Dec 27, 2009

Sebastian Inlet State Park - Florida's Treasure Epicenter !!

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McLarty Treasure Museum, Sebastian Inlet State Park - Florida  - Consider it an absolute must to visit the McLarty Treasure Museum, a small but fascinating museum on A1A just south of Sebastian Inlet. Besides hearing informal presentations by staff about the 1715 Plate Fleet and the history of all the treasure that’s been salvaged, they have a movie room that offers a flick showing treasure salvors, various finds and other interesting details.

Glassed showcases display gold and silver coins, glittering jewelry and historical objects such as navigational equipment used in the 17th and 18th centuries found among wrecks. Since it’s finders-keepers, people often come by to show off their finds – and the staff is glad to tell you where recent discoveries have been made.

Park Services Specialist Ed Perry is also glad to provide insights on the area’s treasure history and even advice on improving your odds of finding something.

Though the museum is replete with valuable treasures, it only costs a buck to enter. There’s a short boardwalk behind the building that overlooks the beach where many treasure discoveries have taken place over the years. Some of the galleon cannons were found literally right where the tide breaks onto the beaches.

When I recently visited the museum, the kindly woman at the entrance offered that the hottest site where finds were being made involved Bonsteel Park. Off I headed to the park about three miles north of Sebastian Inlet. After parking, I strode to the beach via the boardwalk. I noted three people metal detecting to the north along the beach, so I sauntered about a quarter mile south before seeing a promising location with lots of debris and shells near the high-tide mark.

After about an hour of sweeping the detector over the sand and turning up nothing but junk, I registered a faint hit. My scoop dug into the soft sand, and a subsequent sweep of the hole with the detector resulted in a stronger tone in my headphones. I sank to my knees and scooped out the sand with a right hand as the left kept the detector aloft.

I grasped a clod of sediment and held it over the hole. Lightly cleaning away caked-on sand and small shells, I broke open the mass. I couldn’t believe it.

Something resembling an old tin container pulverized in my fingers. In a frenzied excitement, I swung the detector back over the hole – another strong signal.

My hand felt something solid and seconds later I clutched two silver reales. The coins possibly were kept in the tin along with perhaps tobacco, and the heavier coins eventually sank beneath the deteriorative tin.

To say I felt overjoyed would be an understatement – I let out a whoop so loud that a nearby seagull walking the beach took to the air. I had once again found Spanish treasure.

If you’ve got gold fever in your heart – and so many of those with an adventurous heart do! – plan on spending an extra day or two on your next vacation looking for real Spanish treasure. Not only might you literally strike gold, the whole family will enjoy the beach experience that much more.

And when you happen upon all the men, women and children waving metal detectors, give them a thumbs-up signal – you just might be wishing me good luck as well.

$50,000 reward!!!

A $50,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the recovery of nine, stolen SS Central America gold ingots.

Stolen SS Central America gold ingots - Click to Enlarge

Dealers and collectors should watch for these gold ingots and their identifying markings:

Ingot No.* Assayer Weight Stamped Value
636 Kellogg & Humbert 66.59 oz $1,223.74
836 Kellogg & Humbert 68.02 oz $1,220.48
896 Kellogg & Humbert 68.37 oz $1,232.42
955 Kellogg & Humbert 65.85 oz $1,212.86
3218 Henry Hentsch 145.20 oz $2,659.36
4332 Justh & Hunter 99.60 oz $1,844.79
5226 Blake & Co. 17.78 oz $349.53
6518 Harris, Marchand & Co. 129.30 oz $2,362.81

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of any or all of these ingots can contact Donn Pearlman by phone at (702) 868-5777 or by e-mail at

Dec 25, 2009


Graham County, like most rural areas has it's share of legends and mountain mysteries. Perhaps one of the most famous of these is the legend of the DeLozier silver mine. Only one person, Edward "Neddy" DeLozier is said to have known the actual location of the mine, and that he died without ever revealing the location to anyone. Neddy was born in 1803 and was the son of Jessie Delozier and Alsey Fields Delozier. Neddy was the great grandfather of Homer Constance and a distant relative of the late Martin Delozier who operated Delozier Drug Center in Robbinsville for several years. In 1983, Martin Delozier presented a Delozier family history book to Homer which contained a reference on Neddy and listed Homer as a great grandson.

"Neddy's" mother was one quarter Cherokee. Some attribute his ability to move through the woods unseen and unheard to being part Cherokee. Others said it was an ability many possessed in those days simply to survive ma hard land. Whatever the reason, no one was ever able to follow him to the mine as he was always able to elude them. Several people reportedly tried to follow him. One story has it that one man did succeed in following Neddy to the mine, but was never seen again. Still another story has it that one person found the mine and that it had a human skeleton in it. There was speculation that it was the remains of the man who had followed Neddy to the mine.

Arkie Orr who lived in the Orr Mountains near the Slickrock Creek area told of a man who would spend the night at their cabin on occasion He was part Cherokee and very secretive about his journey. He would be carrying sacks of something that resembled rocks on his return trip. No one questioned him. As was the custom in those days he was accepted and welcomed. It is thought that this man was Neddy Delozier.

The story goes that Oliver Orr and his father Hart Orr once cut a tree that had a turtle and snake carved on it. This was supposed to have been a directional tree marking the way to the silver mine.

Old land records were said to show that Neddy owned substantial landholdings in Graham County supposedly bought with silver from the mine. He was said to have owned 50 acres on lower Yellow Creek, 640 acres on Sawyer's Creek, and 1,155 acres on Tuskegee Creek.

Neddy's parents died before he was two years old and the story has it that he was raised by the Cherokee. When the Cherokee signed a treaty in 1835 giving up all rights to their lands east of the Mississippi River. Neddy joined the U.S. Army and helped in the removal of the Cherokee to Oklahoma. He was a member of the Marcus Dickerson Unit of Macon County.

Neddy was said to have a silver dollar mold and would mint silver coins to pay property taxes and for necessities, but would only go to the mine as needed for silver, and would not keep much of it on hand for fear of being robbed.

Dennis Sawyer said that while Twenty Mile Creek was being logged around 1917 or 1918, that his grandfather Golman Sawyer and Jim Moore were looking at the timber and where to place logging roads in that area. They were accompanied by Guy Sawyer who was a young boy about 12 or 13 years old. While in the area, they found a horse that had fallen in a hole. When they rescued the horse, they found some old mining tools in the hole. Guy took one of the small hatchets or hand axes with him, but lost it in the woods. Deciding that this might be the lost silver mine, the Sawyers tried to return to the hole, but were never able to locate it again.

Homer Constance and his daughter Dorthea Beasley also looked for the mine for many years without locating it. One legend says that from the mine entrance the Little Tennessee River was visible in four places. Another story said seven places.

Neddy Delozier married Elizabeth Poindexter on May 24, 1834. She is said to be buried in Swain County. Neddy was apparently as elusive and secretive in death as he was in life since no one seems to know for sure where he is buried. Some say he is buried beside his wife in an unmarked grave. Others say he is buried on Tuskegee. Wherever he is buried, the secret of the Delozier silver mine is buried with him.

U.S. Judge Backs Return of $500 Million Coin Haul to Spain

MIAMI (Reuters) - A U.S. district judge has ruled that U.S. treasure-hunting company Odyssey Marine Exploration should return to Spain a fortune in old coins recovered from the wreck of a 19th-century Spanish warship.

In an order filed in Tampa, Florida on Tuesday, Judge Steven Merryday nevertheless directed that the return of the treasure to Spain be stayed until an appeals process in the case was concluded. It was the latest twist in a complex dispute over the treasure involving Spain, Odyssey and Peru.

