By Jim in Idaho
According to legend, in a creek not too far from home, there are two gold bars from a stage robbery. Typical bars in these cases were 125 lbs, and would be about 8 x 16 x 3". I'm going to build a small raft, with a detector mounted on it. Said raft will be controllable by me, so it can be caused to sweep back and forth across the width of the creek as I wade behind it. I'd probably be 10-12' behind. because of barbed wire, and other iron trash, I need really good iron discrimination, and the size of the target means I don't need super sensitivity. A large coil would be a help, as would auto ground tracking. Wireless headphones would be a big help, assumin they can reach that 10-12' I'll be behind the detector. Also I'd need the coil to be waterproof to 24", Though I'm not planning on having the coil that deep. The detector being at least water-resistant would be a help. I'm thinking a lower frequency VLF of some sort, for depth, and will probably be buying on the used market as I'm happy with my current fleet of detectors, except for this specialized task. I'm looking for suggestions from you hotshots, and appreciate the help. I guess it doesn't need to be said that I'd like to keep the cost as low as possible.
This was posted by someone else in a different forum. I thought that ya'll would find it interesting.
By Dances With Doves
We got permission to hunt a park that use to be a Girl Scout camp from the 1920's to the 1990's when it closed down.The head caretaker of the park is a great guy and gave us the green light to detect there.We gave him a few scout relics which he would put in the park museum and he was very grateful for are finds.He told us that one capsule was found but a old farmer said a other one was still missing and gave us the area it could be in.It is probably from the 30's or 40's.I think the one is in a museum around here and we hope to see what it is made of.Have any of you heard of other Scout capsules and what could be in them ?I hope they are detectable.If not we could still stumble on to some silver coins or rings for a consolation prize. If found we will give the capsule to the caretaker to be put in a museum.
Discovered February, 2015
Most of the treasure hoards we have covered elsewhere on this site (namely the Hoxne, Staffordshire, and Cuerdale Hoards, among others) come from the West. But we will now turn our attention toward the Levant, where, in February 2015, a vast hoard was found in the Holy Land. Much like the other treasure troves we have discussed on this site, the Caesarea gold treasure was uncovered not by professional treasure hunters, but by hobbyists simply doing their thing who hit the proverbial lottery.
In this case, the hobby in question was diving, adding an additional layer of wonder to the story: Not simply buried treasure, but underwater buried treasure. Indeed, this was the largest treasure ever discovered in the State of Israel. Found by the amateur divers at Caesarea National Park, they quickly referred their find to Antiquities Authority, who then sent a team out with the divers — and a set of metal detectors.
Amateur Divers Discover Priceless Treasure
The Caesarea gold treasure was found on an overcast day when Zvika Fayer and four of his friends were diving. Fayer, in particular, liked the area because it had so many fish and boasted a shipwreck, along with its cargo and pottery. He had visited the same area dozens of times without ever once coming across the treasure that would make international news. Like many other areas of archaeological significance, the place where Fayer was diving was open to the public, with the understanding that any treasure there should be reported immediately to the Israeli authorities.
The difference between this visit and the dozens of other times he had shown up to dive these waters is that there had recently been a major storm. This storm disturbed the area and, as a result, he saw something shimmering on the ocean floor. Initially, he thought that what he saw was little more than the foil wrapper of a piece of chocolate in the shape of pirate coins that are popular with children. But he couldn’t have been more wrong. He was shocked when he picked up the first piece and it wasn’t foil at all, but a piece of solid gold with Arabic inscriptions on it.
He then began sweeping sand away where he found first one more coin, then what seemed to be an endless amount of them. The final result was stunning. Over 2,000 gold coins from the Fatimid Caliphate, an Arab Shi’a religious empire that existed from the 10th to the 12th Century. Various denominations were found by the Israeli Antiquities Authority in their thorough investigation of the region, including dinars, half dinars, and quarter dinars, all of various weights and purity.
Israeli Authorities Step In
Mediterranean Beach in Caesarea, Israel
At first, the discoverers received a bit of a skeptical and accusatory treatment from the authorities. They wanted to know why the divers had removed the artifacts from their original location. However, the divers reported that there was another major storm incoming and that they were afraid that if they didn’t pull the coins out of the sand, that they would be lost forever. They did what they could to retrieve as many coins as they could immediately before the storm hit, then went back to help the authorities uncover more.
It is thought that the treasure was from a secondary ship that was wrecked on its way to the central government in Cairo with tax revenues. Other theories include that the treasure was payment for a garrison of soldiers stationed at Caesarea or that it came from a particularly successful merchant ship. Finally, there is a theory that the Caesarea gold treasure was buried for later retrieval by a family who were either killed or sold into slavery by Crusaders and was never able to recover it.
The State of Israel has strict laws about the removal of antiquities and treasures from their site of origin compared to many other countries. Doing so is punishable by up to five years in prison. So it’s not surprising that the amateur divers quickly reported their find.
The Contents of the Caesarea Gold Treasure
Map of Caesarea Gold Treasure
The oldest coin in the Hoard is a quarter dinar hailing from Palermo, Sicily. At this time. Sicily was a province of the Fatimid Caliphate. This coin dates from the late 9th Century. Most of the coins, however, were minted in Egypt during the reigns of Fatimid caliphs Al-Hakim his son Al-Zahir. Collectively the pair reigned from 996 to 1036.
