Thursday, June 30, 2016

6/30/16 Report - Counterfeiting In Colonial America and Implications For Spanish Colonial Cobs.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

I found some good information on counterfeiting in colonial America the other day.  There was a
ton of good information, including some good hints for detectorists.

First, here is a quote from an article entitled entitled The Golden Age of Counterfeiting that was published in the Summer 2007 Colonial Williamsburg Newsletter.  In the early eighteenth century, counterfeiting in America entered a kind of golden age that would last for roughly a hundred and fifty years. And these were high-stake years, because phony money threatened to weaken confidence in the finances of the young nation. Without trust in the dollar, there could be no commerce; without commerce, there could be no country. The history of America's money is largely a history of the struggle to keep a step ahead of the forgers.

In the same article, author Jack Lynch says the following.

A common practice was to clip or shave small amounts of silver or gold from each coin and to accumulate enough shavings to sell them as bullion. Coin clipping prompted monetary crises across Europe and its colonies, forcing people to rethink the notion of value. A shilling coin, for example, was supposed to contain one shilling's worth of silver—but, as the coins passed through one unscrupulous hand after another, more and more metal was trimmed, and the difference between intrinsic values and face values grew ever wider. In 1662, therefore, England began using machines to give coins milled edges, like the ridges that appear on modern dimes and quarters, which make it easier to spot clipped coins. But the older pieces remained in circulation until the end of the century, and they continued to be clipped. According to one estimate, by 1695, clippers had reduced the old handmade coins to about half of their original weight, the rest of the gold and silver circulating in an underground economy. It took a systematic revaluation of the currency, with all the old hand-minted coins removed from circulation, to solve the problem.

Half of their original weight!  

When clipping became more difficult, counterfeiters turned to making their own coins.   

Paper money was new and confusing to many colonists.  As a result it was easy to pass doctored bills.

Here is the link to that article.

What really got me started on this topic today was an interesting book that I found online.  You can read part of it free.  It is full of information that I think any detectorist would find interesting.

The book I am talking about is Counterfeiting in Colonial America by Kenneth Scott.  Much of the counterfeiting described had to do with paper currency, but there were also individuals who modified coins or made their own coinage.  I learned that the British made counterfeit currency to cause problems for the colonial economy during the revolution.  I'm sure that we could do better in the war on terror if we'd use more diverse techniques.

On a side note, it seems the wife of the Orlando shooter who attended the Islamic Center in Fort Pierce has disappeared.  It was easy to see that coming.  The father of the shooter as much as said it was going to take place.  I personally don't think the administration wants her to be found.  My bet is that they don't want to put her through any investigation that might become public, and they want the whole thing to be forgotten as quickly as possible.

Here is an interesting excerpt from the Kenneth Scott book.

Fake coins, usually Spanish and Portuguese gold and silver, were those most generally imitated. Much of the the work was careless, as when milled pieces of eight, dated 1754 were struck with the name PHILIP instead of FERDINAND on them, or when the pieces were too light or rang false or showed quicksilver oozing out of them or would shatter when thrown on the ground or showed the marks of filing to remove the nob left where the metal had been poured into the mold.  On the other hand, the public was defenseless against such masterpieces as the doubloons which were circulating in and about Philadelpia in 1748 and 1749.  

One merchant, Christopher Sauer, had such a coin examined by three goldsmiths before it was finally discovered that the coin was only one-half gold.  Christopher wondered, If, then, goldsmiths cannot differentiate the coins by their appearance, how is the farmer, who has, indeed, had little gold in his hands, to recognize them?

Counterfeiting was a real problem.  It was a crime that often went unpunished.

Here is another excerpt from the same book.

It is quite possible that Smith was actually guilty of clipping, but it was extremely difficult to prove the crime as his case shows.  Suspicion again fell upon him, for at a session of the court held in Burlington in August 1701, Thomas South testified before the grand jury that in November 1700, Elizabeth Hill, who was making the bed in a chamber upstairs, called to him to come up to her.  He did so and, on looking in her father's closet, among other assorted items found a coffee dish containing clippings of coin to the value of ten or twelve shillings...

When it was punished it was often punished in what we might consider a cruel way, such as loss of a finger or ear or lashes on the back.  Here is an example from the Scott book.

If you want to go directly to the Scott book, click here.

You might also want to browse old issues of the American Numismatic Society Newsletter.  For example, I found the following report of a mid 1700s event described in an 1882 issue of the American Numismatic Society Newsletter.  (Read Goal as jail.) 

I never appreciated how prevalent and how important counterfeiting was in colonial America.  If you read through this type of material you'll read about counterfeiters trying to get rid of the evidence.  I also read about printing plates being hid in walls and in wells.  And who knows where all the clippings went or where the counterfeits were discarded, concealed or lost.

Realizing how prevalent counterfeiting was, old counterfeits might show up at any time.

It makes you think about how prevalent counterfeiting must have been in Spanish Colonial areas. There must be more contemporary counterfeits than we realize.  The presumption that we can always recognize them could be a mistake.   Although we know that some cobs were minted underweight, I wonder how many were clipped or shaved.

I especially wonder about salvage sites, where I would not be surprised if there was a lot of opportunistic shaving or clipping as well as outright theft.

I've entertained the idea that something else might have been going on at the salvage beaches.  I won't say exactly what yet.  I hope to gain more evidence before posing my theory.


No change in beach conditions or tropical weather.

