Thursday, October 15, 2015

10/15/15 Report - A Find's History May Be More Complex Than You Think. Million Dollar Historic Photo Found. 600-Year-Old Warship Found. Nine Foot Surf Coming.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Gold Snuff Box Held By Captain Jonah Martinez
Electrolysis Tank At The
Conservation Lab in Sebastian


The tendency is to over-simplify.  If you find an old item, the tendency is to believe that it was simply lost there.  That might be the case sometimes, but there are also times when things are moved two, three or more times, and they can be moved in ways that are seldom considered.

Years ago I found an escudo that the evidence suggests could have been lost and recovered three different times.  It seems it was once lost in a shipwreck, then salvaged and put on another ship, which sank and was lost again.  It was then salvaged by a salvage company and sold and then lost in the ocean at a resort and then found again.  That would be a remarkable sequence of events, but very possible.

It might not be possible to trace a specific coin's history like that very often, but I'm sure that many coins have a similarly interesting history.  When you find an item, don't assume that it was simply dropped where it was found.  A lot could have happened to it.

It is easy to think of a shipwreck dumping items in the ocean, but often forgotten is the mining of the gold and silver, transport of the raw materials to the mint, and the trip from the mint overland and by sea to the port where they were loaded onto the ship that eventually sank.  It is also easy to forget the chaos during the storms and sinking, and the first attempts at recovery, the movement along the beach to a salvage camp, and the movement of salvaged items.  And then there were the pirates, individual thefts, and salvaged by the natives.

I've read where gold chains from shipwrecks were hung in trees.  If you found one of those chains, it might be found alone and with no clue as to why it was found where it was.  You would know that it got there somehow and that would tell you to check for more items, but you probably wouldn't find much else - certainly nothing like if it was found at a shipwreck site or salvage camp site.

The point I am making is that items may have a more complex history than we think.  There are many ways that things can end up where they are found - especially when you consider a period of hundreds of years.  It isn't always a simple matter of things going down with the ship and then being washed onto a beach.  There are a lot things that can happen at different times. There are a lot of ways that items can be moved and lost and found again. Items that are lost are not always lost once.

I suspect that during salvage, items that were picked up were occasionally lost again.  Ropes slip, chains break, and things can be dropped.  That all contributes to the distribution pattern, and means that things can be found where they are not expected.

Even when it comes to modern items, things can be lost and found multiple times.  In the process they can be moved from one location to another - sometimes far away.  That sort of thing is perhaps most obvious at resorts where items are brought from around the world and lost at the resort.  For some items, such as foreign coins, it you might suspect that they have traveled long distances before being lost, but for many, you might never guess how many times they have been lost and found or how they have moved around the world.

I've found items that I lost and found again.  I remember one thin gold chain with a medallion (made in Italy by the way) that I dug up and put in my pocket.  It was probably a couple of miles back to the car and my pocket had a small hole in it and the chain was dropped about half way back to the car.  I walked back along the beach and was lucky enough to find it again.  But the point I am making, is that right there in a very small amount of time, the object was found after having been lost, moved, lost again and found again.

I have no doubt that some of the items I've found and returned have been lost again, or perhaps sold and resold or maybe given away.

Think about the journey that cobs and other items have made.  Think about where the silver or gold was mined and where the cobs were minted.  Think about the trip they made before they were loaded onto the ship.  Think about the chaos of a hurricane, and how things are spread around.  Think about the early recovery efforts and the attempt to assemble and store things before transporting them again.  And think about all of the things that could happen at any part of the process.

Just because you find an item at such and such a place doesn't mean that its journey was simple or that the object didn't take many side trips along the way.  We'll never know about many of those side trips, but it might be worth considering the various possibilities.


Among a group of photos purchased for $2 was a rare photo of Billy the Kid playing croquet, which is thought to be worth a million dollars or more.


Aerial photography helps find a 600-year-old warship buried in river mud.


Still the big news for me is the predicted five to nine foot seas for the Treasure Coast this coming Monday.   That prediction has held steady for a couple of days.  That doesn't always happen.  We still have four days to go.

The wind is supposed to be mostly out of the north up until then and then get stronger and more easterly.  I'd rather they continue from the north.

Nonetheless, that is something to watch and be ready for.

Happy hunting,