Feb 28, 2010


In 1715, eleven Spanish galleons left Havana Harbor. Their sails picked up the trade winds as they followed the Gulf Stream along the Florida Straits and close the shorelines off Florida’s central east coast. They hoped to remain on a northerly course until ultimately branching off and crossing the Atlantic Ocean to Spain.
None of the ships made it, wrecking and scattering their cargo close to the shorelines from Stuart to Cape Canaveral. Millions of dollars worth of gold and silver coins, jewelry, ship artifacts and other relics were strewn along the east-central coast of Florida. While much has been salvaged from the wrecks, plenty remains – which means there’s plenty for you to find!
Not only do finds large and small continue on a daily basis, you get to keep what you find on the beaches (note that this is on the beaches only; not in the dunes, the water or any state parks) for a few miles north and south of Sebastian Inlet – the epicenter of what’s become known as the Treasure Coast. I found my first reale about two miles south of the inlet just above the beach’s high-tide line.
While a metal detector can help unearth what’s unseen beneath the surface, simply eyeballing the areas as you walk along the surf can be productive. Look for a metallic gleam, of course – gold “escudo” coins, priceless necklaces and other jewelry have been found by beachcombers – but also note anything dark and misshapen such as oxidized silver or other unusual debris.
 Where to Look
Treasure salvors still have leases to search the waters, so stay on the beaches beyond the surf line. You also must respect private property whenever encountered between where the beach sand ends (known as the escarpment) to U.S. Highway A1A that parallels the coast.
Look for the high-tide line where the sand is softest and walk along it, as that’s frequently proven to be productive. Sort through the debris and inspect anything unusual. A screened device at the end of a handle can reduce a lot of stooping, but simple garden tools, such as a hand scoop or pail, will suffice.
Another good zone involves the “wet sand” that’s exposed as the surf recedes after each wave. If you notice something worth checking out, keep your eyes fastened on that spot so you don’t lose it and move quickly before the next wave washes in.
When it’s safe to do so, hit the beach soon after a storm’s come through off the ocean. The heavy wave action stirs up the sediment and at times picks up objects, like coins, and tumbles them right onto the beaches.
Look for areas with more shell deposits than others, as this might indicate where strong currents are sweeping across the bottom and depositing loose objects onto the beach sand.
One of my favorite locations involves Vero Beach. I stay at the Vero Beach Holiday Inn due to its proximity to other productive beaches. I also work the beaches just north and south of the hotel, where I found four silver coins on only two visits.
The Right Stuff: Equipment and Etiquette
While use of the Mark 1 ' eyeball' can and has resulted in thousands of treasure coins being found, you can’t beat having the ability to detect what’s under the sand as well. A metal detector does just that, and they’re easy to operate.
Of course, such equipment varies in capability, with simple metal detectors costing only $100 or so and more sensitive models exceeding $1,000. One of the more popular types for a saltwater environment is the MineLab Excalibur. Check out for a closer look!
I’ve found the most success being methodical. I’ll mentally grid an area and work it slowly, taking one step per sweep of the metal detector in front of me as I hold it just above the sand. Depending on the quality of the detector and the buried metal object, I’ve found things as small as a dime 12 inches below the surface. Larger objects or those buried a long time that emanate a metallic “halo” effect can be dug up several feet down.
Using a metal detector is easy once you get the hang of it, and to me and many other enthusiasts it’s just plain fun. I like finding things, and when it’s something of value it’s really a blast. Even though none of the coins I’ve found exceed $100 in value, the fact I found them and perhaps they would have remained hidden in the ground for many more years – or forever – makes it that much more special.
Besides the Vero Beach Holiday Inn area, sites where I’ve had the best luck include:
  • Any of the beaches three miles north or south of Sebastian Inlet State Park, in particular, Bonsteel Park north of Sebastian Inlet
  • Wabasso Beach
  • Melbourne Beach
  • Aquarina Beach, about 11 miles south of Melbourne Beach
  • Pepper Park Beach near Fort Pierce - many Gold coins have been found near here!!

