Monday, August 31, 2015

8/31/15 Report - Now Hurricane Fred. Beach Processes and Coins. 11,000 Year Old Idol Found.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

For me, the one area where the most questions remain is the breaker area, especially when that is close to the beach like it was yesterday because of the big high tide.

There were surfers catching some nice waves at Wabasso yesterday but the rides were short because the waves were breaking right in front of the beach.

There is so much turmoil where the waves break and it is so difficult to see exactly what is going on there, that it is hard to figure it all out.  It was only recently when I saw those pictures that showed waves sucking sand that I learned about that.

I've talked about how the recently found escudos appear to be in such great condition, and I've also talked about and shown the rocks where they were found.  It might seem that unless the coins were hidden in the cracks, crevices and holes where they would be protected, that they would show a lot more damage. That may or may not be true.  It is possible that they were under enough sand to protect them even if they were not hiding in cracks or holes.  Remember, there is normally two to four feet of sand over the rocks along there.

Above is a crude diagram that I scribbled.  Maybe it will help some.

What I am showing, top to bottom, is the water level just in front of the beach, and something like three or four feet below, the irregular rock surface.  The brown lines represent various levels of sand.  The red/orange dots represent coins.

The coins tend to settle as the sand moves.  One question is how much the sand in the holes move.  I'd say that it is not much.

If the sand is at level A, all the rocks and coins are covered by a good amount of sand.  As long as that amount of sand remains on top of the coins, they will be relatively stationary and very well protected.

If the sand between A and G is moved by erosion or whatever, the coin that was in that layer will settle on the next layer down.  It might then get covered by a layer of sand whenever sand moves back over it.  The coin also could move with the sand to some extent.

If the sand is removed so that C represents the new surface, some of the rocks will then be visible.  In this illustration the uncovered rocks would be those to the right side of the diagram.

Also, if the new level of sand was at C, then the top coin might end up sitting very close to the other coin that was on the rock below it. 

Instead of being a straight line though, you'd probably see some sand in the dips on the more protected side, maybe like that shown at H.

How deeply the holes might be emptied is hard to say.  I feel that the sand in those holes would be packed fairly well and remain very stable.  I think the holes would protect anything in them from most of the turbulence.  It would seem to me it would take a lot to clean out those holes, and as long as the holes are filled with sand, coins could not sink into the bottom of the hole, but would only sink as deep as the undisturbed sand.

To put it another way, I think it would take something unusual (not impossible) for a coin to find its way to the bottom of a deep and narrow hole.  I think the sediment in such a hole would be very stable.  Of course, sand would come out much easier than a coin.

We are dealing with a lot of unknowns here.  I am just trying to advance my understanding of this turbulent and chaotic area a little.

I can understand how water forcefully propelled downward by blowers might clean out the holes and cracks, but the question is if natural forces could clean out the cracks and holes.  Could crashing waves clean out those holes.

That is the part of the beach that is the most chaotic and the most difficult to observe and understand.

We know that coins have been down there for three hundred years.  One fact that stands out to me is that I've never seen those rocks exposed in the last few decades.  I could have easily missed that though, since I don't visit that area all the time, and I was not there when we had the big hurricanes of 2001.  If any of you were there after Francis or Jeane, did you see the rocks exposed there at all?  Have you ever seen the rocks exposed there as the result of natural forces?

There are places on the Treasure Coast where the rocks are normally exposed.  Walton Rocks is one.  Walton Rocks was named that at least a century ago, so I assume that hasn't changed much.

I just read the following, We are still emerging from that ice age, and sea level has been rising at highly variable rates over the last 20,000 years; during the past century, the rate of sea level rise has averaged 10-15 centimeters per century worldwide.  If that is right, three hundred years ago the sea level would have been about a foot and a half lower, and if everything else was the same, the beach would have been farther east.  Also from the look of the dunes and how they have to continually renourish the area, I'd also guess that the beach was farther to the east three hundred years ago.  That means the rocks would have been more covered back then, and even in recent years I have not seen them exposed.

I hope that is helpful.  It helps me to think it through.

In this discussion I mentioned a number of things that I'm pretty confident about as well as some things that I don't know about.  Raising good questions helps find answers.


One thing I should have mentioned yesterday is the lightning.  As the thunder showers move through, there was frequent lightning.  That will probably be the case for a few days.  Be careful.


A mysterious wooden idol found in a Russian peat bog has been dated to 11,000 years ago - and contains a code no one can decipher. 

The Shigir Idol is twice as old as the Pyramids and Stonehenge - and is by far the oldest wooden structure in the world. 

Even more mysteriously, it is covered in what experts describe as ‘encrypted code’ - a message from a lost civilisation. ..

Here is the link.


Hurricane Fred has formed, but it is closer to Africa than us and expected to dissipate before reaching mid Atlantic.

We'll have some pretty big tides for a few days.  

Yesterday I showed what a lot of the Treasure Coast beaches looked like.  I don't expect any big change on that today.

Happy hunting,

Sunday, August 30, 2015

8/30/15 Report - Part 2 - A Look At Different Beaches This Morning As The Tide Was Coming In.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

I periodically do a survey of a sample of beaches along the Treasure Coast and thought this might be a good time to do one.

A few things have happened since I did my first post today.  For one, the remnants of Erika are now down around Key West and looks to be headed into the Gulf.

The second change is the Supermoon is giving us some high water.  The tide was coming in this morning when I went out to do my survey.

I'll show you what I saw.

John Brooks Looking North About 8 AM.
Turtle Trail This Morning.
Seagrape Trail As The Tide Comes In.
Up around the bend there was some cutting.  It looked like it could improve.  High tide was still maybe three hours away.

