Amazing Day of Detecting Today

As much as today’s hunt deserves a story, it is way past my bedtime, so it will have to be brief (which, of course the way I blog, is relative).

First part of the hunt I dug 17 straight pennies. Nothing else. Unreal.  11 wheaties, 1 abused large cent, and 5 memorials.  Most of the wheaties were old; 6 of them were 1920 or before, one was 1923, and one was dateless, but I believe in the teens.  Where’s the old silver?  Where’s any silver? By my ratio of about 2.5×1, I should have had 4 silvers by now. (The copper is my 19th of the year, which ties a personal record).

Eventually I got a 1929 merc, and started to feel better about getting some silver.

And then I got not one, but two big ol’ silvers.  First was a 1902 barber half that rang really weird, bouncing between iron and a silver quarter; I can see how this may have been passed over.  When I first saw it in the hole, the way it was covered and angled, it looked like a Morgan dollar.  For a moment I though I had my first Morgan, but it wasn’t to be.  This is my 5th career barber half, and 12th silver half of the year.

Shortly after that, I got a deep dime signal, I’m thinking maybe seated, but it turned out to be a 1807 Spanish 2 reale on its side.  Sweet!  My 5th career Spanish silver, and my 2nd 2 reale.

Relics Today

I’m not a big relic hunter.  In fact, I’m pretty disappointed when I dig a relic unless three things are true: it is in good shape, its general age can be determined, and its general purpose can be determined.  I rarely find anything that meets those criteria, but it was a slow day today, so we have relics to blog about.

Today started out finishing off a small section of a zone that had given up some old coins recently (and I always save the least promising sections for last), and then wandering around a site from zone to zone looking for hotspots.  I hate these sorts of days, cause they offer little promise (I’m much prefer the certainly of working a hot zone (who doesn’t?)), but sometimes these days work out.

First target of the day was a big old buckle. I don’t even know if it is a shoe or belt buckle, but I do think it is kinda old, as it is copper, and its depth and location are consistent with some large coppers.  These are always a disappointment for me, as they sound so good in the ground, like a big ol’ silver half dollar. (If you know how old it is, e-mail me (comments are still a hassle)).

Onto a zone that seemed like it could be promising, like hold some really old stuff, and there was good news, and bad news.  The good news was that it appears it had never been detected.  The bad news was also that it appears it had never been detected.  I surmise that perhaps it had been detected lightly or not at all by the number of deep, high tone objects I was digging.  Tons of stuff like this –

Detecting these sorts of sites is really hard, especially when the ground is rock hard, cause you get your hopes up on every high tone, and there are tons of them, only to dig junk (which some people, of course, call relics). My skill is more along the lines of working sites where alot of this stuff has been cleaned out by others, cause, as those who read my blog know, I don’t really like to dig all that much, cause it is so costly.

Anyway, this relic at least can be approximately dated, which is kinda cool.  Looks like the late 1800s. In addition to the “PATENTED” and the dates, it also says MANUFACTURED BY BERGMA?N & CO NY:  I have no idea what it is and it appears that it is smashed.  I imagine it was part of a larger machine of some sort.

Assuming the unidentifiable letter is an “N”, which seems reasonable, brings up something interesting. Apparently, Bergmann & Co was a company organized in 1876  by Bergmann and Thomas Edison for the manufacture of telegraph, telephone and other electrical apparatus.  Another quote from the article:

Early in 1881 Sigmund Bergmann … went into equal partnership with Edison and Edward Johnson and opened a shop in New York which was to supply lamp sockets, switches, fuses, light fixtures, chemical meters, and other instruments, all devised by Edison. Bergmann, who proved to be an able manufacturer, had to expand his quarters within a year and employ three hundred men.

So, maybe it is part of a really old light bulb from the Edison era.  Who knows?

In any case, this means the zone is promising at least, and deserves a good going over.  I only found one old coin here, tho, a 1920 wheatie.

I decided to move on, partly cause the dirt was so rock hard, and my purpose today was to sort of to catalog zones anyway.  Ended up in a shadier, moister zone where the digging was easier, and managed to pull a barely legal hunt-saving quarter.

Morning Hunt With My Wife

Made it out this morning with my wife to the same site as recent hunts, but into a different zone.  I expected this zone to be trashier, so I started with the stock coil.  Targets were much thinner than the previous zone, but we managed to get a silver Q in the first hour.  It was only 3 inches deep, on its side and in a tangle of roots.  It seemed clear that this zone had been detected pretty heavily before, as there were fewer targets than in recent sections.

