Year End Summary

Well, the year is over.  I dug 209 silver coins this year, down from 380 last year, and my personal record of 516 two years ago.  They don’t regenerate, after all. Too bad.

I found 4 coins that made My Best Finds list: an 1821 2 reale, 1875 Indian head, 1803 half reale, and 1830 bust half.  The latter is certainly a highlight of my career, and I still relive the experience of digging it. Here are the pics –

I’m also fairly confident that I dug an 1918/& S SLQ this year, but it is to hard to see with the date worn down, that I doubt the grading services will go for it, so it has to be scored as the really big one that got away.  Too bad.

I dug 13 coppers this year, down from 29 last year.  I’m not big on coppers, and last year was a blowout year in that department.  13 is more or less consistent with where I usually end up.

I dug about 3500 coins this year, compared with 5500 last year, so total activity is down as well.  I get a new digger each year, and the less wear on this year’s digger shows that.  I’d provide a pic, but I just don’t have the time.

One stat that is up is silver blings.  I dug 36 this year, compared to 35 last year.  Go figure.

One stat that is hideous is the wheatie to silver ratio, coming it at 2.91 this year.  Well above historical norms, and driving my career ratio from 2.35 to 2.45.  Not sure what’s going on here with that.  Bad luck?  Economists don’t believe in luck.  More likely aggressive reaching in the face of the decline.

So, that’s that.  It was a good year.  I hope everyone reading this had a good year, and has an even better year next year.

Year End Silver

Got out today for 3 hours, for the final hunt of the season.  My new battery now has 18 hours on its first charge, still with full bars.

Managed to pull a rosie, a large sterling ring that looks like it fell off a suit of armor, and a quarter than someone made into a guitar pick.  That seems pretty bizarre.  Is it a coin or a relic?  All up to the role of the reader (as is everything, of course).

So, that’s that for the season.  Its expected to be bitter cold around here going forward, so that may be it for a long time, as the ground freezes, the E-Trac hates the cold, and so do I.

Oh, and I guess I still have to do the year end summary.  I’ll do that in another post.

More Silver

Pulled 3 more silver coins today, at the site of recent entries.  This is now a 62 silver coin site; my 6th career 60+ silver site.  I didn’t think the B and C class zones at this site had it in them to produce much, but that’s why you get out and swing the coil.  You just never know.  We’ll see how the class D zones do someday.

Not much to say about the hunt, except the first couple were a bit tough to nail.  Got a pretty decent silver signal after about an hour of hunting, and just couldn’t nail it.  Spent about 5 minutes hacking at it, and just couldn’t find it.  Decided to move on, and just a swing later, hit an obvious deep silver Q, which I proceeded to pull.

That gave me confidence to again work that prickly one I couldn’t nail, and sure enough, I got it.  Not sure if it was the confidence of the silver Q, suggesting a one event spill, or the fact the the silver Q prolly pulled the pinpoint off on the first target,  Maybe a combination of these things.  Who knows?  Who cares, so long as the silver is flying out of the ground?  (Well, I care; but that is for another time).

Well, all I can say is that it is nice that we are now having our typical December weather around here, and I’m able to hunt during this holiday period.  Didn’t look so good 2 weeks ago.  Today’s hunt was 4.5 hours, putting the total time on my new battery at 15 hours, without a charge.  Still full bars.  Who’s taking the over/under on 30 hours?  I know I’m taking the under, but, we’ll see.

Snowy Silver

Back to the Christmas Eve site, working the area where I got a couple of coppers, and it started snowing pretty hard.  It was only supposed to be a snow shower, so I stuck it out.  I don’t think I’ve ever detected in heavy snow before.  One thing detecting in the snow allows you to do is to see how good your grid really is, and see if you are missing spots.

I got a rosie fairly quickly, and the snow stopped after about a half hour, leaving a dusting, but it was too damn cold, so I finished up that zone, and went home.  Total time was about 2.5 hours.  Add that to Tuesday’s 3 hours, and last week’s 4 hours, and we are now at 10.5 hours on the new battery with full bars, and no recharge.  Will be curious to see if I get 30 hours, like many claim.

Christmas Eve Hunt

Back to the site of 12/21.  1 rosie, 2 coppers (a half decent 1822, and a totally abused one of the same type), a pair of silver blings, and a pair of weaties; the oldest a 1914.  Well, its Christmas Eve; I’m drinking sangria, and carving turkey, so no bad stream of consciousness writing today :)   Have a good one everyone!

Another Silver Fish :)

Tried to get out yesterday, but there was too much snow at the sites I went to.  It melted some more overnight, and I was able to find a section of an old site that had patchy snow to about an inch left.

This was one of my favorite sites, before today a 55 silver site that has given up a little bit of everything: my oldest coin, a 1723 Wood’s Hibernia copper, a seated quarter, a stunning SLQ, a pair of gold rings, a flying eagle, countless coppers, and more (never gotten any Barber silver here, tho, and of course, nothing from the dead zone).  A true honey hole.

Almost all of this was in 2010 and 2011, and the last time I was there was July 2012, finishing up a couple of zones, and getting a couple of rosies.  Its a huge site, and I had pretty much written off all the other zones, as prospecting never tuned up anything, and there was never any reason to believe anything should be in any of them, but now we are a bit smarter about things.

I didn’t expect to find anything, its sort of like random field theory, but I wanted to get out, it was the first time I could in a while, and I wanted to test that new battery, so out I went.

And, surprisingly, I found a pair of mercs, and a silver fish.  Not another big fish, unfortunately, but a silver fish nonetheless.  Pretty cool.  Just in the middle of a field.

I can’t get a date off the one merc.  Too bad.  As for the RNB Innovations battery, it worked fine.  I didn’t really detect any difference, nor did I expect to.  Its lighter than the stock battery, and after 4 hours of hunting, I still had full bars.  In the colder weather, the stock battery would have been toast by that time.  I don’t know if it is deeper; I didn’t get any deep, iffy targets, except things I was pretty sure were ferrous.  And besides, I forgot the stock battery anyway to comparison test.

Well, it will be about 60 today, and 70 tomorrow.  I expect all the snow around here to be completely gone in the next 36 hours.  So, it looks like my season isn’t over yet at all.  Not sure where or when I’ll go next, with the holidays and all.

As for hunting in the snow, its a pain.  The snow cakes on that Big Unit coil, making it really heavy, and every hole you dig is a mudfest.  (That was another reason to choose this site, as  I did not expect to dig many targets).  So, good riddance to the snow!

Well, I guess I shouldn’t be whining; at least I can detect again.  And, just a little bit of mud, I guess –

Snow and Ice

We rarely get snow this early in the season around here, but got some last night, and are supposed to get dumped on some more later in the week.  We’ll see.  Perhaps my season is over.  I wasn’t thinking about it at the time, but I’m glad I got to 200 silver coins for the year last week.

I did get out for a couple of hours on Saturday to an old colonial era site from May that gave up a couple of nice coins, but only found a couple of stray clad pennies on Sat.  I did fields and woods, and I know 2 hours isn’t really enough time to find anything, especially at this site, which is the hardest hunted site I know (I’ve seen 4 other detectorists in person here; at no other site have I seen more than 1). Tough way to end the season, if that be the case.

I got my new battery, and I wanted to test it see if it really does give more depth, or at least see if it holds a charge for 30 hours like everyone claims.  A project for another time, now.

Maybe I’ll take the downtime to redo my trainwreck web site (a project to huge to contemplate), or work on some outdoor puzzles, or do some research.

