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Old 07-04-2020, 10:38 AM   #1
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Metal Detectors: Trash and Treasure

I have been a big fan of having a Metal detector since 1975. When you need a break and stretching your legs after a long drive towing that Airstream... there are hidden washers, cotter pins and coins to be discovered...or not.

My first was around 1975. Cannot think of the name right now, maybe Coinmaster, it was green is all I recall in my present demised mental state. It was affordable for a college student and new.

I loaned it, years later, to a Rancher north of Crawford, Nebraska after collecting Fossil Mammals fossils on a ranch's Badlands, they leased for haying. That following Spring, never saw him or my metal detector again. So much for... loaning anything.

Metal detecting was not as popular then. My brother and I made ours water resistant by putting the electronics onto a styrofoam float in a plastic bag for extra protection, cable ran down into the water with the metal detector head waterproofed and searched OLD swimming areas along small Rivers and what were spring fed ponds, but fifty years later more of a place for small fish and leaches to attach to your leg.

Found so many Rings and chains in the muddy sediments... it paid off the $300 or so the first day of use. Amazing that people wore jewelry to swim around at the time. My brother found a gold lion's head with diamond eye insets... and knew the chain was nearby... and found it broken, as well.

Silver Coins. Mercury dimes. On shore the same old coins. We obviously were among the FIRST to be getting into these, now called swamps, and swimming was not advised. We would not detect deeper that our head would get to the water.

A 1920's and later swimming lake was drained in North Kansas City, Missouri. Acres of sandy bottoms were now dry and easy pickings. Ohhh Weee. Although gold rings that had their stones popped out by the caliche growing around the metal. It pushed out the Mine Cut diamonds and cameos out. These old 'mine cut' diamond rings were downright ugly... but interesting. Not the brilliant cut diamonds today.

Anyone have Metal Detector stories? Once you park your Airstream... you have to do something? Beach combing is popular, but a clad quarter is spending money if you are lucky. Often the coins look tarnished and the local merchants will not willingly accept them. I tried to buy a 44 ounce soda here in Boulder City with crusty coins found detecting... the clerk said "keep the coins, the drink is free". No... kidding.

Modern cents have the Zinc interior... they rot out in a couple years in acid water or in the soil. Bronze cents darkens. Silver coins can turn Black. Gold...is golden bright and the 10k would get a tarnish after 50 or 70 years. Was it exciting! Today... only history.

Finding 19th century coins in plowed fields... they may be tarnished, but in great condition.

Today, it is more difficult to go hunting for, mostly junk. Pull tabs, bottle caps, gum wrappers... that is everywhere.

My best find. In this murky leach infested 1940's to 1960's swamp of a local swimming hole. A 3/4 pear shaped diamond ring in white gold. The 'current young wife' took it to a jeweler to have it cleaned. He offered $500. A windfall, but she wanted it. Seventeen years later she took it and went on her own way. A cheap price for easy come, easy go item.

Anyone have a metal detector story? I have many... but yours will be more interesting.
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Old 07-04-2020, 10:55 AM   #2
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I’m very interested in metal detecting for historic reasons. My interest has been provoked by a YouTube show called “Green Mountain Metal Detecting” by Brad Martin, who appears to be a fine young man. He hunts on old homesites in the mountains of Vermont, some going back to colonial times. He finds some amazing artifacts.

I live in Central Oregon and we don’t have the long history that Vermont does. Also,I’m aware that there are many state specific rules to metal detecting. I imagine some are very serious and others are wink-wink. And I definitely don’t want to disturb real historians. I’m very much in the market for information and I’m looking forward to following this thread as Ray always draws a crowd.

I found a half-carat diamond ring at a USFS dump site last year. I made many inquiries but couldn’t find the PO. It’s sitting in my Morgan silver dollar box.
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Old 07-04-2020, 10:56 AM   #3
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Now you went and did it

I've been swingin', uh, detectorist style, for several years. I've quite a collection of goodies.

I often get asked what my 'BEST' find has been. It's a real tough question to answer. I did dig my own gold ring one day. My recall has faded, but I imagine my mother giving me a gold ring for Confirmation, likely when I was 7 or 8 years old, maybe younger, maybe not, as I'm just not sure when this little ring was given to me. I do recall having it though.

I must have been playing out in the front yard as a child, and lost it.

So, in my late 50's, I'm sweeping the front yard of that farm house with my detector, and hit on something. I think, gee, I better dig that and see what it is. Lo and behold, out pops this gold ring with MY initials on it. Imagine my disbelief, sitting there on the grass, looking at that ring.