Detectorist At Seagrape Trail This Morning.
Other detectorists showed up at Seagrape Trail a little later.  It was getting close to high tide when you wouldn't have access to detect the beach front because of the high water.  Notice where the detectorist in the picture is.

Wabasso Beach This Morning.

Ambersands This Morning.
Ambersands didn't look promising at all.

I'm not upgrading my Treasure Coast Beach Detecting Conditions Rating at all at this point.  I'm keeping it at a 1, which is what has been all summer.

I think a few cobs might be found.  Remember Trez found some with out the benefit of the Supermoon.

The water is going to hit some of the cliffs, but it will be renourishment sand that is getting hit.

The high tide might wash up a few small cobs.


I did an earlier post today, so if you didn't see that you might want to go back and look at the earlier post.

Happy hunting,

Saturday, August 29, 2015

8/30/15 Report. Erika Gone. Supermoon Last Night. More on Trigger and Drop Points. Flying Aircraft Carrier Sunk.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Two Disturbances
Erika has disappeared.  However, the remnants are just off of Cuba formed from the remnants of Erika.  At the time of the 8 PM update, this disturbance only had a ten percent chance of becoming a cyclone in the next 48 hours.  We will get a lot of rain from it.

There is another disturbance coming off Africa.  It has already turned into a tropical depression.

Erika fizzled out like Danny did.  The surfing web site are predicting something like a three to four foot surf on the Treasure Coast tomorrow.  Then it is supposed to decrease again on Monday.


Last night was a supermoon, the first of three supermoons to occur this Fall
...In fact, the term ‘supermoon’ is not astronomical. Scientists call this event a ‘perigee moon’: it takes place when the full Moon reaches the closest point to Earth on its oval orbit. This point is called perigee and it is about 50,000 km closer to our planet than the opposite side of the Moon’s elliptical path – apogee...

Here is a link for more about that.
You might recall that it was worried that Erika would arrive during a supermoon.


I received the following email from Brian H.

I have been reading your blog and thought what if we had T-Shirts with Environmental Clean up Crew printed on them. Would make a great conversation point.

I have been studying your blog mainly on how objects move in the sand, fresh water lakes act different than the ocean but the fluid dynamics are the same. I do have the Great Lake Michigan in my back yard and it acts like an ocean.

I will hit a hot spot of 60's era flip tops and think no one has been here before? Then I will get into bottle cap heaven and dig like a hundred of them. One day I saw one in the water scooting across the surface of the sand and I started thinking differently.

It is when I get into the coins and nickels that I normally find the gold rings. Birds of a feather?

The weather on the lake for tomorrow will change to a Northeast and a Super Moon.

I will take a couple of machines and watch the sand movement.

Brian is right.  The water dynamics are the same.  Anywhere there is running water, even rain runoff, watch for the same basic principles at work.  Thanks Brian.  

Watching junk can tell you a lot.  Junk can help tell you how things are being distributed and therefor also where the good and bad areas are.


I really learned a lot about escudos lately.  It happened primarily as a result of looking at the recent Treasure Coast finds.

In the past couple of years I have also learned a lot more about how sand and objects move on beaches.  That is something I've studied for a long time, but I just made some new breakthroughs that help explain a lot. The more you learn, the more knowledge you have to build on, and that leads to learning new things.

A diver told me he was pretty sure that at least some of the escudos that were found this year down in the pot holes and cracks were up on the slabs before the blowers removed the sand.  A lot of the escudos were found on top of the slabs even after the blowers removed the sand.  That information was important to me for several reasons.  Basically it confirmed some things I suspected but was not absolutely sure about.

One of the books I mentioned the other day said that Frogfoot Weller wanted his blowers to run no faster than 600 rpm.  That was so the coins would settle down in the hole instead of being blowing around.

That provides an excellent example of how what I have named "trigger points" are important.  In case you haven't read what I've said about trigger points, a trigger point is the amount of water movement or force needed to get different objects to start moving.

Little force is needed to move silt or fine sand and more force is needed to move small pebbles and even more force is needed to move things like gold coins.  Every object has its trigger point.  If you know where each object lies on the scale, you know in what order things will be moved as the amount of force increases.  If you think about that continuum and how the various trigger points are  met as the amount of force increases, you'll understand how some objects are moved and others left behind as different amounts of force are produced.

The other important thing is the "drop point," which refers to the point at which different items drop out of moving water and settle.  As water movement decreases, different objects settle out at different times.

An important thing to watch is when and where the amount of force changes.  For example, there will be a lot of force directly in front of a breaking wave and less as the water goes up the slope on the front of the beach.  If the trigger point for an object, such as a coin was exceeded at the base of the slope, the "drop point" might be reached at some point as the water slows as it goes up the slope. Objects that are less easily moved will generally settle out first, but it is not a straight line function.

It gets more complicated since you also have to take into account such as back flow, which may have enough force to move sand or other objects back down the slope again.

Up to 600 rpm the force produced by Frogfoot's blowers moved the sand, but above 600 rpm the coins were also being blown around.  What they wanted was to blow the sand but not the coins, which would then tend to settle down into the hole.


Flying Aircraft Carrier
Source: see link below.
As early as 1916 the Navy had begun designing lighter-than-air (LTA) rigid airships, and by 1926 the focus had shifted to airships that could support aerial scouting missions. The first flying aircraft carrier, USS Akron (ZRS-4), was commissioned in 1931 – and after several incidents in two years, the airship crashed and sank off the coast of New Jersey in 1933...

I thought that was pretty interesting -  a flying aircraft carrier.  Note the size of the planes below the airship.  In the article there was is a picture of how the old planes were attached.  Really interesting idea that evidently didn't work out.

Here is the link.