YTD Silver #201

The barber dime was YTD silver #200, and the merc was #201.  We’ll take it.  Milestones are fun, but should not be the primary purpose.  Same site as the past few entries (now an 11 silver site).  One or two more hunts to close it out, tho now that I am out of “milestone hell”, perhaps I’ll just hunt fields for the rest of the year looking for big fish.  Oh yeah, also pulled a silver religious pendant.

Battery Issues

First the good news.  Dug these yesterday.

Same site, same experience.  Everything was really deep, and you had to dig ‘em all.  Ended up digging 22 clad quarters.  Are you kidding me?  That’s alot.

The bad news is I got a weird error on the E-Trac: “OVER VOLTAGE”, and it shut down, and would not boot.  Pulled the battery, kept trying, and so forth, so I went home.  What else can you do?

I googled around, and could not find anything interesting (which, I imagine, will be the same experience for the next person who has this issue, and happens to land here), so I put the double AA pack in, and it booted fine.  I put the rechargeable pack in, after just 15 minutes of recharging, and it was fine.  Go figure.  When I started the day, on a fully charged battery, it started with one bar.  After charging for an hour, after this problem, it had all but one bar.  Go figure.

So, I went back to the site, more to see if the machine was fine than anything else, and it was, and I also pulled the silver Q, making this a 9 silver site.

Today, I went back to the same site, same experience, except I pulled 24 clad quarters this time, one at an unbelievable 9 inches.  Are you kidding me?  I figured I had a silver on that one.  But, I didn’t, in fact, I didn’t get a single silver all day.  I’m in a less promising section of the site (field not as old), but the grade is true, so there should be a stray silver or two.  Hopefully there will be in the future.

The fully charged battery died after just 3 hours today.  At least I didn’t get that hideous message.  I finished up on the AA pack.

So, I ordered the RMB Innovations replacement battery.  Reading good things about it.  Expect it on Friday; maybe I’ll get a chance to test it next week, we’ll see.

Interesting thing about this battery is that alot of comments (including one on the manufacturer’s site), suggest that this battery will give you more depth.  Some people on the forums just come right out and claim that it does.  I’m no engineer, but that has got to be absolute bullshit.  But, it tickles your buying bone.  It tickles your gullibility.  People are naturally gullible, and will always buy hope and other irrationality, regardless of how obviously stupid the suggestion is.  I’m not going to get too off-topic or offensive here, but you see this in the “real world” everyday.  I’ll leave it to the role of the reader to come up with their own examples.

Well, my gullibility bone has been tickled (not that I had a choice; I need a new battery, and  the OEM battery is apparently garbage).  But, more depth from a battery?  Are you kidding me?  Do these people buy LRL machines as well.  I know one prominent dealer that sells them, so someone must.

Well, the OEM battery is easy enough to carry around and swap out.  When I get this new battery, maybe I’ll do some depth tests, then post the results.  If someone wants to give me a free LRL machine, I’ll test that too (well, maybe not) :)

A Few More Dimes

Friday I went back to the site that coughed up the 3 dimes on Thanksgiving for a couple of hours, and got skunked. Oh well.

Sunday I had some business in a town about an hour and a half from where I live.  I have a hunting buddy out that way, but we haven’t hooked up in forever due to the drive, but since I was out there, I hit him up, and he took me to a site where he had found a few reales and a capped bust half dime, as well as some coppers.  Thanks buddy!

We hunted for about 3 or 4 hours, and the only old coin I found was a totally abused King George III copper.  Its not even worth a pic.  I read that some guys are jaded about finding modern silvers (I don’t think that will ever happen to me; I enjoy the experience on so many levels), but I know for certain I am totally jaded on finding abused coppers.  To each their own, I guess.

Today I had a few hours to hunt a ballfield I last hunted on Jan 2nd of this year.  It produced a silver that day, and a couple more before Christmas last year.  Interesting that my notes on this site say “don’t get discouraged”.  I have no memory of why I wrote that; usually my notes are more of a practical nature of the details of the site.

Whatever, put the Big Unit on, and give the site another go.  The site only dates to the early 50s, and all the silvers I have found were dated in the 60s.  Whatever.  The sites I’ve been working recently (fields and more fields for the most part), have really been devoid of targets.  It was nice to go to a site that at least was noisy for a change of pace.

Got the first rosie pretty quickly, a deep iffy signal, and that is the way the whole day went.  All the top level clad had been cleaned out, and I was left chasing down deep, iffy signals all day.  Everything was so deep that TID wasn’t working, so I had to dig an inordinate amount of clad and wheaties.  Many sound good, even without TID, but one after another — wheatie, clad dime, clad quarter.  I dug almost 40 such coins after that first rosie without a second shiny coin to show for it.  Sheesh.  I figured the dimes were just out of reach, given that silver dimes don’t leave the halo like clad and wheaties do.

But with just 10 minutes before I had to go, I got yet another deep, iffy one, no TID, but nice sound, and it was a worn ’39 merc.  Whohoo.  Then, 5 minutes later, a rosie on another deep one.  I’m not sure if the machine heard it, as there was a wheatie in the hole as well, which is maybe what it heard.

So, at the end of the day, the ratios turned out to be good, but it was just good luck in the last few minutes (or regression to the mean, if you want to look at it that way).

Happy Thanksgiving

At least it was for these guys, being spared another miserable winter in the frozen dirt.

The E-Trac wasn’t so happy about it, as it was only 28 degrees.  The manual says don’t operate it at less than 32 degrees, and that is rarely a problem for me since I don’t operate below that temp either.  The battery had one bar after just an hour of detecting, and the cold was definitely affecting the screen, as it was very sluggish to update.

So, it was a couple of 60s rosies in the same hole with a wheatie, and a ’42 merc a couple of feet away.  The rest of the three hour hunt was dead, save for a couple of stray wheaties.  At least it was nice to see silver in the hole again; it had been about a week.

The Random Field Theory

I didn’t find any silver today.  I found 2 hours of light rain, 36 degrees, and misery in the field that produced the bust half.  Yesterday was 5 hours in the same field, where it was colder and windier.  At least it was sunny, more or less.  And, at least I found a 1919 wheatie.  Whohoo.  Wheaties are hard to find (at least at this place, nearly as hard as bust silver), so we’ll take ‘em.

Anyway, I was discussing the concept of the random field theory on one of my Facebook groups when I posted the bust half, which basically says: if you walk into a random field, and throw enough time at the problem, eventually you will get an old silver (at least around here).  We all know its true, cause if you hunt a park from the 50s, and are digging reales and coppers, it has to be true, assuming the thing was a field before it was a park, and the dirt isn’t imported fill.  Pretty safe assumptions with just the tiniest bit of research.

So, I’ve found 9 reales, 8 of which were either directly from fields, or from parks on land that used to be fields (the 9th from a colonial era house property).  Same with my 2 bust silvers and, I’ll bet, most of my coppers, (tho I didn’t bother to go thru them and check).

Being a numbers guy, I was curious to quantify the random field theory, at least for this field, for future reference.  I suppose if I do another field site, I’ll refer back to these numbers, so I might as well bore myself with them now, while they are fresh in my mind, since I don’t otherwise track this stuff (in particular, I don’t track the time I spend detecting, just the finds and the sites).

Well, that takes alot of patience, doesn’t it?  1 silver per 10 hours; 2 older coins per 10 hours.  But. at least the silvers were worth it.  For reference, I think a reasonable run rate is 1 silver per hour at a normal site, a “honeyhole” 2 or more per hour, worst case 1 per 2 hours (which is were we’ve been more often that not this season).

