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Allen In Mt Inspired Me: A Commissioned Search Story :


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Allen's great story of the commissioned search for that family's cache, reminded me of one I'll add  here :

There is a local dealer here, who has a rental model they rent out (an old 5000D series 1) .  A person had rented it, but brought it back the next day having failed to find what they were looking for.   They just didn't have the expertise, and were running into common junk where they were trying , etc....  They asked the dealer if he knew of any hobbyists, with more experience, that could help.   The dealer referred them to me.

I got the call , and asked what he was trying to find.  He explained that about 10 yrs. earlier, he was going through a divorce and some hard times.   He didn't want his coin collection to be subject to any split terms , so he had boxed it all up, put it into a plastic sealed tupperware tray.   He took it to a buddy's house and explained that he needed to hide this "till the heat was off", and asked if he could bury it in his friend's yard.  The friend agreed, and the two of them went to this guy's back yard (nearly an acre in size) and buried it.   They made mental note of which bush it was near, and paced off the # of steps from a nearby fence, so that they'd have place-markers.

Years and years went by.  During that time, the homeowner did a lot of garden work in his back yard. Planting new shrubs, moving others, etc.... He also updated his fence.   Finally, about 10 yrs. later, the friend came back to get the buried coins.   But lo & behold, every bush seemed to look alike.  And the fence post they had made mental note of, was no longer the same fence post arrangements.  So the two men just started digging random holes in the area that they best recollected from that time 10 yrs. earlier when they'd buried it.  To no avail.  So they rented the detector.  But were in for  a rude awakening :  The homeowner had installed gopher wire (like chicken-screen substance) around all the tomato plants and such.   They got a few typical garbage signals from the yard (aluminum, etc...), but simply didn't know what they were doing.   By this time, there were now holes all over the yard.

I asked the guy how many coins, and what type he had buried.  He described it as 50 or 70-ish gold coins, all together in a cigar-box sized tupperware container.   And said he recalled that they buried it no-more than 2 ft. deep.  My immediate thought was that this should be child's play.  But after a few hours hunting with my standard detector, I was coming up empty handed !  Unbeknown to me, was that all the coins, even though in single container, were all individually in plastic sleeves.  Ie.: not touching each other.  Therefore, in the same fashion as a necklace, the detector will tend to see them as individual objects, not as a composite whole.  

The next day I came back, armed with a borrowed TM 808 2-box machine.   After another hour or so, I finally got a weak beep.  So weak that I almost figured it couldn't be the target (because I was still expecting a lunch-box sized signal).   But this was it !   Once we got it out of the ground, and opened it to look at the coins, it was then that I realized why such an amount of coins, at only 2 ft. deep, was difficult :  Because since they're not touching, it's not seen as one big signal.  It's a more difficult signal, when they're not a continuous singular piece of metal.  And the plastic container, of course, wasn't giving any signal.   Wish I could say it had hundreds of gold coins like Allen's, but .... oh well 🙂

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On 9/4/2020 at 5:27 PM, Tom_in_CA said:

The homeowner had installed gopher wire (like chicken-screen substance) around all the tomato plants and such.

Was that above ground, buried, or both?

I'm impressed with the White's TM808.  Finding individually packaged coins 2 ft deep seems like one of those "can't be done" problems.  If they had told you that originally do you think you would have spent as much time and effort as you did?

Neat story, and makes me pining for that detector even more....

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7 hours ago, GB_Amateur said:

Was that above ground, buried, or both?

I'm impressed with the White's TM808.  Finding individually packaged coins 2 ft deep seems like one of those "can't be done" problems.  If they had told you that originally do you think you would have spent as much time and effort as you did?

Neat story, and makes me pining for that detector even more....

Hey there GB, good to hear from you.   As for your question of :  "Would I have spent as much time if I'd known the challenges", the answer is the same any of us would give :  We hunt for the love of the challenge.    Just like a golfer's hole-in-one :  The more difficult it is, THE MORE WE LOVE THE TASK ! haha    Naturally , NO ONE likes it when they don't find that cache or make the hole-in-one.  So if you ask the golfer: " Do you wish you'd never played the game ? ", is a mixed rigged type question.  

