It seems one of my recurring detecting New Year's Resolutions has been to find new hunting grounds and not get stuck in a rut trying to find the last crumbs I'm capable of tasting in the sites I've detected extensively. So far this year I've done well (at least one silver coin in each) at three 'new' sites (two parks and one school) and 3 weeks ago before heading out East I was able to get in a short 1 hour hunt at another park I've never previously visited.
I vaguely knew about this spot previously but for various reasons I never tried it. My first 'requirement' is that a new (to me) site have a decent chance of hiding old coins. For the most part that means having had significant human activity prior to 1970 and preferably prior to 1960. This 4th 'new' (to me) site of 2021 didn't seem to meet that minimal requirement. In fact there is a prominent bronze plaque on site which states it didn't become a park until 1974 and previously was an industrial storage lot for several decades. However, Historic Aerials hinted at a more promising past. It seemed to show that some of the modern park's features were present at least back to 1965. I'll go deeper into that later in this post.
That first 1 hour hunt produced three Wheat pennies along with four copper (alloy) Memorial Cents and a couple clad dimes. Three Wheaties in an hour on a site which supposedly wasn't frequented until 1974 was surprising but far from earth shaking. I filed it away until after getting home from my week+ in the East. After getting home I needed some time to decompress (i.e. take care of other things) and it was quite humid besides. Further, this summer has been wetter than normal and the grass grows back as fast as it gets cut. Finally this past Thursday (2 days ago as I write) I got in 3 hours on a freshly mown park. I concentrated on areas that the Historic Aerials indicated would be most promising but still did some fairly broad surveying. The results were a bit disappointing compared to the previous short run -- 1 Wheat cent vs. 4 copper Memorials along with a few modern 5, 10, 25 cent coins. Here's a photo of only the coin finds (oh, plus a Sterling ring my wife has already claimed):
The next day I returned for another 3 hours, this time hunting exclusively on what I considered the most promising part of this site. Now the floodgates started to open: 10 Wheaties compared to 5 copper Memorials along with $1.85 in larger denomination modern coins:
The dates on the 10 Wheaties are: 1909, 1918, 1920, 192x-D (haven't yet resolved that last digit), four from the 40's and two from the 50's. Non-cent finds don't seem to show any particular date pattern although only 2 or 3 are from the current millenium. Now for the non-coin finds from these last 2 days (total of 6 hours):
Pretty much the typical park trash. There is one arcade token from 80's or later (right below five Stinkin' Zincolns). The ladies watch appears to be nothing special (no precious metal or stones). Possibly most interesting is above the drink can lid -- it's a copper piece that looks like it has a coin slot in it. The padlock is badly corroded and the shank has been cut with a hacksaw. It may be from this site's industrial days. Oh, one last interesting find. To the right of the Hot Wheels car is a wooden piece I recognize as being from a Lincoln Logs wooden playset (not metallic)!
So what explains the plethora of Wheat Cents? Here are some hypotheses:
1) The bronze plaque is wrong and the property was turned into a park well before 1974. This seems a bit odd -- I mean the park department historian can't get a date right and spends hundred+ dollars on a sign with erroneous information?
2) The industrial site's employees spent some of their lunch-hours in the same shady(?) sloped spot, either accidentally dropping coins or even possibly playing some kind of penny-ante game tossing them and missing picking up some?
3) Nature's randomness is conspiring to try and trick me into thinking this site's Wheats/Memorials ratio is indicative of something other than just luck.
The plausibility of this last hypothesis can be tested with statistics. I'll start with my on-going 5 year record of fraction of copper Lincolns that are Wheats. That's 338/1547 = 21.58%. Most of these have come from parks and schools, all of those sites having been established no earlier than 1974 while most of the remaining sites were private permission homesites that were established no later than 1960. Thus using this value as 'typical' for sites frequented for at least 47 years is a stricter requirement than necessary. Still, using 21.58% ratio of Wheats to total coppers, the chance that of the first 27 copper alloy Lincolns found, 14 or more would be Wheats is less than one in 7100.