Got a deep, iffy signal in trash, and figured it was a silver, and I wanted to see if the Ultimate 13 could separate like the stock coil, so, as my first test, I changed coils.  Could not hear the target as well with the Ultimate 13 unit, but the whole test was a failure, as I did not even manage to recover the target, so it was likely a false or iron; it usually is, but who knows?  Given the hassle of changing coils, I don’t know how much science I’ll be able to do on comparing the coils.

My wife had to leave, and I kept the Ultimate 13 on for the rest of the hunt, even tho the area was pretty trashy; prolly too trashy for this coil, but I did manage to squeak out a couple more silvers — another Q and a badly tarnished 1917 merc.   Both were relatively shallow.

So, coil works in a trashy zone, but is very noisy, and there was no evidence it can separate deep targets, tho it did the other day in a less noisy zone.  Of course, the stock coil found nothing deep in the trash today either.

Why I Hate Chester County

Here comes another story.  Lets do this baby.

(First, its seems likely that all my readers either live in Chester County, or one that borders it (except, perhaps, circumstantial AD spillovers today), and they know how I adore the beautiful winding roads, tucked in scenery, awesome historical sites and buildings, VFNP, and of course the best beer in the country (and if you haven’t heard of Victory Beer, you will)).

(Totally going like a Friday afternoon story so far, isn’t it?  So, where’s the Farewell Farewell?  Problem is that I did Farewell Farewell when I got permission to do the site (cause I gave myself a 1% chance at the permission — and then got it), so its just a lame story today).

So, where’s the metal detecting? OK, check this out.  What is this rare and beautiful object that I dug today at 7 inches? –

Without scale (except for the fingerprints), of course, it is impossible to guess in a reasonable way.  Anything from a large copper to an abused Indian or wheatie seems like a reasonable guess.  Maybe even a George II or a half cent sitting in the ground for over 200 years.

But, since this a blog (and, at it turns out, my blog), we know that it is something else, and it turns out that that beautiful copper is a 1960 clad memorial penny (don’t ask me how long it took me to figure that out; both the date and back are clear with a lot of effort).  Are you kidding me?  It took me a good 15 minutes to dig thru rocky ground to get that baby,

And no, its not the time that bothers me.  And no, its not the confusion as to how a 1960 memorial penny could sink 7 inches in rocky ground that bothers me.  Its the abuse.  Are you kidding me?  A 1960 memorial penny looking like that?

I hate Chester County cause of the pathologically acidic soil.  Cause of what it does to perfectly good coppers.  The pH of Chester County soil ranges from 6.2 to 6.8, and you don’t need a pHD in chemistry to know that that can’t be good for copper, tho if you are gonna get an education and live around here — my tip is that the plumbers (and there are tons of them), make a living replacing and repairing copper pipe that is destroyed by our beautiful and scenic and low pH soil.

Now, as to the coppers, had a record day today, dug 4 of ‘em, all abused by the aforementioned low pH.

Are you kidding me?  Some folks die for 4 coppers in a career, much less one hunt.  Just give me something that’s not totally abused that I can work with.  I’d rather dig the proverbial 64 rosie with a hole in it than that garbage.  (As an aside, those elsewhere parading their beautiful coppers around, in high pH, high drainage soil, don’t know what it is like elsewhere.  The same can be said for people like me parading massive silver counts around, can’t it?  Of course its all relative (duh), and obviously that’s why I’m stalled on Philosophy Gym for the past several years (anyone with the actual book can look up the next question), but its coming, and it ends badly, I’m afraid).

So, back to the metal detecting, and trying to parse this train wreck.  One of them, the one in the lower right, is totally useless, and was scored as an unidentifiable copper. There is simply no hope on this one — nothing identifiable.

The one one the lower left was scored as an 1829 LC, cause that’s what it is.  Its hard to see that, and I’m not gonna show the close up pics, cause its too much work and it doesn’t matter.  Its so abused — its like, who cares?  The one in the upper right is a badly worn liberty cap large cent; you can only see that with lots of water and lots of imagination, and lots of positive scores on Rorschach tests, so I’ve scored it as an unidentifiable copper as well.

