynson, Westcott, Dunning.   That bottle is only about two inches tall.  

The company made things such as mercurochrome.  You might remember that as a home antiseptic that was applied with a glass applicator.  They made other things too, though.

The bottle on the right reads McCormick & CO.  BALTIMORE.

Of course, they are known for spices.

Both companies are still in operation today.

I always enjoy a little eye-balling.  It is surprising what you can find on the surface if you look in the right places.


I did a little beach hunting today.  I've been testing a learning a detector that is new to me.  It has been taking me a while to learn to really get it down.

I visited one of the heavily visited beach parks.  It is also heavily hunted.  I took a good long walk and found a coin line right below a small cut of less than six inches in height.  It was the best coin hole I've found on a beach or a while.  Beach conditions have been so poor.

Sand continues to build on the front of the Treasure Coast beaches. 

I detected in the front of one beach hotel or a while and found a good number of coins.  None that were near the surface.  They were all down at least six inches.  It was a good workout with all of the walking and digging. 

I used to detect that hotel beach once in a while but hadn't been there for a year or more.

Most importantly, I'm getting to better understand and use this detector.


On the Treasure Coast, tomorrow is supposed to be pretty much like today.  After that the surf is supposed to increase up to maybe six feet by this weekend.  That might do us some good.  Time will tell.

Happy hunting,

Monday, January 26, 2015

1/26/15 Report - Poor Beach Conditions For Finding Older Items On Treasure Coast Beaches.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

One Treasure Coast Beach Yesterday Near Low Tide.
Another Treasure Coast Beach This Morning Just After Low Tide.
Beach conditions were pretty much the same at the different beaches that I saw this morning.
They had small cuts up near the high tide line, while the front beaches were built up.  The front beach continues to accumulate sand.

I got rained on this morning just after my batteries started to get low.

The beach shown in the second photo had a small cut near the high tide line.  If you look at the upper left part of the photo, you can see it in the background.  It was just over a foot high at the highest.

The front beach on this beach was broad and flat this summer.  Now there is a good bit of sand over that.

I did a little (very little) detecting at this beach this morning before the rain came and my batteries ran low.

You can see a nice dip in the water in the second photo.  Notice the deeper water between the white water.  That would be some place to check, although I wouldn't expect much there.

The wet sand did have some targets on this heavily detected beach, but they were deep.  Both junk and good targets were deep.  I have no doubt that this beach has been detected a lot, and mostly only deep targets remained.

The bad thing about having to dig deep targets in the wet sand is that sometimes you can't get to them.  I had to leave some this morning that were too deep to recover down near the water.

Big Lots has some pretty good prices on AA batteries.

K-Mart was charging $14.99 for four rechargeable batteries.  Staples was two dollars cheaper for four rechargeable batteries.

You can get a pack of four "low drain" batteries at Dollar Tree for one dollar, but I haven't tested them well enough to say if you should use them in a detector.  They seem to work OK in the Ace 350, but I haven't really measured performance with those batteries well enough to say if the performance is just as good.  They do work.  I can say that.

On the Treasure Coast we're supposed to have around a two foot surf for the next couple of days.  The wind will be from the West, then it is supposed to turn and come from the North.

I heard that a couple of fronts and cool weather is coming.  That is all for now.  I'll probably add some to this post later today.

For now, Happy Hunting,

Saturday, January 24, 2015

1/24/15 Report - Potosi Pillars and Waves Reales Date Designations. Gusty West Winds Saturday. Coins of the Lost Galleons Book.

Written by the Treasure Guide for the exclusive use of

1726 Eight Reales Illustration and Photo
Source: Seawall Menzel book Cobs, Pieces of Eight and Treasure Coins
I recently received a picture of a very interesting Treasure Coast Potosi Eight-Reales.  As a result I did a little research to see what I could learn about the cob.  One thing I learned is that before 1700, and back until when the Potosi Pillars and Waves cobs were first produced in 1652, a two digit date was typical, while 1700 and later a three digit date was typical on such cobs.

As you might know, there can be many varieties for a cob made by a specific mint in any given year.  Since different dies were used and the same die reworked and reused over the period of time, the large number of existing varieties can be over-whelming, but each difference can provide an important clue that can be used to help date and identify the cob.

The Potosi Pillars-and-waves eight reale that I recently looked at had some features that were similar in many ways to the one shown at the top of this post, although it was not the same year.

You seldom if ever are able to see all of the design features on a salvaged or dug cob.  They just aren't that perfect.  Even if the strike is near perfect, years in the ocean or sand will take a toll.

Not long ago I discussed the subject of Royals and some questions regarding their true purpose.  Royals are cobs that are produced in exceptional quality and are often considered to be presentation pieces for the king, thus the name, however their true purpose is not so certain.  (See the previous post discussing the Sedwick article on that topic.)

The above illustration from the Menzel book shows a three digit date displayed on the bottom row between the pillars, in this case "726" indicating the year 1726.   Of course that date is later than 1715 and would not normally be found on 1715 Fleet wrecks or beaches, however it does illustrate one thing that I was interested in, and that is how the dates were displayed on Potosi Pillars and Waves eight-reales beginning in 1700.

