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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. Another excellent read Simon, very enjoyable, and thank you for those superb photos!!! And of course a tip of my hat to JW for supplementing Simon's narrative with his timely comments too!!! Nice work fellas, and a great way to spend the weekend, thanks for sharing it with us................Jim.
  2. Hi Brian… and welcome to the forum!!! In addition to "no tide" you didn’t mention whether you are anticipating detecting small freshwater lakes with little or no wave action or larger lakes with wave action. So I’ll address both scenarios to supplement what has already been said above. Success at the small lakes will depend on day-use bather numbers and on the type of bottom substrate. The bottom substrate could range from a hard clay or hardpack gravel bottom that will hold targets, to some combination of soft mud, silt and sand mixture that allows targets to quickly sink out of detection range. If the latter, and bather usage is reasonably high, you may need to detect these on a regular basis while the targets are still detectable. Try these sites and your experience will dictate whether they are worth your time and effort. Many freshwater pond and river “swimholes” have been around a long time, and may or not see much present day usage. It could very well be a case of cleaning it out on a one-time basis and moving on to other productive sites. Again, your on-site experience will help you with that decision. We search generally larger lakes here in Ontario, that do have good wave action as a result of the prevailing winds and of course from summer heat that develops on-shore breezes. These factors facilitate the creation of a series of sandbank-trough-sandbank-troughs in the lakeshore shallows, sometimes extending out to shoulder depth, but that also conveniently run parallel to the shoreline. The sandbanks tend to be hardpacked such that small rings remain detectable for several days to several weeks, whereas coins and tokens typically remain within detection range for a much longer duration. The troughs are normally clay-gravel hardpack swept clean by water action, hence all targets remain detectable for many years subject of course to any sandbar movement over extended periods of time. We hunt these troughs routinely because they’re wonderfully productive for gold and silver jewelry at high day-use beaches, and incidentally freshwater is much less aggressive with silver coins and jewelry than saltwater. Even nickels lost nearly a century ago surface looking quite presentable as per the photo below. Most of my jewelry finds are recovered in knee-to-shoulder deep water. Lakies’ rings are more commonly found in shallow waters due to playing with their small children. Men’s rings are much more widely distributed. Sandbanks and the shallows are areas for throwing beachballs and frisbees, and other horseplay. The bottom substrate can play a role too, for example if there are rocky formations near or at the shoreline at a popular beach, those rocks are magnets for men’s wedding bands. Now just a word of caution. Stay alert to small storm drains and creeks entering unfamiliar beach areas where you search. Summer flows normally are quite low or non-existent, but immediately after storms or in the early spring these discharge points can be raging torrents that over many years may have hollowed-out quite a steeply-banked underwater channel running out into the lake. Perhaps no issue for bathers, but for a detectorist loaded-up with gear the channel slopes can trap and pull you quickly into deep water. Water hunting for coins and jewelry as pictured below can be very rewarding particularly if you have access to countless inviting freshwater beaches that exist here in Ontario. But all you need is one good, productive beach that gets a lot of day use bathers and you can return at regular intervals and do quite well. Good luck Brian, and please don’t forget to post about your adventures to this forum..................... Jim.
  3. Nice looking gold Peg, and outstanding photography. Thankyou for an interesting and altogether enjoyable read, you have a talent for capturing the essence of electronic prospecting in ruggedly beautiful wild places!!! Good luck with locating a productive nugget patch soonest. ☺️ Jim.
  4. Very nicely illustrated post that captures one's imagination Gerry!!! I called the wife to look over your many interesting finds. While not likely to be described as fine jewelry, nonetheless they do transport one's thoughts back a good ways in time. As Kac noted, she mentioned that it was probably either some type of crystal or perhaps simply cut glass. Nice teddybear and "best friend" charms that look to be in good condition. But best of all l like the pineapple ring!!! What a nice save!!! In any case, let's hope that diamond earring is in fact a genuine diamond. You never know, sometimes we can get an unexpected nice surprise!!! ☺️ Jim.
