Thursday, April 3, 2008

Treasure Hunting

I have done metal detecting as a hobby for four or five years. I really enjoy it not only for the solitude it provides, but it's very interesting as well. I especially like finding historical type artifacts.

Metal detecting, like any other hobby takes time. Not only is there time involved in the actual detecting itself, but it takes time to find suitable places to detect. Before I retired I always felt that even though I really enjoyed metal detecting, I should use the time required for other things.
Time-wise the problem has been solved with my retirement. Now it's a matter of weather and finding suitable places.

Yesterday the weather was right so I decided to get in a little practice at a local park. This park is only about 25 years old so my odds of finding anything "historical" were pretty small. I didn't care. All I wanted to do was to get out in the fresh air and get some practice in.

The metal detecting machine I use is a Garrett Ace 250. It's an entry level machine that cost a couple hundred bucks when I got it. Even though it didn't cost all that much it is an amazing piece of electronics. You can set the machine to search for all metal, for jewelry, for only coins and numerous other things. You can
also "discriminate" out certain signals to further zero in on what it is you are looking for.

Since I was going to a relatively "young" park, I decided to hunt only for coins and between the sensitivity setting and the discrimination setting, I made sure that I wouldn't be finding a lot of metal bottle caps, pull tabs and foil. The picture at the top of this post is my haul for about an hour's work yesterday afternoon. A quarter, a dime, a nickle and 5 pennies...all pretty new and all were found about 2-3 inches down in the dirt.

The detector will tell you pretty close, where the coin is, but then you have to find it in the dirt. To do this I use two other pieces of equipment. A pinpointer and a digging tool. I went through several regular garden trowels before I got smart and bought something designed especially for metal detecting.....That's the ugly, dangerous looking thing in the picture above. It will slice and dice. It won't bend or break under the worst conditions and it was absolutely worth the price.

The pinpointer is the black object above the digging tool. It's like a mini, short range metal detector. Sometimes it's not very easy to spot a coin buried in 3-4 inches of dirt. I started wearing reading glasses a long time ago and I can tell you that it's not easy to spot a copper penny in brown dirt. The pinpointer makes it easy. You can set the sensitivity level of this tool so that when you ge
t within a half an inch of a metal object it will vibrate and make a noise. So, you locate the coin with the big metal detector, dig a hole with the digging tool and then move the pinpointer around in the soil in the hole.

I've found some interesting things including an old early 1900's cigarette lighter, ox shoes at an old mine, an old Henry rifle cartridge that is at least 100 years old.

The Bride used to give me this condescending look whenever I talked ab
out metal detecting. Just another "guy thing" waste of time, was what I read in her eyes. That all changed one day about two years ago when I came home with the ring pictured below. I found it in an older park in an older part of town. I was not even all the way underground. I took it to a jeweler and asked about it and was offered $100 on the spot. I suspect it's worth a bit more...I decided that I would keep it and use it to "un-condescend" The Bride.

Now that the weather is starting to turn nice, I intend to put a lot more time into this hobby.

Thanks for visiting.


janeywan said...

Looks like fun to me. I lost a cameo ring back in the early seventy's that was my great grandmothers.

I wonder if anyone has ever found it. I think the parking lot where I might have lost it has been paved many times since then. Actually more than likely someone stole it, had put in my shoe in locker prior to a playing basketball and never saw it again.

Michele (Rocky Mtn.Girl) said...

I think this is something I would enjoy as well. I noticed in the last couple days a lot of the folks from our building have gone out to metal detect the big snow piles that are melting fast from what the snow plows and trucks have dumped in the mall parking lot. These piles were huge and obviously must hold some treasures as they come around here every year!

Femail doc said...

I found a small, well very small, fortune walking down a ski slope in summer. I find the idea of finding metal stuff very appealing--maybe when I retire I'll come back to this post for a 'how-to' refresher course!

Marian Love Phillips said...

Wow - you found you a little treasure didn't you. I bet if it was legal you would have a field day in the Vicksburg National Military Park where the Civil War was fought... :)


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