As I said above, Pillars and Waves cobs manufactured in Potosi prior to 1700 showed a two-digit date between the pillars.  "52," for example, would indicate 1652. 

On the top row between the pillars in the example shown above, you see the mint mark "P," followed by the denomination, "8," followed by the assayer intial "Y." 

In the second row, "PLVSVLTR."  Plus Ultra can be interpreted as "more beyond," referring to the New World. 

In the example above, in the third row you have the assayer initial and mint mark plus a three digit date between the columns, as is typical of Potosi eight reales produced from 1700 on.

Just one additional note: Lima also produced Pillars and Waves cobs. 


While on the subject of cobs, I just came across a book that I evidently forgot that I had.  It is a small paperback by Kathryn Budde-Jones entitled Coins of the Lost Galleons, second edition published 1993.


On the Treasure Coast the wind was coming from the South and West early in the day.   According to the buoy data, the waves didn't get much over three feet.  Later in the day the wind was more out of the West and North.

It doesn't look like we'll get much more than a two or three foot surf for a few days.  We do have a negative tide now.  That is one good thing.


I've had a chance to give an ATX a few tests and one thing that I've seen that I like a lot compared to some other pulse detectors that I've used or tested is that a small thin gold ring gave a better signal than a clad dime.  That was observed under various conditions.


Happy hunting,

Friday, January 23, 2015

1/23/14 Report - Six Pound California Gold Nugget For Sale. New Sedwick Blog.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Six Pound California Gold Nugget

A six pound gold nugget found in Northern California is up for sale.  The nugget is expected to bring around $450,000.

The photo shown here was published in Kovels Komments but original source of the photo is uncertain.

Below is the link to an article about the nugget.


In 2008 I started this blog.  Over the years it has changed, as have I.  The hobby has changed too, of course.

New detectors have come to market.  New finds have been made.  And we all got a little older and hopefully wiser.

Since I began this blog a variety of other blogs have been started.  Many started and ended almost as quickly.  

Some of the ideas that I expressed in the early years now show up everywhere and some of those new ideas have become common knowledge. 

It is hard to trace the dissemination and evolution of knowledge, and I can't prove it, but I'm pretty certain that I've made a contribution.

Pulling out just one example, back around 2008 it used to be near universal practice to post finds along with a coin for size comparison.  I used to receive comments reminding me to do that.  Now, however, it seems to me to be nearly as common to see finds displayed on a hand or finger.  Notice the picture of the nugget above. 

Can I attribute that change to this blog?  Not entirely. 

Another thing that has happened during the same time is the proliferation of "selfies."  I would call that a cultural thing.  It happened as trends in technology and society collided.  The younger generation, which seems to me to be very self-centered, are obsessed with social media. 

Picturing an object in your own hand could be seen as an off-shoot of the selfie obsession or as the result of technology change, or a combination of both.

On the technology side, people have digital cameras, iPhones, etc. that make good close-up photos.

Some commercial sites tried to post articles or create blogs to draw attention to their commercial activities.  Many of those have not been successful and quickly died.  They found out how difficult it is to continually produce new posts with new information.  It isn't easy.

One new blog associated with a commercial site that I'll point out today is a new blog by Sedwick Coins.  They have knowledge and they have something to say.  I expect them to present a series of quality articles.

The first post I saw from their new blog is entitled Assayer P Coins Minted Under Charles and Joanna From The Mexico City Mint.  You might have read some of the Sedwick articles before, but I expect their blog posts to include some fresh information. 

That blog might be a little specialized for the average detectorist, but I am sure it will be very interesting to those who study or collect cobs. The posts will undoubtedly authoritative.

Concerning the subject of the first post that I saw in the new Sedwick blog, and as you might already know, cobs produced during the reign of Charles and Joanna were the earliest produced in the New World. 

Here is the link for that blog and post.

I'll see how frequently they post new articles and keep you up on the topics, and if it goes well, I'll list the blog in my reference link list.


Tomorrow (Saturday) morning we'll have another cold front come through the Treasure Coast.  Expect a little rain in the morning.

Happy hunting,

Thursday, January 22, 2015

1/22/15 Report - Some Treasure Coast Finds. Top November Posts. Gold And Silver Prices. Views On Pinpointers.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Finds By Dan B.
Photo by Dan B.

I received this photo of finds from Dan B.  Here is what Dan said about his finds.

Today's finds include my first ever buffalo nickel, and a 43 
quarter. And what seems to be atwo-sided belt buckle.

Congratulations on your first buffalo nickel Dan.

A couple of days ago I posted some thoughts on pinpointers.  Sine then I made a video demonstrating the use of one pinpointer but have been having trouble getting it uploaded to the blog.  Maybe I'll manage to get it uploaded someday soon.

The most Google Plused post of November was the

11/5/14 Report - Update On Beach Conditions.   Time Upside Down, A Book About When Things Are Not Where They Are Supposed To Be.

When people use the Google Plus button, that helps me determine what people like.