Happy hunting,

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

6/29/16 Report - Compact and Loose Beach Sand. How It Happens and Why It Is Important To The Detectorist.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Did you ever walk out onto the beach and sink in the sand up to your ankles?  It is like that sometimes.  Sometimes the sand is soft and fluffy and other times it is packed and firm.  Sand is sand, so what makes the difference?

Actually there are a variety of types of sand.  There is sand made of rocks, shells or coral for example.  And each of those an be worn and polished to different degrees.

But what makes it fluffy or firm?  Sand that is firm has little space between the grains, but that isn't the only important thing.  The amount of friction between the grains is very important.

Grains that are smooth and round barely touch each other, so there is little friction.

Angular grains, on the other hand, will settle, touching each other at multiple locations and over various areas, interlocking something like stones in a wall.

Here are two illustrations from the SandScapes website showing smooth grains compared to angular grains.

Smooth Grains (left) and Angular Grains (right).

The surf smooths sand over time, and like everything else on a beach, sand gets sifted and sorted, as do shells and lost objects such as coins and rings.

Irregular grains can be compacted, as shown in the next illustration from the same site.

Here is what the web site says.  Uncompacted sand has relatively large pore spaces between the grains but compacted sand shrinks these spaces increasing points of contact between the individual grains and thereby increasing the friction between them. The more friction there is, the more resistant the grains are to separation.

One other important dynamic is "cross-linking", a term from soils engineering. Forcing randomly shaped grains tightly together causes many of them to naturally cross-link. Cross-linking is a common technique in masonry work where vertical joints between bricks, stones and block joints are intentionally staggered thereby vastly increasing the strength of the structure.

...Finer sands will naturally have smaller pore spaces and angular grains are most likely to tightly interlock and cross-link. Rounded grains will always have larger pore spaces between grains no matter how well compacted, and a naturally smooth surface further reduces friction. Beyond being merely rounded as the individual grains become more spherically shaped the grains also become incapable of cross-linking. Try to imagine stacking a pile of bowling balls...

I am talking about sand here, not clay or silt.  Clay has a particle size ranging from .002 inches down, and silt has a particle size ranging from .003 inches to .002 inches.  Clay and silt are cohesive and tightly bound together by molecular attraction.

I always like to see clay or silt exposed on a beach, but it does not happen very often.

Sand is not compacted by downward pressure so much as vibration.  A compactor, maybe like one used to compact sand for paving bricks on a driveway, vibrates.  The vibrations penetrate down through the sand.

Both construction workers and sand sculptors add water to sand before compacting, and they generally do it in layers.

So how does sand get compacted on the beach?  Well, first off you want relatively small grain sand. Then water.  Then the third thing is vibration.

The water is easy enough to come by, but what causes the vibration.  My thought is that the pounding surf does an excellent job of pushing pressure waves down through saturated or semi-saturated sand. You can hear the crashing surf miles away if you are someplace where it is not too noisy.

Enough of the how, now we'll get to why it is important.

If you are hunting recent drops in dry sand all of this doesn't matter much, but if you want to find older things, it is more important.

First off, I think almost everybody agrees that deep fluffy sand is not a good sign for the detectorist that wants to something other than recent drops.

Some people might say that things sink in soft fluffy sand.  When you drop something having weight, that certainly happens, but once it sets there a while it is not going to sink any deeper without some sort of agitation.  There is agitation of various kinds, though.  In the dry sand, wind moves sand, and so does rain, as do people walking and running.  But most important to me is the agitation caused by the surf flowing and pounding, and in some cases washing up more sand to cover what ever was there before.

Compacted sand, will not move as easily as loose sand.  Loose sand will wash away, while the more compacted sand remains.   Of course that compact sand could eventually wash away too, but it will take more to do it.  To use terminology I recently used, the trigger point will have to be higher before the compacted sand will start to move.

The vast majority of cobs that I've found have not been deeply buried in the sand.  Some were visible on the surface.  Almost all have been within a couple inches of the surface.  They are seldom found in soft fluffy sand, but sometimes they are in a slab of sand that just came off the front of an eroded cliff or flipped up over the face of a cut.

Compact sand is a good sign.  I often go by feel as well as sight.

I should stop there for now.

I have fascinating information about counterfeiting colonial coinage that I'll get into some day soon.

Here is the link to the web site I referenced a lot today.

Nothing much has changed on the beach.  We still have a small surf.

Happy hunting,

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

6/28/16 Report - How Water Sorts Things On The Beach. Gold and Emerald Finds.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Gold and Emerald Ring and Gold Chain.
If you hunt where older people predominate you won't find nearly as much.  They don't do cartwheels or  dive for volleyballs, but they do lose some things.  The young people have been wearing more white gold, while the older people are still wearing a good bit of their older yellow gold.  The emerald ring is 14K, and the chain is 10K.  Both are recent finds.


A week or so ago I said I would explain why some days there are shells on the beach and other days not.  A lot of the same principles apply to coins.  I decided that I would have to repeat some things so you'd have some important background information.

As you would suspect, it takes more water velocity to move some items that it takes to move others. It isn't all about size or weight.  Density and shape are two important factors that I've discussed in the past.

While objects will be transported by water moving at a given velocity, it takes more velocity to dislodge settled particles and get them moving than it takes to keep them moving.

The velocity required to dislodge particles and get them moving is what I have referred to as the "trigger point."  That isn't the scientific term.  It is just the term I use.

Clay makes a good example.  It consists of very fine particles that transport very easily in water when suspended, but due to what I'll simply call the "stickiness," it takes a good bit more force to dislodge the clay particles to get them moving.

