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  1. Grab a bag of popcorn and a beer, this is gonna be a long read. (Skip to the third paragraph if you are only interesting in my review of the GPX 6000) Before getting into why I decided to purchase a GPX 6000, I would like to give some background into what got me to the point of making that purchase. My friend "Brian" (Yes the one from Gerry's visit to SD) had been nagging on me that detecting is WAAAY better than sluicing or highbanking for gold. Me being stubborn, I would not listen to him as I was told by many of old prospectors "Theres no nuggets here". Were they hiding something or just oblivious to the truth, I do not know. After a year of recirculated highbanking on my dry claim and "Brian" detecting, it became clear to me that there is some truth to the message he had been preaching to me. That fall I purchased a Gold Bug 2. I loved that it is all analog inputs that require you to actually understand what the different knobs do. It allowed me to gain a better understanding of what the detector was doing. Not just letting the computer on it think for me. That fall gained me no nuggets as I was learning not only the detector but how to be successful at detecting. Many frustration finally led to my first small nugget that next summer. I was getting pretty good I thought as I would come home with a pocket full of tiny lead beebees and if I was lucky, a small nugget. I felt comfortable with the GB2, until I noticed that even though I felt I was doing well with the GB2, "Brian" was doing even better with his SDC2300 and GPZ7000. He would go back over areas I had just detected and pick up what I left behind. It was a perfect game for him as i would clear the garbage and shallow smaller nuggets and he would get the deeper larger ones. 😤 😄 I would even come back over to where he would have a target and check it with my GB2. It became obvious to me that ML technology had a clear advantage over my GB2. About the time I decided to go all in on purchasing a GPX 6000, I joined the detector prospector forum. I did more research into my GB2 and read Steve Herschbach write up on the GB2. Running the settings "hot" still didnt match the performance of the Minelabs detectors. After talking it over with the wife, I gave a call to Gerry at Gerrys Detectors, and after a pleasant 20min call with him I was sold. I gave him my deposit and waited patiently for my GPX to show up at my doorstep. Gerry, being the outstanding man he is, hand delivered it to me as soon as it had shown up at his store. (perfect timing pays off 🙂 ) Our first day out was a total success. I bagged the largest nugget of the day weighing in just under 2g, my largest at the time. Gerry and "Brian" also did well, both scoring more nuggets and pickers than me. This was also my first gold from this patch. The ground at this patch was very mineralized and had many hot rocks. Listening to my GB2 was a nightmare and I had not been successful at getting any gold from there until this day. There is probably more I can learn on the GB2 but I feared with the larger nuggets being around 10" deep my only chance was to run hot. The GPX ran like a dream comparatively. I was not used to the wobbling threshold that this detector has and it took me some getting used to. We were also less than 500' from a larger powerline and I was still able to get two nuggets that day.(and yes we were just running the 11" Mono) I was able to learn from Gerry while he was there on his trip, but he made the comment to me that I was already doing very well. Everything I learned up this point was from "Brian" who took Gerry's class from one of his past purchases. Gerry and his team must do extraordinary training as I only have had second hand training thru "Brian". I hope to make one of Gerry's training trips to get a chance to do some more detecting with him and his team! On to the GPX6000. This detector has been a dream!! And I really mean that! Ergonomics are very important and ML has indeed hit this one out of the park. I never ran a 4500 or 5000 so I cannot compare to them, but "Brian" has let me run his GPZ, and I was tired after an hour with that detector. Even though the GPX is slightly heavier than a GB2, I do not notice the weight. I can go for 8 hours and not be completely dead, unless of course I am digging a lot of targets! 😄 The controls are very straight forward. One thing I always liked about the GB2 is it is quite literally turn it on and go. With at least the SDC and GPZ (as these are my only other references) there seamed to be a long start up. Not with the GPX, turn it on and in 10 seconds you can be swinging. The onboard speaker is decent. I think I would have preferred it to be by the display as the sound is coming from behind you instead of in front of you. Its not a huge deal, I can still hear it fine, I just find that when your coil is making noise going over grass and banging on rocks, I find it harder to concentrate on the threshold. With that being said, I do prefer to run with the headphones as this allows me to concentrate better on what I am listening to. I know there have been alot of complaints about EMI. I would say that the first 15min seem to be extra chatty but after that it seems to settle into it. Maybe it is just my mind canceling it out, but I do not find much issues with EMI. I even leave my IPhone on in my backpack which is usually anywhere from 20'-100' away from me. When I do notice more EMI, I just click the noise cancel and in roughly 12 seconds I am going again. The one thing I noticed is there is about a 5 second delay after running the noise cancel(7 seconds) before it is running properly. (probably has something to do with an averaging function that it is running) The threshold is a bit different to listen to for me at least. Its more of a wobbly hum. Once you get in tune with it you just listen thru it and the targets are obvious. Even when you think you've heard a target, just a simple swing back over the same spot and you will have your answer. The collapsible shaft is spot on. It packs down small so it does not take up much space. Its also nice for getting thru thick areas in the woods. I do not like to overtighten the nuts as this then allows me to twist the coil about the shaft instead of twisting my wrist or arm to keep the coil parallel with the surface. It is also more comfortable for me to not hold the display straight up but more turned in towards me. I do not like to run on the automatic sensitivity settings as I do not like the idea of the computer making changes that I am no controlling. (even though I know it is doing some automatic changes with ground tracking) I have been mostly running on 8-10 for sensitivity and normal soil. The spots I have mostly been to are fairly mild soils. When I get a target, I will give it a little scrap and check again in difficult. If the target is still there then I go after it. I have found that the normal soil setting can give you maybe an inch or so of extra depth. If there is a target there, It will go off on both after scraping a little off the surface. I have noticed that the difficult ground settings will give a better response to small nuggets. On to the gold! When I say that this has blown me away, I mean it! I know I am not very versed with other detectors, so for some of you this may not be as impressive as it has been for me. My first trip out after Gerrys visit, I go to a patch we call the E patch. We have worked this patch on and off for several years now and had felt fairly certain we were done here. There is a lot of garbage here, and I mean A LOT of garbage and most of it is tiny shrapnel and the thinnest pieces of wire I have ever seen. My first day here with the GPX banked me 42 pieces of trash and 5 nice nuggets with the two larger ones weighing in both just over 1g. As you can see, that pinpointer is about 10" long and there is another 2" of soil above that. This piece was right at 1g. This was my gold from that day. The top left is the one shown in the hole above. Needless to say, I was a happy camper that day. My next day out with the detector would net me 10 more little nuggets. I have to say, it is a blast when you are getting that many pieces no matter how big they are! It is hard to read, but that total was 1.14g. The smallest of these was 0.03g and this was about 2" deep. In fact this scale would not register it. I had to use a more precise scale to get a measurement. The last day I was out once again surprised me. Both the detector and this location! In about 2 hours I was able to pull out another 10 pieces! this time though the weight would be 8.25g of gold! With the largest piece coming in at 4.25g! My largest pieces yet! This also puts me in the lead for largest nugget of the year in one of my running bets with "Brian". These bets are for a beer for each bet 😉 The depth of the largest nugget was about 14". The image is deceiving. I dug a narrow hole but if i put my hand straight across from the scoop, there was at least another 2" of soil above my hand and the scoop is roughly 12" long. The depth of this piece was about 8". Again this image is deceiving as the hole was fairly wide at the top so the scoop is laying down more. This piece weighed in at 0.35g To sum things up, YES I am well pleased with this detector. It has delivered me gold that I missed with my GB2. It has given me the confidence right from the get go. I know that if there is gold under my coil, this is giving me the best chance of seeing it. I no longer have to wonder if I am missing targets that other detectors would see. Overall I find this detector fairly easy to use and the light weight makes it easy to use all day. Will I ever pay this detector off, that depends on what you mean. It has already paid for itself in fun! It may very well pay for itself financially someday, but I will rely on my full time job to feed me. 😆 I can not wait for further usage of this detector and will always remember the awesome time I had detecting with the legendary Gerry McMullen! Like I said above, the GPX6000 is not just a detector... It is a thrill ride!
  2. I ski a fair few times a week over the ski season, and often in summer I go to the ski fields and detect under the lifts, it's been quite good for finds, more phones than you can imagine as they just fall out of pockets and instantly sink out of sight. The snow under lifts is usually not groomed and soft and fluffy, if someone drops something it's instantly gone. Today much to my surprise only about 10 minutes after the ski field opened I saw a girl under the lift trying to use a metal detector she'd obviously borrowed off someone to try find something she dropped. I have no idea what detector it is but it didn't sound too great. No display screen, like an old Minelab musketeer or something I have no idea. The coil might be a giveaway to someone as to what it is. She left her helmet and goggles on all day, probably to hide her face as she was embarrassed by it all. Every time I went on that particular lift she was still there, and she was digging a massive hole. I felt quite bad as whatever she dropped was likely yesterday and it wouldn't be too far down, I doubt out of the reach of a Equinox with a bigger coil, I've detected on snow quite a lot and the Equinox is amazing the depth it can get through snow, basically air test depth. It's going to take a long time to back fill that hole 🙂 What to me it appeared she did wrong was she started digging in the area she thought she'd lost whatever it was, rather than walking around on the surface using the detector, she was then trying to use the detector in the hole she was digging. Disturbing the snow probably wasn't a good idea and in my opinion she'd be better off detecting the area before digging as what if she had whatever it was in the shovel and threw it away. I was tempted to go and give her some advice and help but I didn't want to intrude and act the know it all, especially as I had no idea about the detector she was using. Unfortunately she was there all day, digging like mad, I often saw her fall over, she was on quite a slope. I'm not sure I did the right thing by not offering to help, but after I went in for lunch and next rode the lift a bunch of people were down there helping her. I was going to go talk to her towards the end of the day and see what went on and if she didn't find it I was going to offer to go there in spring once the snow melts and recover whatever it was for her, but I went back just before the ski field closed and it appeared she'd finally given up and left. A guy was trying to use the detector for her at this stage. If she's there tomorrow trying again I will offer her some help, I'll throw the Nox and CTX with big coils into the car just in case. Otherwise I'll just find whatever it is in summer and let the ski field know I found it so if she speaks to lost and found they'll be able to give it back to her. I suspect a ring, perhaps one with some family importance as I can't see a phone or some coins being enough motivation to spend a day trying to find it. What would you do in this situation? I know I'll find whatever it is she lost in late spring or summer if she doesn't find it before then, but I'll struggle to find a way to contact her and that's my fault for not going to talk to her at the time.
  3. Hi all.... I had a serious "what was I thinking" moment a while back, sharing in the hopes it saves you doing the same... 🙂 I own several parcels of land in various rich areas and have had an ongoing issue with ATV'ers. Well this weekend I thought I'd try out the new Kubota and decommission one of the roads through the property, well as I was preparing to dig, my neighbor says to me "where's your detector"... I'm like "At home, today is a Kubota day, not detecting day silly" TOTALLY failing to make the connection that if you dig a hole in gold country for ANY reason, you don't walk away from it without swinging coil.... and went about my business..... within an hour of finishing, I watched two people drive through the property as I was leaving but didn't catch up to them. I get home and am chatting with a friend... and of course hear... "Did you check the trench before leaving?" OK.. now I'm really thinking "dang..." so it was late, I left it.... and went back the next morning..... It's wild having swung on ground so long where you have to listen so hard to every little faint sound "is that a nugget, is that one" to squeak out one or two and then go to a freshly dug trench, step down into the trench of virgin dirt and BLAAAAAAAAAA BLAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA BLAAAAAAAAAAAAA blowing your ear off like it would have been for the old timers with the first detectors... Yea, I guess I'm calling SD and early detectorists old timers now.. lol. Anyway... the moral of the story... if you are playing on your tractor in gold country..... "Don't walk away Renee", you may be leaving almost 4 grams behind for trespassers to find.... If you dig... swing. 🙂 Jen
  4. Sourdough Scott and I have been detecting hillside that has never been mined before and doing quite well with finding gold. It confounded us both as to why this location was left untouched by the early miners. When I discovered the answer it sent chills down my spine. I hate it when I start finding a lot of gold in a small area because that means I have to dig all the trash even when I know it's a tin can, shovel head, copper still, or a locomotive and I am basically a very lazy prospector. To make matters worse this spot must have been where the 1927 world champion squirrel hunting competition took place as there is an extraordinary quantity of lead and brass. There are also bits of steel cable, nuts and bolts, Caterpillar parts and hobnails from numerous logging operations which occurred there through the years. One bit of trash that caught my attention was a pristine 50 caliber musket ball as they sound exactly like a large gold nugget. I put it in my pocket and continued on. Then, not far away, I found the remains of an ancient musket. I knew this had the makings of a Detector Prospector story so I took the ball and musket home for some forensic research. Here are the horrifying results of my research findings. Upon microscopic examination of the musket ball I discovered a minute speck of fossilized blood. By using the DNA identification app on my smarty pants phone I discovered it was blood from the much feared Plumas Mammoth Grizzly! I then began analysis of the musket. By getting my 51 caliber finger stuck in the 50 caliber barrel I was able to conclude beyond any doubt that the musket was the very one that fired the bloody ball. I then closely examined the musket exterior and made three shocking discoveries! One was a patch of dried blood that proved to be from a human male of about forty years of age, dating from 1852. The next was another bloodstain that matched that which was found on the musket ball, identified as being from a Plumas Mammoth Grizzly. The third discovery (and this is where it gets scary) were bite marks which by careful measurement proved to be that of a grizzly over 11 feet tall and weighing nearly a ton! The only logical conclusion from my research is that the doomed prospector discovered the same rich deposit that Sourdough Scott and I found, became distracted with finding gold and not paying attention to his surroundings, mortally wounding the grizzly when he was attacked by surprise but was disassembled by the grizzly before it succumbed from it's wound. That is why this rich strike has remained unworked for 169 years.