Interesting that I didn’t find a single nickel or IH in this field.  And, unlike park hunting, I dug just about every repeatable tone, regardless of where it was on the range.

For relics, I found 2 buttons (one copper flat, one Waterbury), 2 colonial buckles, the copper hair thing, and a musket ball.

For reference, I estimate that the field was about 7.15 acres.  I used Google Earth and this website to estimate.  (I’m surprised I could not find a way to do that directly in GE; I’m sure its there, but this is close enough).

So, on average, it takes me about 4 hours to cover an acre in a sparse field.  (I’m sure all this data is just fascinating.  Its all for my own future reference in case I decide to do another field project, which I’m sure I will someday).

So that’s that.  I usually don’t have this sort of patience, but it worked out for this field, IMHO. given that half dollar.  (I’ve done this sort of thing before, and the results, tho I never took down the data, seemed to be about the same, without, of course, the big fish, but more abused coppers).

As for the site, there are several other fields there, but my permission is suspended on Monday, the start of rifle season.  After the hunters are gone, not sure if I will go back, or not.  After finding the bust half, you want to clear the entire site, but the data show, as they always do, that painful regression to the mean.

But, there’s more.  Don’t get me started on stats.  I love ‘em to death, and am always looking for the cause.  That’s why economists become economists.

There’s the issue of the dead zone.  I haven’t found a single silver coin dated after 1857 and before 1892.  That’s what I call the dead zone.  Why not?  I’ve found 16 silver coins dated 1857 and earlier (9 Spanish, 4 seated, and 1 trime).  What’s going on here?  I really expected one in that field.

What happened in 1857 that could explain this?  I dunno, but I do know that large coppers went away, Spanish silvers were decreed non-current, and we went to smaller, lower tone cents that year, and nickels (also lower tone), in 1866 or so.  By 1891 (the end of the seated era), industrialization and urbanization were the buzzwords of historical economics.

And, while I am not a historical economist, I’m unaware of any long term economic event (such as the Great Depression, which explains why coins of that era are harder than expected to find), that would explain the dead zone.

Is it technical (VDI of pocket change changing), is it economic, is it chance, or is it some other socioeconomic factor such as farm labor migrating from the owner and family (who may have had change), to laborers, who may not have (simply working for room and board)?

Who knows?  Maybe a combination of all these things.  But, I sure would like to start scoring some dead zone era silvers as well (not that I’m complaining — its more a case of: if you see statistics trending a certain way in any domain, and can ferret out the underling cause (and remember, correlation is not causation — not understanding that tends to lead to irrational superstition), you can generally perform better in that domain.  That’s what we try to do here, FWIW.  In any case, my guess is that you have to hit urban sites, and that is hard, at least around here.

Well, I’m sure that foray into statistical metal detecting was interesting :)   I don’t care.  I’m still jacked about that bust half.  Anyway, I think I’ll be glad I recorded these stats somewhere down the line.  We’ll see.

More Field Silver

Not as exciting as the last one, but the recent field that produced the 1830 bust half produced a silver dime yesterday –

Gorgeous, don’t you think?  We’ll, I do, especially as silver coins are really hard to find, and this field has now quietly turned into a 3 silver site.  They can’t all be bust silvers and reales, now can they?  And what if I did dig another bust silver, could I even get away with posting it?  Would anyone believe be? Too effin’ bad I didn’t get the chance to try, cause I was certainly hoping for another one.  This was a five hour hunt that produced not only the rosie, but a toasted wheatie and zincoln as well.  Field hunting can try your patience.

And today was another 5 hour hunt, where I pulled exactly 2 coins, both of them zincolns.  Are you kidding me?  (Could have been IH’s or draped bust half dimes, both of which ring up the same, in my experience).

I was considering making this Farewell Farewell day, cause it is a Friday, but I really want to cover the entire field, and get a coin count and other statistics (us economists, always worrying about numbers, but it does help, at least it helps me), for future reference, but I could not finish it today.  And besides, I had gotten a silver coin on 3 of the 4 hunts, 2 of them really old, so why not try to complete the site?  May be another big fish here.  Not that anyone will believe me, but that will be a fun problem to have.  And besides, its the way the mind works — score big in a certain zone, the mind wants to hang out in that zone (at least mine does).

I did have a few exciting high tones today, and this was the best.  I dug 12 inches (measured), to dig this treasure.  Just proves the E-Trac can nail deep targets in clean soil, cause it ain’t that thick, and it ain’t that large.

I’m not a relic guy, but my best guess is that it is something that women put in their hair (or may have put in their hair 200 years ago). I don’t know what the term is, but I do know my sister had similar looking things made of plastic that she put in her hair in the 70s.  This one is made of copper. Hopefully Pink will bail me out on this one :)

All I can say is that I think it is a nice tell.  Hopefully the lady of the house dropped a few silvers nearby while she was messing with her hair.  We’ll see, but I’m not too optimistic.

Old Button

I didn’t go metal detecting today.   I should have, cause it was nice and sunny (tho a bit on the cold side), and all you want to do is get back to a big fish site as soon as possible (even tho you know rationally that the odds of another one are vanishing low). Instead, I felt like taking a day off and savoring my victory.

But, I did process this button I found yesterday on the same hunt.  I didn’t feel like processing it yesterday, cause I was too busy celebrating.  Its not much, and I’m not one to get too excited about old buttons, but its c. 1830-1840 or somesuch and gilded. Normally I would whine along the lines of “why can’t it be a coin from the same era?”.  Fortunately, I don’t have to do that anymore.

I did take the time today to write up that bust half in Minelab’s Find of the Month contest.  I hope I win.  If I don’t, I’ll be curious to see what does.  The thing about my coin is not only is it a big fish, but it is in stunning, problem free condition.  That seems like a double whammy that is hard to trump, and I hope the judges agree.  We’ll see.  (That said, I’ll prolly forget to check back).

I entered that contest once before, with this entry.  I didn’t win.  I should have. cause I think its a hard story to trump, and I don’t play games I don’t expect to win, tho, admittedly, I never checked back to see what actually did win.  In any case, this is an amazing quote from that story: “including a streak of 7 straight hunts where I pulled at least 10 silver coins” — Are you kidding me?  Those days are gone forever, but yesterday’s find sort of puts a stamp of contentment on my career, so that I long for those days slightly less.

Big Fish Baby !!!!!!!!!!!

Here it is –

And here is is, all cleaned up –

Oh my, it is a beautiful coin for something that has come out of the dirt.  I think if you click in the pic, you get a bigger one, and it looks even prettier.  I am so jacked about this one, baby!  22761 coins dug, and just my second bust silver.  My first was in the spring of 2010.  That was a very long time ago.  That’s how hard they are to find, at least for me.

Came in deep bouncing between an 01-42 and 22-something.  Could be ferrous, maybe a copper.  Got down about 8 inches and saw the rounded silver edge, and knew it was a silver coin, figured it was 2 reale, popped it out and saw the eagle first, and my mind instantly said walker, flipped it over, saw the bust, and I knew I had my second big fish!  Big fish baby!

Detected for about an hour more.  Found a gilt button.  I didn’t even bother to process it.  I wasn’t sure why I was still detecting.  I couldn’t focus.  I just wanted to get home and process this baby.  Its an awesome coin, and I don’t care if I never dig another silver again.

Big Fish Baby !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

More Woods Silver

Back to the 7 silver site in the woods, the one with all the wheaties the first time I was there, and no silver this past Friday.  Just cleaning up the last section, and pulled a pair of silver coins.