Different objects, in addition to having different trigger points, also have different "drop" points. When the water slows, there is a point when a particle will drop out or settle.  The same thing happens with objects.  When objects are being moved by a current, they will "drop" out, or settle, when the water slows enough.

The water has to be very calm before fine clay particles drop out, for example, while sand drops out while the water is moving a little more rapidly, and pebbles will stop moving when the water is moving still faster.

Below is one of the most helpful illustrations that I have seen.  It sums up a lot of what I just said.

In the illustration, the straight red line between the other two red lines shows the increasing velocity required to move larger particles and objects when a laminar current is assumed and other factors are not taken into account.

I won't try to explain what laminar flow is other than to say that it is a simple straight parallel flow. Look up "laminar flow" if you want.

The curved red line to the right of the straight line shows that pebbles are moved when the water velocity reaches near 100 cm/s.  The same line curves to the left as particle size decreases because it requires less water velocity to move smaller particles such as sand.  It then curves back to the right again because it requires faster water to get silt and clay moving.

The curved red line to the right of the straight line on the graph shows it takes more water velocity to move clay than pebbles even though pebbles are much larger than particles of clay.

The most important thing to get is that objects such as sand, coins, rings and all kinds of things, have different trigger points and require different amounts of water force to get them moving.  They also have different "drop" points, which is when they drop out of transport and settle on the surface.

Fine sand requires less current to get it moving and keep it moving than coarse sand or shells, but fine sand keeps moving as the water slows and shells drop out of transport.

Water flows up onto the beach, and then flows back down again.  When it washes straight up onto the beach, it washes back down the same path.  Sometimes an incoming flow hits the backwash, which stops the flow, and items drop out.

Lets say the water is moving up the slope of the beach fast enough to move the sand up the slope.  As the water gets higher on the slope, the water slows and the sand is deposited.  If the water is not moving fast enough to move the shells, then more sand gets deposited on the beach.  If on the other hand the water is moving fast enough to move both sand and shells, the sand might get moved farther up the slope than the shells, but if the water slows enough to drop the shells, but retreats fast enough to take the sand back down with, you will be left with a shell pile.

There are times, as we know, that the water washes onto the beach at an angle rather than straight up onto the beach.  When that happens, it does not slow so much at the peak.  The water also makes an arc, slicing onto and off of the beach, without being slowed so much.

The water moves onto the beach and back down with each wave, but there are also the tidal cycles to take into a account, and they are very important.  And there are still other things as well, such as where the waves are crashing.   It is not laminar flow (sorry if you did not look it up), but turbulent flow.

I ll stop there for today.  There are other important and interesting factors that come into play at different times, such as how compact the sand is.  I'll probably pick up with some of those topics some other time.

Much of what I said today I've said before, but I did add some.


There is still no tropical weather of any significance.  And we still have a small surf.

Happy hunting,

Monday, June 27, 2016

6/27/16 Report - A Little Shallow Water Hunting Today.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Speedo Goggles Found Today
Good Post-Apocalyptic Fashion Accessory.

I did a little hunting this morning as low tide was approaching.  The surf was smooth - less than one foot.  Here is a picture of what I saw.

Beach This Morning Just Before Low Tide.
You can see that the dry sand shows a lot of recent activity.  The sand was piled up on the front beach though.  The shallow water was also mushy.

I was going to detect somewhere else today, but stopped here for a little while first.  I decided to do a little shallow water hunting.  It was too sandy to be much good, but there were some recent drops.

The first thing I found was an ear ring.  I haven't tested it yet.

One of the next things I found was the Speedo Goggles shown in the photo at the top of the post. They were washing around in the shallow water. I talked about Found Fashion yesterday.  The goggles seem to fit in very well.

After that I found a series of coins separated by a few pieces of junk.  The coins showed no sign of having been in the water.  They were lost that recently.  I'd say no more than a day or so, at most.

A lot of the time I'd just move on to another location, but I wanted to check  out this site until the tide went down some more.

Same Beach This Morning.
This beach is one of those places where you seldom find anything really good.  The people that go there wear cheap stuff.  You have to find a lot of cheap things here to find anything good.

I'd rather find things that are tarnished or corroded and show signs of being in the water for a while. There just wasn't any of that at this location today.

It you are out to maximize the value of your finds, you'd be better off at another type of location. If that is what you are trying to do it is better to  go for the high-value finds even if there are fewer finds overall.  I've gone through that before.  You might look at my post on math for metal detecting, for example.

When you are getting recent drops, there isn't much of a pattern because things are pretty close to where they were lost.  They haven't been sifted and sorted much yet.

I know the places where swimmers tend to congregate at this beach.  And I know the areas that are detected most.  I can always get some jewelry at one spot, even if it is cheap stuff.

After a little while it was time to move to the other location I wanted to detect today.  I've found some old and interesting things there before but hadn't been there for months.  As much as anything I wanted to see what had been going on there.

That beach had been building too.  In the past there had been erosion there and some old finds popped up.  Today it was mostly sandy, but I did find one area where an old cliff had been eroded back.  Older coins were found there, as well as a few other interesting things.

If you didn't look around the bend you probably would have concluded that the entire beach was all sanded in, yet there were a few better spots.  I knew by the look of it, that some older coins would be found there.  It is an area that almost never gets detected.


We're supposed to have a one to two-foot surf for several days.  There is no tropical weather to watch.