 

And actually, even if I'd known the limitations (that, since the coins weren't touching, that they didn't present the "cigar box sized signal" I had in mind), I still would have tried.  Because although they don't represent a singular mass signal, yet, like a coin-spill, they *still* have a bigger signal than a singular coin at 2 ft.    As much as I wouldn't have wanted to come away defeated, I love any excuse to get out and hunt.  As do we all 🙂

 

The TM-808 doesn't get lunch box sized items any deeper than standard detectors, IMHO.  BUT THE BENEFIT is this :   It simply doesn't see small pesky items.  Like singular coins, aluminum shrapnel, gopher wire, etc.....   It only sees bigger objects.  Approx soda can or index card sized, etc.... and bigger.    About the absolute smallest it can see, is a silver dollar sized object.  And only if the TM 808 is very finely tuned, and the silver dollar is held "just right".  But realistically:   soda can sized and larger.   So it therefore becomes the perfect discriminator to pass smaller stuff.  And you're not left to be endlessly "second guessing" all the smaller signals .  Which give you nagging doubts that they might be bigger stuff that's simply deep, thus giving a small signal.    With a standard machine,  you end up digging a  bunch of those "just to make sure".  But with the TM-808, you effortlessly pass all that stuff.    Other than that, the depth is surprisingly not that different. 

 

As fr the depth of the gopher wire:  I don't recall.   Seems that it was underground, unseen.   But just in the vicinity of the rootballs around various individual plants .  It was actually easy to discern even with the standard machine.   And then merely a matter of trying to discern the signal strength (since that's a weak iron signal) versus anything else trying to "bleed through".  But still a nuisance, as you can imagine.

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7 hours ago, Allen in MT said:

Thanks for the read. Good story. I'll have to dig thru my pictures as I have another about a silver hoard that I found for a couple years ago.

 

Allen, please share your other commissioned hunt stories.  Even if only silver.   I've done a few other commissioned posse hunts as well, for silver coins, and will add mine in after yours .   Eg.:  "Next of kin " who remember family rumors, blah blah.  And before the house is sold, figure "we might as well search for it before the ranch is sold", etc....    

 

Now as fun as those are, my bucket-lister is still to find a "wild cache".   But you know the drill, with our modern wizz-bang discriminators :  We are probably all passing those "durned hubcaps".  Versus the old days, of BFO and early all-metal-TRs, where :   they were p*ss-poor on individual coins, yet could find soda can and hubcap signals *just fine*.  So therefore, ironically, more caches were probably found (albeit by accident) back in the early days of md'ing (mid 1960s to mid 1970s), than today.   Because today, we effortlessly pass that "large junk".  But in yesteryear, those larger beeps were perhaps all you were able to get (unless it were a coin 3" deep or shallower).

 

I distinctly recall, with my first Whites 66TR, (which is a circa early 1970s all metal TR), that I ended up with more silver washingtons from the school yards, than I did merc. dimes.  A ratio which is not logical.  But in retrospect, I realize that the silver quarters gave more of a larger signal, than the smaller dimes.    So too is the logic, on a larger scale, for those pioneers who were the first to take detectors out to cellar holes, ghost towns, etc...  :  They simply dug any beep they heard.

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1 hour ago, Tom_in_CA said:

The TM-808 doesn't get lunch box sized items any deeper than standard detectors, IMHO.  BUT THE BENEFIT is this :   It simply doesn't see small pesky items.  Like singular coins, aluminum shrapnel, gopher wire, etc.....   It only sees bigger objects.  Approx soda can or index card sized, etc.... and bigger.

That's an excellent point and one that bit me (not the 2-box part, though).  I posted here a couple years ago about a search for some buried shotguns for an acquaintance.  I had asked here for advice as to what detector (that I owned) to use and the answer there was my White's TDI/SPP with large coil (12" mono was my biggest).  After at first trying with ground balance on (quite a bit of sacrificed depth) I went over the same area with ground balance off.  But in both cases the problem was the small targets I was picking up.  I'm sure a more seasoned TDI operator would have been able to eliminate some of those.