Anyway, I"ll post a few pictures of some stuff I've dug over the years, just for fun.
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Old 07-04-2020, 11:03 AM   #4
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Here's a little sample of goodies.
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Old 07-04-2020, 11:10 AM   #5
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I've dug Gold too, but will include a few photos so as to let folks know it's not ALL GLORY
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Old 07-04-2020, 11:13 AM   #6
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Oregon has many ghost towns that I’m sure provide interesting metal detecting opportunities. One challenge I see with a ghost town environment is the preponderance of iron. How do folks handle filtering that out?
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Old 07-04-2020, 11:21 AM   #7
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Oh MY.... there are others out there?

Union Pacific Railroad... 1867 on private land. Henry cartridges. Sharps. One 1862 quarter dollar. If I told you where, I would have to make you swim in that nasty pond near Independence, Missouri along Noland Road.

The key ring was found at a work camp building the Union Pacific Railroad in 1867. The coin is 1862. The thing next to it is for cleaning a cap and ball rifle/revolver.

Ohhhh.... weee. Someday, Nancy will donate this stuff and they will put it into a drawer and forget where it came from, do not care anyways and I may as well take it, bury it somewhere for someone else to enjoy the finds.

I actually have left a 18th Century sword and dagger at two undisclosed locations for someone to find. They were old reproductions laying around here and after years of rushing in these special spots.... Ohhhh weee someone will just have a heart attack.

This keeps us young. The Thrill of the Hunt.

I hunted antique jukeboxes.
I hunted antique slot machines.
I hunted Indian artifacts. (East of the Rocky Mountains.)
I hunted for anything that I found interesting.
I hunted for vintage books, maps, prints of steam locomotives and tressles.

Horse shoes. Mule shoes. Draft horse shoes. Old cans with lead seals.

Someday... Airstreams, but with the Internet... everyone knows what they are worth but I find them when Boondocking Off the Grid and do not want to die trying to restore one.

Here are some trays. I am impressed with what some of you have found. I will look them over and ahhhhhh. The thrill of the hunt. Keeps you mentally healthy. Physically stealth... and occasionally find something worth more than ten cents.
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Old 07-04-2020, 11:30 AM   #8
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Finders Keepers...

Quote:
Originally Posted by John&Vicki View Post
Oregon has many ghost towns that I’m sure provide interesting metal detecting opportunities. One challenge I see with a ghost town environment is the preponderance of iron. How do folks handle filtering that out?
*******
I have square nails from small to huge from the Union Pacific Railroad 1867 to 1890 era.

There are detectors that can discriminate against tin and junk... but it makes it very difficult.

I hear that the BLM has people who study... tin can heaps for dating. Only rumor, but... geez and get paid? How about ME getting into this?

Some 'clean areas' where there is NO Junk... and even a modern lead bullet from hunters are found on some ranches. Meteorites are what I am wanting to find in the desert... but no luck... yet. When I wander around... never know. When you get any detection of metal... you have to look. Things drop fall to the ground and it is too late to back track for those a hundred years ago to look for it ten minutes later.

Corporate Ranches now prevail, so the 'good old days' and disappearing unless you know someone and knock on their door.

My brother was paid $100 to find TWO wedding rings. The couple were mad and agreed to get a divorce. Tossed their rings out into a field. After they, sobered up?, they contacted my brother in the area and pointed the direction and gave him $100... to look. Found the woman's ring closer, women have poor arms to toss anything and his just a bit further. Everyone was happy... and maybe they now get along and have a good story to tell about their... rings.

Obviously the field did not have the usual tons of junk often found!

Here are some Nails...
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Old 07-04-2020, 11:49 AM   #9
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As you can tell... I love the hunt.

Just remember. You have to THINK about what the conditions were like when something was lost. It takes some time to understand.

The plowed fields in the Midwest were once full of trees and log cabins. Today... corn.

A 18th Century campsite at the edge of a hill, now farmed has washed down the slopes a hundred years ago.

A City Park... do not waste your time and batteries. No one wants someone probing and digging around for cents and a loose ear ring.

There are guys in Colorado who dig latrines around mining camps for bottles. They research where to find them... obviously are good at it as well.

Research. Ask locals where the 1940's circus was set up out of town. Fire work stand when people dropped loose change. Fruit stands from the 1950's along the highway.

Your imagination and just understanding where to look is important.

Ghost Towns? You are the 10,000th person to wonder. Get out of town along an old wagon trail dug into the side of a hill and overgrown...

Public Lands out west are protected for a beer can tossed out yesterday or fifty years ago, from what I have been told.