Merryday's order backed a recommendation by a U.S. magistrate judge in June that Odyssey should hand over to the Spanish government nearly 600,000 silver and gold coins valued at some $500 million that it recovered from the wreck of the 19th-century Spanish warship Nuestra Senora de las Mercedes.

Spain said the Spanish naval frigate was carrying treasure back from Peru when it was sunk by British gunboats in 1804.

Odyssey, which has disputed the treasure came from the Nuestra Senora de las Mercedes, discovered wreckage and the 17-tonne haul of artifacts in March 2007 in international waters about 100 miles west of the Straits of Gibraltar, which separate Spain from North Africa.

"The ineffable truth of this case is that the Mercedes is a naval vessel of Spain and that the wreck of this naval vessel, the vessel's cargo, and any human remains are the natural and legal patrimony of Spain," Merryday said in his order.

Odyssey, which specializes in the recovery of sunken treasure and had codenamed this particular project "Black Swan," says the coin haul legally belongs to the company.

Odyssey said in a statement on Wednesday that Merryday's ruling would for the time being keep the coins in Odyssey's custody pending an appeals ruling by the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

"Judge Merryday's ruling serves to move this case to the appellate court faster, where we feel confident that the legal issues are clearly in our favor," Odyssey CEO Greg Stemm said.

"We will file our notice of appeal with the Federal District Court for the Middle District of Florida and Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals within the required time and look forward to presenting our case in that forum," said Melinda MacConnel, Odyssey vice president and general counsel.

The Mercedes sank in the first few minutes of the Battle of Cape St. Mary's as an explosion ripped it apart, killing more than 200 sailors. The attack led Spain to declare war on Britain and enter the Napoleonic Wars on the side of France.

Peru, which was ruled by Spain at the time the Mercedes was sunk, entered the legal fray in August when it filed a claim for information with the Tampa court. The filing said the coins may be "part of the patrimony of the Republic of Peru."

Judge Merryday also backed the magistrate judge's June recommendation that Spain and Peru's competing claims over the coins would be best resolved through direct negotiations and not in a U.S. court.

Dec 20, 2009

Should I have not done that?

Civil War Relics are my buddy 'aquachigger's' stock and trade!
I hope to get up there and join him on a Civil War Relic hunt this summer ...I'm crossing my fingers Beau!

Dec 12, 2009

My New MineLab Excalibur II

 My brand new MineLab, Excalibur II arrived today and to say that I'm thrilled would be an understatement! This is only my third machine, my first was a Fisher CZ-20 soon followed by a CZ-6 for a back up. I still have both Fisher's after sixteen years , and out side of a few minor problems, they have done a far better job at finding treasure then I ever expected ! The fun I've had with those two machines far exceeds the price of admission.
What I really want to mention is the 'buying' experience. I purchased the two Fishers through Kellyco and as far as I remember their wasn't a single problem and I would definitely buy through Kellyco again.
This time was a little different, I had not really planned on buying another machine. I was cruising ebay one night and started searching 'metal detectors', lets just say that the MineLab Excalibur II was a total 'impulse' buy and my first big ticket item off ebay. I had wanted a MineLab for years and had known of a couple of old metal detecting pro's from upstate N.Y. who swore by them, from that point on I was silently second guessing my CZ-20 and waiting for the day that I had a little extra cash to make my move.
Anyway, I noticed a couple of different sellers on ebay who had MineLab's and chose Windy City Detectors because of the 'extras' package that they advertised ... I crossed my fingers and hit the 'buy it now' button. Not long after I received an email from Ron Shore the owner of Windy City Detector Sales stating that all was good and my Minelab would be out the door the next day. Less then one week later I had my New MineLab Excalibur II in my hot little hands and so far I have yet too take it out and get her dirty, I've charged the battery but other than that  I'm waiting for my Treasure hunting partner 'Treasure Dave' to get down to Florida from N.Y. so we can go hit a few spots that I've been researching.
 I will keep everyone informed as to how the Excalibur II performs in the ocean and sand's of Florida so keep a look-out for my next posting and I might put up a You Tube video as well?
As for the buying experience .. so far it's been Excellent!! Windy City Detectors and MineLab have far surpassed my expectations, from all the little extras to just the way the machine came packed in the box! I can't wait to turn it on!

Dec 6, 2009

Ocean City, Maryland -Rare Mystery Shipwreck Artifact Found In Surf

OCEAN CITY – A large section of what is likely a fairly ancient wooden vessel was discovered in the surf at 43rd Street and now awaits its fate in a town-owned storage facility in West Ocean City as state historians and maritime archaeologists attempt to date it and perhaps discover from whence it came.
The roughly 25-foot long, L-shaped artifact was first discovered in the surf by swimmers in the 43rd Street area on Monday. Ocean City Beach Patrol staffers tried to remove the unknown object from the water, but quickly realized it was something much larger than they were capable of moving. The town’s Public Works department was called in and was eventually able to haul the giant piece of history from a bygone era from the water using a front-end loader and other equipment.
“People were reporting to us they kept bumping into something in the water below the surface,” said Beach Patrol Lieutenant Ward Kovacs. “The lifeguards tried to get it out, but they knew right away it was something beyond the scope of their abilities.”
Only after Public Works employees were successful in dragging the mystery object from the water and onto the beach did it become clear it was likely some large part of a vessel shipwrecked or destroyed years ago. The longest section is about 25-feet long with a shorter section attached by treenails, or wooden pegs used in ship building in the 18thcentury, creating an L-shaped artifact. Realizing it could be a rare archaeological find, Public Works crews carefully removed the artifact from the beach and transported it to a town-owned facility on Keyser Point in West Ocean City where it’s being preserved and stored while state scientists do their research.
“It appears to be a keel and stern portion of a ship and I’ve been told it appears to be dated around 1850,” said Public Works Director Hal Adkins. “We’ve got it covered in an effort to preserve and keep it from drying out. We’ve been told if it dries out, it will likely start to disintegrate.”
On Tuesday, officials from the Maryland Historical Trust Office of Archaeology, led by state maritime archaeologist Susan Langley, arrived at the West Ocean City site to begin unraveling the mystery behind the rare find. While the investigation continues, there are certain elements of the find that can help date it and others that can rule certain things out.
For example, Langley said it was a stern post with dead wood attached, suggesting it was likely from the mid-18thcentury. The longest section is not the actual keel, but dead wood attached to the keel to provide additional weight for the vessel. Adding dead wood to a keel for additional weight was a practice used in ship building in the 1800s, according to Langley.
Perhaps the most significant part of the find is the metal fish plate attached to the stern post. Through her research, Langley was able to determine similar fish plates were first used on vessels as early as 1805, but she believes this particular fish plate dates back to about 1850 or even later.
“It will probably be impossible to pinpoint the exact age of this vessel, but there are certain educated assumptions that can be made based on the evidence,” she said. “It’s still early, but I would place this vessel around 1850 or maybe even post-Civil War.”
Langley said there were other key indicators used in dating the artifact. For example, treenails (pronounced trunnels), which are wooden pegs used in ship building in the 18th century, are lathe-turned, meaning they are likely post-Industrial Revolution. Prior to the advent of power lathes, treenails and other wooden parts used in ship building were hand carved or cut with a saw.
Noticed immediately when the artifact was pulled from the ocean were Roman numerals carved into the stern post from four to seven, or IIII to VII, on the actual wood. Some on the beach initially believed the carved Roman numerals were an indication of the age of the vessel, and one man actually told OCBP members he thought the markings suggested the vessel dated back to 1537, but Langley explained the carved Roman numerals were depth markings on the stern post used when the vessel was being loaded to determine how low it was sitting in the water.
Langley and her crew were, at first, thought the use of the Roman numeral four carved as IIII as opposed to the widely accepted IV could be used to pinpoint the age of the vessel, but it didn’t prove to be helpful. The archaeologists discovered from their research that IIII and IV were used interchangeably for centuries even dating back to Roman times.
“There was nothing to be gained from the markings in terms of determining the age,” she said. “There is no rhyme or reason for the use of one or the other.”
Although a variety of elements of the artifact has allowed researchers to date the vessel from the mid- to late 18thcentury, there is little hope for determining what its name was, where it came from and what it was doing off the coast. Langley said the size of the piece found suggests it was likely a merchant vessel carrying cargo and not a fishing vessel. She also said the lack of copper plating anywhere on the artifact suggests it was not a military vessel. “It was a fairly large vessel,” she said.
Langley said the piece was in fairly pristine condition given its age, suggesting it has likely been buried under the sea floor for a long time.
“There are no worm borings or barnacle growth, meaning it was fairly deeply buried,” she said. “It was certainly buried below oxygen level because there is no evidence of any critters getting to it.”
For the same reason, it must have been unearthed fairly recently after perhaps a century or more under the sea floor, but it is unlikely there is more of the vessel off the coast in the immediate area of where it was found this week.
“There is no way of knowing where it came from or where the rest of it is,” said Langley. “It could have been unearthed by a storm or some dredging activity and drifted down the coast. There’s a strong north-south drift off the coast in the mid-Atlantic region, so the rest of it, if it’s still preserved, could be off of Delaware or even further north. Lord knows where it came from, but it was buried until fairly recently.”
For now, the artifact remains carefully stored at the town-owned facility in West Ocean City where the research continues. Langley said it would deteriorate rather quickly when subjected to the elements, but the artifact could find a home for display, perhaps at the Ocean City Lifesaving Museum at the end of the Boardwalk.
“I’ve already had some discussion with [Ocean City Life-saving Station Museum Curator] Sue Hurley at the museum and we wouldn’t have any objection to displaying it as long as it lasts,” said Langley. “It would also make a wonderful teaching piece, so it might have some value for a short time anyway.”
Langley said because so much is not known about the vessel or its origins, it wouldn’t be practical to attempt to preserve it long term. “To truly conserve it would cost a lot of money,” she said. “It’s a wonderful find, but it just wouldn’t be worth it.”