I'm still hoping to find those guns.  I'm still welcome there.  But you've convinced me that I need a TM-808 for the job.

1 hour ago, Tom_in_CA said:

But you know the drill, with our modern wizz-bang discriminators :  We are probably all passing those "durned hubcaps".  Versus the old days, of BFO and early all-metal-TRs, where :   they were p*ss-poor on individual coins, yet could find soda can and hubcap signals *just fine*.  So therefore, ironically, more caches were probably found (albeit by accident) back in the early days of md'ing (mid 1960s to mid 1970s), than today.   Because today, we effortlessly pass that "large junk".  But in yesteryear, those larger beeps were perhaps all you were able to get (unless it were a coin 3" deep or shallower).

Another interesting 'outside the box' thought.  But I'm not dusting off my Garrett BFO to prove your point!

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8 minutes ago, GB_Amateur said:

.....  and the answer there was my White's TDI/SPP with large coil (12" mono was my biggest).  ....

GB, I always groan and wince when I read someone offering this advice.   It always seems to work exactly like you describe it:  Someone comes on to an md'ing forum , and explains they are looking for a cache (whether imagined ghost story, or a real one).  And asks:  What's the deepest balls-to-the-walls detector, to find this super deep cache ?   And sure enough, someone(s) will suggest, just like you got, to go get something like a TDI or a Minelab nugget pulse machine, blah blah.  

 

And the rationale is that, yes, those type machines can  undoubtedly get a toaster oven sized object to 5 ft. with ease, eh ?   BUT THE DEVIL IS IN THE DETAILS !!   Because so too are they picking up every cotton-picking little piece of ^@#$ as well.  Right ?   To which the advocate will tell you to simply ignore the small stuff (or "be a hero and dig everything").  Imagine the poor cache-hunter's plight when he shows up at the junk-riddled farm-yard or burned down house site, with a high-powered pulse nugget machine or beach pulse.  Doh !

 

So, if caches are truly someone's goal (and they don't want to be bothered by individual pesky singular coins), then a 2-box machine is the way to go.   You simply don't hear that stuff.  No second-guessing signals all day long.   No digging a bunch "just to be sure".  

 

Anyhow, let's hear some of your commissioned silver cache stories !

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6 minutes ago, Tom_in_CA said:

GB, I always groan and wince when I read someone offering this advice.

 

6 minutes ago, Tom_in_CA said:

So, if caches are truly someone's goal (and they don't want to be bothered by individual pesky singular coins), then a 2-box machine is the way to go.

Well, to be fair, in my case I said specifically "which of the machines I own would be best for this task?"  The problem with a 2-box is that it's a specialized detector and it would sit in the cabinet for months or years before needed, in my case.  But, yes, if cache hunting is more than a once every few years activity then owning and using a 2-box seems justified.

A used TM808 just sold on Ebay for under $400.  I've seen that happen once or twice before.  In the USA this is definitely the buyer's market time of year for metal detectors (and anything used in warm-weather activities).

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9 minutes ago, GB_Amateur said:

 The problem with a 2-box is that it's a specialized detector and it would sit in the cabinet for months or years before needed, ...

Bingo.  This is so-true.   Because today's md'ing is entirely about coins, relics, jewelry and nuggets.  Eh ?   The odd-ball occasion when we're looking for caches (specifically and only) is typically only when there's some reason to specifically suspect one. Eg.:  a story passed down to a family member, etc....   Or perhaps someone chasing some of the "legend" class stuff (which is usually only ghost story bologna).   Thus yes:   It would be rare that we would need to reach for it.   That's the reason I've never invested in one so far.

 

And as for me asking you to post your "other" cache stories :  I had a brain fart and thought I was addressing Allen, who had earlier alluded to a few more tallies 🙂

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