But the one in the upper left is an 1808 draped bust half cent.  If you use your imagination, you can see the 1/200 on the reverse, and the 1808 on the obverse.  This coin is worth $40 in AG3.  I’ve heard of P2 (tho never seen prices listed), but have never seen a grade of  CCPH6.5FU0, making a beautiful find worthless.  Well, at least I can mark a type off my bucket list.  And, this coin  was only at 4 inches.  Compare to the ’60 memorial at 7 inches that started this story.

(you may have to click the image to enlarge).

Well, the day wasn’t a total loss.  Dug a silver dime as well as the 4 coppers, a 1916 barber.  We’ll take it.

Yeah, a bit out of focus, but we’ve all seen barber dimes before.  Besides that dreadful pic, nailed this entry, baby!

More Unidenfiable Coppers

Third hunt with the Ultimate 13 unit, and again it did not disappoint.  Had the 1896 Indian head and the silver Q within the first 15 minutes.  But then things slowed down, nothing else to show for the day except a couple more unidentifiable coppers.  I can make out a “CH” or “CP” on the larger one (as if it matters).

It seems we are finally getting to the edge of the zone I’ve been working where the finds start to thin out, tho the pair of coppers, while worthless in their own right, give us the hope to continue.  (And, while there is plenty of space left at this site, there are no remaining proven zones (a couple of unproven ones that I am cautiously optimistic about), and then the stress of finding a new site.  All things must pass).

Also dug a wheatie today, so its my 2nd penny tri-fecta in as many days.  And, my silver streak stretches to 10 hunts.  Just 42 hunts to go tie my record.

Career Silver #900 Today

I’m liking this new Detech Ultimate 13 unit.  Pulled 4 silvers today, including a half dime.  The half dime, an 1899 Canadian coin (too bad, a US half dime would have been cooler), was the second silver of the day, and the 900th of my career.  The half dime rang at CO 39; I figured it was a wheatie.

Also pulled a 1900 Indian and an abused copper.  As near as I can tell, the copper is an 1816 LC, tho it is so abused it has to be scored as an unidentifiable.  Since I also pulled a wheatie today, I get the penny trifecta (missed the dime trifecta yesterday cause I could not pull a rosie instead of 3 mercs — of course I’ll take the latter, but got the rosie today.).

The copper really showed off the Detech Ultimate 13′s depth for the first time.  It was at 11 inches (measured with a tape measure), in dry dirt.  The signal was solid and repeatable, tho bouncing between a conductive and ferrous target.  I gave it a 50/50 chance of either; but it was clearly a dig me signal.  Too bad I didn’t have the time to test the stock coil on this one for comparison. 11 inches for a repeatable dig me signal is good around here, in our mineralized dirt, especially when it is dry.

But, the biggest win was the Detch 13′s pinpointing.  As I mentioned yesterday, it actually works, and works well.  I’m surprised it works so much better than the stock coil (to be frank, pinpointing with the stock coil simply doesn’t really work.  Maybe I have a bad coil, I dunno). So, that’s a win.

I really like this coil so far.  I’d like to try it in heavy trash in the near future, when I’m done working this section of this site.

Detech Ultimate 13 Maiden Hunt

Added some size to my unit today, taking it from 11 to 13 inches, with the Detech Ultimate 13 coil.

I’ve never bought an aftermarket coil before, and I was a bit worried, as the reviews are sparse and conflicted (translation: I spent alot of money on this coil; if I post a bad review, I look like a chump, and I ain’t wanting that, am I?  (Never doubt the application of economics to everything)).

But, I bought the coil cause it was on sale (translation: the only US distributor (who I would otherwise not do business with, but Detech (the manufacturer) is in Bulgaria and ordering direct is hard) dropped their prices from gouge levels to reasonable levels), and cause word on the street was that it gave an inch more on silver dimes in hunted out parks.  We all could use another inch, couldn’t we?  I know I can; in particular, I’m anxious to try to see what is at inch lower at some of my massive honey holes of the past that I’ve carefully gridded out.

Unfortunately, I’m not going to provide a review today, as much as I’d like to, cause I can’t do so scientifically.  The only way to do that is to compare targets using the Ultimate 13 vs the stock coil, or gridding out previously gridded and hunted out parks, neither of which I was willing or able to do today (let’s face it, changing coils is hard, I do work mornings and evenings, I spend time with my son, and was working a mild honey hole (which seems a better idea than hunted out parks), as those who have been reading the past entries are aware), so time is a bit tight to do science now).  But, what I will do, is detail today’s experience, FWIW.

