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Saturday, March 29, 2014

Old silver coin beach hunting tips

Old silver coins are some of my favorite things to find when beach hunting, especially old Spanish silver reales. 

Here are a few tips that will help beach treasure hunters to recover more old silver coins. 
The older a silver coin is, the more likely it is to be encrusted in sand, or become attached to whatever it is resting against after many years buried under the sand. 
The lower beach is constantly in motion and old silver coins are sometimes thrown up onto the beach after spending a long time in the water.
Silver coins washed up onto the beach may be oxidized (blackened) by saltwater and encrusted in sand or coral.
Knowing what condition to expect old silver coins to be in, will help you to set your metal detector controls to find more.
Obviously, if you are searching for old silver coins on the beach you want to use a minimum amount of discrimination. 
Using minimal discrimination, or a true all metal mode will offset the surface condition of old beach found silver coins making them easier to detect. 
Even a moderate amount of encrustation on silver coins may cause your metal detector discrimination features to mistakenly reject non ferrous silver targets as trash.
Modern silver targets will always ring out loud and clear through your metal detector headphones, but old silver coins and jewelry can and often do respond with softer or broken signals. 
Old silver coins may also be very worn and only be a fraction of their original weight after spending years submerged in saltwater. 
In other words, lay off the discrimination when searching for old silver coins and jewelry.
Another useful tip when beach hunting for old silver coins is not to give up on any target signal. 
I learned this lesson a long time ago in England searching for old hammered silver coins, thin silver targets have a habit of disappearing during the target recover process.
On the Treasure Coast of Florida, I have found small thin Spanish silver half and one reales left behind by other careless beach treasure hunters. 
Small silver reales can move on edge when trying to scoop them out of the sand, causing the signal to suddenly disappear.
A thin silver reale may be on edge in the spoil pile, or it may still be in the hole.
Moving the sand pile around with your foot, or scooping around the inside edge of the hole should always cause the signal to reappear. 
I make a habit of of checking any signs of dug holes left behind by other beach hunters on eroded Treasure Coast beaches. 
I have recovered several Spanish silver reales just by making a cautionary foot swipe across the top of other beach hunters dug areas in the sand.
Never walk away from a signal when searching for old silver coins, expect an unconventional signal response and a target that is prone to suddenly disappear when on edge.
Choosing a metal detector that is hot on silver is another good tip for beach hunters who search for old silver coins. 
Minelab metal detectors designed for beach and water hunting are excellent choices for beach hunters searching for old silver coins. 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

A game of inches

The difference between going home with gold, or empty handed can sometimes be as simple as learning to control your search coil sweep. 
Every inch above the sand you sweep your search coil, is an inch less depth below the sand you are not detecting.
One way of maximizing the depth of your metal detector is to gently scuff your search coil across the sand.
Not only will you be getting good depth with a correctly set up metal detector, but you will also be sweeping your search coil level throughout the sweeping motion.
You are less likely to raise your search coil at the end of each sweep when scuffing your search coil across the sand, improving your chances of detecting deep targets all throughout the sweeping motion.
I go through many search coil covers every year, especially when I search over rocky or shelly areas on the lower beach or in the shallow water. 
My last search coil cover on my Excalibur lasted a grand total of three weeks!  
It can become expensive scuffing your search coil across the sand, but when you pull an expensive diamond ring up from the depths of Davy Jones locker the cost of buying coil covers in bulk is quickly forgotten.
I rabbit on about productive sites and beach hunting tactics, but my basic metal detecting technique is what puts those expensive diamond rings on my wife's fingers. 

Many beach and shallow water hunters use the same metal detectors for coin and jewelry hunting, your search coil control and sweeping motion may be the only advantage you really have over the competition. 
That is why it is so important to walk at a slow pace when beach or water hunting,  step, sweep and do not step forward again until you have swept your search coil in front of you from left to right and right to left.  
The next time you are on the beach, take the time to see how you cover the ground.  
Would your metal detector search coil be close enough to the sand to detect the heavy $4600.00 platinum and diamond ring in the middle of the photo before stepping forward? 
The diamond ring was really deep, it gave a feint low tone on the second sweep before stepping forward with my Minelab Excalibur. 
Exactly the same way I found a $6200.00 18K gents ring with a 5 carat emerald  back in 2012,  there is a lot to be said for sweeping low and very slow when covering ground with a metal detector. 
Sweep speed + search coil control =  depth and big gold!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Silence can be golden, many times over.