And the most read post of November was the

11/14/14 Report - 2014 Treasure Coast Finds. 8 Reale Sells For Over Half Million Dollars. 19th Century Wreck Found. Valuable Explorer's Notebook Found

There are hundreds of posts in this blog and I generally leave them for a long time.  You can see the archive on the main page of the blog below the Reference Link List.  You can go back through years of posts.  You can also use the search box and enter key words to search the blog.

I let a month or so pass before reporting on the most read and most Plused posts because people continue to read them at a fair rate for a couple of months.


Along with the photo of his finds shown above, Dan B. sent these comments on pinpointers.

I am personally a big fan of using a pinpointer. I believe, at least for my type of inland hunting, that mine is invaluable. 

I dig smaller holes, I damage less valuable finds. I don't worry as much about live 

And I enjoy digging whole lot more.  I have no doubt that due to my reliance on such a 
tool, that I lack many tricks and skills. But you won't find me without mine due to weight restrictions. I would sooner leave my shovel.

I get to about a centimeter from my target, and I get to unearth slowly until I have 
identified what type of metal. If it is aluminum, or is rusty, I will dig and pry 
recklessly. But if I see something nicer, I can remove it from where it has been resting 
with the skill of a surgeon, but only because I knew exactly where it was before I saw it. 

Thanks for your views Dan.  I always benefit in one way or another from hearing from the readers of this blog.  It lets me know what people are thinking, what they are interested in and gives me ideas  for my posts.


After falling most of 2014, gold has been making a good move to the upside.  More is predicted.

Happy hunting,

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

1/21/15 Report - Wreck of The Griffin. Low Profile Metal Detecting. Image and Shovels and Holes.

Written by the Treasure Guide for the exclusive use of

Since the weather has improved in the keys, the Magruder and Dare are returning to the wreck site of the Margarita.


In the past I posted some articles about the wreck of the Griffin, which sunk in the 17th Century.

I found an exceptionally good article about that wreck.

The image to the left is a woodcut image from that article.

Below is the link.

About thirty years ago I was doing contract work at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola.  I did a lot of work there and when I traveled to the area I took my metal detector and used it for leisure after work rather than sitting in a hotel.

I did a lot of work with some of the people there and they knew about my hobby.  One day one of the civilian employees at the Air Rework Facility told me about a site where an old hotel from the thirties and forties had burned down and been removed.  They asked if I wanted to detect the site, which was close to their home.  He told me where the site was and I agreed to go out to the site and meet him there.  When I arrived I looked around at what looked like a WW II battlefield.   Huge holes and piles of dirt were everywhere.  It was obvious that someone had already detected there.  The only other option was that someone dug about a hundred fox holes.

The fellow later told me what I had guessed- that he had detected the site but didn't find anything of value.  He wanted to see how I would detect the site.

I quickly found some old coins and tax tokens, a sterling silver plate, a vintage gold plated lapel pin, etc., etc.  You couldn't tell that I had been there.  I didn't use a shovel.  I didn't even use a scoop.  As I often do, I used a screwdriver, which when properly used can pop a coin out of the ground without damaging the coin or leaving an obvious scar on the ground.

A few days ago I talked about being a minimalist.  I don't take more equipment than I need and I don't take bigger equipment than I need.  I don't like fooling with a lot of extra equipment, but more importantly, I like to maintain a low profile.

Military Metal Detecting.

Take a look at this picture.  What would you think if those two fine fellows showed up on your front yard?  You might be concerned.  You might think of possible dangers.

The fact is that people draw conclusions from what they see.  If you show up at a front door with a bunch of drunk buddies carrying Rambo knives, picks, axes and shovels, you might not get permission to hunt a manicured lawn.

Last year the St. Lucie County Parks declared that they had nothing against metal detecting but that digging, plugging or probing was not permitted.

Many parks, as well as many private land owners, do not want people digging holes.  Carrying a shovel suggests (not unreasonably) that you are going to dig.  It is as simple as that.

One reason I do not like to carry a lot of extra equipment, especially equipment that might be obvious or might concern someone, is that it attracts the wrong kind of attention.

There are times when you might need a shovel.  There might be times when you need an excavator, but they are few and far between.  And if you use a shovel on park lands, county, state or federal, don't be surprised if you find trouble.

Image is important, probably too important, but that is the way it is.

I'm not one to judge a person by appearances.  Real scoundrels are usually smart enough to present a good appearance.  Some of the biggest bums dress in fine suits, however, right or wrong, people will draw conclusions based upon what they see.  If they see a big Rambo knife, they'll react.  If they see a big shovel, they might think you are going to dig big holes.

I'm not saying that you should not use a shovel.  I'm only saying that it will often draw the wrong kind of attention, as will a number of other things.  I'm not just talking about shovels here. 

My general advice is to use the most unobtrusive methods and tools that will do the job.  Do not be like the optometrist who fell into the lens grinder and made a spectacle of himself.

The fact is that the vast majority of good targets can be retrieved without making big holes and with very little equipment.  You can always make plans to return better equipped at a better time.


The surf on the Treasure Coast is around two or three feet.  That will stay the same or even decrease in the next few days.

We do have a negative tide.  That is one good thing.