Feb 26, 2010

Woman who found coin worth £2,000 in garden becomes first to be prosecuted for not reporting treasure

Last updated at 5:40 PM on 26th February 2010

Kate Harding pictured outside court. She was found guilty of failing to report treasure
'Disorganised': Kate Harding pictured outside court. She was found guilty of failing to report treasure
A woman who found a 700-year-old silver 'coin' whilst digging in her garden as a child has become the first in the country to be convicted of failing to hand in suspected treasure.
Kate Harding, 23, was prosecuted under the Treasure Act after she ignored orders to report the coin-like artefact to a coroner.
A court heard the silver piedfort marking Charles IV's ascension to the French throne in 1322 was discovered by Miss Harding 14 years ago as she worked in the garden with her mother at their home in Tenbury Wells, Worcestershire.
Following her mother's death a short time later, Harding kept the 1.4gram item as a memento until she eventually showed it to museum experts last year.
The silver 'coin' was identified as a piedfort dating from 1322, which, while not of great financial value, was of historical significance.
Experts are unsure of exactly what piedforts were used for but agree they were not intended to function as currency. 
While they are designed around existing coins of the period, they were substantially thicker and it was has been suggested they were used as guides for mint workers, or more likely, reckoning counters for officials.
Under the Treasure Act 1996, treasure is defined in basic terms as any single object at least 300 years old which is not a coin but has a precious metal content of at least ten per cent, or when found, is one of at least two coins in the same find of that age and metallic content.
The Act gives a finder 14 days to inform the local coroner of potential treasure and creates an offence of failing to carry out that duty where this is not followed. 
The prosecution in Ludlow, Shropshire, serves as a warning to so-called 'nighthawkers', who trespass on land under cover of darkness and sell on any finds unearthed using their metal detectors without declaring them to unscrupulous dealers.

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Feb 20, 2010

Western New York Treasure Morsel ...

Lost Treasure of Niagara

Most people driving through present day White Pigeon might notice a used car lot, a couple of century old houses, a bridge over Lyons Creek and a couple of stop signs. What they probably missed were the mounds of earth that dot the creek shoreline.

Two hundred years ago it was a bustling little settlement that sprang up at this narrow in the creek.

On the south side of the creek there was a tavern that seemed to have its share of characters stopping to quench their thirst in the early days of the 1812 war.

American soldiers had free run over a good part of the eastern peninsula. Local businessmen and farmers alike had to bury their valuables to keep them safe from the marauding Americans.

A ship captain caught in the region spent a night at the Inn. He had in his possession a heavy chest that he never let out of his sight.

During the night he was observed leaving the Inn with his chest.

Upon leaving the next morning, he told the Inn keeper ' I will return when the war is over'. He then boarded the stage empty handed and was never seen or heard of again.

After the war, many holes were dug along the banks of the creek looking for the chest, with no luck.

With today's technology surely this shouldn't be a mystery much longer.

Feb 15, 2010

West Coast and South of the Boarder ALERT! ..A Few Quick Treasure Hunting Teasers !!!

To the north of Guadalajara is a blown shut cave containing a hoard of silver bars and a mine nearby. Two of the bars were removed from the tunnel in 1934 before a treasure hunter blew it shut. It's still there in a canyon north of the city. The Golden Gate, laden with $1,500,000 in gold coins and bullion on board, caught fire and sank three miles offshore and 19 miles north of Manzanillo on July 27, 1862. Salvagers over the years have recovered about $1,000,000 in gold coins and bars, leaving at least $500,000 (at 1862 values) for today's treasure hunter.

Caltzontzin was the king of the Tarascans in the state of Michoacan in 1500 where it was said that much gold was in the hills. It is believed by some that his cache of gold treasure, valued at $30,000,000 and secreted during the time of the Spanish conquest, lies buried in a subterranean passage on the mountain of La Bates de Oro

122 bars of silver were taken by Pancho Villa and his gang in an ambush of a train near Chavarria. While traveling back toward the border in the captured train, he himself was attacked by a band of government troops at San Andres. Escaping under the cover of darkness, Villa and his men made their way toward Bachiniva. One of his wounded soldiers died, and was buried along with the bars of silver, "...on the road to Bachiniva." Somewhere in or near Bachiniva lies a grave of an unknown bandit and, nearby, 122 bars of silver.

In 1897, within the walls of the old ruined Jesuit mission of Santa Maria in Lower California (founded in 1707), a jar of treasure was found buried. The Order was expelled in the winter of 1767-68 and this was the mission they established there. More may be cached in this area.

On September 13, 1931, the American steamer Columbia was wrecked off Point Tasco, Santa Margarita Island carrying $320,000 in gold and silver.