The water hunting is easy, but the conditions aren't much good unless you are in an area where there are a lot of people dropping a lot of good stuff.  You'll be able to find a lot of recent drops, but not so much older stuff.

I still have some technical topics that I haven't quite finished yet.

Happy hunting,

Sunday, June 26, 2016

6/26/16 Report - Found Fashion - Post-Apocalyptic Fashion by TG.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Small Sample of Found-Fashion Hats.
The changing seasons are echoed by the changing fashions displayed by detectorist marching up and down the beach like runway models in New York, Paris or Milan.  But unlike the uber trendy shows that feature stiff stick-like models strutting with their nose in the air and an arrogant look of disdain fitting only for a U. S. President that must bear with the utmost disgust the existence of peasants that disagree, the models of Found Fashion are of every physic, from perfectly round to angular straight line.

Found Fashion exalts the joy of happy accident.  For those less committed or less accomplished, Found Fashion can be combined with retail elements.  Sun-block clothing in pastel colors or frantic prints and stark shadow-man black wetsuit neoprene  offer suitable, though compromising, contrasts for genuine Found Fashion treasures.

Found Fashion is wearable Found Art.  For the detectorist, it is a natural.  Of course detetected watches, rings and other metallic found items can be worn. but there are also non-metallic finds such as hats, gloves, foot wear and even shirts and hoodies.

In the picture at the top of the post you see a small sample of the hats that I have found.  I wear the ones that fit from time to time.  Hats are one of the first things people lose on a beach or when out in a boat.  I have a good collection.  They frequently are found at the water line.  Of coursed I clean them before using them, but they do come in handy.

Found fashion is also a type of recycling.  There is just something I like about finding things that can be used. (By the way, the bench in the picture is made from found boards and wood left over from trimmed trees.)

I like the variety of Found Fashion.  It doesn't drain your pocket, and you never know what you might find.  If you keep your eyes open, you'll find a large variety.  You'll likely be able to find hats representing sports teams, companies, and different areas of the country.  You might see me wearing a hat from Hawaii, Chicago, or San Francisco on any given day.  I've been to some of those places, but never bought a hat there.

Found Fashion is a post-retail clashing cacophony of color and style that startles and surprises the senses and challenges the pre-apocalyptic order-seeking mind.  It is a statement of laissz-faire that screams, "Let the universe decide and provide."

I hope the whimsy didn't obscure the message today.   I've done this so consistently over a such long period of time that occasionally I feel like doing something a little off the wall.

Found Copper Thunderbird.
This copper thunderbird pendant is an example of Found Fashion.  It  was found around where Chuck's Steak House was, just north of where Bon Steel Park is today.  It was slightly but not totally cleaned, and was recently shown on web site owned by an actual former runway model.


A piece of a medicine bottle possibly from the lost colony was found.

Here is the link.


I'm still working on the post about the movement of sand and shells.  It is complicated and I am trying to make it as clear and concise as I can.


I don't feel like doing any more today.  Hopefully if you didn't find this post helpful, maybe you at least found it a tad amusing.


We have a smooth surf, hot weather and no tropical activity of any interest.

Happy hunting.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

6/25/16 Report - A Lot of Beach Finds From GoldNugget. A Web Site For Identifying WW II and Aviation Finds. Restoration of LaBelle.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Really Nice Beach Finds.
Finds and photos by GoldNugget.

My 6/23/16 post provided a link to a North Carolina beach photo showing a beach as it appeared after the April storms.  The video was made by Gosports1, also known as GoldNugget. You might want to look at the post and video again to see the conditions that produced the coins and buttons shown today.

More Great Finds By GoldNugget.
Closer View of 1853 Half Dime by GoldNugget.
Button Find by GoldNugget
Besides coins and buttons, GoldNugget also found some other things.  Here are some shell casings he found at another beach.  50 caliber Browning shells show up regularly along much of the Florida East Coast, but I haven't seen many of them on the Treasure Coast for some time.

WWII Shell Casings Found by GoldNugget.
As most of you know, WW II training exercises were held along the Treasure Coast.

GoldNugget said,  "The imprint stamped on the brass casings are SL 43 and TW 45

As with most Old  Beach  Coins from the 1700-1800's it's hard to get a date,

One of the Large Cent was laying on top of the sand ( Note Eye Spy ).  This happens when the water pushes over the top sand level and will leave some coins on top. I have found a lot of coins like this. , Easier than finding shark teeth.

Three of the best coins were found from 8;00 PM until 12:00 AM - my 1st time Detecting the Beach after dark in over 20 years, not that I won't do it again if I can fill up my finds pouch.

Notice the fishing weights were the old round style.  I only found 2 that were pyramid shape with the leaders."

Thanks for sharing GoldNugget.  And congratulations on great finds.

I talked about shell casings in my 2/17/12 post and gave information telling what the marks mean on those types of casings mean.

The shells marked SL 43 were loaded by the St. Louis Ordnance Plant in 1943, and those marked TW 45 were loaded at the Twin Cities Ordnance Plant in Minneapolis in 1945.

Below is a web site that gives the markings for all of the ordnance plants as well as a lot of other interesting WW II information.  You might want to take a look at that link.


La Belle was one of four ships under the command of French explorer La Salle.  It sank into the muddy waters of the Gulf where it remained until archaeologists discovered it in Matagorda Bay, about 100 miles south-west of Houston.

It took 17 years to restore the La Belle, which left France on the orders of King Louis XIV in 1684 to establish a new colony.  The ship was full of cargo when it sank, including everything required to start a trading colony.  Cannons, three dozen long guns, swords, Jesuit rings, combs and clothing, glass bottles and beads, brass tins, casks and pewter plates were among the artifacts recovered.