This time, I’ll get to the silver first, cause who wants to read more bullshit to get to it?  Here it is, 3 mercs, 1 barber, and half a copper (are you kidding me?), over 4.5 hours.

Now, onto the Detech Ultimate 13 experience.  First, I started in a big open field, where I didn’t expect to find much, just to get a feel for the machine with the coil, the sounds, the pinpointing, and so forth.  Its a low trash, low target field.  My goal was to find one coin in this field — pinpoint, recover, and move on to more promising zones (I didn’t want to be a pinpointing moron with this new coil in the hotter, manicured lawn zone; pinpointing with large coils can be hard, and its nice to not be surprised).

My first observation was the the machine did not swing heavier, despite the 30% larger coil.  That’s a win in my book.  I found a memorial penny at 3 inches, and pinpointing was easy, another win in my book (those who actually read my blog know I think the E-Trac pinpointing is absolute garbage; the larger coil wasn’t harder to pinpoint with — in fact I think it was easier, tho there may be sample bias here, perhaps I was being more careful, who knows?  Remember, I wasn’t doing science, but it was actually a joy to recover the target more or less under the center of the coil, unlike with the stock coil, where the pinpointing experience can more or less be described as — it beeps, the target is more or less in this universe, bring in a backhoe and hope for the best, and hope the groundskeeper is on vacation).

So, pinpointing was a big win.  It actually worked, unlike the random experience with the stock coil.  I decided to head over to the zone of the past few days which as produced the finds recently blogged, and, on the way, got that half of a copper.  WTF?  Where’s the other half?  How do I score that? (cause we all know dectorists, and especially economists, are about counting and scoring things). I gridded around (losing precious time), and couldn’t find it.  This is another win — I was already in normal detecting mindset with this coil.

Into the hot zone, which had grown cold on the last hunt with the stock coil on the past couple ranks of the grid, and I was moving farther away from where logic would expect old coins to be found.  I didn’t expect much, and didn’t find much at first, but at least the coil worked.  The experience seemed the same, and given the larger size of the coil, I could move thru the dead faster, hoping to find a hot zone.  It added efficiency, with no apparent loss of performance (but, of course, there is no way to be sure, without going over the same zone with the stock coil (and I ain’t about to do that, I’m afraid)).  This was a win in my book.

Eventually I found I silver.  Woohoo!  It was the ’43 merc.  It was on its side, at 5 inches.  Pinpointing was bitch, but it always is with coins on their side.  This is a big win — one of the nice things about the E-Trac is its ability to find silvers on their side.   Didn’t lose that with this coil.  Interesting to note that the pinpoint projected out 7 inches from the coin on its side.  That’s good (hard to pinpoint, but shows the range of the coil.  Never saw that with the stock coil on a 5 inch deep silver on its side).

I pressed on without finding much except a couple of wheats, and nothing really deep.  I did, however, find some affected clad.  Clad in the trash.  No one likes finding clad, but in this case, it demonstrated that this coil has good separation.  Another win.  The experience remained the same w.r.t to high conductive targets in low conductive trash.  Now, did I miss some that the stock coil would have found?  Who knows?  That’s the problem with not doing things scientifically.  Who knows?  But the experience (and run rate of clad, even in trash, but not heavy trash), felt the same.

I did notice that the coil was noisier. With the stock coil, I just put it on man 30 and go at most sites,  This coil was a bit too noisy to do that.  That’s a loss in my book.  I dropped to man 26, and it quieted down quite a bit (I was surprised by how much actually, cause this doesn’t have much effect with the stock coil).  Shortly thereafter, I nailed 2 silvers, the ’17 merc, then the ’20 merc.  On both targets, before digging (I knew they were silvers beforehand — those who love the E-Trac know what I’m talking about), I jacked to man 30 to test, and while I could still hear them fine (of course, I knew they were there), there was much more chatter, and one wonders whether I would have heard them above the chatter if I didn’t know they were there?  Who knows?  The point is I had to be more careful adjusting the sens as I moved about the site.  That’s a loss in my book.

Both silvers were at about 6-7 inches, and rang clear.

Then I got lucky.  I got a ferrous affected silver.  That was the barber dime.  See-thru with conductive trash had already been proven with clad; I had yet to prove see-thru still worked with ferrous trash.  But it did.  Whohoo.  That’s a win in my book, pulling the barber out of a ferrous affected hole.  (I rescanned the hole, and it nulled on the ferrous trash — I even spent a couple of seconds trying to recover the ferrous target to prove its existence, but could not find it, and I ain’t interested in wasting too much time digging ferrous junk, even in the name of blogging, so I let it go).