Revolutionary War Artifacts Found!

Dec 2, 2009

Treasure Island An innovative platform brings Spanish shipwrech spoils to intrepid divers in the Florida Keys

MOST DIVERS ONLY DREAM OF getting in on the spoils of a shipwreck. But thanks to a Florida-based archaeological group with extra bunk space and a new diving platform, now any treasure hunter with an extra grand or so can help excavate a Spanish galleon loaded down with $100 million in coins, gold bars, and artifacts.

Amelia Research & Recovery (904-838-6619, is exploring the wreckage of the Santa Margarita, a galleon that sank in 1622, along with its sister ship theAtocha, about 27 miles west of Key West. Improving access to the spoils is the Polly-L, a vessel serving as a work platform—common in the oil industry but never before deployed in the treasure trade. Operators use stilts to raise the Polly-L near the wreckage, creating an island immune to the storms that send most boats running for shore.

Six of the Polly-L's carpeted and air-conditioned rooms are available to paying divers for $250 per night, with a three-night minimum. The rate includes family-style meals and basic dive gear. Amelia plans to keep thePolly-L at the Santa Margarita site through April and then move to other wreck sites off Florida and North Carolina for the summer and fall before returning south in December.

Visitors are free to dive as much as they like, using metal detectors, right alongside the working divers as they blow holes in the sand in hopes of finding gold and silver bars, jewelry, gold chains, emeralds, bronze cannons, and other artifacts. Keep in mind that any booty remains the property of Motivation Inc., the company with which Amelia subcontracts—though finders will get first shot once the items go up for sale.

Loads of Civil War Bullets

I cruise through a ton of You Tube videos on a weekly basis looking for just the right one to post on the Treasue-blog, and the thing that caught my eye with this one was the fact that 'aquachigger' picked up more Civil War bullets in a little over two minutes than some guys find in two years!!!

Nov 29, 2009

French & Indian War- Deerlick Rock, Lewis County NY - Potential Treasure Site?

Supposedly the story goes that a group of French soldiers retreating through the Black River Valley of Upstate New York, cached money(payroll) and personal effects in an area now called Deerlick Rock near Glenfield New York. The soldiers most likely continued down stream on the Black River, never to return.
In the early 1900's a large cache of rusted french weapons were discovered in the area ... just a short distance from Deerlick Rock along with other Colonial and Indian relics!!
It sounds like a pretty safe bet that some careful metal detecting should produce some more relic's in this area. I'm positive this site has more to share!!
I've included a google map of the area in my last post. If you like to join me and my partner 'Treasure Dave' this spring on a recon of this site, just drop me a line ....

French & Indian War- Deerlick Rock, Lewis County NY - Potential Treasure Site?

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Nov 27, 2009

More Thoughts on the " St Ledger Payroll Treasure"

Ever since I made my first post in regard to the 'St. Ledger Lost Revolutionary War payroll Treasure' .. I can't stop thinking about it! Even though I'm well over a thousand miles away in Florida and should be out hitting the beach, I've been secretly making plans for a 2010 'North Woods Metal Detector Assault' on Jefferson and Lewis Counties in Upstate New York!
I will be recruiting a small 'elite force' of Detectoid's for this mission with a couple of different ' Treasure leads' in mind. I do need some local intel ... so if your on scene and have already done some research or you would like to pool resources, just let me know!
I have no doubt that at least one of the Lost Treasure tales will bear fruit ...

Nov 23, 2009

"Seneca, Ontario, and Haldimand at the Carleton Island Anchorage in May 1780.

Now, What's Interesting about The St Ledger Payroll Treasure!

The St Ledger Revolutionary War Treasure tale is almost a perfect example of how a Treasure lead might get a little confusing after a few hundred years. Lets start out with present day Redwood, New York. It is rather close to the St Lawrence River and one would have to ask why would St Ledger's army be here in the first place?  They would have been going in the wrong direction, or was their a reason for the British army to be here? Is this the 'Redwood' that they were talking about? Were they talking about Alexandria Bay? You have to ask yourself all of those questions and you must rule these things out !
Next question you would need to answer, where is Cape Peninsula? Or were they talking about 'Point Peninsula' out side of Chaumont Bay? This was along the water route that St Ledger used on the way to the Mohawk Valley. Maybe their was a settlement in the vicinity of Point Peninsula named Redwood? Or was 'Cape Peninsula' just a long forgotten settlement on the eastern shore of Lake Ontario?  This my friends, is where the research starts!

Brevet Gen. Barry St. Leger and the Lost Revolutionary War Payroll

  Another Revolutionary War treasure may possibly be found in New York's Jefferson County. This tale had its origin from a British plan by Col. Barry St. Leger to capture Fort Stanwix on the Mohawk River. Sailing from Carleton Island on the St. Lawrence upriver  to Lake Ontario with a strong force, the invaders were swamped in a violent storm near Cape Peninsula.
  One or more of the unfortunate boats carried about 20,000 British pounds for paying troops and enlisting the aid of settlers along the route. The sodden troops managed to drag some of the money chests ashore and bury them for safekeeping in the vicinity of Redwood, after which they hastened to rejoin the main body of troops.
  Why St. Leger never recovered the cache of coins is unknown. We only know that an organization called the Great Adirondack Treasure Company was formed, in the 1920's to search for this stash however, this venture never got off the ground.

