Tuesday, September 6, 2016

9/6/16 Report - Surf's Up. Blog History. Silver Cobs of the Buen Jesus Nuestra Senor de Rosario. One Interesting Question.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of treasurebeachesreport.blogspot.com.


The surf is supposed to be up to around six feet on Tuesday.  Things might get stirred up a little. We'll get a bit of a northeast wind.

The disturbance I've been watching is now in the Caribbean Sea.  It looks like it will stay well to the south of us.  Storms that hit the East Coast normally turn north before this.

I've been talking about the weather a lot lately.  That is closer to the original intent of this blog.  When I started the blog, the idea was to let you know when beach conditions would be good.  

When I began detecting, I lived down in South Florida and hunted mostly modern jewelry. Conditions were less important there because there were so many beach goers that you always had a decent chance of finding something good, even when beach conditions were poor,  And you could always hit one of the man-made swimming beaches or the volleyball courts.  There were a lot of choices and you always had a good chance of finding something good.  More often than not you could find some type of gold. Later I got interested in hunting the Treasure Coast, but that required a couple hours of driving. Never knowing what the beaches looked like, there were wasted trips.  I'd make the drive and then when I got there, chances were that the beach conditions were poor.  

I think it has been made abundantly clear, beach conditions are very important for finding treasure coins on the Treasure Coast.  Just look at the quantity and quality of shipwreck finds that were made after hurricanes, whether you are talking about the legendary Thanksgiving storm or the hurricanes of 2004.  You have a much greater chance of making such finds on the beach after a storm like that.

There are years when comparatively little is found on the beach.  Weather is hugely important in hunting the Treasure Coast shipwreck beaches.  That is why I started this blog and mostly what I did when I started the blog.  I gave my beach conditions rating everyday.  When we got into some of the less productive years, I began to only give my rating when conditions changed significantly.  It got tiring when I had to give the same old "poor" rating everyday for months on end.  As a result, I started talking about other treasure related news and topics.

I think 2004 is right up there with the Thanksgiving storm when it comes to beach treasure finds. Maybe that is a topic for discussion.  I'm sure some will think one or the other was better, but then there aren't many that were around for the Thanksgiving storm.

I like variety.  I like finding all types of treasure.  I like finding old bottles, fossils and sea glass and other types of things in addition to shipwreck treasures.  That has always been my way.  I think you learn a lot by trying different types of hunting, and I find different types of treasure hunting interesting.

Some of my favorite finds are when I find a new type of treasure. One of my favorite finds was a raw beach nugget from a shipwreck beach.  I liked that because I had never found one before and I hadn't done any nugget shooting.  I like finding new (to me) types of treasure.

I've never read about it, but some of the best bottle hunting imaginable happened after the hurricanes of 2004. The west side of the Indian River lagoon was paved with bottles.  There were thousands.  Of course, the majority were nothing special and you had to pick through them to find the interesting, old and valuable ones.  Some were from the 1800s.  The bottles disappeared after a while.  I first got interested in finding bottles after I found my first ones after Hurricane Andrew when I still lived in South Florida.  


I found a really good study by Odyssey Marine on the silver coins of the Tortugas Shipwreck, which is thought to be the 117-ton Buen Jesus Nuestra Senor de Rosario, one of the vessels sailing with the 1622 Tierra Firme treasure fleet.  As such, it is a sister ship to the Atocha and Margarita.  The paper is The Deep-Sea Tortugas Shipwreck, Florida (1622): the Silver Coins  by Carol Tedesco.  It is a pdf file and takes a little while to load.

One of the what I consider the mysteries of the 1715 Fleet is the disparity between the typically small denomination cobs found on some of the beaches compared to the larger denomination cobs found by salvagers in the water.   Some beaches produce a very high percentage of small denomination cobs, such as the half reales found on beaches like Bon Steel and John Brooks.

The Odyssey paper makes some comments that are related to that discussion.  Here is a an excerpt.

In the case of the 1622 shipwrecks the Atocha and Margarita, 8 reales denomination coins are most numerous, followed by 4 reales, with 2 reales denominations relatively rare and 1 reale denominations scarce. For example, of the silver coins recovered in 1985 from the Atocha site, 0.001% (110) were 1 reale denominations, 15.0% (17,088) were 2 reales denominations, 21.8% (24,853) were 4 reales denominations, and 63.1% (71,808) were 8 reales denominations (Malcom, 2001). This makes sense since small denominations may have been most desirable for local trade, but shipping cargos long-distance in large denomination form was most efficient. Because the Tortugas shipwreck coin collection included a fairly high percentage of ‘unknown’ denomination coins, a decision was made with Odyssey artifact data specialist Eric Tate to distinguish between higher denomination coins of 8 or 4 reales and lower denomination issues. This study demonstrated that nearly twice as many ‘unknown’ coins were higher denominations varieties: • Total ‘Unknown’: 130 • Unknown (either 4 or 8 reales): 28 • Unknown (either 1 or 2 reales): 15 • Unknown (unidentifiable): 87 As stated previously, the Tortugas shipwreck coins were discovered loose and scattered under light sediment cover in deep waters (not in coin chests or conglomerations; Fig. 6), and exhibit a degree of erosion typical of exposed coins associated elsewhere with high-energy marine environments. 

So why the large number of small denomination cobs found on some beaches?  Could it be that the small denomination cobs are more likely to be washed up onto the beaches because of their small size while the larger cobs tend to remain in the water.?  To me that is a reasonable idea.  It is not unusual to find small denomination cobs in close association with shells - sometimes even in with scattered shells.  That is certainly not the only possible explanation.

If the small denomination cobs were meant more for local trade and not favored for long-distance shipping, could the small denomination cobs be personal property.  Certainly that is a possibility.  But that doesn't say why they would be so commonly found on the beaches as compared to large denomination cobs.  Perhaps survivors took more effort and were better able to save their own property.

One thing I am considering is what might have happened after the salvage crews arrived.

Another interesting thing to me is the nice caches of excellent large denomination cobs, (I've shown some of those lately).  They are in much better condition than the typical beach half-reales, which are often way under-weight due to corrosion.  The cobs from those caches have the appearance of being secreted away rather than being washed up after years of washing around in the sand and surf.

Those are just a few thoughts for now.

Here is the link to the Odyssey report.



Happy hunting,