Friday, January 1, 2016

My Metal Detectors

It is very important to choose a good metal detector if you are going to search for old coins, treasure or relics.  When I was young I was super excited to get my first metal detector for Christmas.  My parents knew that I wanted a detector and went to Walmart and purchased a cheap model by Bounty Hunter.

The unit didn't have much of a discriminator and would beep for any and all types of metal.  My dreams of finding coins soon were dampened after I pulled out countless trashy items.

As I grew older my interest for the hobby only grew.  I saved up my money and did a lot of research and finally decided to purchase a Whites Mxt-pro . You can get it on Amazon for just over 800.00 for this package below.  What I liked about this particular unit is that it has a great discriminator and the user face let me know what kind of target was most likely in the ground.  It was almost 90% accurate on whether or not I had found a coin or silver target.

I broke the machine in hunting my dad's old church in Minnesota.  The church had first been built in the late 1800's and their were plenty of old coins, buttons, etc to be found.  My very favorite find happened to be the two coins on the left.  The first coin is a 1906 Barber half dollar.  The second is a standing liberty quarter.    

Keep in mind that I was fresh out of high school and really did not know much about coins at all.  These coins were completely new to me.  I pulled the quarter out of the ground first and rand back in to the house to show my parents.  I was so excited.  My parents didn't know much about coins either and told me I should look them up online.  I hunted most of the day and several days after that.  I  ended up finding quite a few wheat pennies, Indian head pennies, silver dimes, quarters and this half dollar pictured above.  The half dollar was worth the most and I ended up finding it underneath an old pine tree. I found an old picture of the church that I was hunting.  You can see the old cars parked on the lawn of the church.  I know that they used to have gather for meetings and pick nicks out on the lawn in the summer time.  I can imagine how kids and young adults would being playing sports in the yard and silver coins ended up rolling out of their pockets.     

When people ask me where they should hunt with their detector I tell them that it's really quite simple.  Find an old spot where people used to gather.  If you buy a good detector you are going to find coins.  If you want to find old coins hunt in old locations.  Schools, churches, parks, houses, etc.. will all have old coins in the yard.  The older the structure the better.  If you don't find coins when you are hunting the most likely reason for this is that either it has been hunted heavily before or their is fill dirt.  Fill dirt is new dirt that has been brought in when a landscaping project was undertaken.  For instance if the septic system needed to be replaced the old system would have been dug up.  All the old coins, buttons and other treasures would have been dug up with it.  If they hauled away the dirt like when they are putting in a parking lot or other addition then say goodbye to coins.  But most of the time you can find an area that has not been hunted or back filled if you do your research and just get out and swing your detector.  Just make sure you ask permission from any location that you do not own.  Tell them that you will fill in your holes and keep the place looking nice and you will be excited to learn most people are find with letting you hunt their yards.

I ended up selling my MXT Pro and purchasing a top of the line detector.   I went back to some of my old hunting spots, including, my dad's old church and found a lot of items that I had missed.  This detector is incredible.  If you want the best metal detector money can buy I would have to argue that this is it. The CTX 3030 by Minelab  is submersible up to 10 feet and has search programs that my old detector did not have.  The test was when I went back to those old spots that I had previously thought I had hunted out and found many more items.  See my post 2013 finds to see the items that I found using this detector.  Amazon sells the package that I purchased for 2,499.00  If you have the money to spend and are serious about the sport.  This is definitely the machine you want to get.  If you don't have that kind of money I would get the MXT-Pro .

(Pictured Below is the Machine I currently use). 

The final detector that I would recommend is the metal detector the guys use on Diggers.  Garrett's AT Pro is a quality machine that will produce a lot of coins and relics as well.  I am less familiar with this machine but have talked with people who use them. I still can out hunt any of those guys using my CTX 3030 but for the price point Garrett makes a good unit.  One final thing to remember is that if you plan on hunting mostly by salt water beaches I would use a completely different machine from any of the ones that I have suggested.  The CTX 3030 does have a program for salt water and will do just find but if you will only be hunting salt water you will need a totally different machine.  I  bought the CTX 3030 because it is the best machine for the type of hunting I do.  I hunt old locations like school buildings, fields, parks, rivers etc...  I get to hunt the ocean once a year and have been happy with how my Minelab performs there.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

2013 Metal Detecting Finds

Another year is in the history books and I wanted to show off some of my finds of 2013.  As I look through these items I am reminded of the stories that come with them.  Some of these finds came through researching old sites that I thought looked promising.  I do a lot of research online and in the library combing through books and old maps of the locations I want to hunt.  I really like reading any sort of book that record events in towns near me.  One such finding was of Church Camp meetings being conducted at a certain individuals house.  The book mentioned that in the early 1900's families from several towns would meet here because this particular site had a grove of trees and a nice stream that allowed the families to get the water they needed and shade for their meetings.  The account of the meetings mentioned the owner's name and I found a map of the owner's of properties during that time period.  Sure enough I found this individuals name and had another excellent spot to visit.  

After I locate a good spot I head over to the home and ask for permission to hunt the site.  I bring my phone that has pictures of my previous finds to show the home owner.  My advice if you have never done this before is to simply be friendly.  I find another thing that helps is to talk about the history of the place with the owner.  My excitement is often contagious and the owner usually gets interested by stories I share and when I show them my gear.  Be honest with the home owner.  Tell them you'll show them your finds.  Don't lie about what your looking for.  Tell them you are looking for old coins and show them some of your previous finds.  I'm not worried about someone saying no to me because I have other sites to ask permission to hunt.  Besides that I always have a quite a few sites that I have been given permission to hunt.  

This ring was found at a church that was established in the early 1900's.  I had received permission to hunt this location by the pastor of the church and I'm sure glad that I did.  It has been one of my favorite hunting sites in 2013.  I highly recommend getting permission to hunt any site, which is the respectful and legal thing to do.  This ring was found about 7" deep and was the first gold ring of 2013.

 At first I didn't think it was gold because it seemed to be a little darker red than I was used to see in yellow gold.  Something else that puzzled me was the fact that there were no markings that I am used to seeing for gold.  All that was on the inside of the band were the marking xxx and a sideways w.

I am so thankful for the Internet.  With the information that is now available a person can get access to pretty much any information he needs.  I typed in the inscription and quickly found what I was looking for.  According to Dorothy T. Rainwater's book "American Jewelry Manufacturers", the J.R. Wood Company was established in Brooklyn in 1850.  After many years of jewelry making under that name, they merged into Lenox, Inc. [Keepsake Division] Trenton, New Jersey in 1970.  Their wedding rings were sold under the trade name 'Art-Carved'. In 1975, the name of the company was changed from "J.R. Wood" to "Art-Carved Inc."  Marks used by the Wood Company can be seen on page 260 of this reference book.  The xxx indicates the gold quantity.  In this case XXX=3/4 or .750 or 18 kt Rose Gold.

This piece was actually found while I was detecting around a house that was built in 1915.  At first I thought it was trash because or a pop can.  When I pulled it out I was very happy to see this item.  As you can see it is very detailed and I headed to the computer to find out some information about it.  This is a from a metal license plate attachment that says, "Protected by Farmer's Automobile Inter-Insurance Exchange".  It used in the 1920's or 1930's which fits perfectly with the date of the house.  I found this item only about three inches deep in the front yard by the porch of the house.  I also found one of the silver dimes and the lead soldiers pictured below.  I will definitely try this house again because I found items of age there.

I was disappointed that the soldiers had been broken.  I expect after sitting in the ground for so many years, having experienced freezes and thaws, that it is to be expected.  The middle soldier looks to have been previously painted.  You can still see red on his back.