Happy hunting,

8/29/1 5 Report - As Of Saturday Morning Erika Heading Into Gulf and Now Just A Depression.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Just a temporary post for now.  Just wanted to let you know that it appears at this point that Erika will be heading into a Gulf and not likely to be anything more than a tropical storm.

I'll do a regular post later probably.

Friday, August 28, 2015

8/29/15 Report - Mystery Solved. Bogota Escudos: New and Old Finds. Real Eight Co. Changes For Erika Forecast.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Another Group Of Recently Discovered Escudos
This grouping shows some escudos from Bogota, Columbia.  There are two signs that provide clues.

On the cross side of some of these, you see a design feature that some have refer to as "scissors."  I can see why they refer to it that way.  They do look a little like scissors, but not a whole lot.  That mark appears in each quadrant of the cross.  The scissors, are just a distinctive type of rendering of one type of Fleur-de-lis.  On some escudos they appear much larger than on others.

On the other side of the escudo, in the upper right quadrant of the shield, where Naples and Sicily is represented, you see two dots instead of two birds.  That is also a tip off.

You might remember how I was surprised to see lions and castles of Leon and Castile in the upper right of a shield that I pointed out yesterday.  I thought that was unusual and possibly an error.  It was not an error.  Well, it wasn't an error on the cob.  It was my error.

That is what you see on some of the shields of Bogota escudos.  I hadn't seen that before, but found it listed in an old auction catalog in which a lot of Kip Wagner's escudos from the 1715 Fleet were being auctioned.

Illustration From Bowers & Ruddy 1977 Auction Catalog.
In the illustration from the auction catalog shown immediately above, the Naples and Sicily symbols are in the upper left of the shield, and the Leon and Castile symbols in the upper right.

I'm only aware of 2-escudos and a few 1-escudos from the Bogota mint, and no other denominations. The auction listed 75 2-escudos from Bogota and five 1-escudos.  The catalog shows many more escudos from other New World mints and is a very good reference source.

There were eleven different shield designs for Bogota escudos illustrated in the auction catalog.  Two had the Sicily and Naples symbols on the left side of the shield rather than the right.  So it was not an error or anything like that, just a design that I didn't know about and didn't remember seeing anywhere before.

It was in the early sixties that the Real Eight Company found the famed "carpet of more than 1000 golden dubloons."  They hit big again in 1974.

Most of the Bogota escudos sold in the 1977 auction averaged around $150, which adjusted or inflation would be just over $600 in 2015 dollars.  The price of gold that year averaged around $150 an ounce.  I think you would actually expect to pay something more like $2000 for similar escudos today.  That gives some historical perspective to the money aspect.


Different subect: I feel a duty to provide the following warning.

Hurricanes are dangerous.  I don't want you to take the danger too lightly.  I don't want a hurricane.  I just want a storm that stays out at sea and churns up some waves.

Hurricanes do too much damage.  And people die in hurricanes.  I'd have to be a raving fool to want that.

Many of you have been through hurricanes.  Some who have been through a hurricane have been on the out skirts where you didn't get the full force.  I want to tell all of you, and especially those of you who plan to come in from other areas, (I've heard from a few that plan on doing that already) don't drive into a hurricane.  It is not a party.

They do a good job of forecasting these things anymore, but they are not totally accurate. Make sure you know what you are doing.  Don't do anything stupid.

You never know what you might be getting into.  There can be downed electric lines, blocked roads and closed bridges.  If we get much of a hurricane, you might not even be able to get to the beach for a few days.

I don't want to unnecessarily alarm anyone by saying that all or any of that will happen this time, yet it could.  Storms can do strange things.  They can take unexpected turns.

Play it safe on the beach too.  If you haven't been in a big hurricane before, you simply don't know what you might be getting into.  When the surf is high and the waves big, you might not be able to get on the beach anyhow for a few days.  The bridges will be closed.   And it will be too rough and dangerous to get down on the beach anyhow.  Wait until it is safe.

Some of the best beach finds have been made days after a storm.  People who have made really big beach finds have told me they thought they were too late and it was all over.  But that is when the big find was made.

Even after the water has gone down some, a big wave can easily catch you unprepared and sweep you off your feet.  It can be very dangerous.  Trees and other large debris can be washing in an out in the surf.  You can lose or have your equipment damaged.  I've known more than one person who was experienced with rough weather detecting that lost a detector or scoop to an unexpected wave.  Don't take this too lightly.  Err on the side of caution.  It isn't worth losing your life.


In support of the above, I received this message from Robert H.

You are 100 percent spot on. Those treasure coast barrier islands could be completely submerged under water with a full moon and big tides that were predicated the storm surge is what mainly kills people. As a survivor of one of the worse hurricanes being Andrew and being right in the heart of the storm many were lucky the storm surge wasn't any higher. I know certain areas did see that 15ft rise in sea level but I think most all were evacuated from those storm surge areas in advance thankfully. In all reality we were extremely lucky to survive that storm. If it slowed down and lasted another hour or two with that intensity many more lives including mine could had been lost. Would hate to think of any fellow Detectorist going to wait it out in there car right there ocean side and get swept in the ocean or the ocean swallows them and there car.

Thanks for sharing Robert.


There are two changes with the forecasts or Erika.  The track has moved more south.  She is now expected to land down at the southern tip of the penisnsula, and she is expected to remain a tropical storm rather than developing into a hurricane.

Predicted Track of Erika As Of 8 AM 8/28
The surfing web sites are now predicting only around a five foot surf now.  That means that it might not move much sand or stir up much of anything on the Treasure Coast.

Keep watching for any additional changes.

