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Fun on Friday: Treasure Hunting!

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Since moving to Florida, I’ve been able to spend a little bit of time on the beach. It’s interesting watching what people pick up. You can kind of categorize people based on their haul of beach-combing treasures.

First-timers to the beach will basically pick up anything. Broken cockle-shells are worthy of the newbies’ treasure bag, as are sticks, feathers and generic rocks. Hey – it came out of the ocean. It’s probably a whale bone!

Seasoned vacationers are more discerning. They’ll walk right over common seashells. More rare shells with cracks or flaws get picked up and discarded. And no rocks. They’ve got those at home.

Then you have the locals. They generally aren’t picking up crap. Bending over is way too much trouble. An exceptional shell may warrant picking up. Or maybe not. The exception to this rule are locals working on some kind of art project. You’ll spot them with a bag full of pink shells, or maybe sea glass. They are hunting for a specific thing for a specific purpose.

Now, even though I’ve lived in coastal areas for most of my adult life, I still enjoy finding treasures on the beach. Sharks’ teeth are my thing. But I’m getting much more discriminating as I get older, and I seem to be evolving toward the cynical local who doesn’t want to go to the trouble of bending over. Part of this is a function of aging eyes not being able to see what’s right next to my feet and part of it is a function of pure laziness.

As a result, I’m thinking about changing my beachcombing focus. I want gold. Or silver. I’ll take silver too. When I spot some gold or silver coins lying on the beach, I will bend right over and pick them up.

Now, you may be thinking, “Mike, you’re not going to find gold coins on the beach.”

Well, I say cut the negativity. You’ll never find anything with that kind of bad attitude. And we know there’re gold and silver out there. Why couldn’t I luck out and find a little?

Now granted, it may require a bit more effort than just walking along the shoreline. But some treasure hunters recently cashed in. An 1840s era shipwreck off the coast of South Carolina has yielded a trove of rare gold coins. I like the word “trove,” by the way. It’s a nice-sounding word. And it infers a lot. I would like to have a trove of gold coins, I’m not gonna lie.

Anyway, the SS North Carolina sank on July 25, 1840, after colliding with its sister ship, the Governor Dudley. Yikes. Talk about sibling rivalry. Fortunately, nobody died in the mishap, but the North Carolina went to the bottom of the Atlantic, taking its cargo and passenger baggage down with it.

According to a statement from Blue Water Ventures International and Endurance Exploration Group, “Gold coins, marble, dinnerware, and brass spikes, used in the ship’s construction, were among the first shipwreck items to be found.” According to the salvage company, the hard currency – i.e. gold and silver – lost in the accident would be worth “many millions of dollars in today’s value.”

“It is believed that some gold coins from the newly commissioned US Mint in Dahlonega in 1838 would have been in circulation prior to the sinking of the SS North Carolina in 1840, and if found, these coins would be extremely valuable in today’s collectors’ market,” the companies added in the statement.

I don’t know about the collectors market, but I do know that gold and silver are valuable in-and-of themselves, no matter what some coin nerd thinks about the collectible value.

Here’s the problem – professional treasure hunting is an extremely expensive endeavor. I don’t have that kind of capital. So, I’m going to have to be satisfied with treasure hunting along the shoreline.

My son insists I’m never going to find gold on the beach. I say, you certainly won’t if you don’t try. But if you want a more surefire way to get some gold and silver, call a SchiffGold precious metals specialist today. They can hook you up and you won’t drag a bunch of sand into your house.

Fun on Friday is a weekly SchiffGold feature. We dig up some of the off-the-wall and off-beat stories relating to precious metals and the economy, and share them with you – with tongue firmly planted in cheek. Click here to read other posts in this series.

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About The Author

Michael Maharrey is the managing editor of the SchiffGold blog, and the host of the Friday Gold Wrap Podcast and It's Your Dime interview series.
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