Its kinda fun to just be moving thru thick woods, and randomly get a silver coin.  And it was pretty random, as I had no reason to know where things might have been, or not, in this section of the site.

The Q was interesting, as it came in as a 10-42 on the E-Trac, which is really weird.  I thought it had a chance to be a thin dime as they come in low sometimes, but turns out there was a wheatie above it, and wheatie below it.  I expected a wheatie, of course, and was quite pleased to see that shiny edge sticking out.  For a moment I thought — oh my, it must be a bottle cap.

Got another 10-42 a bit later, and no such luck this time, a greenie meenie wheatie.  Pulled a total of just 6 coins on the hunt, 4 wheaties, 2 silvers, and no clad.  Sweet.  Pretty sparse site except for that first day when I dug close to 50 older coins.

Well, that’s that, the site is closed, a 9 silver site, about 50 wheaties, a couple of buffs, an IH, and a toasted draped bust half cent.  Time to move on.

Interesting site tho.  Turns out what it was was the site of an old town that was first settled in the early 1800s, but had become overgrown.  There was an old ballfield on both the 30s and 50s aerials, and I had been drooling over the site ever since I got an MD.  The problem was that the woods were always too thick, until recently some of them were cleared for construction.  Got in there on that first day, and did quite well, tho only one really old coin back to the early days of the town.  Too bad on that.  My guess is that it was a virgin site, as it was pretty undetectable due to the vegetation where the ballfield was.  I had been in the less dense sections of the woods in the past, but never found anything, but I have better tenacity and technique these days, and the confidence that there was stuff there, and was able to get a couple more.  It was sparse tho, outside the ballfield, but the town was small as well.


Pulled a couple of rosies today.  Woohoo.  Silver coins are hard to find, so we’ll take ‘em all.

The last time I was at this site was in May, 2010, when I was still learning the E-Trac.  I pulled a walker on that day, and a few deep wheats, but not much else,  I wrote the site off at the time, due to the low density.

But, you learn alot in the intervening years, and I was to meet friends for lunch in that direction, so I figured I’d give the site another go,  It was still really low density, and every time I said — just one more rank of the grid — if I don’t get a good tell, I’m outta here — I seemed get a good tell, so I soldiered on to a rather pedestrian hunt which eventually produced the rosies, on the same rank of a grid, about 20 minutes apart.

It might be another 2 or 3 years before I’m back here, as there isn’t much left of the site, but at least it is another old legacy site that I’m able to update in my database.

Did have 2 hunts earlier in the week, each of which might otherwise merit their own entries, but we don’t like blogging failure.

The first was at the field site that produced that really sweet 1803 half reale, as well as that hideous large copper.  I spent 5 more hours in that field, and did not dig a single coin.  Are you kidding me?  I guess that is what field hunting is.  I was praying for clad, just give me something to dig.  I only got one high tone in 5 hours, and it was a colonial era buckle.  Not only that, my battery died — this is a fully charged, supposedly 18 hour E-Trac battery, that died after 5 hours.  Are you kidding me?  I hate leaving time on the table, especially at a permission site.  Fortunately, the permission doesn’t expire, and I will be back.  Field hunting has a certain contenting appeal to me, even if you rarely ever dig anything.

The second was Farewell Farewell at the other site I’ve been working, the one that produced a sixspot the other day.  Dug plenty more wheats, met my wife for lunch, drank Victory beer at a local restaurant, went out and dug more wheats, and didn’t even close out the site.  Maybe this week, we’ll see.

Field Hunt

In some entry last week I speculated on the beauty and contentment of just doing a long field hunt, and after the difficult detecting of the past few days, I decided to throw the Big Unit on the E-Trac and hit some fields.  These fields are associated with the house where I found the holed 1818 large copper last week.

I don’t get much when I hunt fields, but I was surprised what I got today.  Started out pretty lame — bottle cap, zincoln, memorial penny (are you kidding me?, when hunting an old field, you have to dig all this crap, and, unlike park hunting, where bottlecaps are almost better than silver as tells, they suck here).

But, about an hour in, I got a large copper, just 3 inches deep.  That gives you the killer instinct and the confidence to tough out the cold and wind.  The copper turned out to be garbage, but was valuable as a confidence builder.

Pressing on, I get a buckle and a musket ball.  Some guys get excited about these relics; I’m not one of them, but at least they are nice 200 year old tells.  We’ll take ‘em, cause you press on with hope.

Yikes that copper is ugly.  But after these nice tells, I got something not so ugly, a sweet 1803 1/2 reale.

When it popped out, I was hoping for a bigger fish, but we’ll take it.  Silver coins are hard to find, and old silver coins are even harder to find.  This is my 9th reale (in all denominations), compared to just 1 bust silver coin.  I wonder if that ratio is consistent with history.  We’ll call this one a medium fish, and keep hoping and swinging.

Anyway, we press on, and get a beautiful 9-46 sort of signal, I’m thinking I got my big fish now after the LC and the reale, and it turns out to be a 1971 clad quarter in the middle of a field.  Are you kidding me?  Talk about heartbreak hotel.

And even more heartbreak hotel is a deep high tone, the sort of thing that is a large conductive object, and, in the back of your mind, you always think cache, and you dig and you dig and you dig, and eventually you hit this, in the middle of a field –

The lid of a jar!  Are you kidding me?  But, just the lid.  No jar, no cache.  Heartbreak hotel.  We’ll take the 1/2 reale (who wouldn’t?), but I felt so close, yet so far away, from the big fish today.


Monday, went back to the site from Sun which produced 6 silvers (who wouldn’t), and it was pretty much dead outside of the one hot zone.

So, I decided to to something I rarely do, and cross grid the hot zone, given all the older coins I found in that one section, and not much anywhere else.

As a matter of explanation, when I say I “grid out a site” (which I almost always do), what I really do can prolly best be described as “cornrowing”, not truly “gridding”.  I go down one rank of a section of the site, then come back right next to that rank the other way.  I call it gridding but it really means covering every inch of the site as efficiently as possible, while neither missing any of it, or going over any of it twice (both, of which, IMHO are inefficient except at the most ferrous infested sites).

What I call “crossgridding” is what I think some other people call “gridding”.  That means cornrowing as above, but then cornrowing the entire section at 90 degrees, thus covering each piece of terrain twice.  I’ve always thought that that was a waste of time, and doing so has rarely produced much for me beyond the original grid.

But, this seemed an appropriate site for it.  First of all, the site has awkward vegetation, making a clean low and slow grid difficult, having to work around awkward obstacles, and secondly, the old coin density just begged for another pass.

So, that’s what I did, crossgridded the dense hot zone, and found exactly one coin.  At least it was a rosie.  We’ll take it.

Well, I dunno if that was pic worthy, but silver coins are really hard to find, so we cherish them all — all hard won.

Tuesday was back to the same site for a shortened hunt, to try to make sense of it — if it has one hot zone, maybe it has another, but I got bupkis, and got sick of the frustrating vegetation, trash, and so forth.  There’s alot of terrain left here, but it is difficult detecting to say the least, so I’ll at least table it for a day, or maybe longer.

I’m writing this on the 13th, but its really for the 12th and has been backdated.  I don’t even have time to blog anymore.


Now that’s more like it.  After 21 straight wheaties without a silver, today’s hunt started out with 4 more, before I finally saw a merc in the hole.  25 straight.  Are you kidding me?

But, it gets worse. After I found the merc, I dug another 23 wheaties in a row, just in today’s hunt! before my second silver of the day, another merc, which is in with a buff.  Unbelievable.  I had one where there were 6 in a hole, and another just past it, with 3.  Not a silver among them.

