Wednesday, February 24, 2016

2/24/16 Report - Last Naval Battle Of The American Revolution. Embrittlement of Silver and Importance of Storing Things Carefully.

Written by the Treasureguide for the exclusive use of

March 5 there will be there will be an event commemorating the last naval battle of the American Revolution.  Above is the front of a flyer from the Sons of the American Revolution describing the event.

Captain John Barry left France on December 8, 1782, and arrived in the port of Martinique on January 8, 1783. There he received orders from Robert Morris, dated October 11, 1782, sending him to Havana to pick up "specie for Congress" and deliver the cargo to Philadelphia. Despite the long wait for the orders, Captain Barry prepared his ship for the journey. Along the way during his cruise to Havana, the Alliance had spotted various vessels just off the horizon, but was never quite able to identify them or give chase. Ultimately he realized that several British vessels were patrolling the waters and more than once he had to use the speed of the Alliance to avoid capture...

Here is a link for more information about the battle.

If you have an ancestor who fought in the revolution you are eligible to join the SAR.


If I only knew then what I know now!  How often have you thought that?  That has been on my mind recently.

One of things I would do differently is store finds more carefully.  You might be surprised how things that survived many years in the ocean or on a beach will break for apparently very little cause.

Some things you expect to break easily, such as glass or pottery, but sometimes things you would never expect to break do.

I've been surprised by some metal items that cracked and broke.  You'd think that if they survived for so long in the wild that they wouldn't break just sitting in a box or whatever, but it happens, and it can be very disappointing when it does happen.

Silver and gold can both be more brittle than you might think.  Not long ago I talked about tumbaga.  Tumbaga, which can look like pure gold, but it can have high percentages of other alloys, such as copper, which makes it much more brittle.

I had s silver side plate for an old gun in a box with a bunch of coins.  It broke.  Who would have thought?  And after all of those years.

Silver can corrode in ways that makes it brittle.  I found a good study that talks about that.  The title is of that paper is Embrittlement in archaeological silver artifacts: Diagnostic and remedial techniques.

Unfortunately only part of the article is available online, but here is the link.

I never expected it to break under the circumstances, but it did.   Knowing what I know now, and considering that and other cases, it is better to store things very carefully even if you might think it isn't necessary.

It is always good to separate items made of different metals too.  Silver is especially vulnerable to being fowled by other metals that touch it.   It is just a good idea to store things in separate containers, coin holders or whatever.  Don't forget good labels with dates, locations and other information.

Remember, that as this article shows, silver, like other metals, can be corroded in ways that makes it more brittle.


I haven't been out much lately due to a combination of causes.

The surf is decreasing along the Treasure Coast.  Expect that for the next few days.

Happy hunting,