Nov 11, 2009

Treasure Hunting 101

Research, is the single most Important thing you can do to help you find more treasure!! If your idea of metal detecting is zero research then I'll tell you right now , prepare to be disappointed.
I am from Upstate New York which is rich in history and arguably one of the best places to metal detect on the east coast. The number of potential sites are almost mind boggling ... and one of my better sources for treasure hunting sites is the local library, and its free!
Most library's have old news papers .. or old magazines! You will need to ask the librarian to view these, and believe me this is a great way to put you on target for even the most beat up sites you might already be hunting.
Remember, the price of admission to the library is free!

Nov 8, 2009

Lake Champlain & Lake George N.Y.

Lake Champlain and nearby Lake George have perhaps the best preserved collection of submerged cultural heritage resources in North America. Shipwrecks already found reflect every era of past human activity in the Champlain Basin, from Native American pre-contact, through the repeated military conflicts and the dynamic commercial period of the 19th century.
The Underwater Preserves Map [195 KB]shows the locations of publically accessible shipwrecks in Lake Champlain and Lake George. These include the Phoenix, the second steamboat on Lake Champlain, launched in 1815 and burned in 1819; theGeneral Butler, another sailing canal schooner that struck the Burlington Breakwater and sank during a violent storm in 1876; the Horse Ferry, the only known surviving example of this watercraft technology; and the Water Witch, which sunk during a squall in 1866, not far from the mouth of Otter Creek.
The Coal Barge, A.R Noyes sank in 1884 after breaking loose from a tugboat. The Champlain II, a steamer built in 1868 in Burlington by Orson Spear to ferry railroad cars, was converted to a steamer in 1874 and was wrecked in 1875 when she ran aground north of Westport, New York. Two standard canal boats, the O.J.Walker and the Diamond Island Stone Boat are also important preserves.
The three submerged heritage preserves on Lake George include the Land Tortoise, a floating gun battery that was intentionally scuttled to store it under winter lake ice, and the Sunken Fleet, composed of seven bateaux that were also intentionally scuttled to prevent their capture or destruction by French forces. The Forward is a 1906 motor launch reported to have been one of the earliest gasoline-powered vessels on Lake George.

Researchers estimate that as many as 300 shipwrecks have occurred during Lake Champlain's maritime history, and dozens of undiscovered wreck sites and hundreds of other underwater cultural resources still lie undisturbed on the Lake floor. The shipwrecks that have been located since the Lake Survey began in 1996 represent an extraordinary collection of primarily 19th century commercial craft. Each wreck tells its own story of technology, commerce, and human interactions with history.
painting of the gunboatPerhaps the most exciting and historically significant find is a 54 foot Revolutionary War gunboat. Discovered by the LCMM in 1997, the boat sits nearly upright in deep water with its mast intact and bow cannon still ready to fire. Recent research has identified the boat as the Spitfire, which was one of eight American gunboats in the October 1776 Battle of Valcour. The fleet was under the command of Brigadier General Benedict Arnold when the Spitfire sank after the battle, which was won by the British forces.
The Maritime Museum is working in cooperation with the Naval Historical Center and the States of New York and Vermont, with significant input from the public, to develop a comprehensive management plan for the long-term preservation and interpretation of the site. The gunboat, known as "Benedict Arnold's last Revolutionary War gunboat," has also been designated by The National Trust for Historic Preservation as an official project of the Presidential program "Save America's Treasures."

Gold panning


      GOLD has been an important part of North Carolina's history since 1799, the date of the first authenticated discovery of gold in the United States.  North Carolina was the nation's only gold-producing state from 1803 until 1828, and continued as a leading producer until 1848 when gold was discovered in California.
         By about 1830, the leading mines in North Carolina were hard-rock mines rather than surface placer operations.   Output probably peaked in the early 1830s and again in the late 1840s. The most famous mines in the South were at Gold Hill, where one shaft eventually reached a depth of 800 feet.    The federal government built a branch mint at Charlotte which coined southern gold from 1838 until the start of the Civil War in 1861.

        Production continued sporadically in the late 1800s and early 1900s, but since that time gold output has been minor. The last significant production was from 1954 to 1963 as a byproduct of copper mining in the Blue Ridge.
        In response to rising gold prices in the mid-1970s, interest was renewed in North Carolina gold. Prices rose to a high of $850 per ounce in 1980, but eventually became stable at around $350 to $400 per ounce from the late 1980s to the early 1990s. These higher gold prices and new methods of extracting gold from low-grade ores encouraged exploration for new deposits.  Although no new mines were opened in North Carolina, four gold mines were operated in South Carolina.  In the late 1990s, gold prices fell to below $300 per ounce and gold activity once again decreased.
        Recreational gold panning remains a popular past time in North Carolina. It is difficult to find large amounts of gold, but the possibility of finding even a little "color" in a gold pan is hard to resist. 


Recreational Gold Panning and Rockhounding

There is still gold in them thar hills! The lure of gold is what brought the miners to Alaska over 100 years ago and is still attracting folks searching for that elusive nugget today.
Father and son gold panning a creek.In northern Alaska, panning is allowed on any federal stream segment along theDalton Highway south of Atigun Pass(MP 244), with the following exceptions: no panning in the pipeline right-of-way (27 feet or 8.2 m on either side of the pipeline) and no panning on federal mining claims without permission. For more detailed information, pick up a copy of the Dalton Highway Mineral Collection at one of the visitor centers or by contacting the Fairbanks District Office. This free brochure lists creeks and rivers open to recreational mineral collection and rates their potential for finding gold.
In Interior Alaska, the Nome Creek Valley offers a four-mile area set aside for recreational gold panning.  Gold panning is limited to hand tools and light equipment, such as gold pans, rocker boxes, sluice boxes, or picks and shovels. Use of motorized equipment, such as backhoes, bulldozers and suction dredges, are not allowed without a permit.  Read more about the Nome Creek Valley gold panning area and it's gold mining history
Jar of gold nuggets.
There are many areas available for recreational gold panning just outside of Anchorage on the beautiful scenic Kenai Peninsula. To learn more about how to gold pan, where to go and what to look for, pick up the USDA Forest Service booklet Gold Panning: The guide to recreational gold panning on the Kenai Peninsula, Chugach National Forest, Alaska from one of the visitor centers. 
As you drive through Alaska, you may notice many signs of past mining activities - tailing piles, abandoned dredges and equipment, scars from hydraulic mining, and old mining camps.  Even simple hand tools can scar and destroy resources.  Before you take your pan in hand, consider the impacts recreational gold panning can have:
  • Sluicing gravels can cause silt to wash into the streams and destroy fish spawning beds. Use back eddies and side pools to reduce the amount of dirt and silt entering the main stream channel.
  • Do not dig into or near bridge abutments.
  • Work only in the stream channels or on unvegetated gravel bars to protect bank stability and prevent erosion.
BLM-managed public lands are open to recreational mining with suction dredges up to 4 inches in diameter. It is important that you know who the land owner is when you plan your gold panning activity. For more information on mining vist the BLM-Alaska Mining home page.

