Thursday, August 3, 2017

8/3/17 Report - Dug Silver and What It Looks Like. Antique and Collectible Keys Web Site.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Object Found on Beach.
You might be surprised what it is.

Someone asked what silver coins and objects look like when they come out of the ground.  It isn't easy to answer that because it varies so much depending upon a number of factors.  Generally silver turns a darker grey to black when it has been on a beach for a while, especially if it has been in salt water.  Above is an example of a piece of silver found on a beach.

It is difficult to identify this coin from this view.  It looks something like a corroded silver cob.  Below you can see the other side of the same object.

Other Side of Same Object.
Can you tell what it is now?  It is a silver Roosevelt dime.

From the appearance, you could easily think that it might be something much older.  When you hold the above object, you can't really see the design very well unless you have the right kind of lighting.

Roosevelt dimes were made from 1946 to 1964, so I don't know how long the dime was on the beach, but it can't be more than 71 years, which might sound like a long time to some of you, but it isn't anything like a Spanish cob, which might have been out there for three hundred years.

Here is a new Roosevelt dime.  It is not silver, but you can match up the images.

New Not-Silver Roosevelt Dime

The older silver dimes were 90 percent silver and 10 percent copper.  The newer dimes are a "sandwich" of pure copper inner layer between two outer layers of cupronickle (75% copper, 25% nickel) alloy giving a total composition of 91.67% Cu and 8.33% Ni.

If you look at edge of one of the newer dimes, you can see a strip of copper.

You might remember when I suggested cutting a silver dime in halves or quarters and using the pieces as test objects for reales.  I said if you can detect piece of a silver dime, you can detect a small silver reale.  They are really very much alike.  In fact some reales from Potosi were assayed and found to have about 10 percent copper content like even though they were not supposed to have that much copper content.

Silver can be encrusted or discolored, depending upon where it has been.  It is really difficult to give a single answer saying what silver will look like when it comes out of the ground.  You can, however, with a good amount of experience, learn to identify silver most of the time from just looking at it, no matter how badly corroded it might be.

Like I said above, the appearance of silver will vary depending upon where it was found.  The silver coins I found in a cold water lake in Minnesota were more of a bluish tint, for example.  They did not corrode much at all compared to those found on a salt water beach or around mangroves.  Salt water beaches and acid soil are both very hard on silver.

For the person that asked what dug silver looks like, you'll find many examples if you read back through the old posts.  Some are shown before and after cleaning.  You can also see Spanish reales in various states of cleaning.

I also found that you can almost always tell a silver coin from the sound it makes when you drop it on a ceramic tile.  Try it.


Hotel keys used to be very common beach finds.  That was before the more modern key cards.  I found gallons of hotel keys.  Some were the nice big ornate brass keys, while others were smaller and had those large plastic tags bearing the name of the hotel and room number.

I found this very useful web site about antique and collectible keys.


There is nothing much to watch in the weather right now.  There is one disturbance just coming off of Africa, but it is too early to pay it much attention.

We're in for more one to two foot surf on the Treasure Coast and south winds.   That means hot weather.

Happy hunting,