Things calmed down a little bit; I finished the hunt off with 4 more silver coins, and 12 wheaties, still above my normal ratio, but much better than very recent memory.  The total is an unbelievable 39 wheates on today’s hunt (I’m surprised that isn’t a record for me; turns out my record is 41, but on that day, I dug 23 silvers, and that was a 12 hour hunt.  Today just 6 silvers for a hideous ratio of 6.5:1).

I have no idea what is going on.  I find it hard to believe that it is cherry picking, as the site is old enough to have bust and seated silver, and, if so, you’ve got to dig all of these.  In fact, I found a draped bust half cent (no date, and no detail in the pic), so I know first hand that really old coins that could ring up anywhere have the potential to be here.  I have no idea why the ratio is so whacked, but this could of, and should of, been a 15-20 silver day.  It just wasn’t.

But, I did get a potpourri of old coins.  In addition to the 6 silvers and 39 wheaties (the oldest being 1919), I got 2 buffs, a decent looking 1904 IH, and the abused draped bust half cent.  I only dug 7 clad coins, 2 of which were a 1939 and 1940 nickel, so it was a nice hunt overall, but could have been a blowout if the ratios held true.  Total hunt time was 7 hours.

21 Straight

Never a good title.  That means I’ve dug 21 straight wheaties without seeing a silver coin.  I’m not sure if that is a record for me, but it might be.  Whatever it is, it sucks.  I hate wheaties, cause they prove you have done all the right things, and haven’t gotten the payoff for it.

In all fairness, I haven’t been out alot over the past week, but still, based on a long running ratio, that should have translated into about 8 or so silvers.

Last weekend, I hit a site I have been drooling over for a couple of years.  Its huge, by far the largest site I have ever worked, and it is far from me, meaning it is likely only a weekend site, and I rarely can hunt on weekends.  But, it looks like a 100 silver site, and I ain’t had one of them in quite some time.

I spent 5 hours there last Sunday, and pulled 13 wheaties.  No deep clad quarters, but a deep non-silver high tone religious pendant, and several deep copper objects.  Not sure if the site has been cherry-picked, there are technical reasons for missing the silver but seeing the copper, bad luck, or a combination of all three.  I still think the site has potential, but until you the shiny, you have to be discouraged.

The beginning of the week had me just cleaning up the embankment area of the site from the last entry, where I did manage to find silver.  I expected 2 silvers, and got 6 deep clad quarters instead.  Oh well.  The main part of this site is more or less done (25 silvers), but it also has a huge area which I’ve never spent much time in, cause there seemed no reason to spend much time it it, except another detectorist claimed he found a seated quarter in that zone.  I didn’t believe him (I certainly would not have said that, if true, unless I had cleaned out the zone, so what would be the point?), but it is so huge maybe he didn’t have the patience (but of course he did, who wouldn’t?).  I didn’t find a seated quarter there.  I found a 1912 wheatie, tho.  Maybe I’ll be back, maybe not, it was quite boring.

A couple hours yesterday and today were spent at an old abandoned house site, which was built in 1824.  These sites are hard to work, due to rough ground, brambles, and the like, and tend to be hit and miss (usually miss for me), but a big fish can always lurk at such.  I had a very nice site like this early in the year where I pulled a beautiful 2 reale and semi-key IH. so you never know.

First day (Thursday) was 6 wheaties, no silvers.  Not only that, another detectorist has been there recently; I could see his plugs.  Prolly just a week or so old.  Funny thing is that I pulled wheates from 2 of his plugs.  Weird.  Cherry picker or incompetent, who knows?  The hunt was cut short due to rain.

Today went back to finish it off; I figured 6 wheaties was a good tell, especially with the competition working the site and missing so much, but didn’t get much in the end.  Did, however, get one beautiful, to die for deep high tone, which turned out to be an 1818 largie with a hole.  Always copper.  Always bridesmaid.

Its so rare to see a copper come out of the soil around here in a relatively unabused state, and my luck, the thing has a hideous hole right down the middle.  Should have been a bust quarter, why wasn’t it?  I figure for every 25 coppers you dig, you should get a bust quarter, right?  Its just simple math — 25 cents is 25 cents.  I’ve dug 82 coppers, so I’m owed 3 bust quarters.  Of course, I’ve dug 2 2 reales (2 bits, as it were, which is actually what they were), so there goes 2 of them (Spanish silver circulated much more than American silver in those days), and coppers are easier to detect than silvers, due to the halo.  So, I guess I’m on budget, especially since I also have a seated Q, and the copper era extended into the seated era.  Did that make sense?  it wasn’t supposed to, but it did, at least to me; the endless rationalization of missing the big fish once again and forevermore.

So, I guess the next thing to blather about is that whatchamacallit on the right.  That came in as a deep 12-37, which I figured could be an IH, or, even better, an exotic like a half dime oe 3 center.  Problem was the pinpoint was big, and that rarely ends well.

But, down about 6 inches, out comes this massive piece of iron, at least golf ball size.  Are you kidding me?  Deep iron never falses in the 37s, so I figure there’s more, and, of course, there always is.  Pulled some small copper cruft, and a nail just below the iron, and there was still something there, and it was the whatchamacallit, about 8 inches deep, directly below the golf ball sized iron.  Are you kidding me?  Just shows how amazing the E-Trac is.

Too bad it wasn’t something amazing.  It it silver, tho, at least the outer part of it is.  I have no idea what it is, but it seems to be a copper interior with a silver exterior.  I’m not gonna say silver plated, cause after 200 years, that would have worn off.  So, its some sort of 200 year old semi silver bling.  Kinda cool, I guess.  I imagine in those days, it was a big deal.  Too bad its more or less garbage now.  But here are a couple more views of it, by far the oldest silver (or semi-silver) bling I’ve ever found –

So, that’s that.  Sort of a pedestrian documenting of the hunts sort of entry.  That’s what happens when you are not getting any, I suppose.  The one more odd thing about today’s hunt to mention is that there are endless fields at the site, and I just felt a sort of contentment swinging aimlessly thru these fields hoping to randomly find something (scarily, I found a nice 1 reale this way in the past, so there is something to it, maybe).  It could mean I’ll do more of these sorts of hunts going forward, we’ll see.

Couple O’ Dimes Today

Here they are –

I think its gonna be a short entry.  Dug a couple of silver dimes today, as you can see.  This is at a 23 silver site (now a 25 silver site), that I first hit last spring for 2 silvers, and worked pretty good for 21 more last fall.  A couple of locals had said the site is hunted out, but I managed to pull a walker, reale, a couple of coppers, as well as the remaining 20+ silvers.  Never believe a place is hunted out until you work it yourself.

Today was just cleaning up some loose ends at this site, like I’ve been doing at other sites.  Might as well get ‘em all, if they are there.  The rosie was on an embankment, and I like to think I’m brilliant for pulling silvers from an embankment when the competition ignores embankments, but in this case, its not like that.  Its tough to keep a tight grid on a 35-40 degree embankment, and the coins tend to be at weird angles sometimes.  It was clear that this embankment had been hunted, they just missed one.  Maybe I did too, who knows?

Of course, I’ve had other embankments with a much higher run rate than the surrounding site, just not today.  There is something to it, so keep that it mind.

Well, not as short as I wanted it, but that’s that.  Its been a crazy week, and is only getting crazier.

Hunted Out Site SLQ

Well, that gives it away, doesn’t it?  I pride myself on pulling silver from hunted out sites, in fact, if I have a specialty, that is likely it.  But it is a bit embarrassing to pull such from a site I allegedly hunted out, especially after mountains of blog blather — technique this, grid that and so on.

