Wednesday, March 25, 2020

3/25/20 Report - Ancient Florida Coin Finds. Screws and How To Tell How Old They Might Be.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Fake Ancient Greek Coin Find.

Not long ago I had a few posts on some very old Spanish coins found on the Treasure Coast.  Back then I was thinking of shipwreck coins and which might have been among the oldest.  I neglected to think of the silver and gold  ancient coins I found while metal detecting while I lived in South Florida, but I'm sure that some have been found on the Treasure Coast as well.

It doesn't mean that Florida was visited by the Knights Templar or King Arthur as some might conclude, but ancient coins are found in Florida, and I'm sure must have been found on the Treasure Coast.

The one shown above is a fake that was mounted in a piece of jewelry.  I saw it this morning and that is what reminded me of the real ancient coins that have been found.  I think I might have posted a few real examples before, but am not sure.

Of course there are those who collect ancient coins.  Occasionally they get stolen or are taken by children for show-and-tell and get lost somehow.  But just as often they are mounted in necklaces, bracelets, rings or earrings that get lost.  Often you can see marks on a coin that show how it was once mounted in jewelry.

When I started thinking of the ancient coins I found, I remember a "widow's mite" that I found and gave to my parents for a gift long ago.  I'm going to ask my mother, who turned 94 yesterday, if she knows where it is.

Anyhow, I was reminded of all of those ancient coins, and am sure some must have been found on the Treasure Coast.


There was a time that if I found a screw on a beach I immediately assumed it was modern and  tossed it into the trash bag.  That was a mistake. I should have at least looked to see if it was old.

Screws have been made and used since the 1600s and earlier.  Screws were laboriously handmade until a machine was patented in 1780 for the process.   Experts use screws to help identify the age of antiques, such as furniture.  Despite my research I still find it very difficult to tell how old a screw might be.  You might ask who cares, but screws, no matter how small and inconsequential, just like any other object can provide clues for the treasure hunter.

Below is a little of what I've been able to put find on the sugject.  It is not easy to find photos of old screws that have been dated.  DJ did find some for me.  Thanks DJ!

Here are a couple of examples from an article, Observations on the Development of Wood Screws in North America by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.  DJ sent me those.


Source: Boston Museum of Fine Arts article.

The screw shown above is one of the oldest I've seen.  It is circa 1780 but was handmade like earlier examples.

One sign of an old screw that seems to be the easiest to recognize is the off-center groove on the head.  It was simply cut with a hacksaw or something.

Another common characteristic of 18th century and earlier screws is evidence that the screw began as square nail stock.  That typically shows on the uncut area on the shank just above the threads which might still show a flat side or two.

The threads were cut made with a file or hacksaw or a cutting tool with some type of lathe, often treadle driven.  Filing or using a hacksaw to cut the threads often left easy to identify tell-tale marks.

Remember, early screws were handmade and vary according to the ingenious methods employed by the individual that made them.

Here is another handmade example from the Museum of Fine Arts article.  It dates a little later, but was still handmade.

One of the easier to identify characteristics of very old screws is a blunt point.  Here is a good example of that from Pinterest.

Can you imagine having to make a screw?

Here is another illustration I located, but don't remember where it came from.  That gives clues for dating.

Unfortunately, like every other item made of iron and found on a beach, the clues to a screws age can be erased by time and corrosion.  Here is a found screw along with a brand new screw.

The older of the two has very rounded rather than sharp threads.  I don't know if they were made that way or if they got stripped or corroded down.

I'm not always able to figure out the age of a found screw, but I learned a lot, especially how screws were made centuries ago.  I guess that one point to remember is that not all screws are modern.


According to some sources, more than half of the confirmed coronaviruse cases are in the New York metro area.  But instead of being in lock-down, many New Yorkers are leaving and spreading the problem.  Many are coming to Florida, which will undoubtedly get a big bump in cases as a result.   If they won't stay in their own state, they are not going to self-quarantine.   You might say New York is now the US Wuhan, except it wasn't shut off in time.  It looks so much like the science fiction movies - the New Yorkers with means escaped to other areas and spread the disease while the poor are left at home unable to do much of anything else.

Indian River County, according to this morning statistics, has twelve cases, of which half are travel related.

You can track it on the Florida Surveillance Dashboard.

St. Lucie County, has six total, and Okeechobee has none.

Here is the link to the Florida coronavirus dashboard that will allow you to check the most current statistics for each county.


Friday the surf is supposed to get up around three to five feet.  That will be a slight increase.

Happy hunting,