Nov 7, 2009

Upstate NY Treasure's

A reconstruction of Fort William Henry on the location of the original, at the south end of Lake George is a good place to view artifacts from, and learn the history of the French and Indian War.

Lake George Battlefield Park is a small, hilly park located behind Fort William Henry, which includes mostly unexcavated ruins of the original fort. Plaques detailing the battle at Fort William Henry in 1757 are on display. Lake George Battlefield Park is open from May-Columbus Day.

Along the bottom of Lake George lie sunken bateaux (flat-bottomed boats). A fleet of approximately 260 ships was deliberately sunk by the British and the American Colonists in 1758, during the French and Indian War. When Lake George froze in the winter, the ships could no longer be used, and so they were sunk to prevent the French and Native Americans from destroying them. In 1759, the British returned to Lake George and pulled out close to 200 of them. In 1960, two teenage scuba divers discovered the remaining bateaux, which no one realized still existed. That year, three of the boats were raised, with one put on display at the Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake. Seven sunken boats near the southern end of Lake George were surveyed by a team of divers in the 1980s and have subsequently been deemed a Shipwreck Preserve and listed on theNational Register of Historic Places. Another ship, the 52-foot “Land Tortoise,” was discovered in 1990 and was designated by the Smithsonian Institution as North America's oldest intact warship. The Land Tortoise” is off-limits to divers, but the Shipwreck Preserve is open to divers from Memorial Day-September.

Shadowy path may lead to treasure --

Shadowy path may lead to treasure --

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As Spain calls them pirates, salvage company hopes to find HMS Victory's gold - St. Petersburg Times

As Spain calls them pirates, salvage company hopes to find HMS Victory's gold - St. Petersburg Times

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Shallow Water Metal Detecting

Shallow water hunting is one of the most rewarding ways to metal detect.My best friend and Treasure Hunting companion 'Dave Dittler' introduced me to shallow water treasure hunting in the early 90's and from that point on I was hooked! I would rather hunt treasure in the water than anywhere else! Fortunately, for water hunters there is also less trash to dig in the water and far less competition! Depending on location and time of the year shallow water hunters may need just a bathing suit or waders, although I highly recommend a wet suit or even a dry suit for thermal protection as Dave and myself have hunted beaches during snow squalls, even at night. For a serious shallow water hunter a wet suit(at a minimum) is a must! In addition, you will also need a metal detector that is completely waterproof such as the Fisher CZ-20 or the new CZ-21 or Minelabs Excalibur series machines. My first machine was the Fisher Labs CZ-20 and she has never let me down! You will also need a strong long handle scoop! Do NOT skimp on your scoop!!! If your scoop fails on a hunt ...  your S.O.L., and their is a small learning curve with the scoop so get a good one. I've seen many different designs but my personal favorite has a curved handle.

Outside of that you should be all set! I'll get into the use of a 'Brownies Third Lung' in a later discussion. DP

Odyssey Marine Exploration

Urban Treasure Hunters take note ! Check out this link to the past.

Nov 6, 2009

pirate ship treasure found recently

Dutch Schultz's Buried Gangster Treasure

The Would-Be Treasure: Gangster Dutch Schultz's entire wealth
Estimated Value: $7 million (1935), $30 million (today)
Possible Location: A safe in the Catskill Mountains near Phoenicia, NY
Reference Center
- Catskill Mountains The Legend: Old-school gangtser Dutch Schultz was a very successful criminal amassing millions of dollars during Prohibition. However, he made enemies with the government and fellow mobsters like Lucky Luciano. It was his 'colleagues' that eventually did him with a vicious mob hit in 1935.

Fearing confiscation of his wealth either from the government or his colleagues, Schultz supposedly loaded up $5-7 million in a safe and headed upstate out of Manhattan with his bodyguard.
They were spotted in Phoenicia, NY in the Catskills and returned back to his Newark, NJ office where he would be shot soon thereafter.

His bodyguard also died in the mob hit so the only two people who knew the loot's location were dead.

The Clues: High on morphine and hallucinating due to an infection from the rusty bullets his killers used, Dutch Schultz babbled on his death bed for a couple of hours before he went into a coma and died.

Or was it babbling? Some believe he was giving clues to the location of his buried treasure.
The words have been part of the plot of the 'Illuminatus' trilogy and Beat poet William S. Burroughs used the deathbed monologue for a novel simply titled 'The Last Words of Dutch Schultz.'
An annual gathering of Catskill treasure hunters uses the words as an unofficial map along with books like John Conway's 'Dutch Schultz and His Lost Catskills' Treasure.'
Click On Image To Enlarge 

Here are some of the key lines from his last words:
... Wonder who owns these woods?. . .he'll never know what's hidden in `em ...

... Lulu [his bodyguard], drive me back to Phoenicia. Don't be a dope Lulu, we better get those Liberty bonds out of the box and cash `em

... John, please, did you buy me the hotel for a million?. . .I'll get you the cash out of the box. . .
there's enough in it to buy four-five more

Other clues to consider are the area road systems in 1935, (hint: you can find a map online), the speed and distance of a 1935 car and with Satan getting multiple mentions in the last words, the area has several landmarks with the word devil in them.

Oh, and the fact they were city boys and would not likely bury it too far from the road, but far away enough from a town.

Treasure Hunters Scour Florida Coast for Riches

Planning a Florida vacation this year? Bring your Metal Detector!!!!! Chances are that any where from Melbourne Beach south to Jupiter you could find Spanish Treasure!

Treasure Lead !!!- Mahanoy City, Pennsylvania

Treasure in the backyard!!

Nov 5, 2009

200 Year Old Dagger-Board Schooner Discovered in Lake Ontario

Scottish Gold Rush- Gentlemen, start your metal detectors!

This is a stunning find ... Check it

HMS Ontario 3D Render

Very cool computer simulation of the HMS Ontario!

Treasure hunters out to sea - Washington Times

Treasure hunters out to sea - Washington Times

X Marks the Spot: Treasure Off Florida Coast - ABC News

X Marks the Spot: Treasure Off Florida Coast - ABC News

The Spanish Colonial Treasure Shipwrecks

  In the century following Columbus’ dramatic discovery in 1492, the riches of her New World colonies helped make Spain the most powerful nation in Europe.  Taxes of 20% payable to the King of Spain, the “Royal Fifth” on all goods shipped from the New World, enabled Spain to defend its Western Hemisphere claims against the English, French, and Dutch, and extend its empire halfway around the world into the South Pacific.  From 1530 to 1800 an estimated 8-10 billion dollars in gold, silver, precious gems and other riches, were mined in Spain’s New World colonies, then transported by the famous Spanish Armadas across the oceans to the motherland.

Florida Shipwrecks

  Florida is considered a world center for underwater treasure shipwreck exploration and salvage. According to famed author and maritime historianRobert Marx, “more work has been done on Florida shipwrecks than throughout the rest of the Western Hemisphere”. The Florida east coast and Keys have off-lying reefs and shoals which the Spanish Armadas had to pass as they departed the New World capital, Havana, and turned northeast through the Bahamas Channel on the journey home. Hundreds of ships have been lost in the Florida Keys, and throughout the Caribbean. Many have been found and salvaged. Others have never been found, or only partially studied and salvaged.

Metal Detector Shoot-Out! (Comparison Testing)

     One person claims 7" on a dime in one State and another person claims 12" on a dime in another State. One person hunts a particular site with Brand-X detector, then, the very next day, he hunts the exact place again with Brand-Y detector and finds more good targets, then touts the Brand-X detector as inferior. These are very common and misleading occurrences.