  5. Dang, is it September already? I didn’t even work my little Claim this season! All the easy gold has been gone for a couple years now, and since I’m looking at a Hip Replacement in the near future (old car wreck injury), it wasn’t worth the flare ups that come from hauling rocks, swinging a pick, and shoveling to get at the remaining gold. So I’ve focused on fitness and biking the hills this summer, with a couple fun detecting trips to Nv to keep me in the game….but the next trip isn’t for a couple weeks and I need a Gold Fix! So I decided that after my early morning walk, it would be time to go play with the Gold Monster😊 It was a brisk start to the day! My hummingbird feeder was starting to freeze; most have left, but I leave it out for the stragglers. While on my walk and planning where I’d go with the Monster, I couldn’t help but admire the beautiful sunrise….unfortunately due to the awful California wildfires😥. Then I saw the neighborhood Mama Moose….her Baby was with her, but I didn’t catch the young one in the pic. I sure do love my morning walks up here! Once it warmed up a bit, the Pup and I headed out in the side x side to an area I’ve hit quite a bit before with the Monster, but I was sure it could squeak out a couple more. Lila, of course, wanted to drive😄. I worked real slow, and sure enough, was able to find some little bits. And LITTLE being the key word here…check out this tiny speck. Unbelievable that a detector can pick this up! Here’s one of the larger bits found…can actually pose it on the detector lol! All the while, my little Pup was protecting me from the chipmunks scurrying amongst the Old Timer’s rock piles…what a cutie 🥰 We spent several hours enjoying the late summer sun, the gentle babbling of the nearby creek, the breeze in the pines, and the solitude and contentment only Nature can bring. And I ended up with enough bits to actually weigh…what a great day!👍😊
  6. Upon departing the Colonial Site in NW Massachusetts I made my way towards Eastern Pennsylvania to meet up with member here dogodog and spend half a day detecting one of his sites. I was fortunate that he had previously mentioned he'd like to get together for a hunt and since I was on his side of the world this seemed like a good time to take him up on his offer. The hunt was only part of the enjoyment as we spent some time (while driving and also over lunch, which he generously bought) to discuss detecting. The site, which is one he's hunted previously but continues to hunt and make good finds -- see his recent posts -- was previously a private swim and sports club recently acquired by the local government. I don't think I'm going out a limb to say that except for DoD and his friends he's brought there, it had never been previously detected. This is like stepping on a time machine back to the 1970's but with a 2020 metal detector! We began searching an open area which may have been a sports field or maybe just a play area for kids (of all ages) but it was in the open sun and it was becoming what dog said was the hottest day of the year so after about 15-20 minutes we headed to the backside of the property where we could detect in the shade of some large trees. I was using the Minelab Equinox 800 and 11" coil with my standard park and school settings: Park 1, 5 custom tones, no notching, Recovery Speed = 4, Iron Bias F2 = 0. He told me he was finding silver coins at shallow depths so I turned down the gain to 22 from my 24, but even that was overkill although the EMI was easily eliminated with noise cancel. I actually never did a ground balance since pumping the coil showed the current setting at turn-on was quiet as a mouse. The early 15-20 minutes in the open produced some clad and copper Memorials. The back (shaded) part proved more promising. I got the first trophy (and as it turned out, my best find of the day) -- a 1941-S Merc in excellent condition other than the dark toning which was surely caused by some chemical in the ground. After showing DoD, it wasn't more than 10 minutes when he called me over to show me his first silver -- a Roosie. Then he shifted into high gear and found a 9 kt gold mens wedding band followed by his own Merc. I found quite a few pennies (see photo below) and a few (not old) nickels the remainder of the total 3 1/2 hours of detecting but only about half the number of coins (old and new) that dog did. Hey, I didn't want to show him up on his own turf! Here's a pic of my total recoveries: Oh, that's not a pulltab from a dinosaur's drink can but rather a thoughtful gift from DoD -- a detecting towel. I still haven't figured out why he put a pulltab image on it.... At least it wasn't a Stinkin' Zincoln. Speaking of which, there wasn't a huge amount of trash, and particularly not that many beavertails which often fool me as being nickels. I got more aluminum bottle caps (three, one of which isn't shown) than classic pulltabs and not a single modern tab although I was doing some mental discrimination. Three tacks (which DoD warned me about) sure sounded sweet, as usual. Here's a closeup of my coin haul: As usual my photography leaves something to be desired, but you're not missing much detail. From right to left: clad quarter (2001 North Carolina state quarter -- most recent date of all my recovered coins), four clad dimes, three Jeffies (oldest is the top one, a rather crusty and corroded 1941-D). Next are three rows of copper Memorials sorted by decade: one from 1980-82, nine from the 70's and four from the 60's. On the left are three heavily green scaled Wheaties and my best find, the Merc. I did find 3 Zincolns (shown in the previous photo) but in my book those are trash, not coins. Here are closeups of the 1941-S Merc (also shown are my two best finds from earlier in the trip which are highlighted in another post): Except for the dark toning (which isn't all that bad), the condition of the Merc is quite nice. I note that the ground in this part of the country, and that include NW Massachusetts where the large cent was found, seems to be even more unfriendly to copper and copper alloy coins (including USA 25% nickel composition coins) than my soils at home. I know others have found similar deterioration of coin in other part of the Eastern USA. I don't think it's due to the trees since we pretty much share the same species, so it must be some inorganic chemical(s) in the soil. Better than the detect was meeting dogodog and discussing several topics including soil effects, depth of finds, and coil options -- particularly DD vs. concentric. To put an exclamation point on this last topic, he showed me how well his Tesoro Compadre (w/fixed 8" concentric) performs, which he switched to after a short time detecting with his Eqx800. I've returned home with a new found respect for Tesoro analog circuitry and am planning on learning my Vaquero. (kac, don't say "I told you so" even though... you told me so, as have Monte, Rick N, and others here.)
  7. I am primarily a gold prospector but I do enjoy all things metal detecting. The thing is I really like finding gold (or platinum, silver, etc.) so my focus is always on precious metals. That being the case relic hunting has not particularly appealed to me, especially given the laws surrounding finding true artifacts in this country. Many relic hunters are at least technically in violation of federal law if they are recovering items 100 years or older and in many places 50 years or older can get you in trouble. I don't need that kind of problems in my life, and so even though the actual risks involved tend to be overblown, it is not something that excites me. I have the law firmly on my side when prospecting for gold on land open to mineral entry. Eight years ago some friends suggested I might enjoy hunting ancient artifacts and gold in England. The UK has laws regarding the recovery of antiquities that are far superior to ours. They actually support metal detecting and have proven so successful that museums are being overwhelmed by the numbers of exciting finds being made. I always wanted to find a gold coin anyway. My friends suggested the operation that centers around Colchester, England. Colchester is the site of the earliest Roman occupation in England and has history extending far earlier. The Celtic tribes in particular were active in the area, with many Celtic gold coins found by detectorists. The gold coins found span the millenia though including hammered gold coins and milled gold coins of more recent vintage. Just browse the website finds page for an idea of the types of finds made every day in this area. All photos in this story may be clicked or double clicked on for larger versions. Just one field of several at this one location. I could have spent the whole trip here. The hunts are limited to a couple times per year when the farm fields have just been harvested or planted, so Feb-March in the spring and Sept-Oct in the fall. The limited timeframe and limited openings means it is hard to get your foot in the door with this club unless you apply a year or more in advance. 2019 is already filling up and people are booking 2020 now. Long story short I made the trip for two weeks back in 2010 as told at Metal Detecting Ancient Coins at Colchester, UK. I refer you there for more details especially photos of all my finds. The hunt was amazing with finds ranging over a 2000 year span. Finds that would be world class in the U.S. are not only common but considered "new" by comparison to the finds I made almost every day I was in England. Yet I did not score that gold coin. There are many found, but when you consider the number of people hunting 12 hours a day the reality is that you have to be very lucky to get your coil over one, even given a full two weeks. I came away better educated on that reality. It was a fabulous trip but I was in no great rush to return knowing what I learned, plus it rained half the trip, and UK farm field mud is as sticky as it gets. It is far easier to find gold nearer to home and I went back to prospecting and jewelry detecting as my main focus for finding precious metals. Nostalgia does creep up however, and as time passed I thought I should give it another go. I booked a slot with two of the hunt managers, Minnesota Mindy and Chicago Ron, figuring that I had a shot at maybe at least one of them. I had never met Mindy but we knew of each other from Ganes Creek days, and Ron I took a photo of making his first Morini Celtic gold coin (see story above). A year went by and then suddenly Mindy had an opening, which I jumped on immediately. Just a few days later Ron had an opening. I was going to decline, then saw by some miracle his week started when Mindy's ten days ended. I really hate making trips of any magnitude for less than two weeks. This is low odds stuff and the costs also do not justify short hunts in my mind. I booked with Ron also and suddenly had seventeen days in England on my calendar for October 2018. By sheer coincidence it turned out that a forum member unearth (hi Gary!) was booked for Mindy's portion. Field with view of the River Stour I got a ticket with United for $1250 round trip to Heathrow from Reno, NV. It is a pretty easy flight really. Afternoon flight out of Reno to Los Angeles, and then 11 hour overnight flight from LA to London. Overseas flights coach class is more like domestic first class, and if you can sleep on planes you can sleep most of the journey away and wake up in England. My return was the reverse but routed through San Francisco with a longer layover in order to deal with customs on re-entering the U.S. No real issues for those used to navigating large airports. It could be exciting for novices however but just relax and ask for help the minute you have any problems. The trips to a certain degree are like an all inclusive vacation with most everything covered, but may include nights out at English pubs for dinner. I did none of that my first trip so looked forward to seeing a little more local flavor this time around. I must be mellowing with age because it is not all about the hunt these days - I am making more effort to smell the flowers along the way and just enjoy. Accommodations on the trip are in barns that have been converted to apartments, which is why these types of hunts are referred to as "barn hunts" but there are other options. Rooms are normally shared - my room for the first ten days. Art was a great roommate. I got far more lucky with weather this time much to my relief. It makes everything more pleasant for all involved. Groups consist of seven or eight people including the host, who busses the group to different fields each day or twice a day. All morning hunting takes place on one farmers fields. The hunt may continue on that farmers land in the afternoon, or switch to another famers land. The farmers are paid by the number of people on their land each day so for logistical purposes it is one or two landowners per day. The amount of land available is mind-boggling vast. There are fields that have been hunted for the 16 years the club has been in existence, and good finds are still being made. This is part due to the sheer size but also the fact that the famers deep plow and turn the land. Targets that were too deep or on edge get brought up or reoriented, and so areas thought dead come back to life on a regular basis. I proved that myself this trip. New fields are also added on a regular basis for those who like that feeling of being on less hunted ground. I took two Equinox 800s on the trip, one