I was paid $20 a month to clean around an apartment complex in Landsthul, Germany. One day sweeping around the building, something caught my attention. It was a small Roman Coin. I gave it to my English Teacher in 7th Grade as she collected coins.

Only if Metal Detectors were available to me then... the sandy playground was two acres and the thought of treasure... was over powering at the time. Stuff is everywhere. The least likely looked areas... best.

I learned one thing about the Civil War in Missouri. A farmer would bury his valuables where he could see where he buried them from his window. Think about this... that I can believe. Find some bricks, broken glass, square nails in the plowed corn field... just imagine his eye sight and the best view the cabin may have be built to view before the trees impaired the view. Then... off you go. Always the optimist...
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Old 07-04-2020, 11:57 AM   #10
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I'm a coin guy.
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Old 07-04-2020, 12:06 PM   #11
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I understand they'd put the holes in coins so they could tie them together, kind of like a colonial money clip. What do you think?

I like farm fields. Also have to think like a horse. You see, I've found stuff along pathways and approaches to old homes that make horse sense. Then they put in these roads, that go way out around the fields, at right angles, winding up at the front of the home.

Nah! Gotta think like a horse. Take a more direct route to the homestead and find some goodies .

Look for piled up foundation rock along or right inside a wood line. They wouldn't carry rock too far. Head directly in to the field from the pile, you'll likely hit the old, long gone, homestead, on the higher ground.
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Old 07-04-2020, 12:50 PM   #12
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majorairhead... some coin collection.

I believe those with a well centered hole in the edge was worn around the neck. "When I am down to my last dime" kind of thing.

When ship builders in the East could not find Washers for the large mid 19th Century ships, they used Large Cents and drilled out the centers. This is what I had heard, but never have seen any. Of course... in Missouri or Wyoming... there were no sail boats to travel the oceans being built, either.

I did try to buy what was left of a solid wooden dugout canoe found in a gravel wash in the Ozarks. From the photo it had to be American Indian... but they did not want to part with it. Wow... imagine that. Nancy may have objected as I wanted to display it in the living room... if I could get it.

American Indians in the late 17th and into the 18th Century in the Midwest mutilated all metals. Coins, rifle barrels, hammers for flint locks, broke up iron and brass kettles into arrow points, brass tinklers and clothing decorations and the like. They hammered out rifle barrels to make iron axes and adzes for working the fields...

My brother makes me a pure amateur. I am great at trying to install batteries into a detector at night. Of course, for him, these finds are some kind of find and swap incentive. Old reused metal artifacts are popular... when authentic.

People use to take silver, drill a hole into a coin and use it to kill bacteria sterilize fresh water containers. Next time I fall off a ledge getting knee scrapes, I may want to tape a silver quarter dollar over it.

I was putting a stairwell in an old building in Lees Summit, Missouri. It was built in 1909 and the original stairwell was taken out for access to about ten apartments upstairs. The 3600 square feet had a small stairwell in back to haul things upstairs. I was young and ambitious buying at a low depressed market for an old Farm Town center building.

I cut out the concrete where to put the footing. The original town during the Civil War was called Lee's Summit. So not to get burned down for Lee's... they changed the name to Strothers. The Union still burned the town down. The building was built on the same piece of property in 1909. As I got down to dirt... I found charcoal, some rusted nails and broken glass.

The local newspaper took a picture of me and my trash discovery. I said it belonged to a long time building owner around the corner of me, as I said he claimed this junk to be of his doing. Would have made him 130 years old so so.

Oh yes. Finished the stairwell. It is still standing. There are now offices upstairs and a large furniture store downstairs. Give it a hundred years and... who knows.

Upstairs I figure I would find some loose coins when pulling the ONE Tub and Sink for all these Railroad overnight employees that ran through town. Nothing.

None of the rooms had anything but horse hair stucco kind of walls, slat boards and thousands of small nails. Never did another job like this again.

Sold the iron tub for $100 and took three of use to ease it down the upstairs fire exit, outside that was solid iron. As we were easing it down... an electrical storm blew in over us and I was planning my... funeral as it was too late to stop. The buyer was the daughter of an councilman for the town. We both had that same look... it would be hard to describe. He was at the bottom end of the stairwell...

The End. Now some of you can reflect. Yes... I find loose change in parking lots with my naked eyes.
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Old 07-04-2020, 02:20 PM   #13
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Funny Ray, you say you find loose change with the naked eye. I too often see things laying, and often state that I don't even need a metal detector.

We are working in dirt for yard just yesterday, top soil from a huge mound, in a new home development, and my coworker raked up a real nice horseshoe.