     A head-to-head comparison is VERY difficult to perform. Absolutely ALL variables must be removed if any form of validity is to be ascertained. The slightest changing variable can completely void the test.

     A textbook perfect test-garden is a good start, yet it does not represent the real world dirt conditions. This includes simplex and complex test-garden scenarios. The preferred method for head-to-head comparison takes place at several different sites with varying mineralization and with several different undug, undisturbed targets in their natural settings.

     Let's say you have selected a local park. You have located several 'items of interest' and marked their exact pinpoint location with colored plastic poker chips. You turn off Brand-X detector and swap it out for Brand-Y detector. Here is where the difficulty begins. Was Brand-X detector control panel settings optimized for each individual target? Was the level & quality of signal documented (for comparison) on each individual target..... or are you ONLY seeking to find 'detectable' or 'not detectable' (go/no-go) scenarios to each detector being tested...... regardless of signal strength/quality? How high was the coil over the target(s)? How fast was the coil sweep speed? Are you aware that one detector may like a fast sweep speed.... and the other unit resolves better with a slower sweep speed? Were you facing the exact same direction when sweeping the coil over subject target? Was Brand-Y detector coil sweeping the subject target one inch further forward or aft of the exact pinpoint location? Was only one of the units properly ground balanced? Is this type of information potentially "interpretive"? Are you slightly biased more favorably towards Brand-X detector?  Does Brand-Ex detector come standard with a 10.5" coil and Brand-Z detector is factory 8" coil equipped? What is categorized as 'fair' or 'unfair'? When you went back to the car to swap detectors, did the nearby local radio station switch from nighttime 10KW to daytime 50KW transmit power? Or did the A/C compressor and pool pump cycle 'on' at the nearby building? Were your steel-toe'd shoes and steel shovel a bit closer to the coil of Brand-X whilst comparing detectors? Is Brand-T detector more resonant on low conductors (nickels) and Brand-Z detector more resonant on high conductors (silver dimes)? Does one brand detector fall flat on its face in bad ground, yet it will trump all other detectors in fairly mineral-free dirt  ----  and you only gave it one chance at one location  ----  and came to one final conclusion? Are you trying to compare Brand-T detector equipped with a extremely tight electromagnetic footprint bi-axial elliptical DD coil to Brand-Z detector with a concentric coplanar coil? Are you seeking to find which detector is simply the deepest unit  --  or which one presents the best enhanced adjacent target separation characteristics? Are you aware that one detector may be superior at finding coins next to pull-tabs (non-ferrous) trash and another detector may be superior at finding those same coins next to nails (ferrous) trash? Is one person operating Brand-X unit and a different person operating Brand-Y unit? Can you see where this might make a difference? Did you know that you can mark targets today --- and tomorrow you may or may not be able to detect these exact same targets? If tomorrow brings different humidity, temperature, rain or electrical interference, a whole new set of parameters exists. Are you aware that one detector may find one set of targets and another detector may find a completely different set of targets in the same field? Does this make one unit inferior/superior to another unit?

     This brings up another interesting scenario/phenomenon. Say a [very small nail] is 6" deep --- and a silver dime is directly beneath the nail, one inch deeper -- at a total depth of 7". In your hands, you have one detector and two coils; a 5" coil and a 10.5" coil. With the small coil installed, the 6" deep nail is a moderate signal strength -- and the (one inch deeper) 7" deep dime is starting to "push the depth limits" of the small coil, yet still within detectable range; HOWEVER, the dimes signal strength to the small coil is much weaker than the shallower nail --- so the detector reports "iron". A one inch deeper depth to the small coil is a formidable signal strength reduction.  x-x-x-x-x   Now you install the large 10.5" coil. A target at 6" and a target at 7" is hardly even a difference to the larger coil  ---  the field intensity at 6" & 7" are nearly the same; HOWEVER, the detector reports "coin" because the dime has a larger mass as compared to the [very small nail]. Sometimes this phenomenon is referred to as the "wrap-around" effect. So, is this apples-to-apples... head-to-head comparison? Interpretive it is!  In any case, armed with this knowledge can prove to be VERY fruitful. The same detector with different coils may 'light up' completely different targets in the same area. Keep that in mind.

     As you can see, there are many things that can alter data resultants. One of the more common mistakes is to be facing, say West (270 deg.) while sweeping with Brand-X, then repeat the same process with Brand-Y detector in almost exactly the same direction, nearly due West (say 255 deg.). This slightly different (15 deg. difference) sweep angle, in many cases, is just enough of a difference to invalidate the comparison. A tight footprint DD coil can highly accentuate this common occurrence as you rotate your body around the target. This is also to say that you may have hunted a parcel of land numerous times, always walking South to North (facing North), yet you keep finding more targets. Maybe a particular target could only be electromagnetically illuminated when the coil is passed over the target from a Northwest-to-Southeast approach angle. One day you are facing (and walking) North again, but, this particular time the target is on your Right side of your sweep (vs. directly in front of you or slightly to the Left side); hence, your coil approach angle into the target is finally the correct angle and - "Bam" you get a good hit. Upon further examination, you decide to rotate your body around this specific target while sweeping --- only to discover that this particular target is detectable in a certain window-of-opportunity of body rotation --- and is undetectable from other approach angles,,,, possibly due to a co-located trash target in close proximity to the good target. You may or may not be able to hear the culprit trash item, because of masking, silent masking or your level of discrimination dialed in to your detector. (If you have tone ID capabilities, use zero discrimination for the full intelligence package of existing dirt scenarios). Depending upon how your coil approaches into the co-located targets, dictates how the detector will respond.

     Find the right tool for the right job. Detectors are akin to eye-glasses. There are spectacles for specific tasks such as; near-sightedness, far-sightedness, high magnification macro viewing, long-range zoom viewing, reading glasses, 3-D viewing, Solar eclipse viewing, low-light/night-vision viewing, Sun shades and shades that are specifically designed for nothing ... except to just simply look "cool".  And detectors with 'flames' to just simply look ****** ,,,,, you know the rest of the story!

     All of this information sounds like 'data overload'. There are many additional scenarios that can void a head-to-head test. Sounds discouraging and difficult, doesn't it? The bottom line is; DO YOUR BEST!  Remove as many of the variables as possible. If you can have your buddy standing behind you ,,, handing you detectors and equipment,,,, whilst you have your feet planted in the exact same unmovable spot........ chances are your head-to-head testing should generate valid results --- as sweep angle direction, temperature, ground moisture content, humidity, local electromagnetic interference, local ground mineralization content and other potential "variables" become "constants". When you become accustomed to this procedure,,,,, you will learn that it was not that difficult after all!!!  Your conclusive analysis may very well present a resultant that is not in accord with your initial expectations. Keep an open mind and don't be biased ....and enhanced performance will ensue. Your increased awareness and intelligence will 'magically' increase your volume of "keeper" finds!!!

Nov 4, 2009

Terry Herbert - Saxon Gold Hoard

Attention to Detail !! Research!! and most of all .. know your machine .. have your metal detector down cold!! It will REWARD You!!

New Jersey & NYC area Treasure Hunters take note!!!

Beautiful 1715 Treasure Fleet find! Ft Pierce Florida area

July 2005 - FT. PIERCE, FL - "I’ll never complain about your going metal detecting again!" Jennifer had just finished jumping up and down between exclamations. "Oh My God!" Her husband, Gary Drayton, had been detecting the beach several hundred yards to the south and had placed in her hand a beautiful gold and emerald ring he had just recovered. It was a ring that had obviously had been carried aboard the 1715 Spanish galleon "Nieves" that sank 2-1/2 miles south of the Fort Pierce inlet. It was a narrow gold band with eight deep-green emeralds surrounding a center-mounted, larger green emerald. It was a magnificent ring that barely hinted at its submersion in the ocean for almost 290 years. But then … gold is forever.