The Lost El Naranjal, a mine with a gigantic pile of rich gold ore dug from it and stockpiled inside is located in the area of El Naranjo, east of Los Mochis and about 100 miles southwest of the Seven Cities ruins site in the vicinity of the small stream named Evera Mocorito. The ancient diggings are on a high mesa in the shadow of a towering mountain.

The Jesuits are said to have buried vast riches in a fabulously rich gold mine, then sealed it up and destroyed all traces of the workings when they were about to be driven from their settlement in the southwestern part of Chihuahua. The site is in the area where a great gorge is cut by the Rio Verde. The larger portion of Pancho Villa's treasures of the revolution in the 1920s, worth an estimated $24,000,000, is believed cached in the Sierra Madre Occidental, perhaps in a cave in an area either 50 miles northwest or 50 miles southwest of Parral where he was assassinated on July 20, 1923.

The treasure cave of the Lauriana outlaw brothers who operated around 1850 is located on the east side of and near the top of Brazil Mountain, about 8 or 10 miles southeast of Limon in the state of Sinaloa. The sealed tunnel or cavern contains an estimated 55,000,000 pesos in gold bars, gold and silver coins and mission treasure. The entire payroll of gold coins, intended for the 7,000 man Federal division that followed Pancho Villa when he headed southward in 1914 was hidden in or near the city of Torreon by a young deserter named Abdon Perez who wanted to turn it over to Villa. Perez was killed in the first exchange of shots during the attack on Gomez Palacio - adjoining Torreon - and the treasure was never found

A major portion of Pancho Villa's treasure is said to lie near his retreat west of Durango and north of Mazatlan near the village of Tepuxtla, a few miles from the Gulf of California. The suspected site is at a cavern at the headwaters of the Rio Presidio River - a stream that meanders out of the Sierra Madre Mountains.

After they had wounded the Aztec emperor, Montezuma, whom they had taken prisoner, Cortez and his Spanish soldiers were besieged in Tenochtitlan (Mexico City) by the enraged Aztec soldiers led by the Priest of Votan. After days of savage fighting, the Spaniards attempted to retreat from the city during the night laden with the vast treasure of Montezuma. When day dawned after that fatal "Noche Triste" (sad night), Cortez and only a small remnant of his soldiers had been able to escape with their lives.Lake Tezcuco, surrounding Tenochtitlan, which they had crossed by causeway during their bloody flight, was filled with the bodies of the slain, and on its bottom rested the great treasure of Montezuma,

Thrown into the lake by the fleeing Spaniards. This huge hoard had originally consisted of golden and silver ornaments, and an immense quantity of jewels. The ornaments had been reduced to wedge-shaped bullion by the Spaniards, and in this form were cast into the lake. Generations of treasure seekers have raked the old lakebed and even the title-deeds of an estate bordering the lake mention the treasure; one President of Mexico dragged its lava bed for the lost hoard without success.

There are centuries of accumulated mud on top of the treasure which still lies buried under present-day Mexico City and which has defied all efforts of recovery.. According to legends, when Cortez took siege of Mexico City in 1521, the Aztec Indians secreted their treasure hoards in and around the Lake of the city and, in particular, in a cave in the nearby hillsides surrounding the city. A rich treasure is said to be hidden in the vaults under the church of San Geronimo por la Santissima Virgen in Mexico City .

Feb 9, 2010

PENNSYLVANIA’S Ice Mine and the Lost Silver

Click on the Map to enlarge!!

To this day, no one knows where the the lost silver lode is in Sweden Township, Potter County, five miles from the town of Coudersport. Known to the greatest warriors of the Iroquois Confederacy for over two hundred years, the great lode has never been found by white men, and though the red men have often brought silver ore from the area, they never have revealed the location to their fair skinned neighbors.

Nor is this all a myth of an imaginative race of people, colored by two centuries of telling and retelling. No less a person than the late Arch Akeley, one of the area’s greatest historians and former superintendent of Potter County schools claims to have found two areas in the Kettle Creek section, where the copper skinned braves smelted the ore. Frequent mention of the precious metal is made in Victor Beebe’s History of Potter County, considered a classic among the people of Pennsylvania’s Northern tier of counties.