Happy hunting,

Thursday, August 27, 2015

8/27/15 Report - Big Surf Predicted For Treasure Coast! New Error Found On Newly Discovered Escudo?? Erika Shifting More To The North.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Recently Salvaged Treasure Coast Escudos That Were On Display At The Press Release.

The thing that is so interesting about cobs is that no two are exactly alike.  Being hand struck, there are all kinds of variations.  The die wore easily and needed to be resharpened and replaced often too. That caused many variations.  It seems that you can study them forever and continue to make interesting new discoveries.

I was looking at the picture of these escudos that were found by the guys on the Capitana and noticed something that appeared very odd.  It really confused me at first.  I couldn't believe I was seeing what I was seeing.

Look at the shield on the escudo in the bottom center of the picture.  Look at that escudo very carefully.  Get the orientation of the shield and its elements.

Now look at the shield of the escudo at about 11 o'clock from there.  Study that shield.

They may not be the exact same shield, I can't tell that for sure. (The shields changed from time to time to show political changes.)  But the one on the upper left looks very odd.  I've never seen the lions and castles of Leon and Castile on the right side of the shield, and the elements representing Naples and Sicily on the left.  I've seen a lot of reales and escudos shown in books etc., but I've never seen anything like that.  Maybe it has been documented and I'm not aware of it - I'm not expert in Spanish Colonial numismatics, so maybe I just never heard about it.   I'll call it the reversed-shield escudo.

 Common Shield Configurations.
In the illustration immediately above, the two circles and arrows that I added point out the two elements that I can see are reversed on the one shield in the photo.  Maybe the entire shield is reversed, but I can see for certain that those top elements are reversed.

I have never seen a shield with the the lions and castles on the right and with the birds of Naples and Sicily on the left.  I'll be going back to see if I have any better pictures of that particular escudo to see if the entire shield is reversed.

That still has me wondering how I'm seeing that, or if I am really seeing that.


Predicted Path of Erika According to
The big news for me today is that Erika has shifted more to the North.  It appears now that she could stay off shore as she passes east of the Treasure Coast.  As you know, these things can change direction at any time, so keep an eye on it.

The surfing web sites are now predicting a surf reaching up to around twelve feet for Monday.  As you know, the surf predictions often change too, so keep watching that.

They are concerned that Erika will arrive during a full moon, causing flooding.

Thanks to Jorge Y. for sending that link.

It has been so long since we had much surf, and the predictions for a bigger surf have been wrong so many times in the past couple of years, that it is hard to believe.  Maybe we will finally see the beach get stirred up.  Maybe.


The latest issue of Kovels Komments reports: Latest fashion. Small stacked rings are out, rings with large stones are back in, according to The Wall Street Journal. Look for vintage and antique rings that are large and can be worn on a middle finger. But look carefully to see if there is a repair joining the ring band to the top part of the ring. In the 1960s and other years when large rings were in fashion, dealers removed the pin and catch on the back of suitably-shaped brooches, especially cameos. With the addition of a band, the brooch was turned into a large ring. These altered rings should cost less than all-original rings.


Happy hunting,

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

8/26/15 Report - Erika Headed Towards Florida, Lima 8-escudo, Treasure Crates, Smuggling and Contraband, New Wreck Discovered

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Predicted Path of Erika.
Erika looks to be headed towards Palm Beach and is expected to arrive very early Monday as a level 1 hurricane.  There are still a few days for all of that to change, so keep watching.

The surfing web sites are not predicting a big increase in surf. They are only showing a maximum of four feet on Sunday evening, decreasing after that.

It is still too early to be certain.  That could change as well.

I'd really like to see some sand get removed.  I'd so like to see a ripped beach.  It has been so long.


1702 Lima 8-Escudo
Photo submitted by Captain Jonah Martinez.

Here is an interesting escudo.  Notice how the top of the pillars is off angle.


The other day I was talking about how treasure was packaged on the treasure fleets.  I found the following in the Foster article on Talegas and Contraband.

Here is that link again.

The chests weren't always cedar, and they weren't always of exactly the same dimensions, but it seems they were usually pretty similar.   Since gold is nearly twice as dense as silver, I'd assume that crates carrying gold weighed closer to 450 pounds.


There is a lot of really good information on the internet these days. Here are a couple of books that I found.

One is Smuggling: Contraband and Corruption in World History by Alan Karras.

Click here to link to that book.    Click on View Sample when you get there to read the sample.

Looks like a very interesting book.


 Here is another book you might like to take a look at.  It is  Treasures of the Spanish Main: Shipwrecked Galleons in the New World by John Chistopher Fine.

You can read a sample of that one online too.  The sample had some nice information on the 1715 Fleet.

Click here to link to that.


(August 24, 2015) - During the repair of the US 50 Bridge over the Nanticoke River, the Maryland Department of Transportation’s State Highway Administration (SHA) discovered an 18th century shipwreck in the water. SHA was removing debris from under the bridge when workers realized some of the wood may be ship timbers...

Here is that link.


Keep watching Erika.

Happy hunting,

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

8/25/15 Report - The Treasure Coast Could Get a Hurricane Sunday or Monday. Example of A Jeweled Cross Escudo. Hunting Meteorites.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Predicted Path of Erika
I'm changing the focus today.  We now have a new tropical storm - Erika.  Erika is headed towards the Bahamas and Florida and could possibly get here Sunday or Monday as a hurricane.

We'll have to wait to see how that actually develops.  It could fall apart or turn away.

Here is a forecast about that.

I'm hoping she doesn't hit us hard but skirts the peninsula just giving us some good waves.

That is something I'll be keeping my eye on.


In my 8/12/15 post I talked about the jeweled cross series of Mexican escudos.  Here is one.