outfitted with the new 15" x 12" coil that arrived just before my departure. This is a fantastic coil, very light for its size, and just the ticket for covering huge areas. There is a depth bonus also on most targets but to me that is just a bonus. That extra 4" coverage per swing is far more important in improving the odds for finds than another inch of depth. I will get more into my settings and how they evolved during the trip as a follow up post. United wants $100 for a second bag, and I was able to bring two complete Equinox and everything I needed for three weeks on the road in a single 40 lb bag plus small satchel carry on. Nice! I could drag this out as a blow by blow accounting of each day but let's cut to the chase. Just a couple days into the hunt one of our group found a Celtic gold coin, always a good sign. Five days into the hunt Gary (unearth) scores part of a medieval gold ring with a red stone, possibly a ruby. A great find and Gary was very pleased to find gold - who would not be? Congratulations Gary! I and the others were finding various old coins and artifacts similar to what you would see in my story from 2010 - lead seals, hammered silver coins, watch winders, buttons galore, musket balls, etc. Gary scores gold and a gemstone - jewelry finds are very rare October 16 dawned nice and sunny, and we went to hunt some of the older ground in the club and so few people want to hunt there. Yet I was immediately busy digging "gold range" targets with my focus being on target id numbers from 7 on up. I will explain the reasoning there later. I made a few passes back and forth digging all manner of small lead bits when I got a nice little 7-8 reading no different from hundreds already dug in the last few days. I turned over a spade full of dirt, and out popped an oddly shaped piece of gold! Celtic "Votive Offering" fresh out of the ground! I knew it was gold but I was not sure what it was. It looked like a small torc, normally a band worn around the arm or neck. This was too small, maybe 5-6 inches long, so it would barely loop around a wrist enough to stay put. More like the size of a ring really. Whatever it was I knew it was great and my emotions soared sky high. I reached in my pocket for my iPhone to take a picture.... and had an emotional crash. My phone was gone! I went from elation to panic almost instantly. I left the find and detector where they were, and proceeded to backtrack my trail. I had not gone far and the ground was rolled flat, so I determined I must have left the phone in the van with Mindy. So I got on the radio and announced my find of a "mini-torc" and explained I had lost my phone. New Minelab Equinox 15" x 12" coil helps make once in a lifetime find Mindy was excited and said she would be right there. She did indeed have my phone, so we rushed back and took photos of the find. Everyone gets excited when gold is found and this time was no different. Now that I had my phone I got excited all over again, quite the rollercoaster! Happy guy! Photo courtesy of Mindy Desens Celtic gold, the find of a lifetime for sure. Many of the Celtic gold coins found here date from around 50 BC to 25 BC and so it is reasonable to think this find is of similar age, though that cannot be determined for sure without further testing. Gold dropped around 2100 years ago - simply amazing! Equinox and Celtic gold! The find has since been labeled as a gold "votive offering". The ancients lived for the harvest, and offerings were made to the gods in the form of gold tossed into the field to insure a good harvest. At least that is the theory that tries to explain why nearly all the farming land seems to have at least a few Celtic gold items found in them eventually. The truth is nobody really knows for sure as there are no written records from that time. For all we really know this might be an ancient gold hoop earring! That's half the fun, imagining what this stuff is and why it is where it is. The club has been hunting these fields for around 16 years, and while many Celtic gold coins have been found this is the first item of it's type, making it a particularly rare and satisfying find. It is really hard to get my head around the fact that somebody last held this gold over 2000 years ago. Celtic gold "votive offering" closeup All gold or silver that is not a coin is immediately declared as treasure to the museums. I actually got to handle the find very little before it was whisked away to a safe. The museums will evaluate it, and possibly bid on it. High bidding museum gets the find, and the money would be split between me and the property owner. If the museums decline, I will pay the property owner one half the value and eventually get it back. This normally takes about a year but can take two or more years depending on the backlog. Every item found that the finder wishes to keep must go through this process, and there are only so many experts who can identify and catalog all this stuff. I live for the hunt and the photos. It's not like I haul gold around to show off to people - it all resides in a safe deposit box. So for me the only real value is in making that adrenaline rush happen and then having photos I can easily share with others. I won't mind therefore if it sells at auction and I get half the cash. Clean and easy. If I get the opportunity to get it back however I may very well have my find fashioned into a ring. There are not many people in the world who can claim to be wearing jewelry fashioned before Christ was born. I could sell it myself no doubt for over twice whatever I pay for it, but I don't need the bucks that bad to part with such a find. Celtic gold details - actual age unknown but BC, around 25 to 50 BC if in range of coins found in area The Equinox with 15" x 12" coil did a good job making this discovery. As a classic open ended "broken ring" type signal it was reading 7-8 and was detectable to only about 4-5 inches in air tests. I am guessing it was about 4 inches deep. The Equinox is exceptionally hot on gold and while you can never say for sure it is very possible that this gold item was left in this heavily hunted area because it is such a poor signal on most detectors. Needless to say I am very happy with both my Equinox and the new 15" x 12" coil. It is the perfect coil for this type of large field detecting. Speaking of Equinox I was surprised at how many were already in use with this random cross section of hunters from around the U.S. About three-quarters of the hunters were swinging the Equinox, most having switched from the Deus or CTX 3030. Other than the typical minor quibbles people were unanimous in liking the machine and there was constant talk about how well it was performing. The Equinox really loves round items in particular, and people were reporting noticeable increases both in depth and target id accuracy at depth. Ferrous identification is almost 100% accurate under these conditions. I dug only one ferrous item in nearly three weeks that just clearly fooled me, a very deeply corroded steel spike of some sort. There were a handful of other ferrous targets I dug that I figured were ferrous but were borderline enough I figured "just dig it". Better safe than sorry, but in each case they were the expected ferrous items. Lots of Minelab Equinox plus a Deus and CTX The next day we were back in the same general area. There was one small plot Mindy wanted to hunt and nobody else was interested, so I decided to hunt with her. I was at one end of the field and Mindy the other. I was hunting fast, trying to cover area, when I got one of those showstopper signals and dug a nice 1737 George II milled silver sixpence. I had no idea what it was - kind of looked like a Roman emperor to me and so Mindy had to take a look. I found I was best off not speculating on finds as I was usually wrong though I am learning. The "George" I know now is a dead giveaway that this is a "recent" vintage coin. A real beauty though and I was quite pleased with it. 1737 George II milled silver sixpence It was only 15 minutes later that Mindy calls out on the radio that she found a full Celtic stater, the larger of the Celtic gold coins. It was her twelfth gold coin find on these hunts over the years, and a real beauty at that. I am one of those people who get nearly as excited as the finder when a great find is made - I love seeing people do well detecting - and this was very thrilling to witness. Although I was in no position to complain this was exactly the sort of find I had hoped to make myself, and it is nice to know these targets still remain. I had walked maybe ten feet past the coin as I headed for the far end of the field. Just a stunning coin, and looked almost brand new even though it had been in the ground for around 2100 years. Gold is just amazing in that regard, whether nuggets, jewelry, or coins, they pop out of the ground like they were dropped yesterday. Mindy scores a Celtic gold stater - her 12th gold coin 45 BC to 25 BC Addedomarus - Trinovantian tribe 5.58 g.16.90 mm Can you imagine, twelve gold coin finds, including a hammered gold noble, some sovereigns, and Celtic gold? Mindy is amazing. Here I am looking for my first gold coin and she gets her twelfth - now you know why this hunt attracts people. The next day we were hunting some of the newer, less hunted ground, but after some high speed scanning I wandered off to an area that has been hunted a lot before because two gold sovereigns had been found there recently. There are areas where there are lots of targets, and also vast stretches of fields where targets are few and far between. People tend to like the idea of new fields, but they often have very few targets to dig. I kind of prefer older target rich zones that have prior gold history because even after years of hunting I have no problem digging lots of gold range targets in these locations. This does usually mean lead but I am happy to dig lead targets all day as opposed to being in an area where there are only targets once every 15 minutes or more. This was one of those locations, and I was in gold hunt mode digging lots of tiny signals in the 7-10 range with 9 being particularly prevalent. This almost always is an oblong little bit of lead, but I dug another nice 9 signal and up popped a large gold flake! It was not much different than something I might find gold prospecting, but is either a fragment of a hammered gold coin that has been worn to oblivion or maybe a portion of a blank gold sheet. I don't know but it was my second gold find in three days and so very nice to see. Just making one gold find is exceptional, and two in a week is harder yet. The flake only weighs 1.03 grams and is 15.05 mm long and 0.80 mm thick. Truly just a flake of gold, and another testament to the gold ability of the Equinox even when running the larger coil. I was pleased with the find as much from a technical aspect as anything else, since I have already found countless similar flakes of gold while prospecting. I went all the way to England to find a flake of gold! It finally came time to say goodbye to Mindy and the group and get handed off to the new group incoming with Chicago Ron. Ron is an incredible hunter with a real nose for making finds. I really enjoyed watching him - an artist at work. In fact there are many people on these hunts that are amazing detectorists (Scott and Scott, and Mike, I'm looking at you) and there is always something to learn by observing good detectorists in action. What makes Ron special is he just wanders around in an apparently random fashion, yet consistently wanders into some really great finds. He has one of the best noses for detecting I have ever seen. My luck dropped off in this final week but no complaining here - nobody would sympathize anyway! I had my trip in the bag and was more relaxed and I was admittedly cherry picking a lot more now, focusing on the gold range and round targets. Most people are hunting hard for hammered silver coins, but for me those were more accidental bycatch. I just hunt for gold and let the rest happen. I had the chance to eat out a few times with Ron's group and enjoyed seeing more of the local flavor than I did on my first trip to the U.K. There was a dinner night out with Mindy's group (I bought dinner and drinks for all celebrating my find) that was a good time. I just love the English people and these nights out gave me more chance to interact with them. I even took time out from a hunt to go shopping in town with Mindy just to see the town of Manningtree close up. Again, one of the benefits of making a great find - the pressure was off and I did not get so crazy about just detecting. Manningtree, England One pub in particular out with Ron and company was directly across the street from where the captain of the Mayflower lived. The history everywhere you look is just stunning. Ron like nearly everyone in his group is was swinging an Equinox, and early on one day of the hunt he made a find that is rarer than the gold coins - a huge 1653 Commonwealth hammered silver half crown (30 pence). This is one of the few English coins with no king on the front because England was a Commonwealth without a king for a brief period of years. How this 14.39 gram silver coin was still sitting in the middle of a hunted area is a mystery, but as we all know if you do not get the coil right over the spot finds get missed. The coin is 34.66 mm or 1.36 inches in diameter and 2.0 mm thick. I got a great photo of Ron with his first Morini Celtic gold on my last