Robert Hodsdon was having a typical day on the beach before he struck gold.
Hodsdon’s usual beach day involves using his metal detector. He searches for items in the sand with a group called the Galveston Island Treasure Club, but he doesn’t anticipate more than a few bottle caps or some stray jewelry.
On Sunday, however, Hodsdon came across something a bit more unusual for a treasure hunter: more than 100 foreign coins buried under the sand.
“It was beeping everywhere I put my metal detector,” said Hodsdon, 62, of Texas City.
“I said, ‘Well lookie here, I found a coin spill.’”
Clyde Longworth, 58, of Galveston, was also searching for items on the beach when he noticed Hodsdon was still in the same spot after more than an hour.
“Robert had a double handful that he was pulling up out of the water,” he said. “This is highly unusual to find this amount of coins.”
Longworth said the spot in front of the eastern seawall covered an area of as much as 100 square feet. Hodsdon has scoured the location for three straight days, and coins are still surfacing.
“It was awesome,” he said. “I still got a lot more down there.”
After looking at a few of the coins, Longworth knew that the find wasn’t just a simple coincidence.
Days before, a man on a Galveston Facebook group posted that his apartment had been burgled. Among the loot the burglar took was a TV, guns and a foreign coin collection.
Longworth then made the connection to the man who had been burgled, Peter Grasso, 64, of Galveston. When Longworth visited with Grasso, he identified several of the coins as his.
“I collect them from countries that don’t exist anymore,” Grasso said. “It hurt my feelings that someone would stoop so low.”
Grasso said he thinks a friend stole the items, sold the TV and gun, but threw the coins into the Gulf.
Grasso said the coins weren’t worth much.
Among some of the coins that were stolen were pieces from Yugoslavia, India and Greenland, Grasso said.
He couldn’t believe the situation, he said.
“How many people throw foreign coins on the beach?” he said.
Hodsdon said he usually keeps any foreign coins that he recovers, but in this case, he said he’s happy to return them to Grasso.
“I know that the man’s going to be happy when he gets them back,” Hodsdon said. “I believe in doing the right thing.”