Before I took up metal detecting I was a bottle digger, searching the banks of tidal rivers in Lincolnshire England for old bottles and clay pipes. 
Winter time was always the best time for bottle digging, when the rivers were lowered for dredging, I amassed quite a collection of old bottles and clay pipes spanning hundreds of years of English history.
The one secret to being a successful bottle and clay pipe digger, was discovering the most productive parts of the river bank, and of course keeping quiet about them! 
It should come as no surprise that when I made the change from bottle digging to metal detecting, I decided to keep my productive sites a tightly guarded secret. 
The reason that I never tell anyone the exact location of anything I find is because productive sites can be productive for years. 
The 18K gold and diamond bracelet links in this photograph is a perfect example of why it is wise to keep your hot jewelry spots to yourself.
All the gold jewelry finds were found in November 2012, along with many more pieces of gold at one of my favorite beach and water hunting sites. 

The last time I found several segments of the same diamond bracelet at this location was in 2009, and I found my first piece of the bracelet back in 2005. 
Every time I have ever found segments of the same diamond bracelet, the wind and waves had improved the conditions for metal detecting on this beach. 
I always recover many other pieces of gold and silver jewelry, every time I find the same bracelet links on this beach.  
It is not a very popular beach now, but it was a popular site back in the 1970s,1980s, and to this day I have never seen another person metal detecting there.  
I found this productive beach site because I travel and search many different beaches in the hope of finding long forgotten jewelry hot spots. 
Going back to the title of this blog, because I have never told anyone about the jewelry hot spot, I still have the place all to myself.
I keep a watchful eye on this area, and many other just as productive areas, in preparation for the next time one of my jewelry hot spot opens up again. 
In my opinion, it is always good to know you can return to the same sites, sometimes several years later and still find gold without having to worry about self made competition. 
When the wind and waves pick up as a storm approaches your local coastline, you have the ultimate advantage over the competition when you know where to expect to find and recover gold. 
Here are my top three ways of improving your chances of finding old or modern metal detecting finds on the beach and in the shallow water. 

1.  Keep your productive metal detecting sites a secret.
2.  Keep your productive metal detecting sites a secret.
3.  Keep your productive metal detecting sites a secret. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Scouting new beach and shallow water hunting sites

I love searching for shipwreck artifacts and modern gold jewelry in Florida, you never know what you are going to return home with when you take the time to hunt different beaches. 
It would be easier to go to where every other beach or shallow water hunter goes, but that has never been my style. 
I prefer to move around and try different beaches, searching for old and modern finds on beaches that often see far less people metal detecting than popular tourist beaches. 
The great thing about scouting out and trying new beaches, once you start to recover finds you have the site all to yourself, if you do not tell anyone about them.
You can stockpile an impressive amount of productive beach and shallow water hunting hot spots over time, assuming you have the discipline to keep quiet about them. 
When other beach and shallow water hunters fall victim to "Sanded in" conditions on heavily hunted popular beaches, you can move around and try some of your previously discovered productive sites. 
You do not even have to travel very far to find productive sites, many popular beaches have less hunted areas only a short distance away. 
This heavy Platinum, gold and diamond ladies ring is proof of that, the expensive bling ring was found around the corner from a popular south Florida beach. 

I walked several hundred yards past the heavily hunted main section of beach to an area that is rarely hunted. 
Most beach hunters in the area turn around way before they get to where the corner obscures the steps leading down onto the beach from a high end vacation resort. 
My extra walk along the beach and around the corner paid off on the morning I found the bling ring. 
The bottom steps of the beach walkover were hanging in mid air,  several feet of sand had been eroded from the beach by wind and surf coming from just the right direction for the area. 
Previous searches around the corner tipped me off on what beach conditions to expect, even though the main beach several hundred yards around the corner was not effected by the same winds and waves. 
Do not be afraid to travel and scout out new beach sites, or search on the outskirts of heavily hunted beaches.  
It may surprise you just how many productive sites you can find, if you make the effort to have a long term treasure hunting plan instead of short gain local beach hunting plan.
On the treasure finds pages of my website I have many nice pieces of modern bling and old shipwreck finds, and they all have one thing in common.  
They were all found at different beaches!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Gold, diamonds and the perils of box hunting.