Ok, there’s the pic, lets see what sort of story writes itself today.  There’s always the morning edit if its absolute garbage.

I don’t have a killer site at present (I have a ton in the “almost close me out, but there might be a few more here” state), and have had no time to research, and the weather is beautiful, so its best to not waste a beautiful day, even if you have no where to go.  Research is for rainy days.  So, when in these situations, I go over my old sites and try to close them out, or at least transcribe my paper logs of the site into Google Earth, or look for areas of the site I may have missed.

Today’s site for that treatment was a 38 silver site I worked pretty hard in late spring of last year.  Its a huge permission site; I worked the best areas day after day, then called it a site, but never really closed out, since there is so much terrain left.  The remaining terrain could be good, but there was no positive evidence that it would be, so I moved on.

Later, I discovered a 100 year old map of the site that showed a house in an area that is now overgrown fields and woods.  Of course, I made a note of it in my site database (tip — if you are a newbie reading this, design a reasonable and easy to use site database, and maintain it meticulously.  It helps, trust me).

Anyway, today’s plan was to hunt the fields and woods near where the house was.  I was a little queasy on permission etiquette — the permission from the power that was, was “yeah, no problem”, and for 6 weeks last year, it was, “yeah, no problem”.  But, do these permissions ever expire?   Its an interesting ethical question after 17 months, but the bottom line is that I didn’t sweat it.  Should I have?

So, onto the site, and I figured this was a good chance at a big fish; an out of the box section of a permission site with an old mansion that was at least 100 years old, likely older.  And, fighting tall grass, woods, vines, poison ivy (tip — if you are a newbie reading this, wear gloves.  Of course, you already knew this; I don’t think clueless newbies could even find this page), and I was surprised at the number of high tone targets.  The competition had not been here, or, if they had been, they were brilliant cherry pickers, cause all I found was wheaties.  Are you kidding me?

Here I am in chest high grass, killer poison ivy, brambles, out the box on a permission site with an old mansion on the old maps, and every high tone is a wheatie.  Give me a pfuc [well nevermind] break.   Eventually I a got a sweet high tone, a 10-48 or some such, and what was it — a massive clad spill.  Are you kidding me?  A 6 coin 70′s clad spill at some random spot in the woods.  Of course, it wasn’t totally random — there were beer cans everywhere, obviously a 70s party site.  Based on the brands of beer represented, it was clear that the partiers had no cultural acumen to know not to throw bad brand beer cans around on a prime metal detecting site (much less drink that swill, which is obviously the larger crime).  Sheesh.  Who educates these people?

8 wheaties, no silvers, and that zone is done.  No big fish.  No little fish.  No minnows.

So, its back to the car, back to work, which has me traversing the area I had gridded out last spring.  I had a bit of time, so I decided I’d run a transect across this hunted out area from the woods to my car. and out pops that SLQ.  Are you kidding me?  From an area that I had marked as hunted out.

I understand when you grid out a site, you might miss a deep, thin dime (and my grids are meticulous), but to miss a Q.  And it was as loud as a heavy metal band; I knew it was a silver Q before I dug it.

Of course, this isn’t a controlled experiment.  Chanel may have been different last spring,  Ground may have been drier,  I know the grass was thicker, costing me an inch last spring; today it was cut like a putting green.  The coin was also somewhat on its side — if perfectly on its side is 90 degrees, this one was at 75-80 degrees.  Maybe it shifted in the past 17 months.  The other factor is that I was using the big unit today, but the stock coil at that time last year.

But, all the pseudo science BS aside, I should have got it last time.  I just didn’t, and that’s that.  BTW, I have done this many times — transected areas and grids during the closing process that I figured I’ve cleaned out, and only once ever found a silver.  I do this to validate my approach — just goes to show that no site is ever hunted out, and those who think they are perfectly meticulous are really just perfectly arrogant about their skill.  I guess I fall in that category, at least on this one.  I do know, however, that the run rate at the sites where I’ve missed ‘em would be so low as to try my patience, so its sort of an opportunity cost and time optimization problem at that point (gotta throw some econ jargon in, don’t we — its what we do — but I personally believe an approach to metal detecting from an economist’s point of view simply leads to more silvers.  JMHO, of course).

Yikes.  Don’t think I’m gonna like this one in the morning, but I don’t think there are too many bad words, so I suppose it will stand, as in the larger zeitgeist of metal detecting, it works, at least for me.  Now I have to go to work.  Bummer.  At least I can gaze at this beauty all shinyied up (forgetting the tarnish and so forth) –

Vacation Silver

Just back from a quick stress reduction vacation to New England.  Worked in a lot of things, including some detecting.  I wasn’t sure I’d be able to, but glad I did as I pulled a few silvers.

First site was a small, out of the way park in Connecticut that I hit on Thursday.  I’ve been there once before; I pulled my 10th career silver there, a rosie, in Oct 2009.   Also pulled a CT colonial copper that day.  I was using a V3 in those days.

Anyway, I started gridding out the area near where I found the rosie, and managed to pull 2 more silvers: a badly tarnished SLQ, and a badly worn merc.

Neither were all that deep.  Target recovery was brutal due to lots of rocks and roots.  It was slow going indeed.  Also, another weird thing about this site was that virtually every high tone target came in with an FE number at or above 19.  What’s up with that?  These are almost always a “bulbous ferrous” (like a bolt), but you have to dig ‘em cause a silver with a nail can read the same way.  These were neither; just normal high tone coins.

The ground didn’t seem all that mineralized, at least from a ferrous point of view.  It may have had a high saline content (based on the condition of that SLQ anyway), and of course salt may affect the readings.  I dunno.   Every high tone except the merc was like that.  Weird.  Of course, every high tone but the merc was also badly corroded or tarnished.  Who knows? There was no clad, and it is still an active park, so I know it is being hunted, but I wonder if other machines are having trouble with these high FE targets.  The V3 did fine here, FWIW.

Anyway, too bad the site is over 4 hours away.  5 to 20 silver site for sure, just sitting there.

The second site was a large downtown park in an old town in Maine.  I could not find aerial photos online for Maine, but I found a 100 year old topo that showed the park, so I figured I was good to go.

I spent about an hour and a half there on Friday. and got a couple of wheaties, no clad, so the place is hunted regularly and hard.  The wheaties were just in one section; there was bupkis everywhere else, and there was no reason to believe that the evil fill and grade twins had been to the dead sections, and there was nothing really special that I noticed at the time about the wheatie section.

I did have a couple of free hours on Saturday, and tho I figured it would be pointless, I decided to go back and grid the weatie section rather than go to an alternate site.

I did keep hitting deep wheaties, about 8 or so, and was getting frustrated about not hitting a silver.  The wheaties were all about 9 or so inches deep (I measured), which was weird — I rarely get small coins deeper than 6 or so inches around here; just shows how variable conditions are around the country, and one reason why some of those New England folks often get killer finds.  (As an aside, at a North Carolina site with red clay, I couldn’t hit coins deeper than 4 inches)

I figured the silver dimes were just not going to be heard at 9 inches, but eventually I got one.  It was at about 7 inches.  I thought it was gonna be a deep clad, cause as I got closer, the signal went from a CO 46 to a CO 44, which often means it is a clad.  It sounded good tho, and I was thrilled to see that shiny edge in the side of the hole.  This silver was hard work. That makes Maine the 11th state in which I’ve found a silver coin.  Woohoo.