Happy hunting,

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

1/20/15 Report - How To Select Good Test Targets And How They Can Be Useful In The Field

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Treasure Coast Beach Yesterday Near Low Tide.
Notice all of the new sand on the front beach.   Not looking good.


I like trying out new detectors.  I like to learn what they can and can not do.  At the same time, I hate using a new detector because I don't know how to use it well.  I guess I have a love/hate relationship with new detectors.

Some detectors take longer to learn than others.  The Ace 350 took very little time to learn.  You can continue to learn to use any detector better for quite a while, but you can become fairly proficient with a detector like that in a relatively short amount of time.  Like I've explained, it is an inexpensive detector and there are detectors that will detect deeper and do a lot of things better, yet it has a place in my arsenal and there are times when I'll use it rather than one of the higher-end detectors that I have.  There are times when it is the best choice for a particular situation even though it is the least expensive.

I've talked a lot about test targets in the past, and I continue to see more and more value in using test targets. It seems I'm always learning.

I am currently learning to use a detector that is new to me, and it hasn't been on the market very long.  Just yesterday I was exploring and comparing the motion and non-motion modes and a variety of other things in a very challenging environment.   I've had it out in the field maybe four or five times now.

I should comment here that when you are learning to use a new detector, you should first do some air testing and some test garden testing in an environment that you are very familiar with.

I have a spot in my yard that I have used for testing for a long time.  I know that spot to be very clean.  The one thing that is not so good about that spot is that there is a good amount of EMI.  That, of course, is not the ideal for a test garden.  It is better to get away from EMI, junk, mineralization, etc. as much as you can for your early learning experiences with a new detector.  Each of those things can complicate the situation.

If you have one place that you have explored many times before with other detectors, you will know something about what to expect and be able to compare the new detector and how it responds with other detectors that you have used there before.

Getting back to test targets.  I was detecting with this new detector in a fairly challenging environment the other day.  I had already spent a few good learning sessions with this detector and was ready to step up the difficulty level.  This beach had a lot of very small pieces of iron, also a lot of very large pieces of buried iron, along with the normal salt mineralization, wet/dry zones and black sand.

Anyhow, at one point I noticed less signal strength than I would have expected from a small piece of foil.  Hmmm.  I took out a small test target that I have used quite a bit.  I know how this detector and other detectors respond to that particular test target under various conditions.  I threw it out on the ground ahead of me and indeed, the signal was not what it should have been or what I would have liked. 

Somewhere along the line the detector was detuned somehow.  I have my suspicions.  I think it had to do with some huge buried iron that I was over or a while, which could have caused the detector to retune.  However it happened, the detector was detuned and my test target quickly confirmed that the detector was performing less than optimally and was out of tune.

That is just one more example of how carrying a test target can help you.  The fact that I had used this test object before and had a good idea of how the detector should respond to it was a big help.

Select a sample of objects that include the types of things that you are interested in finding.  For example, you might include a coin, a small silver object, a small gold object, and perhaps a cob.  Again, select the kinds of things you are most interested in finding.

The most effective test targets will give off a small but distinct signal if the environment is challenging.  Don't use test targets that are too large or too easy to detect. They will give a strong signal even if you are slightly out of tune.  You want targets that produce near borderline signals that will be most affected by changes of the detector settings and changes in the environment.

You can use the same test objects for air tests and in the field.  By using the same test targets over and over, you will learn what type of response to expect from different detectors in different environments.  That will help you compare detectors on the different types of targets in different environments.  It will also help you better evaluate your settings.  Having a well known test target along with me helped me quickly determine that my detector was responding less than optimally, and it also helped me retune the detector to obtain a near optimal response in the environment where I was hunting.

Not much change in Treasure Coast beach conditions to talk about.  Same small surf and sandy beaches.  No change in expected real soon.

Happy hunting,

Monday, January 19, 2015

1/19/15 Report - Some Problems With Air Tests: Physical & Psychological. Calm Surf and Sandy Beaches

Written by the Treasureguide for the exclusive use of

Fresh Cut Found On Treasure Coast Beach Yesterday.

Everybody knows that an air test won't tell you exactly what you can expect in the field.  An air test doesn't have to deal with things like ground mineralization, but in my opinion there are much bigger concerns and limitations.

When you test a detector you are not just dealing with one system.  The detector is an electromechanical system, but when you use a metal detector there is actually a much more complex and important system involved - your nervous system, including your sensory system.

Before I address those systems and how they play a very important roll, I want to talk a little about air tests.  There is the problem of generalizability.  An air test is not like a field.  There will normally be some difference in how far your detector will detect an object in air and how deep it will detect an object buried in the ground.  Most everybody knows that.  But those differences are not due ony to the differences in the ambient environments.  Some differences are due to how air tests are conducted.

I'm sure that most of you have conducted an air test and have watched others conducting air tests.   Carefully observe the human behavior involved. 

Usually a person conducting an air test will start close to the coil where a distinct signal is achieved and move the object farther from the coil until the signal is no longer distinguished.  One problem is that during an air test, the object is usually moved right over the sweet spot of the coil.   Most often that does not happen in the field.   Usually the object will be off one direction or another.  During an air test, people usually seek the sweet spot until they get the absolute best signal.