The mine has never been found, but in searching for it, one of the most amazing discoveries in the history of Pennsylvania was made–one that brought recognition and fame to Potter County for seven decades, plus perhaps a million or more visitors.

Here is the story.

For over half a century, the exasperated woodsmen of Potter County had watched as Red Men entered the woods south of Coudersport, to be gone for a day or two and then emerge with a quantity of pure silver ore. While a fortune was already being made in lumber and the manufacture of wood products, the thought that Coudersport might be another Virginia City, was just too much for the curious residents of Pennsylvania’s Wildcat Region. But searches always ended in baffling failure, no matter how intense the quest might be. It became a standard topic of conversation whenever two or more of the hard-bitten lumberjacks got together.

In the summer of 1894, an Indian from the nearby Cattauragus Reservation across the state line came to Coudersport. As the natives eyed the shabbily dressed Indian suspiciously, he headed in the direction of the little town of Sweden Valley, entering the dense forests about a half mile from present Route Six. Within a few hours the Red Man emerged from the woods near the base of Ice Mountain and made his way into the village where he stopped at a general store, little suspecting that he had been followed—or so the white men thought. Taking a red bandanna handkerchief from his pocket, the Seneca untied the corners revealed several pieces of fine silver ore, perhaps four or five pounds. Displaying his find to the flabbergasted whites who crowded around like flies at a picnic, the stoic warrior answered all questions with a shake of his head. Then he picked up his prize and left the store.

The next day, after an evening bout with the "Rot Gut" whiskey of the day, the brave returned to Ice Mountain, and proceeded to lose the human bloodhounds on his trail within a very few moments. Again he emerged from the woods with more silver, and again he displayed nothing but silence, other than a quick peek at his silver, for one or two of the lucky ones who might have plied him a bit—with a little hair of the dog that had bitten him.

Well that did it. The man who owned Ice Mountain at the time had an employee who claimed to know a thing or two about mining, or his name wasn’t Billy O’Neil. So, carrying his divining rod that he had often used in locating water wells, O’Neil entered the woods near the identical spot that the passive Redskin had entered. Half way up the mountain, the legend has it, that the forked stick, lurched violently toward the ground. O’Neil shouted to his compatriot, "We’ve found it, it’s right here. Just start digging."

Quickly tearing up the moss, which was about five inches thick, the two searchers were astonished to find a thin sheet of ice, despite the fact that the temperature was nearly ninety. Continuing to dig for the next two or three days, the men uncovered a shaft about twenty five feet in depth and perhaps ten to twelve feet across. In the course of the digging the men uncovered two or three large crevices or caverns, and large quantities of ice. Bits of pottery and other artifacts were found, along with human bones, a petrified fish, and certain objects which resembled the petrified remains of a human body—but no silver.

Giving up in disgust, the men left the scene of the shaft and returned to the village of Coudersport, where they were subjected to the usual rounds of jibes and guffaws. O’Neil took the kidding in stride, and still believed that somewhere on the mountain, there was a vein of pure silver, and so one day he returned to the shaft. The volatile Irishman could hardly believe his eyes. The shaft was coated with ice, with some of the formations being as thick as a man’s body, and twelve to fifteen feet long. A chilling draft came from the mouth of the shaft, and once or twice O’Neil thought he could hear a soft chugging from the center of the mountain. Backing away from the hole like he had seen his Maker, the simple man turned and headed back to the county seat to report the miracle he had witnessed.

Throughout the remainder of the summer, hundreds in the area visited the scene of the "Ice Mine" as they called it, and the silver was forgotten. But the natives were in for another shocker before real ice and snow came. O’Neil visited the shaft late in November, and despite the fact that it was a chilly day, the ice formations were completely melted, and instead, a soft warm breeze seemed to be coming from the cavern. This was too much for the Irishman, who took off for the nearest tavern. In the summer, when visitors came back to the shaft, they again formed ice formations—and so it remains to this day: ice in the summer, and none in the winter. The phenomenon uncovered by the silver prospector has affected the economy of Potter County, perhaps more than the discovery of the silver might have done, as thousands visit the site of the famous "Ice Mine" every year and hear the wondrous tale of how during summer warm air forces out cold air from the honeycombed mountain, causing the condensed moisture to freeze, and how the reverse process is repeated in the winter, forcing out the warm air of the summer, which melts the ice. So you have a refrigerator and don’t need ice.

