My prospecting partner from San Diego and I made a quick trip down to Baja for some prospecting. The area is an old placer site about 190 miles south of the border. He's been detecting the area for over 20 years, from Gold Bug through Minelab 2200 and now with the GPZ. All the patches have been hit pretty hard but we managed to scrape up a few nice pieces. We had 3 good days of detecting, I spent one day on the old patches and the rest of the time exploring for new spots. My nugget total was half of his since he opted to stay on the old patches.
We drove as far as we could up an old wash then traveled another 2 to 3 miles by motorbike, then hiked another mile or so up some steep canyons. He uses a Yamaha Big Wheel trail bike, I used my newest prospecting steed the Rokon 2 wheel drive mototractor. The Rokon is a terrain traveling son of a gun, if you can hang on. I managed to dump it a couple times, invariably in bowling ball sized rocks or on steep boulder strewn hills. I'm still nursing a bruised ankle after that 200 lb machine came down on top of me pinning my leg and ankle underneath. It's definitely not for the faint of heart or those that are 2 wheel vehicle balance challenged (like me). All my falls occurred from momentary indecision and hesitation. The solution seems to be pick a line, then hit the gas or stay at home.
My nuggets all came from a single wash where recent rains had blown out some of the overburden leaving bedrock within detector depth. My partner pulled almost an oz swinging low and slow over the old hillside placer diggings.
This was really our tune up trip, preparing for an extended trip another 300 miles south after Christmas.
Tom(CA) and I have been working a site that we researched that's produced several 1850's - 1860's seated coins, and some rogue early 1900's coins, as well as a variety of period relics.
We tried to get one more trip in before Old Man Winter completely shut us down, and it did in fact shut us down, but not before I finally, got something I've been looking for for a long time, and after watching others find them over the years (I saw Tom dig three!!!), I was starting to think it would never happen.
Well it finally happened, and it turned out to be a good one, an 1865 San Francisco minted Liberty Half Eagle!!
Here she is out of the hole:
Here she is rinsed off:
Here's a video of the hunt:
Less than 100 known, Mintage: 27,612
Although the mintage of the 1865-S is quite a bit higher than the mintages of the S Mint Half Eagles from 1858 to 1864, it compares in overall rarity to the 1858-S, 1860-S and 1863-S and is only slightly less rare than the others. Almost all known examples of this date are well worn with VF and lower being all one can expect to find. The 1865-S ranks second in the entire $5 series according to average grade and I do not know of a specimen that would grade better than EF. The very few specimens that I have seen were rather softly struck and the mintmark was always quite weak.
Thanks for looking, hopefully the next one comes easier
It's been very hard to believe in my detector and I really got discourage at times finding nothing but junk on every target. Finally after a week of detecting every day for 3 or 4 hours or more I found something. It's not much but I no it works now. My GM 1000 will not be paid off any time soon at this rate but it sure beats sitting on my butt everyday waiting for the seasons to change.
Last few years I have been working a nice stretch of land with many small creeks and tribs feeding them. The primary large ones apparently are the ones that the early miners worked and the ones I have focused on. I would work the banks, tailing piles and pretty much clear any targets out of the way. Over the years I have cleared sections of trash and gold that stretch up to a half a mile long along the creeks. I have basically cleaned it up pretty good. I still have miles of creeks to clean up downstream of these creeks that are littered with tailing piles. But before i do that I wanted to purchase a larger coil to hit some spots that I cleaned up. Thanks to Luke I am now a proud owner of the 18" Elite that I am taking out his morning to hit some of those areas I cleaned up. Hopefully there are some deep ones lurking ...
Friday Morning : Today was the day....was working a bench way above the present creek and after an hour in a spot I been with other coils multiple times , the 18" elite groaned with a nice sharp deep tone...digging down about 15 inches out came this nice little 4.27 gram placer nugget. Outside of it being a bit heavy...the coil is extremely stable in medium ground, I was running it hot 14 gain, stab 8, enhanced mode, the 4500 purrred like a kitty. I've dug some deep targets ...the key with these large coils is to go very, very slow and use a bungee support system...found I could swing this 5 hours without to much discomfort. Overall I am very happy with the Elite! Thanks again Luke!