The day was great for beach hunting, windless with a calm ocean. He always liked to get an early start in the morning, and that day he had a feeling it was "his" day. On recent visits to this beach he had begun to recover a few silver coins and silver plate parts, mixed in with an assortment of iron spikes. His wife Jennifer had said that morning, "Put your metal detector in the car, and I’ll sit on the beach with the kids while you detect." It was a family decision that had a good omen. Gary was using a Minelab "Excalibur" metal detector and got his "hit" in a pile of shells several yards up from the water’s edge. It was a different kind of hit, louder and with a different tone. He dug down about 18 inches, and when he first saw the artifact he believed it to be a champagne bottle top twist. As he picked it up and turned it over, his knees became weak. The gold was as bright and shiny as the day it was made, and the emeralds were unbelievably deep green. He was thunderstruck. He walked down to the water’s edge, then back up to the dune line. He was seized by the urgency to show the ring to his wife, and running in sand took his breath away.
And so it went, a family outing that produced a treasure fit for a king. The Drayton family will be spending many more trips to the beach, and if luck will have it there will be more jumping up and down as treasure is recovered.

Nov 3, 2009

Penetanguishene, Ontario Treasure!

The Lost Donner Treasure, circa 1891

The single best tool in your Treasure Hunting arsenal- The Internet!

'Exceptional' Roman coin hoard !

Hurricanes unearth beach Treasures!!

More Florida Pirate Booty ??

Adirondack Gold??

Digging into Sackets Harbor

Digging into Sackets Harbor's Past

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Digging Up History From The Depths of Lake Champlain

Digging Up History From The Depths of Lake Champlain

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Unearthing the Past: Historic Button Found in Plattsburgh

Unearthing the Past: Historic Button Found in Plattsburgh

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Silver set to Soar as it did in the 1970’s -

Silver set to Soar as it did in the 1970’s -

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Treasure Haul

With the price of gold on the way to $1100 US ... Now is the time to start seriously shopping for that new metal detector!

Your penny might be worth more then a penny!

War nickels should be in every coin collection!

We frequently think of the Jefferson nickel as not worth the bother. We ignore the design changes of 2004, 2005 and 2006 and move along our hobby road on autopilot. It's dull. It's boring. It isn't precious metal.

Having basically only one type for 65 years contributes to this. In fact, if you look at the nickel as a denomination, it has been remarkably stable since its introduction back in 1866 - no other denomination today is basically the same composition as it was just after the end of the Civil War. There was, however, a brief period when there was another type of nickel, and that period during World War II has left us with an interesting mini-group of very different Jefferson nickels that actually contain precious metal.

Moreover, as the change was a result of the concerns of officials about metals needed to conduct World War II, it can safely be suggested that the war-year Jefferson nickels are a souvenir of World War II. That makes them not only an interesting collection, but also a potential gift for the remaining veterans and families who lived through the period.

The story of the wartime nickels is one of the things that makes them so special and interesting today. Back on Dec. 7, 1941, when the first Japanese bomb fell at Pearl Harbor, the Jefferson nickel was still a fairly new design. Having been introduced in 1938, if you had a pocket full of coins on the infamous day in 1941, odds were good that the nickels in your pocket would have been Buffalo nickels and not the newer Jefferson design.

What those first bombs had to do with the nickels of the United States was probably not immediately clear. It was probably not even clear when a very angry President Franklin D. Roosevelt addressed the Congress asking for a declaration of war. At the time his words were tough, but an objective analysis of the situation might well have questioned whether the tough words of Roosevelt could actually be backed up by the armed forces of the United States.

Even though the United States had been drifting toward war against Germany and Italy or Japan, or a combination of all, the country was still not even close to being ready for a conflict that extended around the globe. Some Americans had gone off to fight anyway, and the industrial power of the nation was being used to supply England and other allies. But realistically on Dec. 7, 1941, the United States was a nation with half a foot of its industrial power planted in wartime preparations while the other was still firmly planted in peace-time activities. It all had to change, and change quickly.

There was no reason for optimism on Dec. 7, 1941. Much of the Pacific Fleet was damaged or sunk. In Europe, the German advance had seen country after country fall, to the point where England would stand alone in opposition to the German might. Certainly the United States would be an enormous help, even though at the time the American military was not considered to be among the top ten in the world. Other, higher-ranked militaries had fallen quickly and sometimes surprisingly easily. Of course, what the military ranking of the time could not measure was the courage and skill of the American military or the will of the American people and the potential of American industry to produce materials needed for a conflict around the globe.

American war planners immediately went to work attempting to project things that might be needed to fight an extended global conflict. It was not a small task. Today we see some of the steps they took. There were special bank notes created that could be easily identified if they were captured by the enemy. Such notes were produced for Hawaii, as there was a real fear that the island would fall to the Japanese and that they might well not stop there. There were considerations about an invasion of California and projections as to how far a Japanese invasion force might get into the heartland of America before it could be stopped. Other special bank notes were created to be carried by soldiers invading Africa, and tests were run on special replacement security paper for bank notes in the event that the supply of regular security paper was threatened.

Coins were another matter, and a serious one. To fight a war, large amounts of certain metals were required. A war so large and potentially lasting so long could potential produce a situation where the metals needed for ammunition, tanks, planes and a host of other things simply were exhausted. Conservation was required. One of the major peace-time uses for metals like copper and nickel was coins, and that saw officials turn immediately to the cent and nickel as coins that needed to be changed.

As it turned out, the copper-coated-steel cents produced in 1943 did not really work. They conserved copper but at the expensive of being unpopular with the public because the cents would corrode quickly. It's ironic to think that a public willing to sacrifice almost all their comforts without complaint was not happy with the 1943 cents.

To officials, the composition of the nickel was the worst of all worlds. The nickel used both copper and nickel, and both were potentially strategic needs. The alloy determined to be a temporary replacement was 56 percent copper which was a significant reduction, 35 percent silver and 9 percent manganese. Amazingly, the new composition of this "nickel" would actually include no nickel.

The decisions were being made in the first months of 1942, and while that was happening regular nickel production would continue. Officials made an interesting decision in that it was decided to have special features on the nickels, which were probably seen as ways of suggesting to the public the composition change. Historically, there had been the use of design elements to indicate composition changes. A reduction in the amount of gold in the gold coins in 1834 brought a completely new design, and there were considerations of other things such as adding the month to the issues to show the public that there was in fact a change. The amount of silver in silver coins had gone both down and up, and in 1853 when it went down and 1873 when it was increased there had been arrows added by the date briefly to mark the change. In 1853 there had also been rays added to the reverse. At other times, however, such as 1864 when the composition of the cent was changed, there were no design changes.

Precisely why officials saw a need to make the new-composition nickels different remains unclear, but the fact is that the mintmark was enlarged and moved to a position from the side of Monticello on the reverse to a place directly above it. In addition, coins made at Philadelphia would carry a "P" mintmark, the first time in history that a U.S. coin made at Philadelphia would have a mintmark.

With its special composition and change in mintmark location, the war-year nickel would take an immediate place along with the 1943 cents as one of very few issues of the United States that could actually be tied to a specific national crisis.