In the field during a hunt, an object will only fall under the sweet spot a fraction of the time.  In more cases than most people think, the object will not pass under the coil at all.  In the field many objects are missed by inches, and when the coil does pass over them, it is just as likely that the object will be at the edge of the sweep, and only occasionally under the sweet spot.

Secondly, and no less important. the sweep speed is typically varied during an air test until the optimal signal is obtained.  I think that more often than not, people are not using the optimal sweep speed in the field. 

I've mentioned this before, but you should test your sweep speed in the field on a sample target, and then either speed up or slow down your sweep speed.

Thirdly, during air tests, the object is kept in a very narrow area just under the coil.  Most signals may be attributed to the object - not always accurately.

It is more difficult to detect a signal in noise, such as you might get in a field environment.  In an environment with noise, your nervous system will adapt and begin to ignore marginal signals such as those that you would might attribute to the target (correctly or incorrectly) during an air test.

Thirdly, as I stated above, the detector is not the only system involved.  Your nervous system, including your brain and sensory systems are also involved.  Those systems are very important.  They are very flexible and may adapt in ways you don't realize.

Here is one fun example.  Which of the following horizontal lines is the longest?  Don't include the arrow heads.

Maybe you've seen this classic demonstration before.  The three horizontal lines are the same length.  Measure them if you need convincing.

The point is that your nervous system interprets sensory data.  It can be fooled and sometimes it is wrong.

When you do an air test, not only do you listen but you also see when the target is under the coil.  Try this experiment.   Close your eyes and pass the object under the coil.  You might find that you can not distinguish the auditory signal quite as well when you are not also seeing the object under the coil.  That will be even more true if you are in a noisy environment.  Not using the visual information will make the auditory data more difficult to interpret.  During a hunt you will not see the object when you hear the signal, that means that a more distinct auditory signal will be required for it to be correctly interpreted.

Don't get me wrong.  I'm not saying that air tests are no good.  I'm just saying that they can be misleading, and you have to be cautious about drawing too many conclusions. 

I think most people should probably do air tests more often.  They should not, however, attempt to evaluate a detector based upon air tests results, and should be cautious about generalizing from an air.

I hoped that by pointing out some of the problems with air tests, both physical and psychological, you will be able to conduct more meaningful air tests and draw more accurate conclusions.


We are back down to a one or two foot surf on the Treasure Coast.  Really smooth.   That will make water hunting easy.  Also easy to do the low tide area.

The surf will not be increasing hardly at all for the next few days.

The cut shown above was not visible from any beach access.  You'd have to walk a ways to find it.

Happy hunting,

Saturday, January 17, 2015

1/17/15 Report - A Few Thoughts On Pinpointers and If You Should Have One. Beach Conditions Today.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Treasure Coast Beach This Morning Near Low Tide.
I've never talked about pinpointers before.  The reason is that I never used one - until recently.

I am very much a minimalist.  I don't like to fool with things that I don't really need.  I wouldn't wear shoes if there weren't times when I really needed them.  I remember one day when the weather was freezing and I started down the beach barefoot until my toes got so cold I finally gave in and went back and got some foot wear.  My point is that I don't like buying or bothering with things that don't  prove really useful.

There are people who like buying things.  They like having things and they like fooling around with gadgets.  They'll walk around with all types of things they very seldom use, but they want to have them - just in case.  That is fine, but it isn't me.  Different strokes for different folks.

In decades of metal detecting I never used a pinpointer.  I never felt like I really needed one and didn't want to carry anything extra around.  Now I have one, but I'm sure I'll seldom bother to take it with me.  

One of the reasons that I've never found the need for one is that a lot of my detecting is done on a beach or in sand.  It is usually easy enough to sift sand.  If you are hunting dry land, it probably won't be nearly as easy to recover small targets, however if you learn to use your detector well, you'll still minimize the need for a pinpointer.  Your detector might do a better job of pinpointing than you realize.

There are also techniques that will make a pinpointer less necessary.   For example, you can throw a handful of dirt onto the coil.  That often works well.

I remember the time when I was trying to see a small, and I do mean small, gold bead in beach sand that was nearly the same color as the course shell sand.  It was hard really hard to see. 

I finally found it by throwing a handful of sand and the object onto the white coil cover and moving it around on the coil with my finger.  When the bead moved it would give a signal.  After a lot of eye strain, I finally found it.  I had a very good detector and pretty good vision, yet it was difficult.

If you place your coil next to the hole and dig, throw or kick dirt towards the coil you'll often hear a signal when the object moves towards the coil.

You will find a pinpointer most useful when you are digging in mud or clay that sticks to and colors the surface of small objects.  That can make it very difficult to find small objects.

It is also difficult to find small objects in leaves or shells or pebbles.  Small objects also hide under detritous.  You might find a pinpointer useful in those situations.

Again, if I can make do without something I probably will.  I don't like carrying extra things.  I don't like  fooling with extra things or taking care of them.  I'm an old farm boy and generally find a way to make do with what I have.  Nonetheless, I do like to know what various things will or will not do and how they can be used in situations when they might really prove useful.