trip, and here he is again doing his magic. What fun! Chicago Ron and 1653 Commonwealth hammered silver half crown Ron's 1653 Commonwealth hammered silver half crown I added to my collection of hammered silver, 1700 and 1800 copper coins, and milled silver coins with the remaining time I had. I tended to wander off in oddball directions away from the group, doing the "go big or go home" thing by hoping to get into some little corner or hotspot overlooked by others. Given the size of these fields there are limitless opportunities for this sort of wandering, and it often means fewer finds. It is however how spectacular finds like a horde happen so I do enjoy giving it a go. It ultimately is my favorite type of detecting, being alone in some place wandering around doing my own thing. Gridding target rich zones is probably more productive, but it has a mechanical work aspect to it. Wandering is more freestyle and also more conducive to the sort of meditative mental state I achieve while metal detecting. I am one of those types that lives in my head and some of my best thinking is done while wandering around detecting. I get so into "the zone" that hours flash by in apparent minutes. Whether I make finds or not I find metal detecting to be wonderfully refreshing. For me at least there are few things more relaxing than metal detecting. The trip ended with a spectacular bang by another new Equinox owner who recently joined the forum. Tim was kind of frustrated with the Equinox when I met him, but I did what I could to help him gain confidence in his detector, and the finds started coming. The very last day he made a find that exceeded my own in some ways, but that is his tale to tell so I will leave it for now. It was so awesome again to be around when a major find was made, and come to find I had walked about 30 feet away from it the previous week. Miss it by a foot or a mile, and you miss it. Usually you never know what you miss, but in this case I got to find out. It may be hard for people to believe but I am happier that Tim made the find than me. I am getting a bit jaded these days whereas Tim nearly fainted from the excitement. I get a real charge out of seeing that in people and Tim is just a really nice fellow. He really worked hard for that find and it was an awesome way to have the adventure come to a close. I am sure we will hear the details about Tim's amazing find very soon. I could not be happier with my 2018 UK adventure. The weather this time was really great. I actually got a farmers tan while in England! Mindy and Ron and his wife Gretchen are all great, doing everything they can to insure people have a good time. The folks I got to visit with in both groups came from all over the country, and I could not ask to meet a nicer and more upbeat bunch of people. I really am going to have to give this another go because I finally came home without that gold coin. Even that is ok because what I did find is even rarer, and I made two gold finds on the trip. Eight years ago I went home with a pouch full of great stuff, but I think my pride was a bit wounded that I had found no gold. I am supposed to be the "gold guy"! I am constantly competing with myself at some level, and this trip really left a warm glow. Again, my thanks to all involved for making this one of the best experiences in my now very long detecting career. Just awesome!! ~ Steve Herschbach Copyright © 2018 Herschbach Enterprises Many more details and pictures later in this thread plus the settings I used so do follow along ! Here is a partial selection of some of the finds I made on this trip. I won't be able to post a complete listing until I get the museum documents back - may be a year or more from now! A few finds made by Steve Herschbach in England, 2018
  8. A couple years ago a friend of mine (who already had gotten me 5 permissions) asked her sister if I could come detect her 18th Century homestead in NW Massachusetts. I had hoped to go in 2019 but time got away from me, and you all know what happened in 2020. Finally we agreed upon a time window and I made it out there in the past couple weeks. Basically, after the Revolutionary War, soldiers were rewarded with property in unsettled parts of the previous Colonies and one of them started this homestead in 1785. The original cabin burned (remnants can still be seen but it was overgrown this trip) and was replaced by a larger house at the beginning of the 19th Century. The current owners have a lot of property but most is wooded and I had only three full days to detect so I decided to confine my searching to the 2-3 acres of cleared ground surrounding the house. Except for recently constructed garage (which replaced a barn burned down by an arson), there are no other current buildings, but with the help of a 1911 survey which they showed me we were able to figure out the location (and find the foundations) of a couple other long ago razed outbuildings. My goal this trip was twofold -- survey as much of this cleared area as possible and try to hone in on the best spots to cherry pick, meaning specifically undisturbed ground. As is typical, improvements to property occur over time, covering up some of the history. I wanted to avoid those areas during this short trip. I began in the front yard close to the house and not surprisingly got some nail hits, although trash wasn't thick. After digging 3 or 4 good sounding targets that turned out to be nails, I moved closer to the road, below a bulkhead wall. BTW, I was using the Minelab Equinox 800 in Field 1, 2 tones, wide open (i.e. no notching), recovery speed=5, iron bias F2=0, gain = 22. About 45 minutes into the first day's hunt I got a good, strong high tone and the dTID showed low 30's (silver quarter/half region). (I tend not to spend a lot of time requiring perfect, consistent dTID's since I've found so many good targets which don't give them. But I do listen for iron hints although even those don't necessarily turn me away, especially from weak signals.) The ground was suprisingly soft and sandy, unlike the stickly clay I deal with at home. Also, they'd been having quite a bit of rain (the mosquitoes were evidence of that!) so digging conditions were near perfect. At about 6 inches I pulled out a metal disc the size of a USA Large Cent (size no coincidence because that's what it was)! First target and I dig a coin I've never found before. I wasn't sure -- could have been a slug -- and took it inside to rinse it off and carefully blot dry (even that seemingly benign action might have been a mistake) and still couldn't see detail but showed it to one of the owners and she, with better eyes than I, said in the center it said 'One Cent'. Bingo! Already I knew it was my oldest coin ever since the last year of minting large cents was 1857 and my oldest previous coin was an 1864 2-Cent piece. I returned outside to that spot (coins congretate in patches, too ) and a few meters away got a nice high 20's hit, but rather weak. Eight inches down was a Barber dime. What a start! Unfortunately the only old coins I found the remainder of the trip were a few Wheat pennies. I did get a lot of relics, not surprisingly. Here's a picture of all but the obvious nails and modern metal trash: Lower right group are what I consider the best finds and I'll show a closeup of those shortly. I'm pretty sure everything around and directly below the horseshoe are related to horses ('tack') including the two obscure pieces inside the horseshoe which are similar, one a piece of leather with two large copper rivets and the other just a bare rivet. Interestingly I found almost identical pieces in June when ghost-towning in NE Nevada. I guess leather survives in wet climates as well as in dry ones. Some of the buckles are chrome plated which I assume (but don't really know) means they are fairly recent, meaning 20th Century. (I apologize for not taking better pictures. It was the last day and I was in a hurry to get on the road for a long drive to my next stop. I left all but the old coins with the property owners.) Here's a picture of what I consider the best finds: (Again, my photography leaves a lot to be desired....) I'll show the old coins (upper left) in a better photo. Lower left are modern coins (clad and Memorial pennies). Lower right are ladies' items -- stocking clip, powder compact, and lipstick tube cover. (The woman of the property owners really liked the compact and cleaned it up with some metal cleaner. It really looked sharp after she did that; too bad it was bent.) Upper right are four buttons, two of which were flat buttons. The large one had no identifying marks. It was made of a copper alloy (brass?). If anyone can shed light on its possible age I and the owners would really appreciate it. One of the several mystery pieces I found is the dark looking floral(?) shaped item above with compact. It had 8 holes arranged symmetrically (two of them don't show up) and was attracted to a magnet). It was quite thin and reminded me of jewelry. Above it is a copper broach or pin, possibly previously silver or gold plated. Now for the old coins: Four Wheaties (one from each of the 20's, 30's, 40's, and 50's) plus a 1954-D Jeffie (ok, not very old...) with the two best coin finds. And those two best: The 1941-S Merc came from a different site which I'll discuss in a separate post ('Part 2'). The 1911 plain (Philadelphia minted) Barber dime is in nice condition although not a scarce issue. But I'm still happy to get it. Unfortuantely you can't see detail on the Large Cent in these photos, but I can with a magnifying glass (still no date discerned 😞), and here's what I've found out so far: On the obverse ('heads' side) the lady is facing right. That's very important because only USA Large Cents minted between 1793 and 1807 faced right. So that alone tells me that I didn't find a coin which might be as late as 1857 but rather my 'new' oldest coin find ever is now at least 50 years older than that! I can see some clothing at the bottom of the bust making it a 'Draped Bust' type. That narrows its birthdate down to 1796-1807. There are still a lot of varieties in those 12 years and after trying to figure things out on the PCGS site I broke down and ordered the definitive work on these coins. It won't arrive until Thursday so you will have to wait along with me to see if I can narrow down further info. Meanwhile, can you help me identify this unknown find? It appears to be brass, but is hollow. The lower left of the picture shows damage, but it's breakage, not corrosive loss. You can see the seam to the left of the head where it joins the conical part. It reminds me of a calibrated weight for a scale but the only ones of those I've seen are solid, not hollow. Anyone?? To summarize the first part of this trip, in 10 1/2 hours of detecting (oh, I didn't mention that most of two of the three days was interferred with by Hurricane Henri!) I found some very promising post Colonial artifacts while just scratching the surface of a small part of this property. The (very generous, hospitable) owners were sufficiently pleased with what I found that I've been invited back, but I doubt I'll be able to make my return this year. I'll probably bring a weed eater next time and detect around that original cabin foundation. I can't wait....
  9. I also am back from Alaska, although its from a different part of the state than Steve was in. I am back from Gold King Creek, about 50 miles south of Fairbanks. It was quite an adventure. They run an operation for tourists as well as running a regular commercial scale operation at the same time. I did metal detecting and shoveled gravel into a highbanker. Shoveling gravel is taxing and with my back still only at about 90% from my car accident, after a couple weeks of shoveling all day my back was in sore shape. I balanced off shoveling by metal detecting. I found 179 pieces of gold while I was there, but the total weight for all my detected gold was only 5.2 grams. The gold from Gold King is small (as is common for many Alaska placers). Now don't get me wrong, I had a ball detecting all of those 179 pieces, and there are a few rare larger bits in the area. One lady found a nugget of about 3.5 grams before we arrived with an SDC 2300 - very unusual. I think the biggest the commercial operator got while I was there was about a gram, and that is from 65 ounces he produced in the two weeks I was there. My biggest was about 0.2 grams, and average for the 179 pieces was about 0.03 grams. That's a testimony to the sensitivity of the GM 1000. I did get some good gold by shoveling into the highbanker also. The gold does not occur on a real bedrock but on a hardpan of deep clay, real bed rock is 180 feet down and likely has no significant gold ( based on where the gold is coming from). Overall, I think it was a big success, I really enjoyed myself, the folks who went in with me had a great time, and I got to meet a lot of new folks, including some of the staff who were avid detector prospectors from Arizona. On trying to depart, I got stuck there for a day by low fog - which prevents planes from flying in. Very normal for an Alaskan prospecting adventure. I've now taken care of the things I need to do for the ICMJ magazine and am getting back on track to take care of all the other things that go with life here in the lower 48. There will be an article in the ICMJ on it with a lot more detail for those who subscribe, and I have a video about working on hardpan or false bedrock on my Youtube channel.