Here is the link if you want to read more.


Nothing new about Treasure Coast beach conditions.

Happy hunting,

Friday, June 24, 2016

6/24/16 Report - Raw Beach Emerald Finds and My Most Sentimental Detecting Finds.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

A Couple of Small Poor Quality Beach Emeralds 

Yes Virginia, the Treasure Coast does have emeralds.  Above are two small ones recently found on Treasure Coast shipwreck beaches.  Unfortunately, they are poor - not transparent or "gemmy" at all. I've found larger and nicer ones.  I don't know what could be done with these ones, but I'm going to find out someday.  Maybe they wouldn't look bad if they were polished or cabbed.


I talked a little about this topic before, but felt like revisiting it today.  If you ever get the chance to metal detect around where you grew up and where you played as a young child do it.  I did, and I'm glad I did.

I knew those spots like no other person that ever lived.  There was the bare spot in the shade under the pussy willow tree where me and Bed Bug used our toy trucks and cars and bulldozer to make small dirt roads.

Sixty Some Years Ago

There was a flat rock-paved area in grandma's back yard where we pitched a tent and camped out.

There was the area just outside grandma's back door where the table and lawn chairs were set for family picnics.

There was the area where the old swing stood.  The swing set served as my field goal post as I learned to kick a football, which eventually paid for part of my college education.

There was another small flat area beside a shed that once had a basketball hoop nailed to the side.  It wasn't a very good basketball court, but it is what I had.  If you missed from  the right, you'd never catch up with the ball until it ended up in the creek a few hundred yards down the hill.  That might be why you don't find many country kids in the NBA.

There was another shady flat strip that ran under the clothes line behind grandma's house where she hung a chicken to drain the blood after cutting the head off.

Those are just a few of the areas that I knew so well.  Some didn't look the same at all these many years later, but I knew how they looked back when.

Here are a few of the things I found.

A Few Of My Old Toys Recovered
They aren't very impressive to anyone but me.  You see, I didn't find old beat up toys and junk; What I found was warm memories.

It was a time when my dad and grandpa and grandma were still alive. It was a time when my mother was young.  It brought me back to warm summer days, green grass, blue skies, swaying trees with rustling leaves, giggles and laughing, senseless but joyful running and jumping and old friends, who like me, had no idea what life would bring.  It makes me young again for a while when I look at those finds.  They are more precious than silver or gold - but only to me.

I guess I'm lucky to have been metal detecting so long and been able to do that.  I'm lucky that my childhood was so rich with wonderful memories.  I'm lucky that I can still remember.

For me, the best metal detecting you can ever do is when you recover the artifacts of your own history and touch your youth again.


You might recognize a few good clues in the above that you can use at other metal detecting sites. When you arrive at a site, stand silently and meditate on the site for a while.  I do the same thing at the beach. Imagine what might have taken place there in the past.  Does the ground look natural or was the earth moved for some reason?  What does the lay of the land suggest?  What might have happened there.

You might have noticed that I mentioned flat areas a few times.  I'm talking mostly about land sites here, but flat areas are often made for a specific purpose.  Often they are the result of some type of repeated activity.

In Florida, there are so few hills that it is does not mean as much as it does up north, but there are other types of clues.  You will want to look at the vegetation.  Ornamentals, bare spots or groves can all be good indicators.  That could be a complete post for some other day.


On the Treasure Coast today we have a south wind and one-foot surf.  There is also a small negative tide.  It should be a good day for browsing the water line and in the shallow water.

Happy hunting,

Thursday, June 23, 2016

6/23/16 Report - Testing Metal Detector With Various Small Reales. North Carolina Beach After Nor'easter.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

North Carolina Beach After a Northeaster
Source: Video link submitted by Gosports shown below.
As I showed a day or two ago, the Treasure Coast didn't get much erosion from the higher surf. Gosports1 sent me a link to some YouTube videos he posted showing what happened to a North Carolina beach after a Northeaster back in April.  This shell layer goes for hundreds of yards.  He'll be sending some find photos before long.  Take a look at his short videos on YouTube that show more of this beach. 


I'm never sure which posts people like the most.  The most "google plussed" posts are often not the most read posts.  For example, when CNN Travel interviewed me they posted a link to the blog.  That resulted in tons of readers for the most recent posts at the time.  I don't think those posts were the best, but more people read them.

So far this month the 6/8/16 Report -  Treasure Coast Treasure History: Cobb Coin VS Unidentified Wreck.  2000 Year Old Cache of Hasmonian Coins was by a substantial margin the most read.

Some posts result in more emails.  I take that into account, but sometimes it is just because a particular post connects with certain readers for some reason.

A lot of web sites just want a lot of hits so they can sell things.  It doesn't particularly matter to them how valuable the posts are as long as people visit the site and see the ads.

I have my own favorite posts.  Sometimes they don't get much visibility - not as much as I think they should.  Sometimes they are posted on a holiday or slow time or some big news comes up that overshadows them.

I decided to occasionally post again some of the posts that I really thought were good but that maybe didn't get enough visibility.

Here is the first.  It was originally posted nearly two years ago on 8/30/14.  I'll call it a rewind.

Now I'm going to pick up today where I left off yesterday.  I'm going to show you something new that might surprise you.  It also shows how specific you have to be about detector tests, particularly the types of targets you are interested in and the environments they are used in.  A number of factors have to be considered when selecting a detector for a particular job.