Summary:  This coil is a keeper.  While I could not prove a performance improvement over the stock coil, at least, (based on run rate of 4 silvers per 4.5 hours, in the least promising section of the zone where the better section had a 1 silver per hour run rate, and not accounting for the time lost testing the coil in the field), no performance appeared to be lost.  If we can ever get a really deep one that the stock coil cannot see, it will be a win.  Hopefully I’ll do that science someday, but at least it doesn’t seem like I’ll be losing anything while hoping to run into that really deep silver.  The downside is that you have to keep adjusting sens to use this coil.  Time will tell if that will be too much of a hassle for me.  I will say, given how dead I expected this section to be, the fact that the coil was larger and allowed me to cover ground faster may have increased the run rate over what was possible with the stock coil.

Another Silver Half Today

So, after yesterday’s entry, I think we can all agree that keeping it brief is a good idea.  Got a barber half and a pair of silver dimes today over 2 hunts.  Barber halves are cool cause they are pretty hard to find (this is my 4th ever, and I think that is alot for someone who started in the past couple of years).

This barber half was cool cause there was a 1912 wheatie in the hole with it.  It gave a weird signal, sort of bouncing between a silver quarter and a wheatie.  I imagine alot of machines have passed over that, and been confused, but before I dug, I said “wheatie + silver quarter”.  The E-Trac is really good at that sort of thing. Got the wheatie first, then rescanned with the pinpointer, and sure enough it was there, just under a thin layer of dirt.  It is so sweet seeing the rim of a big silver in the hole as you scrape away the dirt.

Along with the silver dimes, also pulled a 1919D wheatie — that, along with the 1912, fill 2 holes in my dug wheatie album. Woohoo.

10th Silver Half of the Year

10 Silver halves in a year is alot.  Its hard to describe how much an “alot” it is, but it is (suffice it to say that one silver half in a year is alot).  Will never happen again, at least not to me.  Anyway, managed to cross that milestone today, and what a weird day it was.

Went back to the site of the past couple days, and started off in the older zone (after a couple days of rain and a couple days of frustration in a not as old zone), which was the spot of yesterday’s entry where I found a pair of mercs in the same hole.  Wouldn’t you?

First swing of the day, a foot away from yesterday’s double merc hole was a slam dunk rosie. 3 silvers in a row.  Are you kidding me? I said to myself — this will be a double digit day, as I had just begun to scratch the surface of this zone, and had 3 found silvers already in it.

But it was not to be.  This zone was much like the zone of the past 2 days.  Evidence that it had not been hunted, evidence that it should be a 20 silver zone based on the deep clad count and dates, but “Reason X” (qv yesterday’s entry) seemed to apply to this older zone as well — everything good except the silver, but this this zone was 35 years older than the zone of the last 2 days.  WTF? (I did do more research on the site last nite, and came up with a hypothesis for “Reason X”, and the possibility that ‘Reason X” applied to the whole site, not just the zone of the past 2 days — not sure if it meets the Occam’s Razor test (and of course since this is an MD blog we can’t spill the beans and give more details, as interesting as the philosophy would be, or 20 clowns who can’t do their own research would be swinging there when I showed up next (assuming, of course, I have 22 readers, and likely I have about 10% of that))).

Anyway, people read these blogs cause they want to read about finding silver, so lets try to get there.  And it was hard.  I moved from zone to zone looking not for the factors that usually indicate silver (since “Reason X” seemed to suggest that they do not apply), but for random actual silver (sort of in “eat fish” rather than “learn to fish” mode, if that makes sense).  The site can probably be divided into about 20 or so distinct zones (all of which, realistically, should be treated as a new site, even if “Reason X” has pan effect), and I went from zone to zone, more of the same, until into the least promising zone of the batch, in my judgement, I pulled a merc, then a copper (1845 large cent; just like the other day, tho in worse condition), and then a rosie.  I wasn’t gridding, but was doing cross transits, and marked the zone as promising.  Three silvers and a copper now, after about 5 hours of hunting.

