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Break Even Hobbies?


Rick Kempf

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Metal detecting and more particularly Gold nuggett hunting – it's different than other hobbies.

You don't ask some guy riding around on the Harley or driving a quad or a bass boat how soon he plans to break even on his investment. They look at you like you were nuts – what a silly question – this isn't about money it's about having fun!

Ou hobby is different. Treasure hunting is about treasure and discovering treasure is about the thrill but it's also about the money. A $10,000 metal detector is criticized on the grounds of how many ounces of gold you would have to find to pay for it. The satisfaction of owning the pinnacle of gold detecting technology – or the pure pleasure of hunting for and finding an elusive target – seem to mean less to us than they do to the golf club, quad offroader, bass boat crowd.

I'm not saying it's a good thing or a bad thing – but it is a noticeable thing.

I believe to some degree it's also a reaction against the fact that metal detector prices have long been based on the hope that the buyer has of financial gain and therefore - his willingness to pay a premium for a rather straightforward electronic gadget. It is the kind of tax on hope.

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But price is not the point. You need to add all things together. Detector price, detector weight, your knowledge, safety, free time, your experience and many many more...

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Rick;

  I like your line of thought. I need convincing that $10,000 is justified for a detector.

 

  At times I don't "break even" with my business so I am thankful for my mining "hobby". I have often wondered if I had to depend on mining if it no longer be enjoyable.

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There is a lot in what you say Rick. On the other hand, I think the rapidity of the price escalation has set people back. Most detectors cost hundreds of dollars. I remember seeing my first thousand dollar detector and thinking that was crazy. It really is only the Minelab PI detectors with their lock on high end performance that is driving the sky high prices. When you finally get your head around $5795 the jump to $9999 does come as a shock.

Whatever. No matter where we are in life most of us see things we would like to have but can't afford. Or simply will not spend the money on. Most of my friends have bigger houses, bigger trucks, and bigger RVs than I. There really is more to it than just the detector and no reason a person can't do well with whatever they can afford.

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I just cannot justify 10K for a new detector. If I lived in the desert states in the south west, I may go for a 7000, but when you live on a fixed income then it won't happen. I have found many oz. with my old trusty Gold Bug II and my Minelab 705. I also have found many, many $$$ in silver with my Minelab. Both of these detectors have paid for them selves in a few weeks use. In my area, there is gold and lots of trash. The old timers threw out everything that would rust and decay in the creek beds for us gold hunters to find. I had a SD 2100 one time and it found gold, but I dug 10,000 pieces of garbage for every OZ of gold that I found. I love hunting in the desert for gold, but I cannot get my wife to move to a warm dry climate. I just do not want to cash in some of my gold. I guess that I am a hoarder. May I should sell or trade some of my gold before I get to old to move around. Hunting gold keeps a person young. 

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I was "in" at $1600 or so for a new TDI and I had a lot of fun learning about PI detectors and what they couldn't and could do. I got about $800 when I sold it, so my lessons were expensive.

I was "in" again to the tune of just under $3000 when I got a "smoking deal" on a SDC2300, not sure how much that experience will end up costing me – kind of depends on when I sell it and what I can get for it.

There's no way on earth however that I will spend $10,000 or even $8000 for a metal detector. I can take my wife on a really nice vacation in Italy for that money and remember it for the rest of my life with much more enjoyment looking back than I would have looking back on all the holes I dug over a foot deep and hard caliche looking for a pipefitting. But that's just me.

I have found 300,000-year-old stone tools made by Homo Erectus in the Saudi desert - opened a sealed tomb in Arabia – only to find out that it was the 4000 year old ritual burial of a goat! So I guess finding a gold nugget or two would be nice.

For real money you need to find a lunar or Martian meteorite – they sell for thousands of dollars – A GRAM!!! For finding these all you need is an endless expanse of light colored flat ground and then spend a few hundred hours staring your eyeballs out looking for dark things that aren't rusty tin cans or camel turds. Thought I had one once – sent it off to Washington University in St. Louis - they were really interested in looking at it since it greatly resembled a previously identified lunar meteorite found a site about 5 miles from where I found mine – but unfortunately it was just a rock.

No I think I'll pass on the $10,000 detector and pin my hopes on my hero Dave Johnson and the boys at First Texas – waiting for their super gold detector. I doubt it will go as deep in highly mineralized ground as the GPZ – but frankly I'm not interested in digging two foot holes - no matter what's down there. There are easier ways to make money and easier ways to make great memories.

To each his own and I really do look forward to hearing about all the great finds that folks make with their new mega detectors and certainly don't begrudge them making the commitment financially and otherwise to get the right tool, the right knowledge and do the hard sweat to find the gold!

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I do have to mention the other perspective that does exist. I get that most people do not live where there is much gold or are not that into it.

But for a serious prospector a GPZ does not represent much more than an investment. The only question is how long to hit break even. I do sell my gold regularly, and never sell for less than $2000 per ounce these days. So five ounces to hit the $9999 mark. Maybe another ounce for gas, food, etc. How long to get six ounces?

One just never knows. It could take me two years, or it could be the first nugget. But for many prospectors, especially in Australia, going after 6 ounces is not exactly an earth shattering thing. And when it is all said and done the detector will have retained some value on the used market, that can be rolled over into the GPZ 7500 whenever it appears.

I will let you know. I just got my shiny new GPZ 7000 and I am not counting gold found with the prototype. Starting today, how long until I hit the six ounce mark? We shall see.

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I used to hunt and justify the cost of hunting trips by saying it was meat for the table.

I had lots of expensive fishing equipment to get fish for the table-I don't even like eating most fish.

I was going to get rich with my first 5 or 6 detectors...ha!

 

Now, hunting gold is my biggest thrill and the cost of a new toy is just part of the game...that is all the justifying I need...

 

good thing I don't have to eat on what I find!

 

fred

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