A lot of people seem to accept what they hear or accept the results of simple tests on clad coins that actually leave out a lot of important factors.  They think if detector A is a good detector or has a good reputation it is the detector to use.  The fact is, as I'll show today, it is much more complicated.  And as I showed yesterday, there are situations when an inexpensive detector will actually do a better job than a highly regarded more expensive detector.  The basic questions are, what do you want to find and where are you going to hunt.  I say those are basic questions, but to answer them well involves more factors than you might think.

If you haven't read yesterday's post yet, I recommend that you do that before continuing.

Here are the same small beach cobs that I used for the tests that I reported on yesterday.  The one on the left weighs about 0.4 grams, the next 0.5 grams, the next 0.6 grams, and the next 2.0 grams.  I will refer to these cobs going left to right as 1 - 4.

Four Treasure Coast 1715 Fleet Beach Cobs.  Three Half-Reales and One 1-Reale.

Yesterday I tested these in a high EMI environment using the Ace 250.  Today I'll report on my results using an Excalibur.

I used both discrimination mode and pinpoint mode for all my Excalibur tests.

Which cob do you think consistently produced the best (loudest and clearest) signal?  It was cob 3.  You might expect it to be cob 4.  I did.   But cob three consistently produced a signal that was a loud and distinct, and a slight bit better than cob 4.  That was true on many attempts varying the sweep speed, and sweeping at different directions.

Tests were done with the coil at the approximate same height over the cobs, and also at different heights to give a rough measure of depth.  By varying the height of the coil I essentially did a type of air test but with a sugar sand background and relatively high EMI environment.

In case you wondered, signal loudness and distinctness correlated with air-test depth.  In other words, cobs that produced a fainter signal when the coil was at the same height for all cobs, were detected only at smaller distances from the coil.  Those cobs that produced louder more distinct signals were detected at greater heights when the coil was raised.  So relative signal strength, as you might have suspected, is a decent (not perfect) measure of how deep a target would be detected.  That makes sense, but the test results did strongly support that conclusion.

Now the question is why did cob three, even though smaller by weight and presenting less surface area produce a louder signal.   I do not yet know.   Yesterday I suggested that one possibility could be different alloys or composition of the silver.  We know that the composition of cobs was regulated,  but we also know that there were some differences.

Surprisingly, cob 1 consistently produced a more distinct signal than cob 2 despite its smaller surface area.  It is thicker.  All other cobs produced better signals than cob 2 without exception.

Another reason could possibly be the ground under the cobs, but I changed where I did the tests and the results were the same.

The results did not change when I switched from discrimination to pin point mode.  

I often hunt in pin point or all metals mode.

Ordered by signal strength, it was cob 3, 4, 1 and last, 2.

Being in a high EMI environment, I varied my sensitivity.  I actually got slightly better signals with reduced sensitivity.  

Some people are afraid to reduce sensitivity.  I seldom reduce sensitivity and am accustomed to identifying signals in noise, but there are times to do it.

I always recommend testing your detector and settings with the type of target that you want to find and in the environment that you will be hunting before beginning to hunt.  I think these tests support that recommendation.  Things are not always simple, and if you want to optimize your detector and settings, do it in the environment and with the most desired targets.

When selecting a test target, Id select a smaller test target.  Generally if you are set for the smalls, you will find the larger targets too, whereas the other way around is not necessarily true.

A lot of people are running around with detector settings that would not detect the smaller cobs shown above if the cobs were laying on the surface with the detector coil right over them.  I know I have met people on the beach who were discriminating out anything that small.

As I showed yesterday using the Ace 250, these test cobs generally were identified as nickels.  That's not bad.

The best way to learn how to better understand and use your detector is to experiment.  What you read may or may not be true, and your detector and your environment might not be the same as those you read about.  


I haven't gotten around to promised post on shells and sand yet.  It is not easy to make it clear, but I will get it done, hopefully before long.

Not much has changed on the Treasure Coast.  We'll have a one to two foot surf for several days.

There is no tropical activity to watch.

Happy hunting,

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

6/22/16 Report - A Find Researched and Transformed. 3-D Printing To Create Scale Models of Shipwreck Sites.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Silver Horse-Lover's Ear Ring.
I found this silver ear ring some time ago.  Nothing special, but it looked a little better than your average mass produced ear ring.

You might find a stray ear ring and if you can't find the owner, you might think it isn't worth anything.  Some people would sell it for the silver value, but a little research might be both fun and profitable.

The other day I looked to see if there were any marks.  Below is what I saw when viewed with my Celestron microscope.

The makers mark, between STERLING and the copyright mark, is SC in what appears to be a cloud shape.

After looking around on the internet a little while, it looked like the maker might be Silver Cloud.

And here is some of what I found about the Silver Cloud company.

Silver Cloud Inc. was founded in 1975 by owner Charles Springer. Charles graduated from the University of New Mexico with a civil engineering degree. He was able to pay for college by designing and making jewelry and selling it on campus as well as local art shows.

There were other companies that used Silver Cloud in their name so I wanted to find out if this was the right one.

Below is an example of some of their products that I found on their web site.

Silver Cloud Product.
The similarities are striking.  I'm pretty sure that I have the right maker now.

So what?  Well, a pair of similar silver ear rings made by Silver Cloud sold for $135.   But I only have one.

Some people sell single ear rings, and some people wear a different type of ear ring in each ear.