Jeweled Cross Escudo.
Photo submitted by Captain Jonah Martinez.
This is not one of the most recent batch of gold cobs found on the Treasure Coast, but it is a good found example.

Notice the dots along the cross.  That is the characteristic that gives the name to the jeweled cross escudos.


I've been talking a lot about the most recent Treasure Coast discoveries made by the crew of the Capitana..  We all want to hear as much as we can about that.  There are so many things to think about and explore, but there are a lot of other things to talk about too.

I'll have more on the Treasure Coast escudos of 2015 in the near future, but here is something different today from SuperRick.

SuperRick hunts meteorites and gold out West but also occasionally visits Florida and hunts our beaches.  He talks about meteorites, something I have never hunted but am interested in and would love to try someday.  He also provides a number of links if you want to learn more about hunting meteorites.

Here is what Rick wrote.

Space Diamonds in Gold Country: California Meteorite's Secrets Revealed

I thought that I would start off with this story, because I was hunting for this meteorite the day after it hit California. Out here in the Las Vegas area we do not have the beaches to hunt, so I hunt primarily  meteorites, with a good sprinkling of gold prospecting.

 Every time I come back to Fla. I bring with me a Garrett ATX to hunt the beaches, but like everybody else have been locked out of finding anything that I would say is a good find because of all of the beach reclamation. Still waiting for that first storm and the right timing to hit the Treasure Coast.... 

...I have three different detectors and just bought a Deus XP, as we all know different detectors do different things, so I run a Gold Bug 2, a Whites MTX and  a Garrett ATX hunting for different things.

The Meteorite's are worth more that the gold if you find the right kind of a meteorite that is what we call a cold find, that the collectors don't have. So I primarily do nothing but cold hunts, which you can go month or years without finding anything. Doesn't sound like fun, now does it?

There are times that I will take the out-of-town guests out prospecting or meteorite hunting where I can almost guaranteed that they will find a very common meteorite on one of our many dry lake beds. All of those hunts are done by sight. We also have some strewn fields where again they stand a very good chance of finding a meteorite or gold.

Now I'm not going to put up any videos that I shot because most of the stuff that I do is cold hunting and we keep those locations very secret.  Some very enterprising hunters have tracked down where someone is hunting by the video that was put online.

I will back in Fla. The first week of September and right now looking at that first storm out in the Atlantic hoping to have my timing right to see some beach erosion, without any major damage to anything else!

By the way, you can find meteorites in Fla, but because of the vegetation you would be pretty hard-pressed to do so!
Now if any of you guys have any question you can send me an Email at

Thanks Rick!  I always like to learn about different types of detecting and am sure that others do as well.


I have some more good information and news relative to treasure hunting the 1715 Fleet.  I'll pick up with that again in the future.

Happy hunting,

Monday, August 24, 2015

8/24/15 Report - Contraband Treasure and Signs To Look For. Shipping Containers for Treasure. Danny Disappeared.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Active Atlantic
Source: National Hurricane Center
As you can see Danny fell apart.  That is the end of him.  However, there are two more systems coming off of Africa.

The one behind Danny has an eighty percent chance of becoming a cyclone in the next 48 hours.  It seems to be on a similar path.

Here are some more fresh escudos that were on display Thursday.

Three More Of The Escudos Displayed At Thursday Press Release.

I'm not absolutely sure, but from what I can see of the two shields, it looks like they might be from Bogota, Columbia.

Correct me if I'm wrong about that.  As you know, I'm not any kind of expert on numismatics.

We are fortunate to see so many fine examples.  It gives you an idea about what was on these wrecks and what could possibly be found.


Yesterday I started talking about the recent finds and how they might have ended up where they were found.   In my opinion there would be very little chance of the cobs that descended to deep cracks or tight crevices would ever be washed up on the beach.

I think I mentioned yesterday that I didn't know of any evidence of any bags or boxes associated with those cobs.  The   treasure chests that held the cobs on the Atocha were simply plain boxes nailed shut.  They weren't ornate at all, and didn't have a lid that flips up.  While the dimensions varied, the tops and bottoms were around 57 by 22 cm., and the sides were 57 by 16 cm.  There were no hinges or hardware.  Below is a picture of one such unexcavated box as found on the site of the Atocha.


One chest of silver reales held 2,225 cobs of various denominations, and weighed just over 130 pounds.

As you probably know, a lot of the treasure on these galleons was contraband.  I found a very good article about contraband treasure.  The title is Talegas and Hoards: The Archaeological Signature of Contraband on a 1725 Spanish Merchant Vessel, by John Foster, Matthew Maus and Anna Rogers. The authors attempted to identify common characteristics of contraband treasure.  The paper is base upon observations of contraband treasure found on the site of the Nuestra Senora de Begona.  I think you'll find the article interesting.

"Talegas" are bags.  While they did not discover intact bags, that article did show pictures of the clumped contents of such bags (Shown immediately below.)

The primary purpose of the Foster paper was to help identify contraband.  Here are their conclusions.

Contraband treasure tends to consist of coins of highly diverse origin.  They would be stored in containers of different sizes and shapes, mostly smaller, rather than being shipped in standard size containers such as the shipping boxes and bags like those I mentioned.  They tend to consist more of small denomination coins.  Contraband coins tend include a wide variety of dates and show a good amount of wear from circulation.  They also may include clipped coins.  Of course they are unregistered and may be unstamped.  They also may show evidence of having been concealed in barrel bottoms or other methods of concealment.

If you compare the finds recently made by the Capitana guys, you won't find much to make you think those escudos were contraband.  In fact the unusual group of 1711 Mexican royals were about the opposite of what you would expect of contraband.

Is it possible they were wedding gifts meant for the Isabel Farnese, the new wife of Philip V.  They were married in 1714.  I guess it is possible.