  10. I was fortunate to be able to attend the 13th Welcome to Hunt Outing (WTHO) in Northeast Nevada (Wells locale) this past month. A bit of background (from what I know, which may not be totally accurate): Monte Berry began these in 2015, taking people to ghost towns that he had been detecting for decades. As you can see from the numbers there have been about two per year, most at a handful of sites in Elko County, NV (the extreme Northeast county of the state), but a couple were other states such as Oregon and Utah. Unfortunately due to his recent move from Oregon to Texas, Monte was unable to attend but he turned the reigns over to a quite qualified (and I say that now from experience) Oregon Gregg (member here). This year four ghost towns were on the rotation. I'm not going to list their names since I don't know if this is public knowledge, nor do I know for sure who owns them, etc. (I know that one is on private property but not sure about the others.) The four have several things in common. GT1 is the oldest and was a railroad town back when the USA and its territories were first tied together by the TransContinental RR in the late 1860's. GT2 was also built on the RR around the turn of the century. GT3 was a real estate development (speculation) started around 1910. GT4 was another RR town which was also established around the same time -- late in the first decade of the 20th Century. I'll give a bit more info as a go through my itinerary. One other thing these four towns have in common, and likely in common with thousands of Western ghost towns -- they grew voraciously in their first few years (meaning 5 years or less) and then started declining. The decline took longer (20-30 years, ballpark) as there always seem to be a few individuals who get comfortable enough they don't want to move on and rebuild. But "boom and bust" really does a good job of describing these and many others in the Western USA. Day 1 (Tuesday 8 June). I arrived a day early compared to the initial start date and Oregon Gregg and Utah Rich (another member here) had been around doing preliminary investigating and detecting since the weekend. They invited me to meet them just of I-80 at an exit near GT1 and GT2. I followed Gregg to those while Rich took a different route. After showing me GT2 Gregg said that he and Rich would be detecting GT1 that day so I followed him there. I spent 6 consecutive hours in the near Soltice baking sun getting a feel for that site, the oldest and from what I've heard, most productive as far as old coins of the four in this year's rotation. I was swinging the Fisher F75 w/4"x6" concentric coil and getting lots of non-ferrous (as well as some ferrous) hits. Most of what I was recovering was in the first 3 inches of the surface which Gregg told me is typical. I spent most of my time between the foundation of a hotel and the railroad (still in operation), hoping that was a path used frequently by tired, careless travelers. Here's a photo of my 'finds': Don't get too excited. I'm new at this Ghost Town detecting and still learning (at the elementary level). I've arranged things in five columns. Leftmost are mostly utilitarian copper & alloy items -- plumbing pieces, electrical fixtures, copper wire. The top of column 2 are melted "sand cast" lead pieces, most of which were found close to the RR tracks. Fires were very common back then (just ask San Francisco) and possibly these occurred during one of those. But I learned that lots of metal (especially raw forms) fell from RR cars so maybe that is their origin. Lower part of 2nd column are various other misc. metal (unknown composition) pieces. The third column is the most interesting (note, 'most interesting' is relative ). Bottom left is what others in the group thought might have come off a cast iron stove. It has the word 'July' imprinted in block letters. Above it is a broken rose headed spike. Directly above that is a leather piece with a circular brass disk embedded in it. A piece of horse tack or possibly something worn by a human? Above that is some kind of suspender buckle, I think. (This gets an asterisk since Gregg noticed it sitting on top of the ground and tossed it to me.) Top disk appears to be the back of a watch/timepiece. Fourth column is the usual bullets, casings, and one cartridge. At the very top is a copper scrap which I think was likely a jacket (of a large bullet!). Last column is misc. bits that I haven't ID'ed. Most of the attendees spent nearly their full time at this GT1, hoping for old coins, I guess. The above was my only day there. Several of us met at the Iron Skillet restaurant at the Petro Truck Stop in Wells for dinner that evening. This is the standard meeting spot each dinnertime for anyone who wants to jaw between mouthfulls of chicken fried steak, etc. Days 2&3 (Wed-Thu). Utah Rich was kind enough to take a few of us to GT3 on Wednesday morning. This is the most unique of the four towns since it was a Real Estate development (boondoggle) that didn't make it. The carrot for attracting residents was the building of a large reservoir which could then be used for irrigation. Problem is that those living downstream didn't take kindly to their water source being cut off and won in the courts. Although a town was laid out which was planned to house 25,000 residents (how's that for optimism?), in reality fewer than 1000 ever took up residence, and that number likely included many who lived on farms nearby, not in the town itself. Still, there was a fancy hotel, historic schoolhouse, "entertainment center", church, and several homes built as well as a railroad spur. When the downstream residents put a stop to the utopian dam the gig was up and in less than 2 years the population topped out and quickly started declining. Here's a photo of my finds for those two days (first day with above F75 setup and second day with ML Equinox and 6" DD): Highlights include the only old coin (Wheatie) I found over the five days in NE Nevada (more on that later), a Model-T hubcap (likely from the 1920's, but I haven't got it dated for sure), and right above it another Ford embossed (but unknown) part. As you hear about every detecting site (regardless of type of detecting) -- some say this town is hunted out. The ring shaped item with three mounting holes (near the left edge of the photo) came up a clean 28-30 on the Equinox, which is solid in the silver zone between dime and quarter. Who rejects digging that? It's actually a brass closet rod hangar (and, yes, I was disappointed). Regarding weather, the second of these two days was the windiest day I've ever detected, with sustained wins 20-30 mph and gusts over 40 mph, all day long. The temp only got up to about 60 F (15 C) and I wore a sweatshirt and denim jacket most of the day. This was only a week before the Western USA's first heat wave (highs over 100F = 38C in most of Western 1/4 - 1/3 of the Continental USA). I didn't complain about the cool temps even before I had to deal with that! Great sleeping weather as I was 'camping' in the back of my Jeep Compass. Days 4-5 (Friday-Saturday) -- I got in a bit of early morning detecting at GT3 (note: I mentioned in an earlier post here that I successfuly used my magetic rake to clear both dead vegetation and iron bits before detecting a spot I had covered previously). Then we broke camp and moved to GT4, another railroad town from the early part of the 20th Century. Here's the haul from that one: The large chunk at upper left is some kind of RR scrap. Tiny (jewelry) ring on left and rusty denim button at at bottom will be detailed shortly. Note the (German) Hohner harmonica housing piece at lower left. You can't see it in this photo but it had a lot of marking, including dates of awards from the 1920's. I don't know if the reed in the upper right is from it, but I think I found it several hundred meters away, so likely not. Now for a closeup of the most interesting finds from GT3 & GT4: Top two items are from old clothing -- left is a Lee button (likely off blue jeans) with their slogan "can't bust 'em" which an internet search reveals was first used in the 1940's, so this was likely from a railroad worker and not a town resident of GT4. The small brass/bronze rivet (from GT3) says "L.S. & Co S.F." for Levi Straus & Company, San Francisco. Again the internet clued me in that this particular rivet (the saying started earlier, BTW) is from early in the 20th Century. The middle two items didn't photo as well as I'd liked. RH is the Ford embossed broken piece of metal from GT3. Left is my only ghost town coin (not counting a very disappointing Zincoln -- damn railroad workers, or should I blame previous detectoris?). After hearing and reading so many stories here at detectorprospector.com of -S and -CC (Western mints) mintmarked coins from the 19th and early 20th Century I was optimistic this Wheatie was going to be an early -S minted semi-key. Imagine my disappointment when I got home and was able to see '1919' (no mintmark). That happens to be the highest mintage Lincoln cent minted prior to 1940, a span of 31 years! And it came all the way from Philadelphia!! What a disappointment. Lower left is a 45 caliber steel jacketed WCC 42 cartridge from GT4. Again, an internet search showed that the '42' meant it was made in 1942. The current mystery is a) whether or not it was military issue, and b) why it is steel jacketed lead. I doubt this was dropped recently (look at the patina) but as to whether a GI dropped it on his way to fight Hitler or it has a less romantic story (hunter who bought them by the gross at a surplus store) will probably never be known. Finally, the child's ring found near the train station at GT4. Rang up a solid, consistent 12 (USA nickel TID) on the Equinox with 11" coil, depth in the 2"-3" range. I thought I handled it carefully but it broke, showing strong orange interior (copper) so it's silver plated. The 'stone' looks like glass to me. Still my best find, and recovered near the most frequently hunted spot in that town -- right next to the train depot (now just a foundation). Was I really the first person to get my coil over it? The comaraderie was enjoyable although besides my sister and partner, only Mike from Alaska, Tom from Arizona, and Mike from Utah detected the towns I was in at the times I was in those. Most everyone (22 was the unofficial count, I think) concentrated on the oldest (GT1) town. The round-the-dinner-table discussions were the pleasurable social hour. There were a few old coins found, including a seated dime and a seated quarter. Oregon Gregg found a beautiful and rare trade token, likely worth in the 3 figures. I hope there are more of these WTHO's as I'm ready to move on from 'beginner' and I just know there's an early -S mint coin with my name on it. Thanks to Monte, Gregg, Rich, and all involved.
  11. Now that we're back online I'll share some info from my last adventure. As with all my adventures it was not without its mishaps, all part of the journey. I had read about Zortman somewhere online, then saw a YouTube video from last year. Then Beatup mentioned having been up there dredging some years back, so I thought I'd give it a go. The attraction is that you can dredge on the local claims for a fee that runs from free to $20.00 a day. There are no permits needed because the stream doesn't feed into any gamefish waters. The stream has an intermittent flow that in places disappears underground. There is barely enough water to dredge and you need to set up a dike and pond for any real success. I assembled a small 2" dredge but never had a chance to test it before the trip. As it turns out the carb on my dredge motor was fouled and I never got it to run. I watched 2 groups dredging, one with a 4" and one with a 2.5". They seemed to be averaging about a gram a day. Zortman is pretty remote with a population of about 100. They are well set up with 2 RV campgrounds with full service. There is a motel of sorts and a variety of cabins and trailers that can be rented. The general store is well stocked with all the necessities and they have fuel at a reasonable price. The proprietors/claim owners are super nice people and will go out of their way to make sure everyone has a good time. Lots of wildlife, we saw deer and turkeys everyday. There didn't seem to be a problem with bears, the RV campground I was in didn't even use bear proof trash cans. My only real success came from detecting. Some highbankers had worked down to bedrock undercutting the old washed out road. They were long gone so I detected the bedrock with my new GPX6000. I first ran the 6k in Auto+ with the speaker on and pulled up 2 quick nuggets. There really should be no EMI in a place as remote as Zortman, but that speaker setup would get sparky especially if I laid the machine down while digging. Mosquitos drove me off the first day, forgot the bug spray. The next day I came back with bug spray and my in ear monitors instead of headphones. I cranked the machine up in Auto+ and added the threshold function. In quiet ground, that is the absolute best setting. I went over the exact same ground and pulled up 4 more nuggets. The deepest was probably down 5 inches in a bedrock crack. The down side is the machine is so sensitive it will find the tiniest of tiny pieces of old ferrous trash. I explored around the rest of the claims but really couldn't find any ground not littered with old ferrous trash. Not a detectors paradise for sure. The grandkids drove over from Spokane for a few days and we spent some time digging and panning. Everybody found a few flakes to take home and I salted as many pans as I could to keep the interest up. We had a good time, and will probably go back with a functioning dredge next time. Coming home was when we had near disaster. I had stopped right near the ID/NV border to let the dog out for a run. As usual I did a walk around the truck and 5th wheel to check things. I noticed the drivers side tires on the 5th wheel had some sudden and severe wear patterns, all the way down to the steel belts. I limped it to the RV park in Jackpot NV and set about to find the problem. I pulled the worst tire and saw that the brackets for the leaf springs were bent. There is no repair facility in Jackpot so I thought I could put on the spare tire and limp 60 miles to Wells NV for repairs. Nope, the spare tire was unusable, heat and age had damaged the sidewalls. I took the damaged tire to Wells Chevron, the owner mounted a used tire for me to limp the rig in for repair. The make a long story tolerable, the Wells NV Chevron is tourist RV repair trap. After 3 trips back and forth from home to Wells in 9 days, the inflated invoice came to $6500. I paid them $1800 and came away with my RV, we'll leave it at that. I am a retired federal criminal investigator and my methods are not for the faint of heart. It's always an adventure. I'll start another one soon.