Instead of trying to sell it as a unmatched ear ring, I decided to do is turn it into a pendant.  It wasn't difficult. The ear ring post was bent into a ring shape and a bale was attached.

I'm pretty sure it will sell pretty quickly.  There are a lot of people who like horses.

My main point today is that some finds might seem useless, with a little research and sometimes a little ingenuity, they can turn into very worthwhile finds.  Finding something is fun, but so is turning it into something that someone will cherish.

Always check items for any marks.  A makers mark can make a big difference in the value and can give you good information.


I've mentioned 3-D printing a few times lately.  One was in my 5/21/16 post, now in Fox News a month later, is one example of the kind of thing I was suggesting.

Now, archaeologists in the United Kingdom are using 3D printing to bring two historical shipwrecks to life for history enthusiasts and experts alike.

Using data from photogrammetry (measuring the distance between objects from photographs) and sonar imaging, the researchers have produced scale models of a 17th-century shipwreck near Drumbeg, in Scotland, and the remains of the HMHS Anglia, a steamship that was used as a floating hospital during World War I...

"It was a proof of concept for us, trying to establish what could be done using sound and light, but there are so many different applications you could use this for," said maritime archaeologist John McCarthy, a project manager at Wessex Archaeology who carried out dives at the Scottish site and was in charge of producing the 3D models.

Here is the link for the rest of the story.  (Thanks to Dean R. for the link.)


There is no tropical activity to watch.  The surf is decreasing and will be back down to about a foot in a day or so.

Happy hunting,

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

6/21/16 Report - Survey of Various Treasure Coast Beaches After Higher Surf.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Detectorist Just South of Sebastian Inlet

Beach Just North of McClarty Museum

Beach at Ambersands Beach Access.

Looking North From Seagrape Trail.
Looking South From Turtle Trail.

John Brooks.
I took a look at some of the beaches yesterday afternoon as low tide approached.  There was almost no erosion.  There was a little more erosion Sunday, but only a very little.  The waves were hitting directly from the east.

When talking about the wreck beaches in years gone by, people talked mostly about big waves.  Now people also frequently talk about the direction of the wind and waves.  That change has taken place in the last few years since I've been doing this blog.

Another change I've noticed in recent years is that people always took photos along with a coin for size comparison.  When I started this blog I got a good number of emails asking me to do that whenever I failed to.  Now it seems that people more often than not just take a photo with the object in their hand.

The surf will be about three to five feet today, continuing from the east.  I don't expect any improvement in beach detecting conditions.

I saw about six other detectorists yesterday, including the woman shown in the first picture.

At one location, there were a good number of rusty bits of iron around the water line at low tide.  I'm glad I didn't discriminate them out.  It gave me some good information.  When scouting around, there are a lot of things that can contribute to getting a good total picture of the situation.

There are a lot of factors.  Most I've discussed before, but I haven't put it all together for you at one time.

On the best beach-cob days, there isn't much iron mixed in with the cobs.  They tend to appear at different times.

Time is an important factor.  To some extent items will tend to show up by age.  It generally takes better conditions for older items to show up. I'm not talking about recent drops.

Time on the beach is more important for newer items.   That is hard to explain, but I'll try to give you an idea of what I'm talking about.  Items that are 100 years old will not be that different from items that have been lost for another 100 or 200 years.  I'll have to leave it at that for now.

There will be a definite relationship between items of different densities and shapes, but time has a big effect.  Time is a multiplier.

I plan to explain some day soon, how and why sand piles up on shells sometimes, and why shells pile up on sand at other times.  If you understand that, you'll also understand how coins was up onto the beach at some times and wash away at other times.

Happy hunting,

Monday, June 20, 2016

6/20/16 Report - Four Gold Escudos Found. Some Beaches Cut A Little. Summer Solstice and Strawberry Moon.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Four Bogota 2-escudos Found by Capitana Guys Sunday.
Photo submitted by Captain Jonah Martinez
These two-escudos were found Sunday by the crew of the Capitana.  Congratulations guys!

Not long ago I looked at the realized prices of a group of Bogota two-escudos sold in the most recent Sedwick Coins auction.  These look like some really nice examples.


I took a look at a few beaches Sunday night to see if anything was going on.  One wreck beach had some cutting.  The largest cut that I saw there was about two feet, however one foot was more typical of most of the beach.  A couple other beaches showed almost no movement of sand.

I'll see what happens today.  Unfortunately it looks like the wind is almost directly from the east now.

Tropical Depression Four has formed in the Gulf of Mexico, but it is not expected to affect the United States.


Today is the summer solstice. The name derives from the Latin solstitium meaning “sun stands still”. It happens because the sun stops heading north at the Tropic of Cancer and then returns back southwards.

In 2016 the solstice coincides with the Strawberry Moon, which only happens about every 70 years. A "strawberry moon" is a full moon which occurs in June and marks the beginning of the strawberry season.

Do you remember a Bible story in which the "sun stood still?" It is in the Old Testament Book of Joshua. Few who criticize the Bible have bothered to read it through, let alone study the original languages.

Happy hunting,

Sunday, June 19, 2016

6/19/16 Report - Cyclone Forming in the Gulf. Higher Surf. Milagros and Spanish Colonial Artifact Web Sites

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Disturbance With 70 Percent Chance of Becoming Cyclone in Next 48 Hours.
Right now we have a disturbance in the Gulf that will likely form into a hurricane in the next 48 hours.

One organization predicts an 80 percent chance that 2016 will be the most active hurricane season since 2012.

