Year End Summary

Well, the season ended a bit early this year,  with 4 inches of snow on Saturday.  I was able to get out for a few hours on Friday, to a site that I thought could be quite good, a park behind an old office building that was a high school in the 1920s (a similar site gave me 65 silvers last year, one of my better sites), but it was totally cleaned out, filled/graded, or both.  All I found was a handful of wheats right along the road.

Anyway, 380 silvers for the year, which is down from 516 from last year, but still not bad.  14 of them were silver half dollars, which is pretty good.  3 of them were Barber halves, the oldest being a 1894S.  4 of them were reales, 2 2 reales, 1 1 reale, and 1 half reale.  I had 4 double digit silver days this year.

I did set personal record on coppers, digging 29.  My old record was 19.  All other totals were down from last years blowout year: clad, wheaties, silver blings, and so forth.  I did dig 2 gold blings, which was the same as last year.  My efficiency ratios were up tho: 6.86% of coins dug where silver, and wheaties to silvers was 2.13 (both personal records).  Maybe that is a result of using the Ultimate 13 coil, which I really like.

Well, economists love numbers and stats, but that’s enough of that I guess.  I did find four new types this year for me: liberty capped half cent, draped bust half cent, draped bust large cent, and a franklin half.  I now have 34 old coin types out of 58 (ok, I lied, one more number).

My biggest disappointment was finding only one seated coin, and no bust silver.  That stuff is hard to find, tho, at least for me.

As for goals for next year, kinda a stupid idea.  You can’t control how many sites are left, how many have been filled, graded, or hunted out.  All you can do is try to get out as much as you can to high potential sites, and attempt good research, so that what I’ll try.  The nominal goal is always 30 silvers a year, cause they are hard to find, and get harder each year.  I do know I will certainly have to do more door knocking.

So, here are some of my better finds of 2013 –


Christmas Present

Got a new digger for Christmas, which is the same as my old digger, except that it still has all its inches.  Its amazing how these things wear down.  The one on the top is less than a year and a half old, and has lost a little over an inch in that time.

I haven’t been out in about a week due to the weather and the holidays, and doubt I will be again this year, but we’ll see.  I’d like to get one or two more hunts in to try to snag a year end silver.

Muddy and Cold Silver

Today was what we call a throwaway hunt; I had an appointment in a different town that I don’t know well, and know of only one producing site in the area (and have no time to do research), so I always hit the site when in the area.  Its very, very large, and very, very sparse, and rarely gives up the goods, but has given up 2 silver dimes.  I keep a graph paper notebook of all my in progress sites, and add a bit to the grid each time I go, and that is what I did today.

Problem was we had standing water on good parts of the site due to torrential rain last night, and where there wasn’t standing water, it was a muddy mess to dig any target.  To top it off was a hard chill wind at 40 degrees, and snow flurries.  It was miserable.  What we do for silver.

I stopped the grid a after a few ranks, cause I didn’t really feel like digging targets, and I wasn’t finding anything anyway, and freestyled about the site a bit, still finding nothing.  I hate freestyling (except when visiting a site for the first time), cause it is inefficient, and working a grid provides greater discipline — in particular, it forces you to go slow, and you need to go slow to get the deep iffy silvers.

I decided to pack it in, cause I wasn’t having fun, and had some work to do, but noticed an embankment that I’ve never worked before.  I love embankments, they often give up the goods when the surrounding site is dead — and this one did not disappoint: a 1941 merc and a couple of wheaties.

Pretty Fly For a Silver Guy

Ok, that title was pretty lame, but check this out.  Dug one of the more bizarre things I’ve ever dug yesterday (Wed), a large (13.5 gram) sterling silver fly broach.  Even used to have a stone in it at one time, but it is prolly lost in the hole somewhere.

Who would wear something like that?  Who knows?

This was at one of my better sites, a site that has given up 124 silver coins.  I never really finished it off, but all the unworked zones never seemed to have shown any promise, but I figured I’d give them one more try since I had a bigger coil and more skill.

One of those zones did give up a rosie the day before (Tue), but this was an extremely tough zone to work — it was a very steep embankment.  You wonder why anyone would have ever been on it, but you work it anyway, cause it prolly has never been worked before (especially given the number of silvers found in the hot part).  Tons of high tone trash here, it had definitely never been worked, but it only contained 3 coins.  I worked hard for that silver, cause not only was it steep, it was muddy, and I kept sliding down.