  12. A fresh, new beginning. That is what we are all hoping 2021 brings after the wild and crazy ride experienced in 2020. When I learned of a large metal detecting event called Florida Hunt 7 being planned for February 2021 in Florida, I thought “what a perfect way to start the new year!” A little additional research revealed that Florida Hunt 7 wasn’t your standard gathering of metal detectorists. The event was hosted and organized by the folks at Camp Freedom, just outside of sunny Melrose, Florida. Camp Freedom is the base camp for Soldiers Freedom Outdoors, a non-profit organization founded in 2012 dedicated to serving our active-duty and retired service veterans by providing an eco and equine therapy retreat, encompassing several hundred acres, designed to help heal the hidden wounds of war. As a veteran myself with more than three decades of service, the knowledge that all entry donations and proceeds would be invested back into Camp Freedom made my deliberations on whether to attend a “no-brainer”…I had to be a part of this experience and give back to our nation’s veterans! A quick call to the awesome folks at Kellyco, for whom I am a VIP Test Team member and an affiliate, confirmed that the Kellyco staff team planned to have a major presence at Florida Hunt 7. Not surprising given the core values of Kellyco. Founded more than 60 years ago by Stuart Auerbach, a U.S. Army soldier and a veteran himself, Kellyco’s focus remains solidly on course with Stu’s vision of helping the community, bringing families together, preserving history, and sharing the metal detecting hobby with the world. Before The Hunt Planning began in earnest. This was to be a road trip in my Reawakening History customized 4×4 Relic Rogue detecting vehicle, outfitted to the hilt with equipment and gear for any condition or weather eventuality. The 11-plus hour trip from my home in the Williamsburg, Virginia, region would take me through five states, and from mid-30 degree weather to mid-80-degree weather…a mid-Winter challenge I was more than willing to accept! Little did I know the level of the challenge awaiting me, however, as a severe ice storm rolled into Virginia at the very hour of my departure, making the first few hours of my trip a slippery, treacherous maze of avoiding salt trucks and vehicle accidents! Sadly, the storm ultimately resulted in tens of thousands without power for days, but it did not stop my mission to reach Florida Hunt 7! My arrival in the Sunshine State was met with balmy mid-80-degree temperatures and sun…what a difference from just a few hours prior! The parking lot of my Gainesville-area hotel was already filling up with other detectorist’s vehicles, many emblazoned (like mine) with decals declaring their love of the hobby and brand affiliations. Clearly, I had chosen the right hotel! Next came unloading of my gear, organizing, ops-checking all electronic components, and making notes along the way that would help document my Florida Hunt 7 adventure. A quick check of the Florida Hunt 7 Facebook page indicated that more than 200 detectorists planned to attend this hunt, traveling from as far away as California and Washington State! Vendors and sponsors were also coming from far and wide, to include (but not limited to): the Kellyco team rendezvousing from both the central Florida and Tennessee offices/showrooms, Minelab, Garrett, First Texas Products, Adventures in History, Detect America, Gold Digger Metal Detectors, Shooters and Prospectors, and Nokta Makro flying all the way around the world from Turkey! The evening prior to the first hunt day a meet and greet social event was held at a restaurant in the Gainesville area called Hurricane BTW. In addition to nearly the entire Kellyco staff and test team, many detecting personalities were in attendance, including Tim “Ringy” Saylor, “King” George Wyant and Steve Moore from Garrett, Butch Holcombe from American Digger Magazine, Shawn Sgts Discoveries Sherrill, and many, many others. The turn-out was phenomenal and a great time had by all. Florida Hunt 7 – Day 1 Florida Hunt 7, Day One. The first day of the event started with a whirlwind of activity. Vendors and sponsors were on-site first, setting up their booths and displays literally just as soon as the sun began to rise, backdropped by the beautiful Camp Freedom grounds and resident therapy horses. A wide range of metal detecting wares were available from across the spectrum of vendors and industry, making it an incredibly fun and appealing venue. As the sun continued to rise, the seemingly endless procession of vehicles made their way into Camp Freedom, a cornucopia of license plates from all over the country, representing the widespread scope and appeal of the metal detecting hobby in the United States. Detectorists immediately began gearing up and heading for the vendor area, sampling the wares, and engaging in friendly conversation with fellow detectorists, meeting old friends, and making new friends. Today also saw the arrival of two additional detecting personalities, Michael “Nugget Noggin” Bennett, and Britain Lockhart of Depths of History. Before the hunt commenced, Florida Hunt 7 organizer Gregg Papallo and a few others provided opening remarks. They also shared humbling perspectives of personal and related life challenges and tragedies experienced by this country’s brave veterans and their loved ones, and how Camp Freedom through Soldiers Freedom Outdoors has served as a resource to help those in need. For this detectorist, I have not experienced a more sobering and yet heart-warming feeling at the beginning of a group metal detecting event, knowing I was helping the Camp Freedom effort in some small part. And then it began…the hunt was on! The mass of dozens upon dozens of detectorists headed off in different directions, guided by either the research they had performed ahead of the hunt or by simple gut-feeling of where the treasure lay awaiting! I was in the former group, having done my IPB “intelligence preparation of the battlefield” research and identified locations of potential 19th-century activity on the property. My first destination was nearly a mile hike into the thick Florida brush, so I geared up accordingly with plenty of tools and resources to not only get the job done but to stay healthy and hydrated. The morning could not have been more perfect. Having been cooler and rainy the day prior, today the clouds had cleared to welcome a solid blue sky and bright sun. And even better, the forecast for the remainder of the day and Day 2 of the hunt was even more pleasant! Armed with my primary detecting soil assault device, the Garrett AT Max affixed with the Garrett 5×8 DD PROformance coil, I started my hike to my first target destination. I chose the 5×8 coil not only because it is my success-based default coil for the AT Max but owing to the dense Florida under-brush and vines. I expected that the smaller more streamlined footprint of the 5×8 coil would allow me to snake in and around all the dense undergrowth more agilely and allow access areas where larger coils could not tread. That strategy and coil worked very well over the course of this hunt. Other daily-carry gear that I used on this hunt included the Garrett Pro-Pointer AT (aka, Garrett carrot), a Predator Piranha root-slayer shovel, a (NEW) Kellyco Sifter Finds Pouch (bottom of the main compartment is mesh, allowing soil/sand to sift out away from your finds…works awesome!), an MLTools Hori Hori Japanese Digging Knife (this hand tool is super sharp–easily cuts through roots on its own!), and of course my Kellyco camo ball cap to keep my fuzzy crewcut-topped head from sizzling to a crisp in the Florida sun! On approach to a possible 19th-century homesite I had researched, my AT Max sniffed out a bit of historical evidence indicating I was heading in the right direction. The ornate thin, hollow multi-piece brass item was certainly a decorative adornment of some type, perhaps to the top of a set of fireplace andirons, or maybe part of an old oil lamp shaft. The very next target was another keeper, although defied identification at every turn. Some said thimble, some said a cap of some nature, another thought was the clipped end from a metal cigar tube. In any case, it was a further artifact from history and indicated a pattern of life in the area. As the day progressed more finds were made, and more detectorists encountered who shared their recoveries and what they were experiencing. There was no hesitation whatsoever in their willingness to provide descriptions of where they found each item, and what others were finding in the area. Florida Hunt 7 was a team sport, a small, close family getting together for a common purpose and cause. Toward the end of the first day, the hunt organizers held an immense raffle. So many wonderful items were given away that it was literally impossible to keep track. Numerous metal detectors were given away, endless bags of vendor/sponsor-donated goodies, tickets to events, and many amazing hand-crafted items created by folks with amazing skills. This was one of the most robust raffles/giveaways that I have ever witnessed at a metal detecting event. Having said that, I found that a reciprocal give-away was equally incredible. Several vendors/sponsors to include Minelab rallied together on the spur of the moment and donated a dozen metal detectors to Soldiers Freedom Outdoors for veterans to use while at Camp Freedom–something the camp never had before. With the donation of these machines, in addition to hiking, canoeing, fishing, hunting, and horseback riding, the veterans will now also be able to enjoy metal detecting over the several hundred acres of Camp Freedom. Florida Hunt 7 – Day 2 Day 2 of Florida Hunt 7 brought even more beautiful weather, more finds, and more comradery amongst the detectorists and visits with the vendors. There were no planned events for Day 2, so the day was purely allocated to detecting the massive acreage. Along a sandy roadway, my AT Max hit upon a solid yet bouncy signal. I run my AT Max consistently wide open…in Zero mode, no discrimination, no iron audio so that I can let the detector’s tones tell me every facet possible about a target’s composition and shape. The tones from this target told me it was probably irregularly shaped, but almost certainly composed of a more non-ferrous metal. That assessment turned out to be right on the money! About six inches down I was able to recover all three parts of a very old lady’s hand purse/clutch clasp frame. Of course, the first thought that went through my head (aside from “how cool!”) was, ok, I wonder if the contents of the purse are also in the hole! Unfortunately, that was not to be the case in this instance. It definitely conjures up images and thoughts, however, of how and why this lady’s purse came to lie in the brush overlooking a Florida lake, without its contents. Was it children playing with one of the mother’s old purses and left forgotten at their play site? Or was it a robbery, and after the valuables taken and non-valuable contents tossed asunder, the purse discarded while on the run? This is part of the mystery and lure of metal detecting…and Reawakening History! In the end, nearly all Florida Hunt 7 detectorists saved a wide array of relics. It was great to be able to share what I found and see some of the other incredible finds made over the course of the two-day hunt. These finds will of course be cased and displayed as a small window into Florida life from generations past. As Day 2 drew to a close, we all said our farewells to our Florida Hunt 7 hosts and friends from far and wide. Some detectorists were heading back home that evening, some planned to depart the next morning, and some had other plans in the Florida area in the coming days. The latter was my situation…as I planned to begin Part 2 of my Florida adventure, a trip to Kellyco’s Florida showroom! The next morning, I pointed my Relic Rogue south and set off for Casselberry, Florida, the site of Kellyco’s Florida offices and showroom. As a personal aside, during this two-hour trek I was able to catch my first glimpse of Florida alligators in the wild! A 10-plus foot monster and another 5 to 6-foot alligator was chilling on the side of the highway in a water-filled median, not 20 ft from my vehicle! How cool! Wish I could have taken a photo, but safety first…the mission was to get to Kellyco! I was able to spend several awesome hours with the Kellyco team talking about metal detecting in general, upcoming events, and products, to include all the products in their well-appointed showroom! All major metal detecting brands were represented, displaying detectors, pinpointers, shovels and digging tools, sand scoops, finds pouches and travel bags of various styles, foldable seats, attire, and even gold panning systems with practice bags of dirt that actually contain gold! A Visit To The Kellyco Florida Showroom For those that are local to the Florida Kellyco showroom or the East Tennessee Kellyco showroom in Knoxville, TN, they even have an array of metal detectors that are available for rent by the day! The available detectors for rent may vary by location, but generally include the Garrett AT Max Metal Detector with Z-Lynk, Nokta Makro Simplex+ Metal Detector, or Minelab Equinox 800 Metal Detector. All rentals also include a pinpointer and a trowel, allowing a first-time detectorist, or perhaps someone on vacation in the area without a detector to dive right in! In addition to numerous other Kellyco-branded products, they also have their own metal detector carry bags. These newly redesigned travel bags are a huge upgrade, engineered with robust materials and zippers to ensure reliable, long-term use. The latest addition to the Florida showroom is a metal detecting test garden designed by Carolyn Yohannes, Vice President of Community Outreach and Sales. When you mention testbeds or test gardens, to most detectorists they probably envision an outdoor test area that is cleared of all extraneous metal and then sample targets buried to test the performance of various pieces of equipment. However, with Kellyco’s testbed, you can test equipment indoors without concern for the weather, and it is especially helpful if you want to test a particular piece of equipment before purchasing! Pretty cool! A visit to the Florida Kellyco showroom would not be complete without checking out the display of various finds in the showcase. The finds, some donated but most recovered by Kellyco’s own staff detectorists, are pretty cool to peruse! About the New Minelab GPX 6000 In addition to all the other amazing aspects of this trip, I lucked out and was able to get my hands on the brand new Minelab GPX 6000! Debbie Simkoski from Minelab was visiting Kellyco on this day, having also driven down post-Florida Hunt 7, and was kind enough to share her time demoing and explaining what the GPX 6000 brings to the table. I cannot disclose all the details I gleaned, yet, since the detector has not started shipping from Minelab…however, suffice to say the package is impressive! The GPX 6000, designed as a gold detecting machine, is a significant reengineer from previous GPX machines. The system is fully collapsible, and with its carbon fiber shaft…very light, exponentially lighter than most GPX units I have ever experienced. The 11″, 14″ and 17″ coils are waterproof and the control box itself is splash/rainproof, so no more control box raincoats or covers. The GPX 6000 is wireless, coming with ML100 pat™ Low Latency Bluetooth™ headphones, and has a new Geo-Sense-PITM technology that rapidly suppresses interference and unwanted signals via three overlapping feedback systems for superfast detection. I am definitely looking forward to seeing and hearing much more about the GPX 6000 and other advances from Minelab in the near future! Huge thanks to Debbie and Minelab for sharing the time and insight! As they say, all good things must come to an end, and thus did my visit to Kellyco. I cannot say enough good things about the team members I was able to meet, from the President of Kellyco, Jeremy Floyd, to Mark Tymensky, Vice President of Affiliate and Vendor Relations, Carolyn Yohannes, Leilani, Dave, Shelby, Nathan…and the handful of staff I wasn’t able to catch up with…y’all rock! This small, incredibly knowledgeable, dedicated, and enthusiastic 10-person team is the heartbeat of the world’s largest award-winning supplier of metal detectors direct to customers…that is Kellyco. Stu formulated the recipe for success from the beginning…personalized care and superior support to the customer, unparalleled expertise, highest quality products…and those values resonate throughout Kellyco to this day. Until the next time…keep your coils low & level…happy hunting! Exclusive Insight to Florida Hunt 7 by Eric Reed originally appeared on kellycodetectors.com
  13. So it was my yearly visit to talk and basically train some new field school students about metal detecting. I do this pretty much every year and it's just some basic training and some hands on digging and pinpointing. Just very basic stuff. This year's students numbered about 20 from all parts of the country, and I must say they were a pretty enthusiastic bunch. Nice to see the youngins showing some effort. 😄 This is one of my favorite spots to detect, as it is a Native village site that dates to the 1630's and happens to be one that the English attacked on their withdrawal from Mistick Fort on May 26, 1637. This place just keeps giving up artifacts and by the time we are done there, it should give an extremely detailed account of how they lived and worked. Of course everything is documented by archaeologists and added to the collection and we keep nothing (except 22 bullets 😡). Hey free lead 😁 I didn't get pictures of all the scrap brass I found that day but did get this picture someone took of a signet ring I found. Almost looks like some kind of bird (or Thunderbird?) of some sorts. Any ideas anyone? It's not a beach, but still fun to detect.
  14. Its been a while since I’ve posted anything as I’ve been away up north and when I got back to the island I was evicted from my house (rental).. The sewage tank had collapsed and my house been declared uninhabitable as a health hazard.. Crap way to start the year (pun intended).. Nonetheless, this morning’s coin-shooting expedition at Radical Bay made up for it, at least it’s put me in a much better mood.. I found $65 and 4 cents (‘old’ Australian coins 1 and 2 cent pieces).. Plus a $25 casino chip (it’s got a metal centre), a tungsten carbine wedding ring (worth between $250 - $300 online), some other pieces of jewellery and a hash pipe.. Whilst this bay was once a popular camping spot it has become isolated since January when we had over 260mm of rain in 5 hours which has washed away the access road.. I don’t think anyone has ever been there with a metal detector.. The first thing I noticed was the huge amount of rubbish metal in the ground with no end of bottle tops, ring pulls and old cans.. So much so that I decided only to dig for gold coins ($1 and $2) and 50 cent pieces, leaving all the other silver coins behind for my next trip.. I concentrated on the camping areas along the bay set amongst the vine and palm trees as the beach itself was yielding very little.. As I said this little haul has restored my faith in this wonderful world, all it needed was to let lose my Foxy Noxy..