Of course Wheats tend to be an indicator that even better (yes, silver coins) treasures are hidden and awaiting a coil to be swung over them. Hopefully I can add some more evidence by digging one (or more) of those on my next trip to this spot.
You have basically four books on the Equinox metal detector to choose from.
1) The Minelab Equinox 600 800 Metal Detector Hand book by Andy Sabisch $23.95 - 176 pages
2) Minelab The Equinox Series from Beginner to Advanced by Clive Clynik $19.95 - 111 pages
3) The Minelab Equinox: “an Advanced Guide by Clive Clynik $22.95 - 101 pages
4) Skill Building with The Minelab Equinox by Clive Clynik $21.95 - 119 pages
There may be more, but these are the ones I actually purchased. I have no relationship with either author other than some email questions. I also run two very technical book review web sites on college level books and above.
Andy’s book is well edited, with slick photographs and a large easy to read format with some general information on the Equinox detector. However, in my opinion it is padded with photos and testimonials that really don’t add much to the Equinox knowledge.
Clive’s books are more expensive if you buy all three of them. Smaller format and yes, there are some spelling mistakes Clive did not catch. But, for the amount of pure Equinox knowledge (especially for the 800), these books are packed from cover to cover with very useful Equinox information. I find myself highlighting quite a bit in each of Clive’s books.
I have many years of metal detecting experience with various metal detectors under my belt. Nothing prepared me for the 800. My previous detector was the very good Garrett AT Pro. Prior to the Equinox, I feel the AT Pro was the best mid-range metal detector available.
That all changed in the Spring of 2018 when detectorists started buying the 800. Most people at that time could not or refused to believe the 800 was as good as Minelab and a few others were saying.
Big caveat here, this was not your father’s detector. It is a very powerful and complex mid-ranged metal detector. Until you tame it, you will be frustrated unless you learn to just use it as the Minelab engineers designed it and that is to use the standard modes until you have at least 50 hours on the 800 or 600.
And that brings me to Clive’s three books. They will show you how to get the most out of your equinox. If you are content with hunting in the standard modes maybe buying just Clive’s first book.
Bottom line, I kept all three of Clive’s books and sold Andy’s book. But the safe choice would be to purchase all four books.
A recent thread and one of the responses got me thinking on a related topic (related to the response, not the original post question). I quote part of Steve H.'s response (referring specifically to finding natural gold in the Contintental USA):
The best gold was gone a decade ago, and the leftovers have been hit hard the last ten years.
That got me thinking about coin and relic detecting. Good detectors for that purpose have been around at least as long as those for natural gold detecting. Although there are many more locations for coins and relics, and those on average are more accessible, there are certainly more detectorists searching them. So should we arrive at the same conclusion?
One argument I don't buy (although it might apply to jewelry detecting, but even there modern problems exist and are growing) is that coins (in particular) are being reseeded. True, if all you are after is face value (spending money) coins. With the rare exception of very rare mint errors (double dies in particular), almost no coins have been minted for circulation in the last 65 years which carry a collector premium, and few coins minted for circulation contain sufficient bullion value to make melting them down worthwhile, even if you can get away with it.... So, no, there isn't a reseeding of coins of value.
We C&R detectorists do have one major advantage over natural gold detectorists -- private 'permissions'. (Although there are private gold bearing properties and private gold claims on public properties that are accessible, those invariably involve considerable compensation to the property/claim owner for access and/or recovery.) How many unsearched private properties with promise for old coins and valuable relics are still accessible?
Let's continue with unserached public properties such as public schools and public parks. How many of those still exist? Better asked, what percentage of those still exist?
Final set of questions: as is true with gold bearing sites, the earlier detectorists didn't get it all, just the easiest to find and recover. How many old coins (and valuable relics) are contained in sites which have been detected? Do we have the tools today to identify and extract them?