Pinpointers, like other detectors, are very different.  There are cheap pinpointers that are not very good, and there are pinpointers that are nearly as expensive as a regular metal detector, and they can be a lot better.

I'll jump in here and remind you once again to make an effort to learn to learn how to better use your main detector for pinpointing.  There are usually some tricks that can help.  You might be surprised how well you can learn to do that.

In the near future I'll show you what an inexpensive pinpointer can do and what it can not do.  I'll make a video.  I already have it planned.   Eventually you'll have to decide for yourself how useful a pinpointer will be for you and how much you are willing to pay for one.  The one I'll be demonstrating cost me nothing. 


It was a beautiful morning for walking the beach but not so much for detecting the beach.

Sand was building on the beach fronts along the Treasure Coast.  Near the water line there was a bar building at a couple of places.

One beach had a good number of shells even though you had to walk a good distance to find them.

I did find one good long cut that had a few coins and objects in front of it.

I continued to explore a detector that I haven't used much.  Unfortunately I don't understand it very well yet.  I'm having trouble telling object size and depth from the signal.   That should be easier if I get used to using a non-motion mode. 

We're only have something like a three foot surf.   And it is going to get a little smaller for the next few days.   Beach detecting conditions won't improve.

There are, however, a lot of tourists and beach goers at the swimming beaches today.  There should be some new losses out there to be found.

I plan to make a video demonstrating the function of a pinpointer to post in a day or two.

Helicopter At One Beach Park.
When I first pulled up and saw the emergency vehicles and this helicopter, I thought something bad must have happened.   It turned out that it must have been a training activity.

It did remind me of the time years ago when I saw three huge bales of pot on the same beach.

Happy hunting,

Friday, January 16, 2015

1/16/15 Report - Royals: Why Were They Made. Gold Figurines Found. Fisher Boats Waiting For Improved Weather.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

One of a Few Gold Figurines Found In Burial Mound.
See source link below.

Maybe you haven't found one but you know what it is.  I'm talking about Royals - the most exceptionally well made cobs.  They are near perfect in design and manufacture - round, complete detail, and well struck.

But really what are they?  Why were they made?  It seems no one can answer that question in great detail.

You will often read or hear it said that Royals were made as special presentation pieces for the king.  And that could be true, but it seems we don't know that for sure,   Daniel Frank Sedwick says they became known as Royals when one fellow who had one for sale said they were made for kings, not the public.  In other words the origin of the term could have been the result of sales hype (See source link below.).

Sedwick suggests that it is unlikely they were made for royalty because first, there were too many made, and second, and more convincing (too me), most of them never left the New World.  Still the name stuck, and as Sedwick admits, there could be some royal connection.

There are a variety of possibilities.  Perhaps they were made for high ranking or influential individuals.

Maybe they were proofs.

Maybe they were made as examples to instruct apprentices or demonstrate skill or mastery.

A great majority are holed and some have gilded surfaces.  Were they a type of jewelry?

Maybe there was some type of church connection, such as was the case with the "Heart" cobs.

When wealthy individuals were required to convert ingots to coins, did those wealthy individuals want something finer than the average cob for their commission/

One thing we know is that Royals are beautiful examples and still highly desired.  And there might be one out there waiting for you.

Here is the link to Daniel Frank Sedwick's more complete discussion of the subject of Royals.


 Here is the link to the article about the gold figurines, including the one shown above.
The Fisher organization didn't get the weather they were expecting and the boats are in port watching for the weather to improve.
As soon as they get a chance, one salvage vessel will be working on the Margarita "Main Pile."  The Main Pile hasn't been thoroughly detected.

The Dare, on the other hand, will be checking a few large magnetometer hits.


On the Treasure Coast we have only about a three foot surf.    The wind is from he North.  Tomorrow the surf will be a touch higher.

There is at least one Treasure Coast beach that has a lot of shells now.

I'm confident we'll get improved beach detecting conditions sometime before long.