What about the silver and the artifacts? The lost silver mine is often discussed by the thousands of deer hunters who visit this paradise only six hours from the great cities of the east. Natives who have heard the tale many times from their grandfathers and grandmothers often mention the lost mine, and where it might be. Meanwhile, across the border, holding a 99 year lease on the city of Salamanca, which soon expires, the members of the Seneca Nation chuckle whenever the subject of the ice mountain silver is mentioned. They’re not talkin’.

Feb 7, 2010

Barber Dime Alert !!

The 1894-S Barber Dime

Two recent sales of an already legendary coin have only added to its status. The 1894-S Barber Dime is among the most rare and desirable of American coins. This August, an example certified as Proof 66 traded for 1.9 million dollars in a private transaction. Then this October, Stack’s sold another example graded as Proof 64 at public auction for over 1.5 million dollars.

Images courtesy of Stack’s Rare Coins
In the most recent transaction involving what is arguably the most famous dime, this example of the 1894-S Barber Dime sold for over 1.5 million dollars.

It is stated in the Twenty-third Annual Report of the Director of the Mint (1895) that 24 of these coins were struck. According to one of the better known accounts regarding their origin and distribution, three were retained by the Superintendent of the San Francisco Mint John Daggett. The others were said to have been distributed among the Superintendent’s friends in the banking community who requested their manufacture. Daggett gave his dimes to his daughter Hallie who sold two examples in 1954. Popular accounts suggest the young Miss Daggett had spent the third example entrusted to her care on a dish of ice cream on her way home.
Nine examples are known to exist today. Most, but not all, numismatists consider these pieces branch mint proofs. While two of the survivors show extensive circulation (including the “Ice Cream” specimen), the others clearly display surfaces that would suggest special care was taken at the time of their manufacture. In the end, the debate over their status is largely a matter of semantics; whether a proof, specimen or a deep mirror prooflike striking from new dies, an 1894-S dime is an 1894-S dime.
Authentication involves tracing a piece’s pedigree to one of the nine known examples. A previously unknown specimen hasn’t come to light in several decades. In fact careful research of pedigrees reduced the population to the current figure from estimates as high as 13 examples. However, clever (and some not so clever) forgeries make an occasional appearance. The discovery of another genuine example would be a landmark event. Authentication would require several expert opinions, much like the activity surrounding the Walton specimen of the 1913 Liberty Head Nickel or the recently unearthed 1817/4 Bust Half Dollar.

Divers seek more coins, Artifacts from Spanish Galleon- Jupiter FL

JUPITER — When Mona Bauer went swimming Sunday, a 90-foot long barge floating on three legs about 400 feet offshore had her a little concerned.
"I don't know what it is," said the Jupiter resident, who swims often at the beach just south of the Jupiter Inlet. "It's out there too far to see any identification. I'm a little scared."
The $2 million ship, known as a jack-up barge, is a research vessel owned by Jacksonville-based Amelia Research.
For the next month, divers will use the vessel to search for coins and artifacts from the Spanish galleon "San Miguel Archangel," which sank off Jupiter in about 1660, said Dominic Addario, a Jupiter resident who will be diving.
Addario is one of the owners of Jupiter Wreck Inc., which the federal government granted as custodian of wrecked ship. All materials from the wreck - discovered in 1987 - must be turned over to state historical officials, who can keep up to 20 percent, Addario said.
"So far, we've discovered about 15,000 coins and other artifacts from the galleon," said Addario, who operates Jupiter Coins.
Pollution or reef damage during the search are unlikely, said Mike Grella, director of the Jupiter Inlet District, which is in charge of dredging the Jupiter Inlet.
"They must comply with the same regulations we have," Grella said.
The three legs are lowered to the sand below the surface to lift the vessel above the water. Each leg has a 4-foot-by-8-foot platform at the bottom that sits in the sand to keep the vessel stationary. The vessel, which arrived Saturday, is moved periodically, said Addario.
"Three legs are more stable than four," Addario said.
Divers use pumps to move sand around in search of the artifacts. No chemicals are used, said Addario.
"The fishermen love it, because we stir up the whole ecosystem. That attracts bait fish, which attracts bigger fish," said Addario.
Bauer was relieved when told the ship was used for research.
"Fishermen and people at the beach don't know what that thing is," she said.

Messages in 6000 Bottles - SS Republic Treasures!