Today I had millions of Christmas errands, including buying some beer for the holidays from my favorite brewery, which put me in a town where I’ve never found one stinkin’ silver coin, despite a few old sites and many, many, attempts.  I just figured the whole town was hunted out — its possible if you live there, and work each site the way I work sites.

But I was there, and there are still some sites I’ve never tried, and I hit one of them today, and, fortunately, the entire town isn’t hunted out, as I scored two rosies and 4 wheaties in short order.  One of the rosies was affected by iron, the type you need an E-Trac with see thru turned on to see, in all honesty.  All of the wheaties were tough and in trash.  The other rosie was a slam dunk, which is nice.  Otherwise, the site seemed pretty hunted out, as there was little easy clad, but it is large, and very trashy, so there is hope for skillful working to squeeze a couple more out.  Dunno when that will happen, as its Christmas stuff and winter weather (or so they tell me), from this point on.

So, it looks like we’ll fall a bit short of 400 silvers this season, assuming I don’t get out much more, but we’ll take this season, of course.  If I don’t have anything more to post the rest of the year, I’ll at least post a recap of my season on New Year’s Eve (assuming the world hasn’t ended, since it is already 12-21-12 in parts of it).

HH and Happy Holidays!

Merc Today

Well, the 4 hunt slump was broken today with a ’41 merc.  Certainly not stunning silver, but we’ll take it.  Despite my almost unbelievable success over the past few years, it remains true that silver coins are still really hard to find, as the recent slump reminds me.  We’ll take it.

The site is a baseball field built in the 1950s in a small development built at the same time.  The last time I was at this site was Nov of 2010 when I pulled a dateless SLQ, and my notes said the site was dead.  And it was; the SLQ was about the only target I found, more of a circumstantial target than a systemic one. Not a site I would normally seek out aggressively, but I had a doctor’s appt in that municipality today, and the municipality in question is my second best overall (yeah, I track silver by municipality; IMHO that is by far the most important stat I track).

Whatever.  It may be a 4-5 silver site, and I got 2 of ‘em now.  Doesn’t solve the “need a new site problem”.  Not sure when I’ll be back to this site or solve the “new site problem”, we’ll see.


I am in quite a slump, having hunted all week without finding a single silver coin.

Tuesday and Wednesday at the same site that gave up 2 silvers last Friday, which I thought had the potential to be a monster site, simply dudded.  Someone better than me had cleaned it out.

Thursday was at an old park in a new town (for me, anyway), that likewise seemed hunted out.  Problem was the bedrock was very shallow, meaning coins could not sink, meaning no advantage for my big unit and E-Trac.  I did find an abused Indian head there (which I don’t get excited about), and there is likely a couple silvers there if I had more patience, I just don’t.

Today (Friday), was a hunt at a church from the 1740s I got permission to hunt.  The churchyard was totally hunted out, not a single high tone to be had anywhere, and I gave it a good three hours.  There is alot more to this story (as those who may have read the pre-edited version know), but that’s that.

In the field behind the church, I did find a liberty cap half cent, my first ever of this type of coin.  Its totally abused.  You can make out that it is a liberty cap half cent in person, tho I could not get a photo that shows it really.  Too bad it isn’t in passable condition; it would be quite a find for me, and something to feel good about during this silver slump.

Woods Hunt

Family is doing a mall crawl (something I will not do under any circumstances, especially this time of year), so I got to do some detecting this morning.  I may even get to tomorrow morning if it doesn’t rain.

Anyway, a member of our Facebook club put together a hunt for this morning, it was an hour and a quarter drive for me, but I decided what the hell, I just wanted to meet some of the other people.

I had no time to do any research on the site, and had no idea where to go, so I just started milling around these woods more or less where everyone else was, and was finding nothing.  As far as I could read the terrain, the woods were second growth (reclaimed farmland), so it was like hunting a farm field.  I couldn’t even get iron nulls, and if you ain’t gettin’ that, the odds of getting anything else at an old site are between slim and none.