Happy hunting,

Thursday, January 15, 2015

1/15/15 Report - Todays Beach Conditions. Getting To Know A New Detector. A Few Notes On Buying A Detector.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Two Treasure Coast Beach Views This Morning Near Low Tide.
As you can see from the top picture the North winds caused some fresh cutting.  Not much though.
I went out to test out a new detector.  It took me a little while to get the settings how I wanted them, but not too long.
I only spent a little over two hours with this detector, so am far from mastering it.  I was pleased with the performance even though I need to spend a lot more time and learn a lot more about it.
One thing that was difficult for me this morning was interpreting the signals.  With detectors that I have used a lot, I know what they are telling me.   Not nearly as much with this detector.  That will take a little time.
It is known as a "heavy" detector, and when you pick it up you can feel that it is indeed heavy, but it didn't swing heavy.  In actual use it didn't feel any heavier than what I have been using.
It always takes me a while to feel comfortable with a detector that I haven't used a lot.  Testing with test objects helps. 
I took coins and gold for test purposes.  The response to both seemed good.
There are a lot of good detectors to choose from.  I know there are people who will swear that one particular detector is the best.   I think there is always more than one good choice.
A lot of people want advice on what detector they should buy.  I can't answer that question.  I believe that the choice of detector is a highly personal one.   It depends upon so many factors.  It depends upon where you hunt and what you want to find.  Most people know that.  But it also depends upon how you hunt, your personality, and even your arsenal.  
By arsenal I mean what other detectors you have or use.  Different detectors will serve well for different hunts and even different stages of a hunt.  I've talked about all of that before.
I might start out detecting a site using one detector and then follow up with one or two other detectors.  
If you are just trying out detecting, I'd suggest that you select an inexpensive and easy to use detector.  Some inexpensive detectors perform very well for the price.  I've gone over that before using one particular example. 
If you stick with the hobby and decide you want to invest in a more expensive detector, the first detector will still be a nice backup, plus you'll probably find that it does certain things very well, and is worth keeping around.
For beginners I highly recommend visiting a shop where you can get a demonstration of any detector that you might consider.  Not only will that help you understand what to expect from that detector but it will also help shorten the learning curve.
Even if you are an advanced detectorist, it is still good to personally see a detector in operation before you lay down the money.  Take test targets with you.  I don't care how deep a detector will detect clad coins unless that is what I want to find.  Take small gold test targets or small cobs if that is what you want to find. 
You can read all the literature you can find and watch all the Youtube videos, but once you start actually using a new detector, it is likely that new questions will come up.  Of course, you can settle most of those by actual experimentation, but you want to learn all you can before you make your choice and commit to a particular detector.
That isn't what I started out to talk about today.  I'll get back to that some other day.
Copper and Encrusted Coin Found This Morning.

The first coin I found with the detector I was testing was a deep and heavily encrusted coin (See above.)  Just a penny though.  I think it was the most encrusted coin I ever found.  The crust was almost round and almost the size of a golf ball.   Most of it was removed before I could see any of the coin and before the photo was taken.
Another find from this morning was in a clump of rock. It seems to be a point, but not like a point from a blade.  It is triangular in shape.  You can see that in the second photo.
That was in a big clump about the size of two large fists.

We still have a North wind and will have the same tomorrow.  Too bad there isn't a bigger surf.

Beach detecting conditions will remain poor overall.

Happy hunting,

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

1/14/14 Report - 2014 Gold Finds. 2015 Buckle Find. 18th Century U.S. Penny Sells For $2.35 Million. North Wind For Few Days.

Written by the Treasureguide for the exclusive use of

Gold 2014 Finds By Michael E.
Photo by Michael E.
Michael E. sure made some nice finds in 2014.  Congratulations Michael!

I showed some of Michael's nice old coin finds not long ago.

Below is a 2015 find by Dan B., who is getting the year off to a nice start.

Buckle Find by Dan B.
Photo by Dan B.

Dan is in the process of cleaning this up and looking for any possible identifying marks.

If you can help him with an ID, let me know.


After decreasing in price for about three years, it seems gold and silver prices are taking a break.  The last three or four days showed nice increases.


1793 Penny Sold For $2.35 Million.

This 1793 penny sold for $2.35 million dollars at a Heritage auction in Florida on January 7.


Below is the source link for the story and picture.


Looking out the window today, it looks like it might be a good beach day on the Treasure Coast, but don't get excited.  We do have a north wind now and will have one for a few days.  That part is good, however the surf isn't supposed to be more than about four feet. 

Seems like things just won't come together.   They will some day.  It could change quickly.

If you need something to get you motivated, take a look at the pictures above.

I'll be doing some testing on a new high-end detector in a few days.

Happy hunting,

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

1/13/15 Report - Treasure Coast Beach Conditions Remain Poor. Reale Values. Coat From Civil War Shipwreck Restored.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Treasure Coast Beach This Morning Near Low Tide.

The beaches that I saw this morning were poor.  Notice the sea weed in the above picture

Sand was washing up onto the beach too.  I put a dime in the wet sand.  Every wave that came over it moved it a foot or two towards the dry sand.  Good targets were not in the accreting wet sand areas that I checked this morning.

Lately the swimming beaches have been kept pretty clean.  You might have a better chance at a few coins by moving away from the main areas where the sun bathers accumulate.  That is where most is lost but it is also where most detectorists spend their time.

As I said yesterday, we do have some waves, but the wind direction has not been favorable.

Detectorist Using White's Detector This Mornring.

This chart can be found on the Mel Fisher web site by using the link below.

Notice that they have 2 and 4 reales valued higher than 8 reales for grades 1 - 4.   Grade 5 reales and fragments are valued the same for those three denominations.

Of course things like rarity can increase values.   And, as is stated, dated coins are more valued.

Here is the link.

A wool coat recovered from the wreck of the Monitor has been pretty much restored.

Here is that link.

They had no trouble finding spare buttons in the wreckage.  You might want to read about that.

On the Treasure Coast the surf is supposed to be around 3 - 5 feet today and will be decreasing a bit over the next few days.  Beach detecting conditions are poor.