Later, I got a beautiful, deep 10-48 kind of signal, figured it had to be a silver Q, but it was a toasted copper on its side.  Bummer.  I did get a date off it: 1855 largie.  There might be a big fish here, but it would take alot of patience to land it.  I doubt I will ever be back to this town, but who knows?

Yesterday’s $91.04 Piece

Pink, of course, figured it out.  The damn thing really is from 1860.  Bummer.  Too bad it ain’t a seated.  Its sort of like finding a 2 cent piece,. except that it isn’t.

My German was a bit off; instead of $91 dollars, the front really says 1/90th of a dollar.  I was close, sort of (I should have been able to figure that out last night; I just didn’t.  Oh well).  It seems they used some sort of Sumerian number system where there were 360 pennies to a dollar, so this thing is 4/360th of a dollar.  Who knew?  Its also from Prussia, not Germany proper, and since I spent a good part of my life living in an oddly named town around here called King of Prussia (which now is a disaster; don’t ever visit, especially since its my second best silver town :) ), I guess I have a cosmic connection to this piece of foreign clad.  Or, maybe not.

Here is one of Pink’s links that describes this thing.  I guess some would think its cool.  Maybe I should be one of them.

So, today’s hunt, while I’m here, produced bupkis.  Back to the recent site, to claim those 1-2 silvers in the graded area, and they just weren’t there.  There ain’t nothing there anymore.  Working grids into dead zones.  Sounds fun.  And it rained on top of that, not enough to make the ground wet, but enough to wonk out my machine, so I called it a day.

I guess I need to close the site, despite covering only about 50% of the area.  I think I’ve played it well, but who knows?  I’m tired of fighting the mineralization, and will at least table the site for now, and look for greener pastures.  I think I may also take a little break from detecting, given everything else that is going on.  Next update will prolly be sometime next week.

No Pfuckin’ Luck

So, with a title like that, and a big silver like this, and a rosie as the best find of the day, the story better be good.  Lets hope so, we’ll see.

So, back to our site of recent entries, and there is this crap zone between sort of the logical zone to work (which I had been working, but finished up this edge), and a tot lot.  I really want to get on the tot lot, cause it is always crawling with kids, meaning the competition hasn’t had much of a go at it (in theory, anyway).

So, working the crap zone, hoping the tykes decide to vacation on Planet Elsewhere for a while (and hoping not to spook out the moms; not really a risk, cause I dress well when I detect, and try to look as decent as possible, in case the locals come chat it up and let me detect their houses — tip to newbies — do this; this has happened to me several times, but not today, or ever, at this site), and, finding, well, crap.  Well whaddya expect?  It is a crap zone after all.

But crap zones can be good.  I usually find good stuff there, but those who have been following the stores of this site know that the mineralization is challenging, and good, deep targets can be a struggle.  Its just a matter of cleaning this zone off the books, while waiting for the kids to go away.  I figure I ain’t gonna find any deep dimes, but I think I may find a deep Q.  Instead, I find a deep walker.  Unbelievable.  Just sort of out of the blue after finding only one wheatie, over 2 hours.  Was about 7 or 8 inches deep.

That would be my 5th silver half dollar of the year.  Way down from last year, but so are all the numbers.  I think that is good, tho, as these things go (well, its good in my world, anyway).  It was just such a shock to see it in the hole at this place; but as this place is 1870s old, I thought it could be a seated when I first saw it; just amazing how the hopeful mind works.

So, on we go, unlike the tykes, who I imagine will retire in that tot lot, and we get another deep, goodie.  This is a deep, high tone, big target,  that has “1860″ printed on it.

Are you pfucking kidding me?  What the pfuck is a pfenninge?  If I dig some deep, big high tone thing that says “1860″ on it, it better pfucking have Lady Liberty having a seat.  Always bridesmaid.  Everything but the supermodel.  Just like that 1818/7 S SLQ that prolly won’t pass muster at the grading agencies.  Always seem to miss it by just that much

Anyway, what the pfuck is this thing?  I’ve had enough high school German to guess that the front says $91 dollars, and the back says 4 cents.  A $91.04 piece.  Not bad,.  Bet no one else reading this has ever found such.  I’m actually hoping the thing is some modern token, and I really didn’t miss a big seated by that much.  Foreign clad.  Gimme a break.  I’ll research the thing sometime when I’m bored, tho I’m sure my German speaking readers will beat me to it :)   (and no offense to anyone with German (or other) heritage; the offense is to this coin’s non-seated heritage :) )

But, there’s more.  There are parts of the site that are graded, and it is unclear whether the grading predates the silver era or not.  There is only one way to find out, and that is to put a coil on it.  And, not long after, pops out a rosie.  Whohoo, the graded zone, which I had written off, is now in play (too bad I’ve had to write off the huge sections that seem hard packed/over mineralized, per last entry).  The rosie opens the zone, making it the best find of the day, cause its not about finding silver, its about finding silver zones and sites.  (The graded zone is too small to produce more than one or two more, so the walker is of course better, but hey, what do you want from bad stream of consciousness writing; this blog is about how I think about finding silver, after all).

So, that’s 5 hunts in a row with at least 1 silver coin, and 19 silvers from this site so far.  We’ll take it.


Well, here’s today’s take from the site of the last couple of days.  As they say, any day with silver is a good day.  In all fairness, I did lose over an hour at lunch for Farewell Farewell Friday, and the place is far from where I Iive (more commuting, less detecting), but it was still a struggle today.  (Too bad the thing is out of focus; autofocus on my camera has been broken for years — I think it is more of a miracle that many of the shots I have put up here have been in focus, but for a single rosie, ain’t worth my time to work it more) –

So, it seems to be all about the dirt thing, as ducktrapper suggested in the comments on the previous entry.  What’s with that?  Generally, in my experience, hard bare dirt with no grass is good (this clause officially approved by the department of redundancy department).  That’s cause all dirt is is decomposed grass, cycled by earthworms, grubs, and so forth.  The cycling of the earthworms, et. al., cause the sinking.  So, if you have no grass, and the dirt is hard (meaning nothing lives in it), things should never sink.  Think about it.  And, that’s been my experience in general; I’ve pulled plenty of 100 year old coins in shady areas with no grass and hard dirt just an 8th of an inch below the surface.  While I am no soil scientist, this common sense approach to why stuff sinks and not has always worked for me, and has always lead me to seek out the hardest, grassless dirt I could find, and has always lead me to silvers.

But, today, and on previous days, it has been a struggle.  Whenever I move from the edge to the middle where the dirt is grassless and hard due to athletic activity, the deep targets have dried up.  Why is this inconsistent with my previous results, and consistent with ducktrapper’s results?  I don’t know; I’m an economist, not a soil scientist.  As an aside, the athletic use patterns at this site have changed since the 30′s aerials.  Not sure if that is useful or not.  All I can say is that the grassy areas continue to have a decent auto rec (20+; less mineralizaion), while the hard, grassless areas have a crappy auto rec (19-; more mineralization).  Why is that?

The rosie was a struggle.  It was in a 19 auto rec zone at 4 inches.  Wasn’t sure it was a silver, and generally, I usually am before I dig.  As a tell on this problem, I dug 15 clad dimes today, when usually, in much longer hunts, I dig much much fewer than that.  That is how hard it was to read this ground.