The coins are in a condition that could accurately be described as miraculous. They required no extensive cleaning, despite being at the bottom of a body of water for over 1,000 years. Some of the coins were bent or had teeth marks on them, which is evidence that someone had physically inspected them at some point in the distant past. The coins are 24 karat gold, with purity ranging up to 95 percent, making them an incredible find, even just from the perspective of wealth.
For their part, the authorities said that the value was basically impossible to determine, declaring that it was “priceless.” Of course, one can always put a value on the weight of gold in dollars and cents, but it is virtually impossible to place a value on archaeological artifacts and historical finds of the kind those divers happened upon that fateful day. The total weight of the haul was 20 pounds (about 9 kilograms).
The sad ending of this story, however, is that the Caesarea gold treasure is now the property of the State of Israel. And, unlike many of the treasures that we have reported on from England, there is no finders’ fee. The people who found the gold under the sea are as rich as they were on the day they went diving. Thus, the State of Israel is different from the United Kingdom in that it relies upon sticks rather than carrots to get people to report their findings to the proper authorities. In Israel, the reward for finding gold for the government is the knowledge of a job well done — and staying out of prison.
Caesarea Gold Treasure: The Largest Discovered Treasure in the State of Israel originally appeared on kellycodetectors.com
The biggest buried treasure ever found in the United States was, to put it mildly, nothing to sneeze at: $10 million in the form of over 1,400 gold coins. Known as the Saddle Ridge Hoard, it is shrouded in mystery because no one has any idea who buried the treasure in the first place.
The Ballad of Mary and John
It all started in February 2013 when a Californian couple was taking their dog for a stroll along their property. The woman saw what looked like a tin can sticking up out of the soil. Mary and her husband John then very carefully excavated the tinpot from the earth around it. Once they pulled it out of the ground, their life was changed forever. The couple had found 1,411 gold coins minted between 1847 and 1894. Not only were the coins in good condition, but they also had enough weight to be worth over $10 million.
All told there were eight canisters just filled with gold coins. Not only was this the biggest lost treasure find in American history, but to this day no one has any idea how the gold got there in the first place.
This wasn’t the first strange tin that was found by the couple on their property. There was another tin that had been hanging from a tree for so long that the tree had grown around it. After discovering the first can — which they initially believed contained lead paint because of how heavy it was — the couple returned with a metal detector to see if there was anything else laying around. They were certainly not disappointed as they had discovered an additional seven cans.
Where Did The Gold Come From?
Known as the Saddle Ridge Hoard, we know that it probably was buried on the property sometime at the close of the 19th Century but by whom and for what purpose we will likely never know. Most of the coins came from the San Francisco mint and were from the period of the world-famous California Gold Rush. But some earlier coins from Georgia raise questions about how they got there. It is worth noting that many of the 49’ers of California had previous experience in the Carolina Gold Rush and the Georgia Gold Rush.
The coins weren’t valuable simply because of the weight. They were also valuable because they appear to be in such good condition that they were likely never circulated, giving them a value far beyond their simple weight in gold. The face value of the coins is a scant $28,000, which isn’t a heck of a lot of money today but was a small fortune in the year 1900 — $578,000 in 2020 dollars.
One popular theory holds that the coins were buried after a 1901 bank heist where a bank employee made off with about $30,000 in gold coins. But the federal government has come out and said that this cannot be the case because the serial numbers on the coins don’t line up with the coins that were stolen.
Others claim that the gold was buried there by a famous outlaw, usually Jesse James or Black Bart, both of whom were known for robbing stagecoaches. The Knights of the Golden Circle are another proposed candidate, with the belief that this was a gold stash with the purpose of starting the Second Civil War.
Another theory is that the coins were put there by a miner who was doing his level best to hide his life’s savings from bandits and other prying eyes. This, however, seems unlikely as many of the coins inside come from after the gold rush was over.
Finally, there is the prevailing theory: A very wealthy person with an intense distrust for banks buried it there and forgot about it. We will likely never have a definitive answer, as both the names of the couple who found it and the location of their gold strike has thus far remained a secret. To this day, all we really know is that the coins were found somewhere in the Sierra Madre Mountains in California, with the recipients of this windfall, perhaps wisely, seeking to keep a low profile. After all, revealing themselves would be an invitation to treasure seekers to flood into the area in search of other tins filled with lost gold from a bygone age.
Of course, a number of people have come forward claiming that the gold belongs to an ancestor or other relative. However, no one has been able to successfully wrest the Saddle Ridge Hoard from the people who initially discovered it.
What Happened to the Saddle Ridge Hoard?
The coins presented a numismatist’s dream because it is very rare to find such a large cache of coins together all in one place. What’s more, as we mentioned, the coins were immaculately preserved despite being, in some cases, over 150 years old.
The coins were sold on Amazon with certificates of authenticity. The couple, known only as Mary and John, were represented by the noted numismatics firm Kagin in their sale of the coins. Prior to selling the coins, the couple kept their find safely stashed away in an old ice chest buried beneath a pile of wood.
Before the discovery of the Saddle Ridge Hoard, the biggest find was a stash of $4,500 in gold coins that sold for a million dollars in 1985. This was found by city workers in Jackson, Tennessee.
Taxes must be paid on such finds, which are considered regular income by the Internal Revenue Service. Still, even taxed as regular income, the take-home pay from a $10 million payday will have the finders sitting pretty for the rest of their lives.
The Saddle Ridge Hoard: The $10 Million Mystery originally appeared on kellycodetectors.com.