Two others predict an average to slightly above average hurricane season, 30 or 40 percent above the 2006-2015 norm.

Here is the link.


I've talked about milagros before.  Those are items, mostly silver, shaped like body parts, animals or a few other things. 

In the classical sense, milagros (also known as ex-votos or dijes) are offered to a favorite saint as a reminder of the petitioner's particular need, or they are offered to the saint in thanks for a prayer answered.

Apart from the contemporary use of milagros as decorative elements, milagros as symbols have new uses and meanings in New Mexico these days. If a friend is about to have an eye operation, the gift of a eyemilagro helps to say, "I wish you well." A pair of lungs can say, "I hope your cold gets better." An arm and a leg given to a couple trying to buy a house can wish them good luck obtaining financing. An ear milagro can suggest that someone be a better listener. An axe milagro might suggest that a relationship should end.

Milagros then, are not solely religious items, nor are they only for collecting. They are part of the magical and symbolic past common to all cultures which continues to influence our lives today. Whether used traditionally or in modern ways, milagros are an ongoing part of a fascinating folk culture in New Mexico and elsewhere.

Here is a good site about milagros.


I want to point out a great web site that should serve as an example for collectors and museums.  It was created by John Powell of St. Augustine.

The site iteself says, This site is dedicated to the exhibition and interpretation of Spanish colonial military artifacts from that vast region of southeastern North America which once comprised the Spanish Floridas and, to a somewhat lesser extent, Spanish Guale, Luisiana, and Tejas. While other materials are included in the illustrative displays, the interpretive emphasis of this site has been placed upon military clothing and, as they evolved, uniform-related artifacts: the buttons, strap and accoutrement buckles, and insignia worn by Spain's regular, provincial, and urban militia forces in the study region.  The period of interpretation is from ca. 1539—when Hernando de Soto began his epic journey of exploration in what is now the southeastern region of the United States—to the conclusion of Spain's colonial tenure in North America in 1821.

Here is the link.

A day or so ago I mentioned the Oxford Celtic Coin Index, which was put online by an coin collector.  That was excellent example created by a coin collector.


The wind has increased and the surf is increasing today.  The peak for Sunday will be 4 to 6 feet.  Tomorrow we are supposed to have a higher surf.

I'll go out and check around a little.

Happy hunting,

Saturday, June 18, 2016

6/18/16 Report - Lost and Returned Times Two: Class Ring and Keys. Lightning Danger Along Treasure Coast Lately. Increasing Surf.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Facebook Post Thanking Warren D. for Finding Matthew's Class Ring.

Here is what Warren told me in an email yesterday.

I went back to the beach today and recovered a set of keys that I was looking for yesterday when I got sidetracked to recover a lost school ring.

I didn't know the losses were connected. I found the ring yesterday when the mother and son were on the beach. I found the keys today and returned them to the other mother. Turns out the boys and their mothers all knew each other. The boys were at a big beach beer pong party.

Now they're BUSTED. 

Thanks much Warren!  We need to share good deeds like this.

Keys Returned by WarrenPhoto submitted by Warren D.

In the past I've talked a lot about what types of events lead to things being lost on the beach.  Beer parties, of course, are one of those things.  They involve relatively young active people getting drunk. That is the type of thing that leads to things getting lost.

When you hear of a loss, pay attention to how it occurred.


Lightning Hitting Water At Beach.
Source: Weather Channel

I saw a lot of lightning yesterday. Below is what the National Weather service says about lightning striking the water.

If you are in the sea and a thunderstorm looks likely in the area, there are two ways to cut the risk of getting hit - get out and find some shelter, or swim deeper...

Most of the electrical discharge spreads horizontally rather than vertically. This is bad news for people, who tend to float or swim on or near the surface.
... "If you get out of the water and can't find shelter, it's best to crouch into a ball, rather than lay flat on the floor, as this also raises risks. If you stay in the water, you could try to go deep, but it's unlikely you can hold your breath for long enough to avoid the danger."

Metal detectors can provide early warning.  You can often hear static caused by lightning while it is still a good distance away.

Sudden rain storms also lead to things being lost at the beach, as people hurriedly get up, shake off their blanket, gather their goods and run for cover.


Getting old is a pain in the neck...and the back... and the knee and elbow, and almost everyplace you can think of from time to time.  I've said that the only good thing about getting old is that it is better than the alternative, but there are some other things. 

There are physical challenges, but there is also an accumulation of experience, memories and a certain appreciation for things like youth and family and precious moments, both past and present.


“I hereby find that the unrestricted immigrant and nonimmigrant entry into the United States of aliens who meet one or more of the criteria in section 1 of this order would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, and I hereby suspend the entry into the United States, as immigrants or nonimmigrants, of such persons.” 

Guess who said that?  The current president of the U. S.
Many claim that a ban on a class of immigrants would be unconsitutional, but it has been done dozens of times in modern history, including by the current president who issued the above ban on April 23, 2012 to exclude people from Iran and Syria who use computer technology to commit human rights abuses or threaten U.S. national security interests.



The recent shooting at the Pulse night club in Orlando has deep roots in Fort Pierce and White City.  There have been news agencies from around the country and around the world in Fort Pierce lately.  They've been lined up along Midway road in White City and doing interviews with residents down by the inlet and other places in the area.


There is a disturbance over Yucatan that has a 40 percent chance of becoming a cyclone in the next 48 hours.

The surf will increase on Sunday up to as much as five feet and as much as seven on Monday.

Happy hunting,