Sunday, September 27, 2015

9/27/15 Report - History of "Money Digging." Tropics More Active. Rare Coins On Auction.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

A Couple Fine Coins From An Upcomng Sothebys Auction
Source: See Sothebys link below. 

Have you ever heard of money diggers?  That is how they described treasure hunters in the early days of our country.

Treasure hunting was much practiced in the U. S. long before there was a United States.  Religious and other leaders of the day participated, as well as the common folk. Joseph Smith, founder of the Church of Latter Day Saints, was a money digger.

I found an article about the Joseph Smith's treasure hunting activities.  The article talked about Joseph Smith, but it also tells a lot about the history and superstitions associated with money digging.

Thetitle of the article is The Persisting Idea of American Treasure Hunting.  It was written by Ronald W Walker, and was originally published in BYU Studies, back in the 1980s.

Here is one paragraph from that lengthy paper.

From colonial times to at least the age of Jackson, Americans dug for magical treasure.  There were hundreds and probably thousands of these "money diggers," all seeking troves of fabled coins, mines, jewels and other valued prizes. They worked from the Atlantic Coast to the Mississippi hinterlands, and in a few localities heaped up tailings that rivaled those of the later forty-niners.  Yet for all this prodigious toil their finds were as rare as Merlin's transmuted gold.  What made them persist, relying on an immemorial but now forgotten world view, the money diggers placed faith in conjuring, elemental spirits, thrice spoken dreams, seeric gifts and enchanted treasure that could slip and rumble through the earth as easily as a fish moving through the deep.  The modern age will probably never fully understand the diggers strange compound of treasure seeking, religious feeling and intense psychological devotion to an old but fading way of life.  Theirs was another world which we can speak of but hardly enter.

 Here is the link if you want to read the entire article.

Treasure hunting is an activity that inspires superstition.  Treasure hunters seek the unseen.  They depend to some extent upon luck, no matter how scientific and thorough they are.  Intuition can be a  big part of it,  Guesswork is also a part of it.  Despite all of the hard work and diligent effort, the outcome is uncertain, and success and failure begs for explanation other than pure chance.

Few of us share the superstitions common among the money diggers of the 18th century.  There are some that still use dowsing and other methods that do not have the support of science.  For the most part metal detectors have replaced dowsing rods, but many treasure hunters still experience the hunt as being somehow mystical, if not religious.

As Ronald Walker's paper details, treasure hunting has a long and deep history in America.  No wonder!  It is as instinctual as curiosity.  It is as natural as work and progress.


If you watched TV the last few days it would have been difficult to miss the throngs of people that gathered excitedly to see the Pope.  It just goes to show how much of a hunger there is for the virtues characterized by the Pope and the Faith.

People of all faiths, as well as those of no religious faith at all, had good things to say about the Pope.  Many were moved to tears.  Congress, where leaders often rail for separation of church and state, seemed to have forgotten about their common cry for that separation.  Politicians of all stripes appeared to be deeply moved by the Pope's character and presence.  None had anything bad to say about him. News anchors, who usually are either hostile or at the very least show no friendship to religion, were also moved.  Nobody that I saw had anything critical to say about the man, including the aetheists, anti-religious, and those that are typically against religion.

It seemed to me that I was seeing a different side to the world.  Not in the Pope, He did not surprise me.  Nor did those of faith.  It was the politicians and media that surprised me.   It was those who make decisions for us and present the world to us.  It was also the unanimous, or what appeared to me to be the unanimous, interest, excitement and over-whelmingly positive reaction to this religious leader.

It appears to me that there is a deep world-wide hunger for authenticity and virtue and leadership. For a few days, on the TV news at least, conflict, hate and evil did not dominate.

Security was evident at every turn.  That shows that there is still evil in the world.  Maybe it was crowded out for a time - at least off of the TV screens that present so much of what we take to be the world.  Maybe what they normally present, with their continual emphasis on conflict and tragedy, gives us a lop-sided view of things.  I'm sure it does.  Maybe the imbalance swung the other way for a few days, and we'll soon be back to normal.  My hope is that it was not an illusion, and that in some small way we and the world were permanently changed for the better.


I recommend spending some time with the,30.477,-80.112,6 web site.  Not only will it give you a animated map showing the wind, but also the swell and waves.  Also if you place the cursor on any specific location it will give you detailed information for that location.  Give it a try.  Great  tool!


Here is a site where you can see some great photos of some great coins.  The two coins shown at the top of this post are from this web site.


The past couple of days, I did a little detecting on a flat beach and found a good number of coins.  I didn't test any of the steeper beaches.

There are now two tropical disturbances in addition to Ida.  Ida doesn't seem to want to go away and is lingering out in the Atlantic.

There is one disturbance in the Gulf and one East of the Bahamas.  The one in the Gulf has a 10% chance of becoming a cyclone in the next 48 hours, and the one out East has a 20% chance.  Both are affecting our wind patterns.

For the next few days we'll be having something like a 3 - 5 foot surf.  There is a chance we will eventually get some significant beach improvement.

Happy hunting,