  5. Hi Jspirko…that's a real nice specimen you've got there. Now I’m going to step out on a limb a bit and say that your sample looks to me to be a fine example of a granitic-textured, plutonic igneous rock called diorite. You may wish to read up about it and see if your rock does match as nicely as it appears in your photo. We come across diorite in northeastern Ontario. Its grain size is typical of other similar type rocks such as gabbro, granite and syenite. I tend to describe rocks as pegmatitic if the grain size generally exceeds about five millimeters. Diorite can vary somewhat in appearance, but as a course-grained intermediate intrusive (that is to say classified between felsic granite and mafic gabbro), it tends to be generally darker than granite. Diorite is typically comprised in an approximate ratio of two-thirds white, sodium-dominant plagioclase feldspar (oligoclase / andesine triclinics) to a third of amphibole such as a hornblende, or quite possibly as a biotite mica. Hence your sample has an attractive two-toned appearance similar to the example depicted below. Little or no quartz is present in diorite, otherwise we would refer to it as either a granodiorite or simply as granite just depending on how much quartz and alkali feldspar is present. As noted on the photo, you can see that my specimen possesses no ferromagnetic strength, but does ground balance to the same elevated non-conductive range as magnetite bearing rocks and other black minerals that we encounter in the field. At GB45 the rock generates a strong negative threshold signal, again similar to mafics that are comprised of heavier materials such as magnesium and iron…………..Jim.
  6. Nice presentation Dan!!! Thanks for including your detector settings and congratulations on your button and various finds. ☺️ Jim.
  7. Outstanding recovery Norm!!! As Steve notes above, it certainly possesses good sharp detail. I would love to have it in my collection!!! Thankyou for sharing with us and congratulations!!!☺️ Jim.
  8. Hello Gerry... congratulations on quite a diversity of interesting treasure recoveries. If I had to choose just one favorite item, it would have to be the silver key fob!!! That looks to be a real keeper!!! WTG and thankyou for sharing your adventure with us!!! ☺️ Jim.
  9. Hi Simon… fascinating to see how tiny is the gold that you routinely detect with the Equinox 800. It seems to me that you are undergoing a metamorphosis, becoming increasingly adept at evaluating sites, and more skillful at sniffing out the gold with your various metal detectors. I think that newcomers to the hobby would benefit a great deal from reading your posts about metal detecting for gold. If you could post a photo of the new caravan sometime, that would be fantastic. Love to see what both you guys are doing for camping equipment. Otherwise I don’t really have much to say at the moment, just dropped around to say thanks for another enjoyable, informative post to the forum. Jim.
  10. Hi Gerry… I’m glad that you mentioned utilizing the depth meter. I was tempted to earlier, but decided not to venture too far away from your initial thread topic. Once I’ve isolated a signal the first order of business is to precisely pinpoint, carefully measure the target depth, and then evaluate the target signal. That information enables me to decide whether or not to dig it!!! The depth meter generally has a major impact on decision-making for most areas and most target ID range targets. I search for deeper silver coins as a rule of thumb, but not always. If the signal is shallow but reads penny / dime range I dig it in hopes of a silver ring, pendant or an infrequent bracelet. There are so many potentially productive coin-hunting sites that it is not rational or even possible to dig every coin signal, particularly not shallow coin signals. Nowadays in Ontario those shallow signals are mostly comprised of iron and not worth digging. By comparison, when hunting impermeable clay dominant substrates where coins don’t settle deeply, the depth meter really has little or no value. The older parks and picnic areas with high clay content soils in Toronto normally produce silver at very shallow depths. As noted previously, I tend to dig all signals in the screwcap range because silver jewelry can be had at any depth. Again this strategy is tempered by the soil conditions, insofar as targets will quickly drop out of detection range in dark moist soils characterized by a higher detritus content. In such conditions, the depth meter comes to the fore. Men’s gold rings are much more common within the extended pulltab range. One has to be circumspect about where we pursue these signals. Well groomed city parks and picnic areas that feature extensive gardens are productive places to hunt, as are sports fields, volleyball courts, baseball outfields, relaxation areas adjacent to tennis courts, and so forth. The depth meter is as important here as it