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Jim Hemmingway

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Jim Hemmingway last won the day on July 18 2016

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About Jim Hemmingway

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    Fish & Wildlife Biologist (Retired), Prospecting, Mineralogy, Music, Reading, Fly Fishing, Camping.

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  1. Hi Simon… thanks for the quality photos that so aptly illustrate the accompanying text, and congratulations on the interesting coin recovery too!!! WTG!!! With the outstanding silver coin detection depth referred to above, and of course this transitional coin find, the Garrett Euroace equipped with the Nel Tornado coil seems to work quite well in your soils. I think we can attribute that result primarily to your mild ferromagnetic soil minerals, and generally that the Euroace is specifically designed as a coin hunter. The 8.25 kHz operating frequency is advantageous for electromagnetic field (EMF) soil mineral penetration compared to mid-to-high operating frequency VLF units. I haven’t checked but if memory serves, the Euroace has a fixed ground balance compensation point but I stand to be corrected on that point. In more severe soils, a fixed ground balance compensation point would certainly hinder detection of deeper targets. This is because we need to be able to adjust and maintain the GB compensation point precisely when operating over more elevated magnetic susceptible iron minerals. There is little or no GB adjustment latitude when detecting over severe ferromagnetic minerals compared to mild soil minerals. The 12”X 13” Tornado coil would certainly add detection depth compared to the stock coil when used over such mild ground. In the tough ferromagnetic substrates where we prospect for silver, a larger coil on a prospecting-capable VLF unit would not add any significant detection depth. This is precisely why we employ PI units with larger coils to access deeper targets where minimal amounts of ferrous trash permit their advantageous use. On a different note, a continual theme on the various forums is about the value of our finds. You’ve mentioned above about the minimal monetary value of the transitional coin recently found with your Euroace. You pointed out that it has value to you for other reasons. The coins in the photo below have very little monetary value, and that is true of most of the coins that I find. But coin hunting at the picnic grove was fun, and certainly better than hanging around the house, and there was a feeling of accomplishment because each was found through my own efforts. I think that is what matters most to me, regardless whether our interest in coins is historical, monetary, or aesthetical.......................Jim.
  2. Hello Gerry… I completely agree with you, and especially so to the idea that very frequently how we assign a value to a recovered item is based on many possible facets that may totally exclude any monetary value consideration. You were motivated by a wish to share both your coin and the experience involved with finding it with your Dad, and to subsequently enter your club’s monthly finds contest. I might add that there had to be a very real sense of accomplishment, and that to me is one of the essentials that keep many of us interested in the hobby. That aside, it was an extraordinary find, involved a wonderful story, and you deserve all the credit in the world. The most important consideration for many of us has to be what you feel a recovered item is worth to you. As you’ve stated above, when you don’t need the money, it doesn’t mean as much or anything to you. It may therefore be very difficult to assign a monetary value because an item may appeal to us for many other reasons as noted above. We may feel that the probability of finding another such item of similar age or condition is highly unlikely. Older coins, particularly silver coins may appeal to us aesthetically and / or for reasons of historical interest. Other more practical considerations that might factor into the equation may include the time invested, personal expense, travel involved, effort with searching multiple sites, motivating oneself to do the research and get into the field, and the fieldcraft (and luck) that ultimately made that specific recovery possible. And there are doubtless many other reasons why different people place a high “value” on their various finds regardless of monetary considerations. Attached is a multi-photo of coins and tokens to point out that none of these examples are worth more than a few dollars apiece, but yet these are some of my favorite finds. I couldn’t possibly part with them and it obviously has nothing to do with monetary value. They represent successes that resulted directly from my research efforts and fieldcraft. There is a feeling of accomplishment, and that is the primary “value” that matters most to me.................Jim.
  3. Hi Gerry… can’t doubt your determination after reading about this adventurous trip into the high country overlooking Lake Tahoe!!! I don’t know how you could brave water detecting in winter conditions without a wetsuit, but the scenery alone was certainly worth the visit. We can only imagine what a welcome surprise that picturesque area was to the first explorers and later settlers. As a longtime water hunter and outdoor enthusiast, I’ve also made decisions that resulted in late night travel in remote areas, sleeping in strange places, and pursuing cold weather detecting activities as per the photo below. That’s my prospecting camp in early October, not that unusual, but snow never stays that early in the season. So while unplanned changes on the road frequently lead to inconvenience, nonetheless I do admire your determination to follow your instincts and pursue your objectives. I first viewed your photos before reading the text of your post. Couldn’t help but notice the jug of Double Nut Brown Ale, it must look awfully good to a thirsty wayfarer!!! I use a similar looking jug for mixing frozen fruit juices, as illustrated below. A bit of a coincidence, so I took a photo just for the heck of it!!! Finally did read your article, an impromptu and enjoyable narrative. Congratulations on your recoveries, particularly that handsome gold ring. The silver dime shows some deterioration but to me a seated liberty is a beautiful piece of history in any condition. I also like the last photo of you standing in the snow, elevating your scoop and detector. You look content and happy to be in those environs, doing what you enjoy on your own terms. Many thanks for sharing the trip with us, and for the descriptive photos too!!! Jim. PS: Would have preferred to reply sooner, but my computer has usually been unable to either post to, or sign off this forum. The issue could be mine because it recently went in to the repair shop. No operating issues elsewhere to date.