But there were more promising zones to try, and try we did. and it was like entering the 4th dimension.  More and more deep clad that sounded like deep silver.  Like most silver guys, I don’t dig clad except for the intel on the site, but this deep clad was different.  It sounded like silver, and you had no choice but to dig it all.  TIDs were whacked. Everything was deep, and everything sounded like silver.  I dug deep clad after deep clad, and usually deep clad is constructive (it gives you the zone as non-hunted in the 80s), but when I dug a 1985 Q at 8 inches, after digging about 40 quarters already, and a mountain of 7 inch 70s memorial pennies, and only 1 silver outside the one zone, I said enough is enough.

81 deep clads that sounded like silver, and 1 silver, in this zone and those that are congruent.  I guess I should have cut my losses sooner.  At least that’s about $12, or a couple of Golden Monkeys.

Ok, so the detecting was bad, and the writing worse, as I failed to articulate the experience. That’s how it goes, sometimes.  But, all I could do, failing to understand what was going on, other than “Reason X” and the possibility that the evil Fill and Grade twins had been all over the site (despite the lack of evidence of that), was to go back to the section of the site that had given up the pair of dimes and the copper earlier on the day.

And that turned out to be a good call.  Pretty soon on, got me a merc. then on the same rank of the grid, got be a deep SLQ.  The nice thing about these 2 coins in that they sounded like deep silver, and turned out to be deep silver.  Its a fun experience; contrast to the previous 80 coins of the day.  Maybe it is something in the dirt in the other zones.  Who knows?

The rank I did left a gap between the transits I had done in this zone earlier, and sometimes being anal pays off. I said I have to close those gaps, and good thing I did, as I found a 1918S walker in there, for my 10th silver half of the year.  Scratched the thing pretty bad, as it took me about 20 minutes to recover it — it was deep, in a maze of roots, and it was not a slam dunk silver signal.  That’s how it goes sometimes.

Finished off one more rank of this zone and found a Washington Q for my 7th silver of the day, 6 in this most unpromising zone.  Sometimes better to be lucky that smart.  What a day — total hunt time 8hrs, 7 silvers, 5 wheats, 81 clads.  And there’s more to write. much more, but I’m more burnt out than you, assuming you read this far. (Oh, it does feel good to write one of my MD stories again).

Two Mercs In One Hole

Back to yesterday’s site, just trying to find a hot zone that is not littered with clad and no silver.  First hacked at yesterday’s zone which by all indications should be a 20 silver section, but it was even worse today — just deep clad (and less of it), and no silver.  Not sure why, and I have not solved this section, but sometimes the reason for failure is “Reason X” — you don’t know, but there is some reason, and you just have to cut your losses and move on.

Hit 3 other sections trying to find a hit of the shiny, and could not get anything going till it was time to go home, 2 silvers in one hole.  They were deep and in trash.  A pair of mercs, prolly 7 or 8 inches deep, in trash.  Hard to hear, but we got em.  I did not expect it to be silver when I opened the hole, cause so many other promising signals had dudded into clad or trash, but this one was deep, and it worked out.  Wonder if I would have heard it if it were just one in there? After I pulled the first one out, rubbed the pinpointer around and got the second.  Woo Hoo!  Nice ending for a very tough day.

Another Rosie

Been squeaking by with rosies lately, but also pulled a large silver religious pendant, and a small sterling charm.  I thought the pendant was a silver quarter, and the charm a silver dime.  Still silver, but they don’t count in terms of “silvers” cause they ain’t old coins.  The rosie, tho, does extend a modest silver streak to 4.

The hunt was at a new site I was quite optimistic about (and still am, I guess), but it was a bit frustrating, if any hunt with silver can be frustrating.  I pulled about 60 coins — 9 wheaties, the rosie, and about 50 clads.  Almost all of the clad was deep 60s and 70s clad, and the wheaties were deep as well.  These are all signs that the site was not hunted hard, there are no grade and fill issues, and it should have yielded more silver.

I look at 2 ratios — wheats to silvers and overall silver percentage.  Wheats to silvers is the most important, and mine is at 2.41 to 1.  Should have pulled 3-4 silvers by that count.  My overall silver percentage is a bit north of 5%, meaning about 1 of 20 coins I pull is a silver.  Should have had 3 by that metric as well.

So, the site owes me a couple.  Hopefully I’ll get some payback some day.  Its a huge site, with many sections and lots of fill and grade here and there, so it will require quite a bit of figuring, watching the ratios, and just plain luck to coax the silver out of it.  It also has an older section than what I was working today — waiting for rain on that so I get that extra depth.