Eventually I did find where an old house was, you can tell from the domestic vegetation, bricks, and so forth, and most importantly, constant iron nulls.  So I focused there for quite some time, carefully gridding, and still got nothing but junk.  I did have one heart pounding moment when I found a small ceramic jar with a metal lid, I says, ok here is my first cache, but it was empty.

I was about 2 hours in, and still had not found a single coin or other keeper.  These sorts of hunts can be like this, and more often than not they are for me.

Burnt out on constant nulling/TTF, I decided to go into the purer woods from the homesite grass for some peace, got a 12-43 which I figured was a wheatie or a copper, but it turned out to be an abused 1919 merc.  Are you kidding me?  Just randomly in the woods when the homesite turned up bupkis.

Then I found an old road bed, and this was something worth focusing on, and I hit a spill of a wheatie and a 1946 Q.  On the board with my second silver of the day.  Two ahead of what I expected.  There was also a huge hunk of iron in the hole.  First I got the iron, and I said, are you kidding me?  I hear silver in here.  Scanned again, got the wheatie.  Scanned again, got the Q.

Found another old roadbed and got another weird signal, but I heard silver in there.  I pulled out of that hole 2 coppers fused together, a silver dime (1913 Canadian), and a huge hunk of iron.

The above pic shows the coppers fused together.  I cannot identify either one.  Here is a side view of the fusion –

After forcing the coppers apart, I still can’t identify them.  Since they were shallow, were in a hole with a Canadian dime, and rang a little light  (12-40 range), I’m think the possibility is that they are Canadian large cents (tho some early 1800 American LCs have been pulled from this site by others), who knows?  The one with the X looks like it has a bust, the other looks like a mirror image of that bust.  The one with the X also looks like it has the LC wreath on the back.  I’ll never know; scored as unidentifiables/smoothies.

One final thought on the iron.  At sites like this, it seems if you are not getting lots of iron junk, your odds of a silver or copper are low (occasionally you get a random one in the woods for fields, but that is rare, at least for me).

Below is the iron I had to deal with in 2 of the 3 holes with silver.  The Q is for size reference.  The smaller piece was on top of the wheatie and the Q in that hole, and the E-Trac still heard the silver; the larger piece was in the hole with that Canadian dime and fused copper pair.

All in all a fine morning hunt when I did not expect to find anything.

Copper and Silver

I had alot to write tonight.  Stories are dead, but it totally would have been a story otherwise.  Too bad, cause it was good, but, there simply is no time.

Tue went to a buddy’s site, and was skunked.  Wed worked a 13 hour day,  Thu went to  4 sites and eventually got a pair of silvers and an abused KG III copper; (1761 or 1767), at the 4th one.

[12-7] Well, I’m told I can’t have a KG III at 1761 or 1767.  Maybe it is a 1781 or 1787.  Who knows? [12-8] Now they tell me its a KG II and the date is 1751.  It might be.

Nice To See Some Silver

With the snow, and not much time to hunt, and no good place, it had been a while since I saw silver.  Three hunts in a row to be exact, but got a few today.

I did get out Friday once I found out it didn’t snow to the south of me, and went to a town south of me, that despite several tries, has yet to give up one stinkin’ silver coin.  I went to a small park that a buddy of mine once said gave up silver, but it had been picked clean — just a couple of wheaties.

Sunday I got out for 2 hours to the site I scouted last weekend — also picked clean, just 2 clad quarters were the only two coins.  That’s the problem with small sites, easy for the competition to pick clean, which I why I generally avoid them.  My technical skills with the E-Trac just didn’t help.  I did find a crotal bell at just one inch, which means it may have been regraded, or another detectorist could have dropped it.  There was lots of deep, high tone trash, just no coins or other keepers.  Oh well.  There is a bit more terrain here, but I don’t think I will be going back.

Still without a place, but the weather today was too nice to stay in and do research, an undertaking that has been quite frustrating lately, so I went to a huge site that had given up 20 silvers, but most zones that are left seemed dead, except one, where I got a stray rosie out of the blue last time I was there.

Got 3 more silvers, all in the first hour, right near where the rosie was.  I imagine they were all one or two events, cause this is an out of the way section, and the rest of it was dead as well.  I’ll take it, but it is more luck that skill silvers.  This is the sort of site that is so huge it would take a lifetime to cover completely, and I don’t really expect to find anymore there, but I guess I’ll be back someday if I am desperate for a place.