There were changes in composition for the cent, three-cent piece and five-cent piece back at the time of the Civil War although the three-cent and five-cent coins would also continue to be produced in their old silver composition as well. The period would also see the release of a two-cent piece, and as this denomination lasted less than a decade it can be suggested it was also a special crisis denomination. Moreover, the two-cent piece became the first coin to carry the motto IN GOD WE TRUST. This suggestion from Rev. M.R. Watkinson of Riddleyville, Pa., probably received more attention than it might have otherwise simply because of the troubled nature of the times, making it possible to make the case that the two-cent piece in a variety of ways reflected the national crisis at the time.

The crisis of the Mexican War was over but it could be said that the special 1848 quarter eagle with "CAL." on the reverse was a commemorative of that war. In theory the "CAL." was to designate the fact that the 1,389 coins produced with "CAL." in the design were made from the first gold to be received from California, but in fact there was a political message behind the coins. The "CAL." was also seen as showing the public that the war had been worthwhile. The Peace dollar, which made its debut in 1921, was also supposed to commemorate the end of hostilities in World War I. During both of these wars, however, there had been no emergency changes in compositions, so the commemoration was after the fact.

It all makes the wartime Jefferson nickels an interesting group, really a unique set within the larger Jefferson nickel set. For many years there was very little special attention for the war-year nickels because frankly they were available in virtually all grades.

The one exception was the one most did not include as part of a set, and that was the 1943/2-P, which some have suggested was a known error allowed to be released simply in the interests of time and reducing costs at the Mint in a time of crisis. Whatever the real story, the 1943/2-P is certainly better at $50 in G-4, $250 in MS-60, $650 in MS-65 and $1,000 in MS-65 with full steps. Professional Coin Grading Service had seen only 40 examples in MS-65 Full Steps.

The regular dates in a collection are relatively easy to obtain. The mintages ranged from 15,294,000 for the 1943-D to 271, 165,000 for the 1943-P, and those totals were more than enough to make any date possible to find fairly easily in circulation for many years. Supplies today are not as good as in the past. One reason for this is that large numbers were melted back around 1980 when the price of silver reached $50 an ounce. Even with a 35 percent silver in its composition, at that price a war nickel was worth far more than face value. To many, selling them seemed like money from the sky. They tended to darken quickly and with wear would be streaky in appearance or even have a green hue. Although the alloy was fine when newly minted, it really did not age well, and that meant circulated coins were generally not very attractive. That made selling them literally a "no brainer," especially when Mint State examples are available for very little money.

In MS-60 condition, a wartimenickel set is both easy to find and to afford. Prices of the dates, no matter how large or small their mintage, are basically bunched together. The most expensive date is not the lowest-mintage 1943-D, but rather the 1944-D listed at $14 while the 1944-P and 1942-D list at $10. Assembling a set in MS-60 is a possibility for roughly $80, and that's a great deal in a special holder as a present for someone who lived through World War II, and for their family. While not the best grade for a serious collector, the appearance of MS-60 examples will impress virtually everyone, making the set something that will interest everyone. It has a great story behind it, one in which every American of the time can take great pride. For the collector, with such reasonable prices it is almost pointless to settle for MS-60. The MS-65 prices of the wartime nickels seem to be constantly in a state of change, but even so they remain well within the budgets of most. Right now the 1942-P and 1944-P are the most expensive dates in MS-65 at $22.50 while the 1942-S is $20. All the other dates fall in the $13-$20 range. Admittedly that is up from a few years ago when a few dates were under $10, but for a group of coins now 60 years old, in a grade like MS-65, it still has to be seen as a great deal.

The price movements we have seen are generally ones that reflect a greater awareness of the availability of all the dates in top grade. In the past, prices basically followed mintages, but availability in grades like MS-65 does not always follow mintage patterns. We see that in almost every type of U.S. coin where a higher mintage date for one reason or another is much tougher than expected in MS-65. That is the case with the war-year nickels as well. A date like the 1944-P, which had a higher mintage of 119,150,000, has turned out to be a tougher date in MS-65. We have also seen a price increase in the 1943-P, which was $6.50 in 1998 but which is now $15 in the same grade. It makes sense as the 1943-P has appeared at PCGS less often in MS-65 than other lower-mintage dates like the 1944-D or 1944-S.

The situation with the 1944-P, however, remains especially interesting. It was a date with a large 119,150,000 mintage, but when you check on the number of times it has appeared in top grades at PCGS, you find the 1944-P had 196 appearances in MS-65, a figure lower than other top dates like the 1942-P and 1942-S which have been seen 203 and 204 times, respectively. Obviously the numbers are close, but it certainly suggests that, despite its high mintage, the 1944-P deserves to be among the most expensive dates in MS-65.

For those who want the very best, the wartime Jefferson nickels are still possible. In MS-65 with full steps all are available. The key in that condition is the 1945-S, which is ironic as it is one of the lower-priced dates in other grades. There is no mistake in its $250 listing in MS-65 with full steps as PCGS reports about 80 examples, safely below the other dates.

Some of the better MS-65 Full Steps war-year nickels include the 1944-S, now at $185, along with the 1942-S and 1945-P, which are both at $125, with the 1944-P rounding out the group at $100 more with a listing at $100.

Whatever the grade and whatever the purpose, whether to assemble a set as a gift, or for yourself, or as part of a regular Jefferson nickel set, it is safe to say that the wartime Jefferson nickels are a fascinating and historic group that should be in virtually every collection.

Jobless Man Uncovers Gold Hoard with Metal Detector - Archaeology | Egyptology | Archeology -

Jobless Man Uncovers Gold Hoard with Metal Detector - Archaeology | Egyptology | Archeology -

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The Case For Withdrawing Nickels

The Case For Withdrawing Nickels

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Discovery of Steamer Samuel F. Hodge - Shipwreck in Lake Ontario

As you might have noticed, I am particularly interested in Lake Ontario shipwrecks. I grew up exploring on and around Lake Ontario and Oneida Lake in upstate NY, and it is in both of these lakes that I have spent countless hours neck deep in the water with my Fisher CZ-20 or my Minelab Excalibur combing the beaches and shorelines.

Praying for a Hurricane!

SATELLITE BEACH, Fla. -- The recent hurricanes have been devastating for most here in Central Florida, but for a select few in Brevard County, they have provided some extra cash.

Hurricanes Unearth Sunken Spanish Treasures
Residents are combing the beaches for Spanish treasures that have been buried for nearly 300 years!
A Spanish treasure fleet got caught in a hurricane off the coast of Florida in 1715. All of the ships sank, and some of their whereabouts are still a mystery.
Most experts believe the ships sank of the coasts of Indian River and St. Lucie counties, but some recent finds on Brevard beaches show evidence to the contrary.
The rough seas created by this season's three powerful hurricanes have eroded large dunes on Brevard's shores, exposing ground that has been buried for centuries.
Some seasoned treasure hunters knew just where to look.
"I knew a few enthusiastic beachcombers that waited out the hurricanes in their cars at the beach. The minute the winds died down they were on the shore hunting for Spanish treasure," said treasure expert Taffi Fisher.
She said one lucky fellow found four gold coins and around 20 silver coins.
Another man, Mike Wickwire, found 38 pieces of Spanish silver. The coins have intricate patterns that allow experts to guarantee the authenticity. Wickwire is reluctant to say exactly where he found the coins, but he does insist they came from a Brevard beach.
Fisher said that a silver coin could sell for up to $1,000, while a gold coin can be worth up to $20,000.
Fisher also believes the hurricanes will reveal more artifacts and some of the unaccounted ships will prove to be off the coast of Brevard County.