  4. Hi billdean… we’ve been finding naturally occurring native silver in northeastern Ontario for many years, but that experience doesn’t make it much easier to identify samples from other areas of the continent. That is because sample photographs are far less advantageous than having the actual sample in our hands to examine. That the rock responds to a PI metal detector is a pretty good indication of native metal, but not necessarily conclusive. There are a couple of sulfides and at least four of the more common arsenides in our area that do respond with perfectly good “metallic” signals to PI units. Incidentally arsenopyrite does not respond to my PI units. I suggest that you run a quick, simple streak test on the suspect material to confirm whether it is indeed native metal or for example a white or silvery sulfide, or possibly galena. Please determine the streak produced from one of the exposed occurrences in question. Select an area that protrudes from the surface. Rub it lightly across some white / beige porcelain tile or something similar from around the house that’ll give you a decent indication. For example, the bottoms of coffee mugs or French onion soup bowls are occasionally unglazed and will work just fine. Malleable silver produces a metallic silvery streak, whereas the brittle silvery sulfides generally produce dark streaks. None of them produce silver’s white metallic streak. There are other tests we can do to confirm silver, but the streak test is usually preferable because it is non-invasive. It won't damage your specimen. Below are two small naturally occurring native silver examples that were field cleaned prior to the photos. Both exhibit silver nodules or horns protruding from the rock surface, which is fairly characteristic of native silver in our area. Obviously a rock that has been subjected to the effects of erosion over eons of time will be characterized by a smooth or worn surface . But let’s hope the photos will be of some use to you as you examine your sample………………..Jim.
  5. Steve’s Chisana Story documentation is extraordinary. It is fascinating but at the same time it is no simple task to assimilate in one or two readings all the information that is presented here. I seriously doubt that Steve is looking for accolades, but that is difficult to avoid while trying to find a few appreciative words to acknowledge either this or his many other accomplishments over the years. Our Detector Prospector forum is a fine example of Steve’s determination and resourcefulness to successfully implement a major project. His prodigious efforts and managerial skills are the reason for its success to date. Of course we hope that our input is a decisive factor in that success, but ultimately the credit must go to Steve’s tireless work and steady hand at the helm. Thankyou Steve for an excellent prospecting article. It presents a wealth of information and made for a thoroughly enjoyable read on several occasions. La crème de la crème. Bravo!!!
  6. Hi Condor… your highlighted words above should be permanently etched into every would-be prospector’s mind. Common sense says to take the bird in hand rather than risk losing it for the less distinct possibility of one or two birds later from out in the bush. I’ve met and worked with people in the field who think otherwise. They just cannot resist the temptation to abandon good potential prospects and jump from here to there without any rational justification for doing so. I had a fellow from Texas, with no experience in our northern silverfields, tell me straight-up that he felt he was just a notch better than the next guy, and off he went. I think it was a case of a big ego interfering with sensible decision-making. Good judgement is one of several key elements that distinguish a successful hunter from an incompetent fool with a metal detector in his hands. Thanks for sharing yet another captivating gold adventure from the border country. Congratulations on those handsome gold nuggets, lots of good character there. Jim.
  7. Hello Idahogold… thanks for posting this video about Oregon’s sunstone mining history. We found it interesting and enjoyed viewing the extraordinary specimen examples. The video narrator did not explain that it is specifically the triclinic plagioclase feldspar oligoclase that produces both the gemmy blue-glint moonstone and of course the sunstones which we usually observe to be golden-hued. His copper-tinged red / green examples are uniquely attractive. Mineralogy is such a healthy, fascinating hobby, and the best part about it is that with any luck we can actively pursue collecting minerals well into our retirement years. On that note, we also very much appreciate that you have presented us with a number of enjoyable, informative mineralogy videos. Thanks again Idaho, the videos have been a real nice forum attraction.....................Jim.