Rosie and Large Cent

It was a long hunt in the heat today.  I went back to a site that had given up 2 mercs and an Indian head, but I never felt it had all that much promise.  Decided to give it a go anyway to be sure, and sure enough, the first 2 hours turned up bupkis, not even a wheatie.

That was an out of the box section of the site; decided to try an even more out of the box section, and this worked out a bit better, 3 wheaties and a rosie, all very shallow, as was the clad, suggesting this section had not been hunted much, but there wasn’t much density either.  Certainly there will be more there I figure, but if it hasn’t been hunted in the last 30 years, it can wait a bit longer.  This was just a data gathering run anyway, and the site is large. I wanted to explore other sections.

Decided to hit the section again closest to where the mercs were found the last time; I had been over it a couple of times in the past with not much more to show for it, but I did get one nice deep 01-44 on the E-Trac today; figured it could be a big silver, but it wasn’t to be; it was an 1845 large cent at 8-9 inches.  Like most coppers around here, its plenty abused from the acidic soil and poor drainage, but at least it has plenty of detail.  Might even grade XF were it not for the damage and patina.

Surprisingly, this is one of the nicest coppers I’ve ever dug. It is my 9th of the year, and 54th of my career.

Barely Legal Rosie

Just sort of hanging in here, sneaking the silver in one by one while spending alot of time with my son, researching prospective sites, and trying to stay cool.

This was from the same place I went last Sunday; the site has given me 55 silvers, which is fantastic, but it is pretty played and it is hard to squeeze them out of there now, but as long as there are unhunted sections, I’ll keep trying.

Too bad the ring is fake.  It sounded like silver, looked like silver, but was not stamped, and the test was negative.  Oh well. I had already took the pic, and as much as I hate posting junk, I’m too lazy to do another pic, especially of a lone 64 rosie.

War Nickel at CO 12

Got out for a bit to one of the first sites I used the E-Trac at.  I had high hopes, as I had no idea back then how to use the machine, or how to work a site, and the last time I was here I pulled a random merc and a clad half dollar, both extremely constructive signs (as I learned later), that the site has (perhaps honeyhole) potential.

But it was not to be today.  The site doesn’t appear to have been hunted too hard, but probably didn’t have the density to support massive silver drops.  Oh well, write it off.

Did get a war nickel today, tho, and another clad half dollar.  Are you kidding me? Clad half dollars are rare (rarer than silver half dollars, actually, at least in my experience (and they are really rare also)), and always suggest an under hunted site, and this is the first site I’ve ever pulled two from, but the site just not would give up much shiny.

As for the war nickel, CO of 12 (for you non-E-Trac’ers, is always a normal nickel, if not trash or gold).  Rare to find a war nickel there (they usually live at CO 15-16). I once found a war nickel at CO 22, which is also bizarre.  This tells me war nickels have extreme variability in the CO number (despite the E-Trac being otherwise legendary in target ID).  Why is that?  Who knows?  BTW, these coins air tested at CO 12 and CO 22, respectively, so its not cause they were affected.

So, the scientist in me wants to know why this is.  There is no such variability in other coins (for the clueless, CO numbers are influenced by the conductivity of the metal, the thickness of the coin, and in the case of copper coins, the corrosion/patina).

Corrosion and thickness with war nickels is not an issue, it is a constant.  So, it has to come down to composition. Regular nickels, surprise, are mostly copper (75%), and 25% nickel.  Copper is a high metal, but nickel is a very low metal (almost like iron), so it makes sense that an alloy of copper and nickel could ring quite low.

However, war nickels are 56% copper, 35% silver, and 9% manganese.  That’s 91% high tone metal — it makes sense that they ring, normally, a bit higher than normal nickels, but they should ring much much higher, especially given their size and thickness.  I can’t image the 9% manganese having a material effect (the nickel in clad dimes and quarters does not have much of a material effect on those), regardless of how low a metal manganese is.

So, the answer is that I have no clue why war nickels ring so low, given all the high tone metal they contain, and, more importantly, for those wishing to dig war nickels, and to avoid modern nickels, why the CO, in an air test, varies between 12 and 22.  That’s a huge range.  I guess the bottom line is, that if you are fishing for war nickels, dig em all.  Too bad, cause dig em all is almost always a bad idea, especially in this rock hard dirt.

One Ugly Copper

Today was a day of scouting out prospective sites; which seem to get thinner by the day, and with no powers that be available for permissions, I headed back to my shrine of a couple days ago, where the high tones are frequent, but the coins are rare.

