My First 1715 Fleet
Treasure Coin
by Edward Perry IV
Parks Services Specialist
McLarty Treasure Museum


        On October 30th, 2004, on the way home from work, I made a stop at a Melbourne Beach access to try at a little metal detecting.  I had been hearing the stories of all the silver and few gold cob coins that were being had after the passing of the two hurricanes, and I was ready to find my own little piece of history.  Besides— nearly everyone who comes in to visit the McLarty Treasure Museum asks me, “have you ever found anything yourself?”  I was ready to find mine, and be able to answer “yes!”


          Well, several nails, aluminum cans, and pennies later, a nice hit on my Minelab Excalibur 1000 guided me to dig nearly 24 inches into the soft beach sand.  I was about halfway between the dune and the water’s edge, about mid-beach.  Digging down I noticed layers of black sand upon layers of more yellow beach sand.  I had always been told by experienced treasure hunters to look for the black sand. Perhaps this was the same sand that was exposed in the horrific storm of July 30th, 1715.  Our hurricanes of this year must have been similar to the one that haunted the doomed treasure fleet so long ago. 


With my arm into the hole up past my elbow, I could feel the hard chip of metal at my fingertips; I pulled the greenish black hunk near my face for inspection.  I could barely make out the strike of a florenzada cross and at that moment I knew for sure I had finally found my first piece of Spanish treasure, a full 8 reale!  Yippeee!


Through my excitement, I feverishly hunted the area more diligently.  Nightfall was coming fast.  I found nothing else.  The following day I covered the area again, but still no more luck.  Had I found a lone piece dropped along that stretch of beach by a weary Spanish traveler nearly 300 years before, or had someone else perhaps been there before me and found other coins?  Perhaps the increasingly accreting sand had covered more treasure that was now out of my reach.  I’ll never know for sure, but I was happy that I had found my first little piece of history. 


Electrolytic Reduction Process for cleaning your treasure: A simple electrolysis bath removed the corrosive salts from the surface of the coin.  One cup of water with a teaspoon of salt and a dash of lime juice was the electrolyte.  An old 6 volt class 2 transfomer (input=120V AC, output=6V DC) from a phone answering machine provided the low voltage current (a battery or battery charger can also be used).  The coin is made the negative electrode (cathode) and hooked to the negative wire with a small stainless alligator clip, and the positive clip (anode) is hooked to a stainless screw/bolt.  Please read-up on this and practice before running the operation on your piece of treasure!  There are many books available that will help you with this process.  Bob “Frogfoot” Weller’s Salvaging Spanish Sunken Treasure (1999), by EN RADA Publications is an invaluable resource.



Bob's "Frogfoot" Weller's
lectrolytic Reduction Process For Cleaning Your Treasure
Click Here

   More 1715 Fleet treasure found just after the September 2004 hurricanes that hit Florida's East coast.

Bob "Frogfoot Weller, Ed Perry, and Kenny Miller 2004 at McLarty Treasure Nuseum.



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