Happy hunting,

Monday, January 12, 2015

1/12/15 Report - Wire Wrapped Jewelry. Quartz Crystal Find. Difficulty Of Identifying Age.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Wire Wrapped Quartz Pendant Treasure Coast  Beach Find.
Dating found items can be very difficult at times.  On mistake I've made multiple times in the past is to conclude that something is new when it is actually old simply because it looks like something that I know is made today.  Many designs and techniques have been used for a very long time.

One very old technique for making jewelry is wire wrapping.  People do it today.  You might have seen wire wrapped sharks teeth used as pendants for example.  Many items are wrapped and used as various types of jewelry. 

Wikipedia says that wire wrapping is one of the oldest jewelry making techniques and dates back to thousands of years BC.  (See Wikipedia link below.)

Above is a wire wrapped pendant find.  This one is small.  Only about an inch long.

The piece of quartz is interesting to me.  It is not a very nice specimen.  I suspect that it might have been found by the person that made the pendant, rather than being a piece selected by a jeweler, but of course I don't know that. 

Better View of Quartz.
I've read that many people think there might have been a jeweler on the Nieves..  Jewelry in various states of construction, particularly silver, have been found, as have tools and jewelry making supplies, such as silver wire and thin rolled silver strips.

I have no idea how old this quartz pendant is.  It might be either new or old.  About the only thing I can tell with any degree of certainty is that it is old enough to have picked up a thick black patina.  So all that tells me is that it isn't a recent drop.

There was a time when I thought items from an old galleon would be the kind of thing shown in the movies or promotional pictures - expensive ornate silver and gold.  Of course that isn't always true.  A lot of items were for daily use and made for or by the lower classes and often crudely hand made.  I've also made the opposite mistake, thinking something too fine or well-crafted or in too good condition to be old.  It can go both ways. 

I long ago found an enameled ring that was so pretty and bright that I immediately thought it was new.  I didn't know at the time that enameling is a very old technique too.

It is easy to jump to quick conclusions and make mistakes.  Fortunately we learn more and more over time.  Unfortunately the learning often comes too slow.  Some old things can look new, and some new things can look old.   It can be very hard to tell.

As I often say, it is good to hang onto items until you learn more about them.

Here is the link about wire wrapping.

While looking at this pendant, it might also be worth pointing out that quartz has long been thought to have special properties and provide some type of help or protection for the person who wears it.  Some still believe that.

Here is a quartz pendant and text seen on the following linked FSU web site.

Here is that link.

Deagan's book on Spanish Colonial artifacts also states that large numbers of talismans were shipped to the new world.

Here is a link to a gallery showing the opening of a 200 year-old time capsule.  You probably heard about this story on the TV news a few days ago.  The contents included both coins and documents.

One person who went to the recent FUN convention in Orlando said the State Museum exhibit of shipwreck artifacts was less than spectacular.

On the Treasure Coast the surf is supposed to be something like 4 to 6 feet.  Unfortunately the wind is not from a favorable direction. 

Later the wind will be from the North, but then the surf won't be as high.  Things just aren't coming together well.

Happy hunting,

Sunday, January 11, 2015

1/11/15 Report - Mystery Pot For Age Determination. Variety Of Great Old Coin Finds. Diamond Ring Recovered From Inside Dog.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exlusive use of

I got this message a couple of days ago from Jonah M.

Jonah said, I went out last night to a beach that I've found really good treasure on with no ties to our 1715 beaches. And this is what I found . We find a lot of China and all sorts of pottery on our wrecks but this piece looks older I could be wrong ,but after a light cleaning this is as good as I could get it. It's about 4 inches tall with no marks on the bottom.  Please feel free thoughts on age.

Let me know what you think about the age of the pot.

Context is often one of the better indicators of the age or source of an object.

Remember, when beach conditions aren't right for one type of material, it might be a good time for other types of material.  I've said that in the past, but not recently.

Michael E. has been putting in a lot of field work.  That is one of the biggest determinants of finds.  If you want to find a lot, you have to put in the time.

Michael said

... still land hunting for me to begin the new year. Last 2 hunts have resulted in many items, and some nice coins. 1943 half dollar, 1891 v nickel, 1870 centimos, 1918 buffalo, all first for me, which most things still are. Still have a gift for you in my truck, hope to catch up one day. This is my gold from 2014, less 3 pieces found after this photo. I dedicated to swing hard, Long and often in 2014, really to see what could happen. My goal overal was 100 rings and 10k pennies. Only made 5.6k pennies but dug over 10k individual pieces of clad. With minimal time at local parks. Didn't think I would reach the ring goal, but amid a few other hunters at my usual beach on December 31, I recovered #100, 18k band...

Below are some of Michael's recent old coin finds.

Coins Found by Michael E.
Photos by Michael E.
Very nice.  Thanks for sharing guys!

Did you hear about the dog that swallowed an expensive diamond ring and wedding band?

Here is the link to a video on that.
Maybe you should run your detector over the animals you come across.

I got word of some reale finds from a couple of days ago. 

Looks like the Treasure Coast will get something like a three or four foot surf for a few days.   The wind won't be out of the North until Tuesday.

I'll put my beach detecting conditions rating back down to a 1.

That is all for today.

Happy hunting,