  15. I've returned from my second detecting trip to England and what a trip it was!! I was lucky enough to be staying in the same barn as Steve Herschbach!! The first day on the fields are a half day usually. After the 2 hour ride from London to the "barn" where we will be staying for the next seven days. The "barns" are actual barns that have been renovated into vacation rental units. We unload all of our luggage from the van, find our sleeping spot for the week, dig out all of our gear, assemble everything, jump back in the van, and head out to the first field! My best find that afternoon was a hammered copper Rose farthing. They are commonly dated 1636. (Look for the pattern here). And the usual buttons and lead. So that was a good start. Day 2: Our first full day. A cool, slightly foggy, just perfect! The day wasn't real eventful for me. We hunted two different farms. At the end of the day my better finds were 5 farthings and a wiped out copper token, plus some buttons and lead. The farthings were late 1700s-1800s. Here at home in the States, to find those 5 coins would be a day to talk about for months. It was funny for me while I was over there, knowing with so much history the possibilities make my hopes and expectations exhilarating! You truly never know what will pop up next. It could be 10 years old or 2000 years old! There were multiple milled, and hammered silver coins found and some neat relics dug throughout the day by the other team members. Day 3: Things started to pick up for me a little on day 3. We came across a late Georgian/Victorian home site members of the team started popping some milled coins. Coppers and silvers. If I remember correctly one member found 3 or 4 silver 3 pence coins in that same field. A little silver 3 pence was one of the coins I was hoping to get while I was there, but it wasn't meant to be this trip. Shortly before lunch I switched fields and got onto my first bit of English silver for the trip! An 1844 Vicky 4 pence in nice condition. So after lunch I was headed back to the field were I got my 4P and we had to walk past a 1700? mansion to get back to where I wanted to be. So I slowed down and detected in front of the mansion along the way and got my first hammered silver for this trip! A nice "full" penny. Turned out to be a 1279 Edward I ! That was the highlight for my day three. But I did find plenty of buttons and lead too. Day 4: This day was one of those roller coaster type hunting days. The morning was pretty uneventful for me other than some buttons and lead. Until while hunting near a 13th century church and villa when I popped a nice little cut quarter hammered silver and less than 10 mins later another hammered silver coin fragment. Kinda bang bang! We broke for a short lunch break and went our separate ways and as I was walking into a field through a tractor path I got a nice high tone. But real erratic at the same time. One you would figure to be either a coin or part of a beer can. But when I pinpointed the target it was a nice small tight pinpoint I figured I better dig it. Boy am I glad I did! Turned out to be a 1908 Edwardian decorated silver mount! Turns out it was in a place they usually park the van! The rest of my days finds consisted of the usual trash plus some buttons and lead. Day 5: Today was another one of those days that I was digging lots of targets like buttons and lead... But not one coin all morning till around lunch. After lunch I decided to stay on that field determined to find one of my wish coins a "Bullhead". A King George III silver. And with the coins being found in the area one was definitely a possibly. Lo and behold it happened! A melted bulkhead six pence. Even though it was melted almost to the point of unrecognition I could make out a G III and a reeded edge. Mission accomplished! The only other "wishlist" coin I really had on my mind on my way over was a Roman silver coin. Not really expecting to ever find one. We all carried radios every day, and as a good find was made, we would put it out over the radio. Ron gave the 15 min count down to the end of the days hunt over the radio so we all started to swing back towards the van. Walking pretty fast, with 8 minutes left, I got a signal figured I had time to pop one more. Boom! A Roman silver coin! It has a bad "horn crust" on it that needs to be "cooked" off so it can be properly identified. Early id's put it in the 4th century! I'm really looking forward to seeing that coin cleaned up! Day 6: The group split up in the morning between some rougher ground and some land that was nice and smooth. I went to the smoother field with a few other hunters. First hole out of the van 20 feet away I nabbed a hammie fragment! After that the first half of the day was pretty uneventful for me other than some buttons and lead of course. It was a enormous field. It has been hunted a lot over the years from what I understand. The lack of targets for me proved it. But it wasn't a total waste. You just have to walk over the stuff. With a half hour walk back to the van and only about 45 mins left to hunt I spun around and within or 3 or 4 swings later I got a loud high tone! As I was pinpointing I looked down and laying right on top of the ground was a complete silver thimble!! Sweet end to a pretty slow day. Day 7: The day I dread. The last day. You know not only is it your last day of detecting heaven and the inevitable time you'll power down for the last time of your trip, plus the last day is usually cut a little short. That's so we have time to get back to the barn and get all of your finds from the week cleaned, bagged, catalogued, and photographed if you want to see them again before they leave your life for the next few months. To optimize our hunt time we decided to hunt some nearby land. Even though it's also the land that the club has had lasted the longest! Even after all those years there were many great finds found on it this season! The week before we came a gold coin and a beautiful Celtic gold "votive offering" were found on it! I walked across the road from that field to a field that was surrounding a 16th century two story mansion. After a half hour or so of slowly working around the old mansion I dug a small piece of a hammered silver coin. That coin put me in a tie for 1st place for the weekly "Hammy competition". So I slowed down hoping to get another one to take the lead and hopefully win the competition. It was 10:10 a.m. when I got the loudest, jumpiest, most obnoxious signal of my trip. Not being too far from a tractor entrance into that field I figured it was a beer can or a grease tube but I figured I'd dig it up and get it out of there anyways. I missed the target on the first scoop. Moved a shovel blade to the left, stepped it in and kicked the back of the shovel and pushed the dirt forward and a big yellow ..... egg looking thing rolled out to my left. As I looked at it half my brain said to myself " what is that?" And the other half of my brain was saying "HOLY .....!!!!! That looks like gold!!" When I bent over to pick it up and I was lifting it off the ground the weight of it made it fall out of my hand! That's when I knew it was definitely a big piece of gold!!! After Ron came over to shoot some video and take some photos I strapped back on all my gear took 2 steps and 3 swings and got a solid 19 TID on the Equinox 800. I told myself after just finding that thing I don't care what this is, I'm digging it up. One scoop, and I pushed the shovel forward and a 11.2 gram ancient solid gold ring was laying there looking at me!! I about started to hyperventilate!! I quickly got Ron's attention again and he came over to shoot more video and more photos. I can only imagine this will be the most amazing thing I will ever find! It's been over a week since I found it and I still can't stop picturing those two artifacts rolling out of the dirt in my head...... Thanks for lookin' & HH
  16. I am fortunate enough to live close to Steve H when he was otherwise engaged in pressing business, so he loaned me the only existing US GPX 6000. I loaded up the Toyhauler, RZR, girlfriend and doodle dog for a week or so of detecting at Sawtooth. Lundy dropped by for a swing or two and we gave the 6000 a pretty good go on some heavily detected patch areas. GPX 6000 - I won't repeat all the other information already shared by Steve H and Lundy on their views of the 6000. I had the time to do a little more testing of the other features. 14"DD Coil- I spent most of one day running the DD in the saltiest, most reactive ground I could find. I found 2 tiny nuggets, depth not more than a few inches. One thing I noticed on these small targets is too much swing speed and you will flat out miss them. I'm talking patch cleaning speed, not patch hunting speed. I'm sure swing speed would not be as critical on bigger nuggets, but these are in the .1 or smaller pieces and a fast swing speed loses them entirely. It handles the hot ground like a dream, especially if you use the Auto Modes. There are only 2 DD modes, a cancel EMI mode and a cancel Salty ground mode. It seems you still have a normal and a difficult setting as well, but I'm not sure of the effect. I couldn't discern any difference in my short time. 17"Mono Coil- I think most people are going to want a bungee and swing arm. It's not the weight particularly, Its the repetitive motion on my feeble joints I felt the most. The swing arm from my 7000 really takes the pressure of that shoulder joint. The 17 should do great in normal soils and handled the salty ground remarkably well especially with the Auto features. I spent another whole day patch hunting with the 17 and I think that back in the Yuma ground it would be the go to, assuming it can handle the EMI from the fighter jet traffic. The Speaker- For whatever reason, as has been discussed by JP, the external speaker loads up with EMI noise. It seems to get better after 30 minutes of run time, but gets annoying initially. I normally hunt with Ear Buds and the 1/8 connection fits perfect in the 6000 headphone port, but you lose that wireless feature. I tried the Aventree wireless neckband, it connects and pairs nicely and works great, just not my comfort style especially in the heat. Auto+ plus Threshold- I was watching one of the Aussie videos and learned that in Auto+ you can press and hold the Difficult mode button and get a threshold tone in the otherwise silent (Bogenes setting) auto mode. I'm not sure what if anything this accomplishes, hopefully JP can give us a little more insight. I found gold, nothing big and nothing deep. I spent a great deal of time in areas that just don't have deep nuggets, and the GPZ's had already cleaned out the big stuff. Then I spent a lot of time trying to find a new patch, always an iffy endeavor. Despite having the machine for over a week, I probably didn't get more than 30 hrs of pure detecting time. First was the weather. I hit N NV desert just in time for a cold front. One day I was wearing shorts, the next day it was snowing. One day I saw the storm brewing and tried to outrun it back to camp only to get hit with sideways blowing hail. I had taken the windshield off the RZR to keep the dust vortex to a minimum, and sure regretted it that day. Detecting time also gets consumed by domestic duties, handling the BBQ, entertaining the dog etc.. It's good the have the family along, but you have to make a few sacrifices and pure detecting time is one of them. When the weather forecasts looked unsettled for the upcoming week, it was time to take the girlfriend and dog home which precipitated the misadventures. By then the dog was limping, having gotten a fair share of foxtails stuck between the pads of her front paws. A quick look showed hot swollen patches where the foxtails had embedded themselves in her skin. A trip to the vet and $200 later she's on the mend. I thought I would load up the whole works and try to beat the weather, nope! My toyhauler is a 5th wheel and relies on 12 volt landing gear for leveling and hitching. The internal gear started slipping so I added the manual crank and broke off the main drive shaft. Internet research reveals this is a common problem, way undersized gears and drive mechanism for that much weight. New dual motor landing gear ordered, that's more expense. I left the trailer and brought girlfriend and dog home, then returned to Sawtooth the following day. I arrived just in time for 2 days of cold wind and rain. I waited it out and got 2 more days of detecting for exactly zip, nada, nothing. Ground was wet and sloppy in places, the 6000 handled it fine by the way. I just couldn't get the coil over any yellow stuff. So, I surrendered and loaded up to come home. I used some MacGyver tricks to load the trailer. My hitch is an Anderson conversion and not a true 5th wheel hitch. It has an adjustable ball height mechanism connected to a bed mounted Gooseneck hitch. I dug out wheel trenches to get my truck under the trailer's hitch with the truck ball at it's lowest height, once centered I persuaded the ball up into the connector with a few hammer blows. Once the ball was pinned to it's highest level, I used an inflator to fill my truck's load leveling air bags to their highest point, about 2 inches. That was just enough lift to take the weight off the landing gear and free the extensions up and out of the way. I fear this kind of functional fixedness may be lost on the next generation whose skill seems to be finger dexterity and computer games. I took the long way on Jungo Road to Winnemucca because it is really well maintained for all the HyCroft mining traffic. I hit the freeway heading for Fernley and a couple times felt an odd vibration. I was facing a stiff headwind and the trailer was making that diesel engine work just to maintain 55mph. I got an error code for excessive engine boost and noticed the transmission temps heating up more than engine coolant temp. Then stuff happened. The truck started bucking and hard shifting as I tried to slow down. The emergency lane is no place to be on Highway 80, when the speed limit is 80mph and triple trailer rigs are zooming by. I limped it to Rye Patch road and limped down to Dan's Gold Digger Pizza place. Dan had no trailer space with hookups, but he let me park it in the back lot. My girlfriend drove out from Fernley because she has the AAA card and I was going to need a ride home anyway. I had the truck towed to the only place in Winnemucca who could look at it within the next 2 weeks. Car Care Clinic near the Walmart, great bunch of people in there. Anyway, it seems I broke the right rear axle and it was hanging on by a thread. The repair tally hasn't arrived yet, but it's sure to be further eroding my discretionary funds account earmarked for a GPX6000. I try to think positive. It could have been much worse. The weather is clear and warm, I'm still upright, the dog is good as new and I'll have a brand new axle. That dinosaur GPZ 7000 is going to have to carry me through a bit longer.