Always check your hole twice. I had a buddy dig a silver quarter. He let out a whoop. I followed him, swung over the hole, pulled out a silver half dollar. Boy was he mad.

I cashed in a hunk of brass for 20 bucks not too long ago, near blew out my eardrums. Found it along an old railroad bed.

My grandfather had a small home and lot on the site of Picketts Charge. His back yard was void of goodies, until I got to the rear of the lot, then a long line of bullets and other items were dug. As though there was a regiment there, in formation, in heat of battle, on their knee, frantic to reload. No kiddin'.

A friend of mine, and I, were in Delaware, he on one side, me the other side, of a volleyball court. Two guys came up and asked if we found a naval academy ring. Nope. We swung all over the place, no luck. The next morning my buddy went back and found that ring. We got ahold of the guy, he gave my buddy 200 bucks, and had a tear in his eye for him finding that ring. I'll never forget that.

I dug a civil war U.S. belt buckle in a back yard along York Street in Hanover PA. Porters Sideling is out that way. I imagine troops were heading there, as the rail line went from there down to Baltimore.

Oh, I like my coins. Indian heads, yippeee!

Check out that Spanish Cob, it's a fake. Says 'copy' right on it. Dug it at the beach. I think the sell 'em so people can throw 'em out there so guys like me get all worked up when we dig one
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Old 07-04-2020, 03:35 PM   #14
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Well... always something in print

In my books to read when I find something of Value. Someday...

Much like the couple who found a tin container with part or all of the stolen 1,427 Gold Coins that were missing from the San Francisco Mint in 1901 worth, ten million in 2014?

The mint wanted them returned... I do not know the rest of the story... but I bet it is a duzzie.

Google it. It will give you goose bumps. It gets better as you search the Internet. They may be able to keep the container... if it is... empty? Or full? Or who is missing what?

Auctioned Off... for $11,000,000?

Did they get written permission from whom? Probably found them in THEIR rural Northern California yard? Sure... I walk our dog in the same area.

Search: California couple auctions off $11 million worth of rare gold coins they found buried in yard.
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Old 07-04-2020, 05:50 PM   #15
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Following- Love the hunt - My Brother was reading a journal my dad made us do while on a trip for the Bicentennial.

He called me today and reminded that I found $81 in Colonial Williamsburg on July 4th 1976

Now I hunt for Vintage Hotwheels and Mid Century Furniture and items from 1950s

The cups I found last week at Thrift store in Idaho

The lamp was from a convent and chair and furniture was from a friends Moms estate I was her house 25yrs ago and she had museum quality furniture.

Been watching alot of YouTube videos from the Twotoes channel and hope to get a detector soon

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Old 07-05-2020, 10:13 AM   #16
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Collecting... Gone with the Wind generation

Finders Keepers was always something for those on the hunt. Humans were Hunter Gatherers by nature. They use to walk and make the best use of their surroundings. Today... WalMart, Costco and Lowe's is all it takes.

Few people today know what the inherited Coin Collection is worth. Lots of the ugliest coin made was the Eisenhower Dollar were gathered as if they were Silver Dollars. Kennedy half dollars post 1965 hoarded as if they were Silver. My neighbors were really disappointed when I said... Spend Them.

Furniture from the 1950's went from common and worth very little...to artistic valuable simple chairs, tables and furniture. Much went to the DUMP.

"I buy Junk... and SELL Antiques."

Today with the Internet... a windup 14k Gold wristwatch can be looked up and see an asking price double what it is worth. Many believe that the price on EBay is what something is worth. Not at all. That is what the seller is asking. It has not sold.

A neighbor was saying he was going to Montana where they have a gold placer mining claim and equipment inherited. Since my back is not aching from hauling gravel... we will probably do a joint exploration and see what the 'real Gold Placer Diggers' left over. Usually fine gold dust and no nuggets.

When we tow our Airstream... I like a purpose. Some find the scenery to detach and drive around. Others like to be camped in the scenery and watch those driving around looking.

Thanks for contributing to this Thread. Most have no clue about a passion and it is not learned from a glossy magazine full of glampers and $200K RV Buses. To each, their own. You either have it... or do not.

Everyone is looking for something and somewhere to do it.

Few look somewhere and looking for something. Diamonds in Arkansas. Sapphires in Montana. Gold in Colorado. Fossil horse and camel in Nebraska. Trilobites in Utah.

There is no shortage of stuff to discoverer. Just fewer places available to look. Fossils weathering out on Public Lands weather away and decompose are protected. Often thousands of square miles BELOW the surface, yet the edges are to be saved for... (fill in the blank).
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