  8. Hi Randy… you would make an ideal prospecting partner!!! We share a similar interest in observing local flora and wildlife, and heading into town at the end of the day for dinner and maybe something cold to wet parched whistles. An ideal closure to a long day of digging and kicking rocks. Congratulations on the nuggets, the larger one is a real nice find. Thanks for sharing your trip with us, and for that excellent photo. WTG!!! Jim.
  9. Hi Rick…years ago Dave Johnson said that he really liked the design. He mentioned the secondary GB control particularly, that it was handy for checking out suspect hotrock signals, and thus quite useful on many sites. He also noted that he might do that feature again on some future product. Nice little unit, congratulations.
  10. Hi Rods… welcome to the forum!!! Your rock presents an intriguing identification challenge for us because you’ve provided no information about it. For example, is there a mining history where it was found, did it respond to a metal detector, does the mineral feel weighty for its size / volume, is the shiny substance on your rock flexible or rigid? Or is what we see a result of light reflection as it pertains to the camera to sample angle. You see the real thing, we have to guess at what is real in the photo. Would you mind doing a simple streak test for us? It takes only about 10 seconds to do. The streak test involves lightly running the “shiny” substance on your rock across an unglazed white porcelain tile. In a pinch you can try rubbing your sample across the unglazed bottom surface of some coffee mugs or whatever is available around the house. With dark minerals, the color of the streak can be quite different from the mineral color, thus providing a very useful clue as to its identity. A streak test can readily eliminate a number of possibilities. Goethite produces a brown-yellow to yellow streak. Various forms of hematite can produce a range from a bright to quite a dark cherry red streak. Galena produces a black streak. Silver produces a silvery streak. And there are other possibilities, but there is no mistaking the difference in streak results between the minerals suggested above. Below are photos for the above suggested minerals. The goethite has a weathered surface, but look at the small exposed area of black lustrous material to see what actually exists beneath the surface. Note that galena has a distinct “grey” color and metallic luster. Specular hematite is a little more difficult because its uneven or crystallized surface makes it impossible to avoid light reflection from many faces. It is generally lustrous, but it is also primarily black. It can readily be distinguished from other similar-looking minerals such as ilmenite and magnetite by its red streak. Hopefully the photos will be of some use for you to compare to your sample. Let's add a molybdenite (a flexible mineral) photo just in case. But please consider doing the streak test and let us know the results if that is convenient for you……………….Jim.
  11. Hi Chris… it’s a subjective decision, but for whatever it’s worth I wouldn’t do any treatment to your sample. It displays well and is otherwise quite an attractive specimen in its current state. Dave hopefully can satisfactorily identify it for you shortly. It is not a simple task to identify your mineral based on a photograph. A black streak test result implies a mineral compound, and not strictly a native metal. Some non-metal minerals do react to both VLF and PI units, producing good metalliferous type signals. In northeastern Ontario, these include solidly structured pyrrhotite, niccolite, cobalt, safflorite, skutterudite, and quite a number of potential silver-cobalt-nickel-iron-arsenide mineral permutations that you will never encounter in generally circulated mineralogical texts. The silver mineral combinations are sufficiently complex and numerous as to require a reference list from the local museum, and more sophisticated identification techniques are required than the common mineral field tests normally available to hobbyists. We can easily imagine that such minerals would present insurmountable identification issues for hobbyists in the field and certainly the same applies in the context of forum discussion here. Many of these minerals freshly exposed would produce a similar appearance to the silvery material in your photo. But the primarily cobalt-nickel-iron-arsenide related minerals do not necessarily account for the black host material in your photo with any real confidence. And frankly, I have no idea if these mineral types potentially even exist in your search areas. There are other suggestions above, such as the enriched copper sulfides (bornite-covellite-chalcocite) that do produce VLF target signals, but do not react to my PI units. Unfortunately I’m not familiar with GPZ responses to various minerals because we have no hands-on experience with it to date. Attached are a few mineral examples mentioned in this thread including a photo of low-grade cuprite (it’s all I’ve got). Chris R. above makes a perfectly viable case for this mineral’s consideration. Thanks for an interesting topic, it’s been an enjoyable diversion to post our possible solutions for you!!!