is for the silver coin range because we wish to focus on the deeper targets, presuming that heavier gold will sink beyond lighter aluminum targets more quickly over time. Again, you’ve got to be selective primarily based on target depth, because you cannot afford the time to dig it all. I used the same strategy with the foil and nickel ranges but never realized much success for the time / effort. It produced quantities of foil of every description, nickels, costume jewelry, and a few thin gold rings that barely warranted digging in well-groomed, upscale neighborhood city parks. Responsible detectorists must be selective about where and how often to dig in such environs, or risk eviction by park staff. Mind you, I did recover two handsome ladies diamond rings (one 18K with a modest .35 carat diamond in a platinum setting now resides in the wife’s jewelry box), so I shouldn’t complain too much I suppose. Eventually I abandoned hunting gold on land and turned to water hunting for better results. That decision dramatically increased the gold finds for the time and effort spent doing so. I do enjoy the environs and the rewards, but for me water detecting is a crushing bore compared to prospecting or coin hunting. A few months ago I mentioned to you that central Ontario has countless, high usage beach / swimming areas. Within a few hours of my home in central Ontario, there are numerous such sites available to water hunters. Yearly gold renewal has improved because there has been an increase in 22K jewelry recovered at sites closer to Toronto, primarily Lake Simcoe beaches. Nowadays I search Lake Simcoe’s eastern beaches because these see intensive day use from Toronto and nearby large population centers. Moreover the prevailing westerly winds have created extensive troughs between the sandbanks that run parallel to the shoreline. Gold lost in these “collection” troughs is much easier to visually locate, and this is true even using a headlamp at night. Targets can easily be cleanly scooped from the relatively sandless, smooth hard bottoms. There is no need to concern myself with target ID or depths out in the water. I dig it all. With early retirement, lately I’ve focused more on prospecting for native silver. It combines a natural interest in the northern wilds with that of detecting potentially valuable silver. I also thoroughly enjoy mineralogy generally, and eastern Ontario possesses a spectacular mining history and terrific mineral diversity, particularly the famous Bancroft areas. One of the few places globally where a mineral explorer can find and recover specimen grade fluor-richterite. As recently as a trip to the lower Algonquin area early last December 2018, I held a softball size, handsome museum quality specimen in my trembling but eager hands. Well no I didn’t actually find it in the deep, forbidding winter snows, but providentially the general store had several on display!!! And a nicely provisioned snack bar too!!! Almost forgot to comment on the beautiful class ring that you posted above. An unusual looking piece, you invariably post interesting and sometimes extraordinary items. WTG on digging that signal, most impressive given the circumstances. The photo below leaves no doubt about my metal detecting interests… ..........Jim.
  11. Hi Gerry… I don’t own an Equinox but I think that you’re also asking what sort of items we normally expect to find if we dig signals that target ID generally in the screwcap range. That is to say the target ID range that lies between upper pulltab and zinc penny range. I dig all targets in the screwcap range because there are many unpredictable, interesting or unusual items within that conductive range. That’s not to say that we don’t find our share of trash such as aluminum junk and discarded screwcaps, costume jewelry including cheap plated rings, infrequent broken watches, knives and utensils, all damaged to some extent from years of exposure to ground moisture in concert with various soil chemistries. On the other hand, this target ID range produces commemorative tokens, the large Victoria, Edward VII and George V Canada One Cent coins, and our silver half-dimes. It also produces a variety of generally smaller sterling silver jewelry such as small silver rings, pendants and charms. We occasionally detect larger silver rings that fall into screwcap range because they have become disconnected where originally sized to one’s finger. Of course other valuables such as gold rings do occasionally surface, but these are a far more rare occurrence in that particular target ID range. I’ve doubtless not mentioned many other items that fit into the screwcap range. Thanks for a nifty, interesting thread Gerry.
  12. 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.
  13. 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 more modern 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
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