  17. I've always said gold miners are some of the smartest and most ingenuitive people to make their way into the wild west. Just seeing the old workings, mills, flumes, ditches, ect that they built in order to find their fortunes never ceases to amaze me. I believe in order to be successful still today takes a bit of this same smarts. This story starts last fall. While out detecting a small ravine with previous working for the better part of a day, I found myself missing the plastic bolt and nut to my coil on my GB2. I searched for about 15 min, but the grass and pine needles made it impossible to find the little black pieces. It was close to the end of the day anyway so I called it early went home cracked a cold one and ordered myself 3 sets of bolts and nuts to make sure i had extras for when this happens to me again. Now flash forward into last weekend, I found myself in the same predicament. Thinking, AHA! im prepared! I found myself tearing my backpack apart, but alas, they were not to be found there. Since this was the beginning of my day, and I had hiked 2 miles over two ridges 500' high through a maze of fallen tress to get to this spot on a drizzling day, I started brainstorming. Reaching into my inner MacGyver, I start looking at the ground around me, I figure there must be a twig that could fit just right. After attempting several different twigs, I found one that fits just right. Its snug to get in. I believe its gonna work. My partner with me shakes his head and goes off detecting as the previous two twigs were too small and my coil was just floppy. I pick up my detector and go off and start swinging. Seams to be working, in fact, because the twig is snug, the coil is not floppy and is working great! Several hours pass, my partner gets the first piece, ~0.25g piece. Cool now we know there is detectable gold here. another hour passes and my twig is holding in there, I hear a good sounding signal. Babam! my piece for the day! and its a bit bigger (bragging rights! 😁) We finish the day out not finding any more pieces as the rain was starting to wear on us. We hiked our way out happy that we proved gold in another location. I have since been out twice for a couple hours and my twig is still holding on in there. I could just put the new bolt and nut on but im curious to see if the twig last longer 😆. Maybe it can be the stock inventory item for the Gold Bug 2! This just shows you, even though its no engineering feat like an 18 mile long flume or a mine shaft that sinks 1000's of feet, it pays to not give up and to use your smarts! Just another story from one happy prospector
  18. The son of my wife’s Besty just bought an uber historical house on an Uber historic 4-acre piece of land in Connecticut. I won’t mention the town yet but it checks every possible box for detecting dream House built 1734, an acre of home front. Plowed field adjacent, and woods on one side. Documented history took place there. I have to wait till he’s settled so early July. I’ll take the time to research and plan. The owner wants to do some detecting with me otherwise the deal is I can keep what I find - but split any high value find if any. anything historically important will be donated to the historical society. we will go for weekends as it’s couple hours away. I’ll be using the Orx and Deus lite with all coils plus the Equinox with 11” and ( by then )10” x 5” coiltek CANT WAIT!!!!!!!!
  19. My Quest - 2021. In years past I have set goals on what I want to accomplish with my detector each year. The past few years, I have been sidetracked by a re-location to a new job in a new city, and really spent the time getting settled with my family… but as I look out my window in West Houston, and see the snow falling to the ground (yes I said West Houston..!!), I felt it was time to engage my competitive nature in detecting again. I happen to live about 6 blocks away from an elementary school, and through historical topo research I discovered that this was a school grounds back to at least 1915. Of course, as with many school grounds these days… a new school was built, and then another, each one covering a bit, and a bit more of the historical playground area with either the new building(s) or parking lots. And in the case of this old school – a portion turned into a fenced off water run-off area. However some of the original grounds exist in an open field adjacent to the new school and parking area, along with some old growth trees, that appeared to be small but in existence judging from the earliest aerials I could find. I have hunted this site since moving here (I mean… it is old ground and walking distance from my house) many times… I believe a large portion of the ground is overlay/fill dirt to set up a good platform for the new school grounds… so any old finds in this area have been non-existent… However, as I have hunted nearer to a tree line on the outside edge of the old grounds, I have popped up a few older finds, one merc, and a handful of wheaties, along with some clad. I can tell this site has been cherry picked with the best of them… the one silver coin, and the higher conductive clad finds have been co-located with iron, or other trash… And this site has plenty of iron and trash. Which brings me to my long-winded Quest for this year. This hammered site (hunted many times by me in the past year, but also obviously hammered prior to my time here) is my target for 2021. I have hunted it enough times to know these will not be easy “just get the coil over the target” goals… My Quest is as follows: One Silver Coin One Indian Head Cent One Buffalo Nickel One "V" Nickel The challenge will be un-masking a silver coin - given the cherry picked nature and masked potential targets of this site. Challenging in a different way will be finding the lower conductors in the heavy trash area (for example, the few nickels I have recovered, were at a ratio of at least 1 in 25 tabs - all coming in at either solid 12 or 13 on my Equinox). I will start by trying to use the technology of my machines, and develop my ability to decipher what they are telling me especially in the areas where I have uncovered the wheat cents near the trees, and hopefully making me a better detectorist in the process. However, I am not shy from endeavoring to start “cleaning out” small sections of the site at a time, which will be lots of trash digging, but if I have learned nothing from my experience and all the posts from more experienced detectorists than me… a site is NEVER hunted out. If nothing else – posting it here will keep me motivated to strive toward the goal. I will follow up with my progress in much shorter forum posts, I promise 😊. HH in 2021 everyone. ~Tim.
  20. It all started about 40 years ago i got bit by the gold bug in Colorado then we moved to Alaska in 92 bought a little 2 1/2 inch dredge found gold in reserection creek so bought a new 4 inch from Steve Herschbach at mining and diving . Attended a couple of outings down at crow creek with Steve Herschbach doing detector classes wife and i were hooked . Was able to buy 5 mining claims on silvertip creek dredged there for several years bought a 6 inch dredge from mining and diving we did ok there but i always wanted to try dredging up north Fairbanks area i saw a claim on eBay up near central but it was pulled of eBay after i bid the owner emailed me asking if i would be interested in the four claims above i said yes his family was just trying to get rid of them due to hard times. Well the dredging was terrible because the creek was froze after a couple of feet. So i bought a small excavator built a small trommel got a plan of operation started digging dirt the trommel maybe would run 5 yards an hour but i was in good gold so we built a larger trommel out of a huge propane tank also built a feed hopper with a conveyor this plant will run about 35 yards an hour at but at this time we still had day jobs i worked for the Alaska railroad but 2 years ago i retired from the rr after 27 years. well last year with the virus we went up early mid may spent 3 months up there we are 100 miles north east of fairbanks no cellphone no internet gods country so i mined wife made quilts ,hunted Cariboo ,met some locals but the gold was good first photo june 28 2017 still ice in creek bottom second photo boss searching for heart shaped rocks third photo and forth is stripped for this coming season what is truly amazing about this valley the gold is just on the left side of the valley thanks doug
  21. Been asked numerous times over the past several years to hunt for a class ring lost in a local cemetery. Then finally last week I agreed to give it a try, with no promises given. The class ring was lost by a gentleman's mother in 1960 while she was trimming the grass around the cemetery. One good thing about this graveyard, it is privately owned so no trouble should occur because of my digging. By the looks of the lot, it may take a good bit of time to cover the area.
  22. Another forum member and I decided to explore some new ground about 80 miles from home in Sunny Yuma. We were working off some of the old USGS pubs for ideas on new areas or at least new areas to us. We set off yesterday exploring offroad in the RZR for these extinct placer works. The first 2 locations really did not look like gold producing areas and we couldn't find any evidence of old workings. Abandoning that area we just started driving some of the old tracks looking for evidence of placer works. By early afternoon we had about decided to give up when I spotted a new, bright yellow claim sign down the end of a wash. We drove down there to see what was the ground looked like. A quick hike revealed the claim owners were drywashing a small gully to bedrock fairly recently. We decided to take an adjacent wash and see if we could find similar looking ground. We drove to the end of the wash and although it was getting late in the day we set off to explore the zone about 1/2 mile from the other claim. There was no sign of placer works in a series of desert washes with shallow bedrock. About 30 minutes in, I get a decent target sound and started digging. My friend ended up in the same gully and came up as I was digging. We got to bedrock and using a pinpointer found a small nugget. He went on while I finished up. I swept the hole one last time and got another tone. To make a long story tolerable, I found 4 nuggets in the same hole. I got another couple tiny nuggets on the way back to the RZR, he got 1. We hit it again today trying to expand on our search. I found a decent nugget right off, then nothing for the next hour. We met up to compare notes, he had found 1 as well. We split up again and not 50 yds away I got a good tone right next to a bedrock dropoff. I dug for close to 45 minutes pulling 8 small nuggets out of the same hole. I found nothing else the rest of the day. He found a spot that produced 3 nuggets in the same hole and a spot that produced 2 nuggets in the same hole. It's not unheard of that certain conditions concentrate the nuggets in a favorable spot. But, the rest of the wash was apparently barren. I supposed if we dug through the overburden there might be more small nuggets on bedrock, but that's like working. We were in essence "blue sky" detecting, not having any specific knowledge about the area. Here in Yuma you can't find a desert wash that hasn't been drywashed, so you have a clue that gold has been found before. Out there, there were no clues to previous gold finds or what might be gold producing areas. So we were lucky, or as Louis Pasteur said "Luck favors the prepared mind". Hard work and persistence paid off this time. It's the possibilities that keep us going, not the probabilities. I'm not computer literate enough to fix these angles, Steve H will step in at some point and make them more viewable. 2.38grams is yesterdays single hole. 2.78 is yesterdays total. 2.52 is todays from a single hole. 1.10 is the lonesome nugget I found this morning. The scoop in the hole shows the glory hole of 8 nuggets. The other photos are both our nuggets from today on the tailgate of my truck. I don't have a weight on his nuggets.
  23. Dam Aussies wont let me in yet......... bugger all... Starting from Big Spring TX (dust storm central today) and heading west on I-20 to I-10 then thru New Mexico and im pretty sure I will be slowing down as I go thru AZ----- then either on to LA via Rand quad or sweep up thru Vegas and on to, tri-tip Luckys Cold Springs Hideout---- then take a left over the pass and on in to Porta-toilet where Sourdough Scott hangs out so i can pick up a jar of relish!!!!!---- next would be a refreshment stop in Quincy area to see a few old mates---- then on the Redding area, and over the hill to Eureka- then North to Alaska..... YOU HAVE ALL BEEN FORE-WARNED..... use your due diligence to decide if you want to be in those areas.....hahahahahaha.🤣😂🤠
  24. Christmas Reading for newbies and or those who want a refresher. Here is the article mentioned by one of the forum members. Thanks for getting it to me. Hopefully it comes up properly for all to read. Realize this is almost a 10 year old article and some things might have changed, but take what you can from it. W&ET2009.pdf
  25. Back when Palladium was around $400 a man lost his almost 20 gram ring with stones in a shallow bay on a Finger Lake.He called the club and my buddy called me and we made the half hour drive to the spot.He did not know where he lost it in this about 20 acre cove.Armed with my 5by8 coil on My At gold I got a most unusual sound and scooped up his huge ring.I walked over to him since he met us there and I drooped the ring in his hand and asked if this is what you are looking for.This man was so happy because he did not believe he would ever see the ring again.He gave the club a gift of about $150 and since then the price of palladium has hit about $2400.One other time a man on the beach lost his ring just by posing for pictures on the beach. I found it in 20 seconds since I was walking by when they lost it. I said I don't want anything and just kept on hunting down the beach.In this instance a man lost something without even being overly active.The only time I got paid was when i found a young man's key to his sport car which was expensive to replace .I found it in 30 seconds and this guy was very happy.He offered me money but I refused.He kept on insisting so i said I will use it to take my buddy to Wendy' s to celebrate you getting your key back.Me and my buddy used the $20 for a nice meal at Wendy's.One other time someone left a keg on the beach and me and my buddy split the $20 deposit.You never know what adventure the beach will bring you.
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