  12. Howdy Chuck… I’ve been metal detecting for coins, jewelry in freshwater knee-to-shoulder depths, prospecting for native silver and many other minerals, and digging old bottles for 32+ years. Our Ontario substrates range from moderate to high non-conductive ferromagnetic mineralizations. I’ve experimented with multi-frequency detectors in the past without any significant improvement in overall results at local coin hunting sites. That is not to suggest that more recent multi-frequency market releases might not be an improvement. Membership posts here certainly suggest, for example, that the Minelab Equinox represents a meaningful VLF technological advancement. Nearly all my coin and jewelry recoveries over the years have been detected with single frequency units that range from a 2.5 kHz Fisher Aquanaut to roughly 7kHz White’s coin hunting units. Both 13 / 14 kHz Fisher F75 / White’s MXT are employed for hunting naturally occurring native silver, particularly for trenching and close-up work. We also use both the White’s TDI Pro and Garrett’s Infinium PI for prospecting silver where conditions, for example the substrate’s magnetic susceptibility, and light trash density make these units equipped with larger coils more desirable tools compared to current VLF technology. We continue to enjoy good success primarily because we think about what we’re trying to achieve, do the necessary research to get results, and make the effort to get into the field. A good deal of our research is completed “hands-on” in the field. Aside from the frequently discussed search strategies we read about on the forums, for example achieving depth, covering ground and so on, a part of our success in coin hunting and prospecting native silver is that we do not employ detectors that are overly sensitive to small material. In such applications, tiny signals are a time-consuming distraction that subtract from our productivity in the field. How we employ metal detector technologies to satisfactorily accomplish a task is certainly of the utmost importance, but make no mistake that placing your coil over productive ground is by far and away the primary goal of experienced, consistently successful hobbyists. That means complying with basic research requirements first and foremost. It is hard work, particularly evaluating field sites for future reference, but without that information in hand, the fancy new technology has little or no value………………….Jim.
  13. Hi Chris… that’s an attractive specimen you have there. It certainly looks like native silver. Have a look around the house for an unglazed white or beige porcelain type of surface. The unfinished bottoms of some types of soup bowls or coffee cups will suffice nicely for a simple streak test. Silver is soft, it reacts to metal detectors similar to native gold, and it produces a silvery streak. Galena with sufficiently solid structure will certainly react to VLF metal detectors and pinpointers such as my Garrett Propointer. But none of my large galena samples will react to a PI unit. Galena produces a soft wide black streak that cannot be misidentified as silver. The black mineralization adjacent to the silvery metal on your sample could also be comprised mostly of native silver with a black silver sulfide coating. That would help to explain the strong signal produced in the field. However, it could very well be a silver sulfide such as acanthite or perhaps even a dark silver sulfosalt. I can’t be more specific from a photo, although I'd put my money down on it being native silver embedded in acanthite. In any practical sense, related silver minerals such as acanthite do not react to metal detectors in the field.
  14. Hello Idahogold… thanks for another enjoyable video. I find it interesting to observe others in the field, their techniques, reactions and interesting comments. Attached below is some small silver, plus an additional specimen found a few years ago in the north country. More about its recovery can be read on this forum at.... Thanks again Idaho ……………..............Jim.
  15. Hi Simon… I generally agree with everyone’s comments. It certainly has been the case that our older local parks, schools, picnic groves, fairgrounds, and baseball diamonds have dramatically declined in the production of old silver coins, tokens, and other occasional valuable recoveries. We can still infrequently scrounge some nice silver, but the days of finding several dollars in multiple silver coins each hunt are long gone. It is also certainly true that there are many hobbyists who enjoy finding modern coins. Coin totals do matter to those folks. Others dislike detecting modern change, viewing such as trash. And comprised of clad iron here in Ontario, our small change is trash compared to the silver, pure nickel and quality copper coinage production that ended years ago in Canada. Hence we can see that the erosion of quality coin finds is nothing new. It began a long time ago for us. And now as you point out, even modern coins are seeing less circulation. As metal detection hobbyists, how do we counter these challenges? Of course longterm it doesn’t look terribly promising, but for the immediate or foreseeable future the answer is obvious here in our areas of Ontario.. For new ground, we look to the countless small towns, villages, crossroads, beaches, river crossings, abandoned country churches, schools, and picnic groves, and a vast array of other potential search sites where yesteryear’s people would gather for whatever reasons. With appropriate research and for example, compiling useful maps, we can identify where things existed or occurred some hundred or two hundred years ago and more. As we visit these sites armed with our metal detectors, we have gained insight and confidence that hobbyists can easily find desirable coins and other goodies if they make the effort to do so. For the present time, to address it plainly, there are many hundreds if not thousands of accessible town, village, and beach / water related detecting sites within a three-hour drive of our home in central Ontario. Our practice is to pack our detecting gear when we drive places for any reason. There is nearly always time to explore likely places for coins, jewelry, valuable artifacts and minerals with a metal detector!!! We continue to find plenty of valuable or otherwise interesting items in the field. For example the tokens below are almost worthless, but I think they’re really interesting finds. Well Simon, I suppose that’s about it for now………………..Jim.
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