When you metal detect "Outside the box", you increase your chances of taking home a valuable find. 
The following story from several years ago is a perfect example of detecting outside the box.  
I was water hunting at a popular south Florida tourist beach, in the distance I saw a group of full time water hunters. 
The three water hunters were spread out and using a short east to west directional search pattern, trying to cover as much water as possible along the beach. 
I rarely cover large areas, so it was not long before the other water hunters were upon me.  
One guy took his headphones off and told me he was a moderator on an internet detecting forum, and how his water hunting buddies had cleaned out the area over the previous two days finding two small gold bands. 
I thanked him for telling me that I wasting my water hunting time and told him I will search the area just in case they missed anything of value. 
He assured me they were expert water hunters using pulse induction metal detectors and leave nothing behind. 
My plan was simple, to cover the area of deeper water past the buoys the group of water hunting buddies were using as search pattern turn around points. 
This 18K white gold ladies ring with 80 diamonds appraised at $3600.00, the ring was found only a few feet past one of the buoys, thanks to the box hunting style of the group of water hunters. 

I hope this story highlights several things for lone beach and water hunters like myself. 

1.  Just because other people are searching an area ahead of you, it does not mean the area ahead has been searched correctly. 

2. Groups of beach or water hunters tend to think alike and all search the same way. 

3. A "Weekend warrior" has just as much chance of recovering valuable finds as full time beach or water hunters.

4. Avoid using search patterns that rely on the same turn around points.

5 On heavily hunted beaches, always search past obvious beach markers, such as lifeguard stands, fishing piers or buoys. 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Gary Drayton Treasure Hunting : Think small gold

Gary Drayton Treasure Hunting : Think small gold: You could say I am more known for my big gold jewelry finds, but I never go looking for big gold.  I concentrate on trying to find small go...

Think small gold

You could say I am more known for my big gold jewelry finds, but I never go looking for big gold. 
I concentrate on trying to find small gold, because I know if I can find small gold the big gold will be easier to find. 
If you are not finding small gold, you may be missing large pieces of gold jewelry and not know it. 
The easiest way to make sure you are not missing small gold is to take some small pieces of gold jewelry down to the beach and experiment with different metal detector control settings. 
It may surprise you just how much a few small increases to your discrimination control or using the wrong size search coil can make to your chances of recovering small gold. 
Many metal detectors have a built in iron mask and work fine without increasing the discrimination control or installing extra large search coils and magic headphones. 
If you are not finding small gold with your metal detector,  you need to find out why and make the necessary adjustments to your controls, search coil selection or metal detecting technique. 
These three pieces of small gold were found last year following two water hunters plowing through the water trying to cover as much ground as possible before I could get to it. 

A sloppy and fast beach or water hunting technique increases your chances of missing small gold. 
This raw emerald in a thin gold wire band pendant was a very nice water hunting find from last year,  recovered because I was using minimal discrimination and sweeping slow enough to detect the thin gold wire pendant.  

Again, to recover small pieces of gold jewelry you have to give your metal detector the time to detect small gold. 
Fine tuning your metal detector to hit on small gold is best done before going beach and water hunting, an hour or two experimenting with settings and search coils at the beach can pay big dividends. 
Never assume metal detector setting passed around on the internet detecting forums will work in all areas,  there are no one size fits all metal detector settings.
The best metal detector settings are the ones that help you to find small gold jewelry,  experiment and see for yourself how small gold jewelry finds lead to big gold jewelry finds. 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Treasure is where you find it

I only had a two hour early morning beach hunt this past weekend, even though I only found several pieces of silver jewelry it was fun because I tried a different beach.
I rarely hammer away at the same beach and water hunting sites, instead I prefer to try many different beaches.
This beach hunting strategy leads to a wide variety of finds and it helps me avoid becoming predictable.
Predictable beach and shallow waters hammer away at the same sites regardless of the beach conditions.
This $3500.00 diamond ring was found on a south Florida beach that I have yet to see another person metal detecting at.

I search many beaches that I rarely see other people metal detecting at,  some beaches are only a short distance from heavily hunted tourist beaches, but they are still over looked by beach hunters eager to search with the pack. 
They say that to find gold you have to go where large crowds gather on the beach, but I prefer a different numbers game. 
I would rather search more beaches with less crowds, you can hit more beaches and have more of a chance of finding gold. 
Once you know the hot spots on several beaches you can hit the hot spots and move on. 
The only way you find hot spots on less hunted beaches is by taking the time to metal detect on those beaches, instead of following the detecting crowd to the sexier looking beaches. 
Treasure is where you find it,  not where everyone thinks other people are finding it.