At one time the newly found escudos were probably in a shipping chest like those described above. What happened to the chest is unknown.  It could have been broken at any point.  If it remained in the sea, it probably disintegrated long ago.

I think you'll find the Foster paper to be very interesting reading.  Here is the link.


I heard the other day that a device that repels sharks is being sold for surf boards.  It emits some sort of signal.

Here is a link about that.


I'm not expecting any change in beach detecting conditions now that Danny has disappeared.  We'll get a storm some day for the Treasure Coast.  It is long over due.

Happy hunting,

Sunday, August 23, 2015

8/23/15 Report - How Did The Escudos End Up Where They Were Found. A Few Thoughts. Tropical Storm Danny.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

One of the Cobs Recently Found By the Captiana Crew.

Just a picture of one of the escudos on display at the press release Thursday.

The press release was at Captain Hiram's Resort in Sebastian.   The 1715 Fleet Queens Jewels guys talked about their recent finds and their experiences. There were a lot of TV cameras.  You probably saw clips from the release on the local news.  I heard one video clip from the release on the radio Friday morning when I was in the car.

There are some guys in the metal detecting community that try to make it all about themselves.  For them it is all me, me, me.   That is how they sound.   You know the type.   The P. T. Barnums of metal detecting.  Those are the same guys that have to resort to dirty tricks to sabotage other detectorists.  Unfortunately we have some of those.

That is the exact opposite of what I saw at the press release Thursday.  The Capitana guys are treasure rock stars, but they don't act like it.  They are some of the nicest guys you'll ever meet.

There was no arrogance.  No bragging.  There was no, We were successful because we were smarter and better than everybody else.  They told their stories with humility.  I wouldn't mind if all treasure hunters and detectorists were like them.  It would do us good.  Those are the kind of guys that you like to root for.  I know they'd be rooting for you too.


I've shown a lot of treasure in the last few days.  I showed gold cobs of different sizes and types, and I showed a video of the guys finding those gold cobs.

There is a lot to take in and think about.  It is time to play Sherlock Holmes.  Let's see if there is anything we can learn.

Let's start with the cobs.  What did you notice?  One thing I noticed is the remarkable lack of scratches or other damage.  I didn't inspect the escudos carefully when I did get to see some in person.  Mostly I've seen photos, and that just isn't the same.

Gold is a relatively soft metal.  It can be easily scratched, yet the escudos seem to show very little damage of any kind.  Not even many scratches.

From the video we can see they were found among rocks, and they were found near shore where the breakers crash. You might think that combination would bang them up.  But you don't see much of that.

If you watched the video you also saw that many were found in crevices and cracks and dips where they would be protected.  Any covering sand would protect them too.

Yesterday I showed an escudo that was lodged in a crack of a rock.  And in the video we see that some of those pot holes were maybe two, three or four feet deep, and sometimes the space between the rocks was very narrow.  Once they got into a place like that they would be well protected.

Divers Finding Escudos In Dips Between Rocks.
Source: Video provided by Jonah Martinez.
Over the years I've found a lot of clad coins in the shallow water that were bent like those shown in the picture here.

Penny and Nickle Bent As Found

The picture shows just a couple examples of coins that I've found bent up, and some were bent almost in half.

If you try to bend a coin like that you'll find out how difficult it is.  That takes a lot of force.

I don't know exactly how it happens, but all the bent ones that I've found, if I correctly recall, were found near the water's edge or in shallow water. They were also found in areas where there were a lot of loose coral rocks.  I would see the rocks piled up at the edge of the water at times.  Sometimes you'd see them and other times not.  I'm sure the rocks got moved around, and sometimes piled up, and other times buried.  My guess is that the coins got trapped between rocks in rock piles and got bent when the rocks got shifted and buried.  That is my best theory at this point.

I see no evidence of anything like that on the recently recovered gold cobs - not even scratches.  What we see in the video is large rocks that would not move.

It appears to me, rightly or wrongly, that the gold cobs were well protected protected during the three hundred years they were lost,  Even hurricanes failed to damage them.

I'm guessing that these escudos did not drop immediately onto uncovered rocks when they were initially lost. I think either they were lost on the beach or in the water, but on sand, and then gradually settled as the sand moved.

There is the possibility that they were once in bags or boxes.  I know of no evidence of that though.

I think they gradually settled down into the rock crevices. Once covered by sand, even just a little, they would be well protected.

It is also possible that they didn't settled all of the way into the dips until sand was moved by the blowers. That is a possibility I want to look into. I have some experiments planned.

Once coins settle into the cracks and crevices and pot holes in the rocks, I think there is very little chance that even a hurricane would move them onto the beach again.  Those would certainly be protected from most, if not all violent water movement,  And they wouldn't move until the covering of sand was removed first.

If the escudos were lost on the beach or in deeper water or on sand over top of the rocks, they could settle deeper when the sand was moved.  I believe it would be possible for cobs to be lifted and even thrown, but in my opinion that would be very unusual and unlikely if they were protected by narrow crevices and deep pot holes.

There is still a lot to learn about how those escudos got to where they were found, but I think we may have at least started the journey.  I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

There are a lot of variables, for sure.  It seems near impossible to figure out all of this, but in the past year or two I've learned a heck of a lot that took me a few decades to learn.  For example, it took me a long time to understand and appreciate what I call "trigger points" and "drop points" and how that determines how items are sifted and sorted. For me, that was a big leap, and it just occurred in the past couple of years, and only after decades.


Tropical Storm Danny
Tropical storm Danny is now headed towards the Dominican Republic.  As you can see things are heating up in the Atlantic.  There are three there other disturbances out there.

Danny will soon be downgraded to a depression.  I don't think it will amount to much by the time it gets close to us.

