Gary Drayton with Coiltek 15" NOX coil

Finding Spanish Treasure with the 15” NOX Coil

The Treasure coast of Florida was named for the fabled Spanish 1715 treasure fleet that got destroyed in a hurricane on July 31st 1715 and as you expect it is one of my favourite places to search for Spanish treasure in North America.

Conditions usually dictate who gets to go home with 306 year old treasure coins along the treasure coast, but so too does metal detecting equipment when sanded-in beach conditions make recovering coins and artifacts less likely. On a recent beach treasure hunt I decided to rely on ground coverage and target depth by using the NOX 15 inch search coil on my Equinox 800 and boy did it pay off, turning a hopeful metal detecting day into a successful treasure finding day. Running in Beach mode 2 and no discrimination I was hoping to catch a slight ping off any piece of metal within detection range below the mushy surface sand, although to be honest I figured it was wishful thinking in such sanded-in conditions.

Searching opposite a stretch of beach with obvious signs of sand dune erosion my fortunes quickly changed when I recovered a 1654 Spanish copper maravedi coin with the date clearly visible.

The old copper coin was in quite good condition for its age which told me it had been flushed out the sand dunes recently after recent high surf had eroded the base of the dunes.

While spiraling around the hole where I recovered the maravidi I detected another copper Spanish treasure coin, quickly followed by another one, making a total of three maravidi treasure coins from the mid 1600s.


All the copper coins were recovered from 8 to 10 inches deep and to be honest I may have detected them using the 11-inch search coil on the Equinox, but this is where my tale of Spanish treasure gets interesting.

From experience I know heavier targets are always found buried deeper between the high tide line where light weight targets wash up and the lower beach closer to the water, where you are more likely to detect deeper targets trapped in the wet sand.

Working my way down the slope away from the eroded foot of the dunes I heard the slightest of signal responses, sweeping my NOX 15 over the area from a different direction I heard the signal again and began to scoop sand from the target area.

After removing five full scoop baskets of sand from the pinpointed area the mystery whisper signal became a loud banging signal in the sand I had dumped to the side of the hole.

Pinpointing the target I grab a handful of sand and I know I am holding something heavy in my hand, bingo I had just recovered a magnificent oblong shaped Spanish silver 8 reale from the 1715 fleet.

I was gobsmacked at the beauty of this 300+ year old piece of Spanish silver and at the depth of the hole I had to scoop to retrieve the treasure coin, my decision to use the NOX 15 had paid off big time but it got better as I recovered another silver 8 reale just a few feet away from the first one.

The second one ounce round piece of Spanish 1715 fleet silver was just as purdy as the first oblong shaped silver treasure coin, with a nice black tarnish from resting in the dunes for the last three centuries until I came along with my Equinox and NOX 15 search coil.

I believe successive tides since the dune erosion took place helped the one ounce silver treasure coins sink out of normal metal detection at this heavily hunted Treasure coast beach known for shipwreck treasures.

Here lies the secret to my recent Spanish treasure hunting success, with so many Equinox users out there you need the extra target depth from the largest Equinox search coil on the market.

Beach treasure hunting is often a game of inches, miss by an inch miss by a mile so when you are searching for deep targets you need the deepest search coils for your metal detector, on the Equinox I am convinced the NOX 15 is that deepest Equinox search coil.

Back in the day the knock on large search coils was the need to lower your metal detector sensitivity to cut down on chatter or feedback as a larger search coil reads more ground, not so with the Equinox and NOX 15 as you do not have to lower your Equinox sensitivity setting.

One important Equinox tip I can pass along from experience is to sweep very slowly over areas you recover good targets to take advantage of the depth capabilities of the NOX 15 and just as importantly forget about the target ID numbers when searching for old coins and artifacts. The tarnished surface of a silver treasure coin or the attached sand particles on a copper treasure coin can throw numbers off, targets react quite differently when they are deep too.

In fact do not base any digging decisions on target ID numbers if you want to be a successful beach treasure hunter using an Equinox, especially if you are using a large deep seeking search coil like the NOX 15.

Every beach and shallow water hunter is looking for an edge, that edge often starts with having the best metal detecting equipment, for people searching for gold or silver you have to have a large search coil that you do not have to dumb down your metal detector to use.

The NOX 15 is a “Banger” which will bang on deep targets well out of range of other Equinox search coils, I have detected and dug many flattened tin cans from knee deep holes.

The NOX 15 is also sensitive to small targets as I have dug many small lead balls at depth on Spanish 1715 fleet wreck sites that I didn’t even hear with the 11-inch search coil.

My booty from a perfect Spanish treasure hunting morning in sanded-in conditions using the Equinox and amazing NOX 15 search coil, two silver eight reales and four copper maravedis. Spanish treasure is out there my friends, you just have to put the right search coil over it!