While I (hopefully) still have your attention, I'm mentioning a book which I don't think gets as much notice as many detecting books that do:
How to Research for Treasure Hunting and Metal Detecting by Otto von Helsing (2013). It's ~200 pages of no-nonesense instruction on the topic. To drive home my 'no-nonesense' claim, here is something he says in his second paragraph (in the Introduction): The goal of this book is to teach the average person how to do good research to find promising leads for metal detecting. I don't care if you have gray hair on your head and hate computers or if you are 20-something and like to text while driving (In which case it's likely you won't make it to the gray-hair stage.) !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I'm just getting started and don't expect it to be a lazy read, so I can't yet give a review. But I like his attitude.
While looking at this online book I saw a sketch of the San Bernardino meteorite. The report was published in 1883!
Hello, my father lives in SW Utah and I would love to take him nugget shooting somewhere. He is 100% disabled from Vietnam and he can use the shovel as a cane for a while and I am usually his “digger” and pinpointer guy 🙂
So I was hoping for some info on where I he and I could go nugget hunting, with my Orx in either Az or southern Utah, Nv.
So we can plan a trip together (researching and reading will give him something to do) 🙂
He doesn’t have many years left where he can even get around on his own, so any input would be great, thanks in advance
When metal detecting, whether you are gold prospecting, relic hunting, or water hunting; it is easy to get discouraged. However, it’s important to know that you can better your results in metal detecting if you explore some of these best practices. I prefer to call it Smart Hunting!
Find a Metal Detecting Location with Google Earth
Use Google Earth to search your local area for new potential spots. Start off by branching out from where you live. Sometimes there are fields hidden in woods that you can’t see from a major street or road. Keep your eye out for clear stretches of land. You should be able to see the difference between a forest and a field.
Organize Your Metal Detecting Leads
If you see something that piques your interest, drop a pin. You can also make separate folders to organize your leads. Just make sure your privacy settings are enabled! You do not want to share your new potential locations right away!
You can grab the Latitude and Longitude aka coordinates, from Google Maps. Make sure you have this information copied or saved in a separate area, as you will need it.
Use Historical Aerials
You may now use Historical Aerials to “peel back time” for your respective area. This website gives you access to many historical aerial photos that may help you refine the area you want to detect in.
This is great if you are looking for things like old trails and swimming holes.
If you are looking for old relics and coins then it may be best to look at an atlas for that area. For example, in NJ you can find free Atlases online that date back to the 1800s. All you have to do is search on google. Depending on the atlas you look at it may even show you old homesites, which is a fantastic clue.
An example of a really great website for atlases is Historic Map Works.
Research the Property Owner and Ask For Permission
Once you have found your “prime” location, the next action is to obtain the permission of that area. It is important to always have the permission of the area in which you are detecting and most importantly, never to trespass.
But, how does one find out who owns that property? Well, there are many ways to obtain information. For now, we will focus on the Smart Hunting aspect.
There are tools online for each state in the US that allow you to pull up public tax assessment information. Remember when we said save your coordinates? Use the information discovered to build your strategy as you will be given contact information to aid you in your journey to permission.
If the location in which you are Smart Hunting turns out to be a business, find the website to the company. Try to locate a “contact us” page to strengthen your efforts in getting the permission you are seeking. You may also attempt to create a “Waiver of Liability,” as businesses want to ensure you are not an insurance risk. Do not get discouraged if you get a no. I always try to play the “No” game. And that is how many “No’s” can you get before you get a yes. You will be surprised with your outcome!
Sometimes if the property is owned by a private resident it will show their contact information. Again, I want to clarify that this is public information. You may choose to find them on social media or send them a well thought out handwritten letter. Why? Because people need to write more handwritten letters. You also have the option to show up at their home. If it is a farm, sometimes this works out as they often have farm stands. Go grab some juicy vegetables and talk yourself into some permission. Need some exercise? Maybe lend a helping hand on the farm! You never know of the doors that will open through the power of positivity.
If you manage to gain permission, you now have your opportunity to put the Smart Hunting you did to work.
You have now become a Detective Detectorist!
Smart Hunting: Metal Detecting With Technology originally appeared on kellyco.com