Happy hunting,

Saturday, August 22, 2015

8/22/15 Report - A Hand Full Of Gold Cobs. A Gold Cob In Hiding. Hurricane Danny Heading Towards Puerto Rico.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Freshly Discovered Gold Cobs.
Photo by Fred Banke
Lately I've mostly been showing the recent finds.  We all love to see what has been found.  We love to see a piece of our history, especially local history.  Not many people will actually see it once the state takes it.

Seeing things like that gets people excited and motivated, but motivation will quickly fade if your only motivation is images of nice shiny things.  I don't doubt that there will be people who go out and buy a new detector and go metal detecting because of what they saw lately.  If those exciting images is the only thing motivating them, they'll quickly get hot, tired, frustrated and quit before long.  It doesn't help that beach conditions are so poor now.

For some, the excitement will only carry them through about two hunts before they quit.  It isn't quick and easy.  It can take a lot of time.

There are times when someone gets lucky.  I know of one lady that found a gold cob on her first time out with a metal detector.  That is like hitting Power Ball.  The odds are very very long against it.  People often go years or decades or even a lifetime without that kind of luck.

That is not what I started to talk about.  I just thought it needed to be said.

I started to say that I've been taking a lot of time showing what was found because it is historic and important, but all the fun doesn't stop with the find.  That is where a lot of the fun begins.

Like words, artifacts have meaning.

After Captain Jonah sent me a photo of all the musket balls they found, I thought he was probably close to the gold.  I remember that I actually drafted a brief email two times, but before hitting the send button I killed the emails before sending them.  It was nothing more than hot air anyhow, even though I thought I had reason to believe what I was going to say.  But the point is that I thought the musket balls were a good sign.

A find starts a whole new process of discovery.  What does the find mean to the hunter?  What does it tell us about history?  What does it tell us about the wreck?  What does it tell us about how things are distributed? What does it tell us about hunting techniques?  What does it all mean?  What does it tell us about ourselves?  What can be learned?  If you want good answers, start with good questions.

For me, metal detecting is very much about thinking, analyzing and learning.  My motivations changed over the years.  At first it was very much about what I could find and how much I could find.  Later it became more about learning and discovering.  I wanted to figure things out.  That kept me motivated, both when I was successful and maybe even more when I wasn't.  Now, I'm not really much impressed by finds - not even big finds.  It is more about meaning.  What does it mean?  What can we learn from it?

After showing and celebrating these historic finds, I'll be getting into more of the analysis of things in the future.


A few days ago I did a post on rocks being what I called the ground floor.  That is mostly true, but not entirely.

Did you know that coral can grow at up to 4 inches a year?  Lets say that we select a much more modest rate of growth - say .5 inch a year.  At that rate, in three hundred years the coral would grow 150 inches.  That is well over ten feet.  Are you seeing where I'm going with this?

A 300 year old shipwreck could have many feet of coral on top of it.  Same for artifacts.  That is why I am now saying rock is not "always" the ground floor even though it often is.

I've seen sand coalesce into sandstone or at least a sandstone-like comglomerate in a matter of just a very few years.

The point is that some old shipwreck items may be covered by coral or rock.  It can be a lot of rock too.  

I think I know of one place on the Treasure Coast where the rocks have encapsulated a wreck.  Maybe its just pieces of a wreck that formed the base for a reef.

I've seen old iron sticking out of the rocks there not too far from the water line.  If that is what I think it is, some artifacts would be permanently entombed.


Gold Cob Hiding In Crack.
Photo submitted by Jonah Martinez

Here is a very cool photo.  There is a gold cob or two, or maybe even three, hidden in that chunk of conglomerate.  You'll see rocks like that on the beach some times.

Very nice picture.  And something for you to remember.  Thanks once again Jonah!


Yesterday I posted a Lima gold cob being held by Fred B.  The cob was part of the recent haul made by the Capitana guys.  The cobs shown at the top of this post are also being held by Fred.  I'll take a more detailed look at some of the newly discovered cobs in the future.

One additional tid bit - One of the oldest. if not the oldest escudo of the newly discovered group. was an Old World cob.  That means it was minted in Spain and then traveled to the New World, where it was in circulation for a good time, and then was on the way back to Spain when it went down off of our Treasure Coast.  Quite a journey!  Brent Brisben told about that at the press release Thursday.


The state should photograph the finds, including those they claim as well as those they don't, and they should make the information available in a database and make it available to the public.

It is time that the history that is being saved for the public should actually be made accessible to the public.

If that was done items would be viewed more, studied more and more would be learned.  \

We are now getting open access scientific journals.  It is now time to have open access history.

You don't need a high level archaeologist to do all of that, all you need is a graduate student or trained monkey.  Nothing against graduate students.  Just thought that was funny.   I was one - in fact three times in three different fields. Not a monkey, a graduate student.


It appears that hurricane Danny is headed towards Puerto Rico. It is predicted to decrease in strength by then.  At this point it doesn't look like we'll get much from it, but who knows.

This is my fourth post on the recent 1715 Fleet Treasure Coast Finds, so you might want to look at the previous posts.

Happy hunting,

Friday, August 21, 2015

8/21/15 - More On The Capitana's 4.5 Million Dollar Treasure Coast Finds. See The Video. Bombs On The Beach.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Capitana Celebration
Photo taken and submitted by Fred B.
I have a lot more to post about the Captiana's recent finds.  There were about 300 2-escudos alone. Then there are all those beautiful royals, or as I now prefer to call them, rounds.  There is a lot to see and talk about.