No different today, dug a ton of high tones, but not a single silver.  Did manage to squeak out a copper, tho, a totally abused, ugly George II (trust me, I’m an expert on these things :) ; that’s what it be).

This coin is over 250 years old, pushing 300, not bad.  Most detectorists go gaga over these things.  I’m not one of them.  But here it is, FWIW.

Frustrating Day Ends With Silver

The day did not start off well — headed off to a 50-150 silver site to ask permission, and got the “nyet”, as they say in Kazakhstan.  Hate it when that happens.  100 silvers down the drain, tho we will try again in a couple of years.  Wouldn’t you?

Off to the backup site, which is the site where I pulled my 500th silver last year, so it is a personal shrine, but it is a very frustrating site.  Its a frustrating site cause there are so many high tones and so few coins — most detectorists don’t complain about high tones, but they have never been here. I think someone once held a contest here — see how many pieces of copper pipe you can cut into small pieces and throw around — 10 points for each piece that hits the ground.

The site is just littered with copper pipe fragments. pipe fittings. and other high tone trash, and you have to dig it all.  And in this rock hard dirt, that is work. Eventually one of the high tones turned out to be silver — a pair of rosies in a hole with other trash, meaning even these weren’t a slam dunk.  The sort of hole you don’t want to dig when the last 20 have been trash, but when it works out, you are glad you toughed it out.

Back in the Swing of Things

Didn’t expect to get out this weekend, but had a couple of free hours today, and hit a site I hadn’t hit in quite some time.  Its been one of my best sites, giving up over 50 silvers, including a seated quarter, a couple of gold rings, and a handful of coppers, including a Woods Hibernia, but I had figured it was played out.

But its always nice to go back to these sites, especially when short on time, and I did manage to squeeze a 1951 rosie and a beat up wheatie out of it.  Maybe there is a bit more there, we’ll see someday.

Back From Vacation

Back from a month long road trip, from Chester County PA, to Yellowstone, down to Arches, Canyonlands, Monument Valley, Grand Canyon, and Sedona.  My family joined me for those parts, as they don’t have my love for tedious long drives.  Almost all of it was done on rural highways, except a good bit of the part coming home from St. Louis.

Anyway, I did some detecting on the trip, but not much, all of which I think I posted, so this is a bit of double dipping; here’s the take –

Six silvers, a buffalo nickel, a silver ring, and about 20 wheaties.  I didn’t detect all that much, especially on the way back, and not at all when my family was with me.  It was also brutally hot for the most part (hitting 110 in Arizona when I was there, and consistently over 100 everywhere else, except Yellowstone, where it ranged from 39 to 70).

And, I added 4 states to states I’ve found at least one silver coin in: IN, IA, NE, and WY.  I now have 10 states I’ve found a silver coin in (us geography geeks track everything).  I will say one thing (and this is something I already knew); finding silver in places you just drive to, and have never been, is hard.  Its much harder than finding silver in your home turf where you sort of know what is where, always are seeing prospective places, and have time to do research.  I did do a bit of research on some random towns on the way out, but the way I travel, I never really have a clue where I’ll be next, and then you have to do it on the fly, and you don’t have much time, so it can be hard.  That’s why I was quite pleased to find a barber quarter, as they are quite hard to find anywhere.

Anyway, despite the fact that I didn’t do alot of detecting, having detected in so many places now, I continue to build up more of a feel for the local challenges and advantages detectorists face due to where they happen to live.  Too bad “that forum” isn’t so enlightened.  It would be fun to slap ‘em around a bit more, but just forget them better still.

Now that I have a bit more time, I hope to update the stories where I did find silver (and maybe where I didn’t), over the next week or so.  Its hot here, and the ground is rock hard, so I don’t know when I’ll be detecting here again, hopefully next week; we’ll see.

(Oh, and one more thing, it is a real hassle to leave comments now.  I had to make that change since after I posted a link to the blog to my facebook friends, I just got slammed with spam.  Too bad this blog software is so stupid that it can’t deal with it in a reasonable and easy way.  So, I made a bad choice on that score, but that is life.  There was no way I could fix the problem on the road (you have to muck with these goofy plug-ins rather than it simply being a built in solution, as it should be), but now that I’m home, I may look into it.  Until then, comments are a hassle.  Not that there are many readers or many comments, so maybe I won’t bother at all.  Certainly a low priority in my life right now).