I'll have a series of posts on these recent finds.  This is the third already, so there will be a few more. Maybe I'll spread them over a few days. I didn't plan to do so many posts on the finds, but it is the 300th Anniversary of the sinking of the 1715 Fleet, and the finds on that anniversary makes it a very auspicious occasion.  On top of that, I couldn't tell about the finds as soon as they were made, so I accumulated pictures and information.  Now I can tell more about it.

I heard Brent say it wasn't just coincidence.  He said the wreck wanted more of the story to be told on the 300th Anniversary.


Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be down there with your metal detector and you find a pile of gold cobs.  You're about to get some idea.

Captain Jonah sent me the following video clip.  It is a lot of fun..

One Frame From Following Video Clip.

Be sure your sound is on and click this link to start the fun video.

I love the sound of the detector and of the guys hooting and hollering under water.


Lima 8-escudos Found By The Capitana Guys
Photo by Fred B.
Fred B. was out where the Capitana was working one day and got some great pictures.  They let him hold this escudo, and took the photo with it in his hand.  He said he was excited to hold something like that.

Come to think of it, these guys remind me a little of the late and great Art McKee.  He was a friendly guy too.  He would give you a personal tour of his museum if you happened to come by when the was there.  He was even known to take people out to dive on a wreck site.

Back to the coin.  As you can see, it is an 8-escudo minted in Lima in 1711.  The mint mark is M. That is a common date I've been seeing in a lot of the pictures.  You might remember that 9 or 11 of the royals were of that date.

M is the mint mark of Felix Cristobal Cano Melgarejo, who was the assayer for gold coins in Lima from 1709 - 1729.

As is typical of cobs of this period in Lima, the legend is incomplete.  It would read ET YNDIARVM REX ANO 1711 if you could see it all.


In other important local news, they have been removing munitions from the beach lately just south of Vero Beach. A couple areas are included.  They attempted to remove two 500 pound bombs yesterday, but weren't successful.  They'll give that another try.

Here are the links for that story.


And the last thing for today is Danny.  Here is the projected track.

Projected Track of Danny.
There are two other disturbances out there tow.  They aren't storms yet.

If you didn't see the past two posts on the 1715 finds, you might want to go back and take a look.
I know that a lot of you have already seen those posts.

Happy hunting,

Thursday, August 20, 2015

8/20/15 Report - Nine 8-escudo Royal Beauties From Mexico. More On New Treasure Coast Discoveries. Brent Brisben on Fox News.

Written by the TreaureGuide for the exclusive use of

Newly Found Royals
Photos submitted by Captain Jonah Martinez.

Here are nine newly discovered royal beauties for your viewing pleasure.  Mostly dated 1711, but also a a couple 1712s.  All are mint marked OXMJ, as I hope you can see.

Here is a Fox News Video interview with Brent Brisben, co-founder of 1715 Fleet Queens Jewels, talking about the new finds, which besides Royals, also included 300 2-escudos as well as other denominations.  I showed some of those yesterday.

Brent Brisben Being Interviewed On Fox News
Source: link immediately below.

As exciting as all that is, you might wonder what all of that has to do with the beach hunter.  People will get excited and get out on the beach wanting to find gold coins, but not a lot has changed for the beach hunter since the big find.  Beach conditions remain unchanged.

Beach hunters have been marching up and down that beach just yards away from where those coins were found for months now with little result.  Think about that.  Think about how close all that gold was. So close and yet so far.  The Capitana guys weren't a hundred yards off-shore. These finds were made in just a few feet of water in front of the beach.

Metal detecting, like horse-shoes is a game of inches.  As much as we love our super detectors, coins have to be right under the coil, and not only that, they can not be down very far under the coil.  You can miss a coin by an inch one way or another, either being to one side or down too deep.

Did you ever imagine that there was so much treasure so close to where you were walking?  Those things have been out there for three hundred years.  Some people have said, its all gone.  There's nothing left.  How wrong they were!

The main point for the beach detectorists is that you never know what is just below your feet or just a little over to one side or another.

Don't forget.  This isn't the norm for the salvage crews either.  This is a BIG hit.  It was years in coming.  It has been a long time since anything like this.  It took perseverance.  It took work.  There have been many hot frustrating days and dry holes.  Then the big hit.

It makes it all the more special that it doesn't happen all the time.  It is so hard to come by and so rare that the celebration is that much greater.

We don't have their feelings.  We didn't have their experience.  But we can relate to it in one way or another.  And we can all share in the celebration.

We all know what it is like to work and work and work with little to show for our efforts, not knowing when we might finally hit the big one, and then one day, there it is.

Let us all celebrate work and the human spirit, Let us all celebrate adventure and life itself, as we go through the ups and downs of life.  Let us all learn the lesson of perseverance too.

I've said before in this blog that there is a lot of treasure under the sand right in front of the beach. Some day we'll have a storm like the famed Thanksgiving Day storm that I wrote about a few months ago, and beach conditions will change.  The beach will be littered with coins.  Maybe you'll be lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time.

Not all of the coins will be gold or old.  But when discovered they will all be a part of the adventure and become a part of someone's life.

You might remember when I posted an ad for Captain Jonah in this blog before the salvage season began when he was looking for one more diver.  He found that diver through this blog.  And that diver, who had contributed to this blog from time to time before that, got to be a part of this big find. I'm really happy for that diver.  And I'm glad that this blog played some very small part - as infinitesimally small and remote as it was. And I'm happy that the captain and crew of the Capitana just became a big part of treasure history.

We are all fortunate to be able to see these newly discovered historic coins.  Thanks for sharing guys!


Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.  Romans 12:15.


Don't forget to look at yesterday's post if you didn't see it.  More coins shown there.

The Atlantic is heating up.  Besides tropical storm Danny, there are two other disturbances.

Keep watching Danny.

Happy hunting,