Why does any of this matter?  Now I get to be an economist.  Its cause if you can read large parts of the site as worthless (loaded with silver, but undetectable due to these reasons), you can write them off, and move on.  That may be what I do with most of the rest of this site. or, I may grid it out, just in the interest of science, but I have not gotten one old coin in any hard, bare zone.  But, the other problem is that the hard, bare middle is, well, in the middle,  Remember the middle is always hunted out before the edges.  Sheesh, what is one to do to optimize?  Who knows?  Is it dead cause it is the hunted out middle, or dead cause of the hard, bad auto rec dirt?

Yikes, what a horrific entry.  I don’t like not having the answers, but at least I think I am asking decent questions for those who wish to optimize.  I think it may come down to tracking silvers by auto rec; I suspect there is an auto rec (and I’m thinking that number is at about 18 or so), where which, if the terrain is giving you that, you won;t find silver, and that may be the way to simplify the problem.  Of course, this simplification doesn’t account for the earlier observations that old coins don’t sink in hard, grassless dirt.  Sheesh.

And people think metal detecting is easy — it beeps, you dig.  I don’t think so.  It actually prolly the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

And, BTW, I wish I had time to comment on the research on that pendant.  I don’t, really, but I think it is cool.  It would be cool to give the thing to someone who thinks it is valuable in a non-monetary sense, but that research seems like a rabbit hole.  I’m due to send off some silver bling to the refinery; I think I’ll hold that one back and think about it.


Back to Monday’s site.  Too bad I could not get out more this week.

Just to recap, this is the site that gave up a cache and a total of 7 silvers in a sort of side zone, nothing but wheaties in the side side zone (the zone I actually thought had the most promise), and nothing ever in the large, main zone until Monday, when I dropped a 4 spot, working the edges.

Its a huge site, and has lots of edge real estate, so I kept at it.  Didn’t expect to find anything, and was figuring to work it today, and do Farewell Farewell tomorrow, and was quite shocked to find 5 silver coins as well as a deep silver pendant.  We’ll take it.

All the dimes were hard. One came in as an 01-30, but when you get a deep, tight signal in a highly mineralized site, you dig.  Too bad it was just a rosie, cause this site is 1870s old.  But all that old stuff is just of range due to the mineralization.  The Q, OTOH, was a slam dunk, tho I did dig my share of deep clad quarters.  Outside the Q, it is a patience and technique site for sure..

I think the pendant is kinda cool, cause I am a runner.  It looks like a medal for winning or participating in a running race.  Its rare that bling is dated, but this one appears dated 1935.  Really cool.

The site is hard to figure, but I suppose as long as the big multi days are flying out of the ground, why over think it?  My plan was just to work it a bit today, find nothing, then do Farewell Farewell tomorrow after finding nothing.  Now, I see blood in the water, and don’t know how long I will be here.  Its weird, tho, all the silvers in this zone have been in green grass where I have gotten a decent auto rec.  Nothing in the grassless areas (and those areas are grassless due to athletic activity, not lack of moisture).  So, what’s with that? Correlation, of course, is not causality, but there must be something up with that.  Lets hope not, cause there is very little verdant grassy area left.

In any case, since it is now a 14 silver site (actually 16), I’ll still do the local lunch thing tomorrow on Farewell Farewell Friday (haven’t done this in forever, cause a) I’m trying to lose weight, and b), haven’t had a 14+ site in forever (except last weekend, but that was a weekend and I closed the site).

Bottom line, this section of the site is really hard to read.  Could be pretty much done, or could still be a 25 to 50 silver site.  I think we top out below 20, but, as always, we’ll see.

Another 4 Spot

Not bad, not bad at all.

Back to that park where I found that cache on 9/13.  Wanted to see if wet dirt made a difference in the “main” zone, where I had yet to score a silver.

I expanded the grid I had been working, and it did not seem to make a difference; at least I didn’t find any silver.  Of course, this test isn’t scientific unless you use the exact same target, but I was hoping it would have, as the site is huge, and I wanted to open it up.

Moved to a different section, and did much better, finding 3 rosies rather quickly.  Then in that edge section right by the road where all the trash is, found the Q.  First Q I’ve found at this site.  To any newbies, always work that yucky edge trash zone right by the road.  Good stuff can lurk there.

I don’t know that the damp ground helped.  What helped was better dirt, I think.  There was a correlation between a good auto rec (20-24) in the zone with the rosies, and crap one (13-16) in the silverless areas.  I imagine that pretty much tells the story,  Unfortunately, most of the park is the latter, from what I’ve seen in my scans.  Too bad, cause its huge.  Bet there are 50 unreachable silvers here.  I’ve got 11 so far.

Oh, and this marks career silver #1200 (1201 actually). Who hoo, another milestone.  Of course, I know a guy with over 40,000 …

Here we are all shinyed up, tho that Q is a bit beat –

Nice Hunt Today

So, lets just lead with a pic of today’s 4 spot.

So, today was my first real hunt since last entry.  I did have one other hunt in the meantime; spied an awesome site, went there, and could not get permission to get on the land.  Its a 50 silver site at least, IMHO (and with hard permission, maybe more, tho obviously, many are sneaking on).  Too bad.  Backup site on the day was a 74 silver site that I worked pretty well a couple of years ago (my 3rd best, and a very special site), but the zones I still had to clean up weren’t giving it up.  I should have cleaned them up at the time, but I wasn’t as organized in those days, and was much more clueless.  Its amazing how your approach to site management evolves.  I’m sure the competition has gotten those shinys that I should have gotten in the meantime.  Kudos to them.  My bad..

Maybe I should talk about today’s hunt.  Not much to say,   Site of the 9/22 and 9/29 entries, and my first time there was a year or two before that (I totally misjudged and misplayed this site, but all’s well that ends well).  Just closing out 2 small zones, and I got 4 more silvers.  2 hours hunting time.  Unbelievable.  Dug 11 coins total; 4 silvers, 3 wheates, and 4 clads.  Definitely helps those ratios, doesn’t it?  So, I’ve detected this site 4 times — 4 silvers, 5 silvers, 2 silvers, 4 silvers.  Are you kidding me?  And its now closed.  Too bad.  15 silver site, and my 17th best.  Best run rate/density site I’ve ever done at any site, tho.  Usually when a site gets to 14, it gets to 21, and from there it flies to honeyhole level.  Too bad this site is so small and is done.  Usually small sites are cleaned out by the time I get there; fortunately not this one.  Well, now its cleaned out.  I’d give it up, but you never know when a better machine will come along to allow me to reopen my closed sites.

So, lets write some more.  I haven’t been able to detect lately due to volunteering my time to a local search and rescue team.  Detecting is rarely involved (tho I did go on one task looking for bullets for the team, and I did learn about the team via a detecting project), but it is something I want to volunteer for.  Its more important to me to find lost people than lost silver, (tho the latter is always on my mind).  SAR takes alot of time, especially in the early stages, when you are clueless and are trying to learn.  Translation: more SAR volunteering, less detecting (and therefore, less detecting blogging).  See the problem with taking on sponsors?  They are gonna want a certain post run rate, certain follow run rate, and all that other BS, and if I don’t post for a month, half the followers drift away; and I’m not interested in that experience.

Finally, had some heavy rain recently.  May allow me to test my theory at the cache site from entries of a month ago, to see if rain helps find the silver there.  We’ll see.

And, here is today’s silver all shinied up.  Have to do this for the script that does the gallery –

More Abandoned House Silver

Back to yesterday’s site (who wouldn’t?) to finish it off, and had a nice day, pulling a barber Q, a pair of mercs, 9 wheaties, and another toasted Indian.

The barber Q was hard, and I almost didn’t dig it.  First of all, I was running on channel 7 (and despite having found nearly 1200 silvers, I have never ever found one on channel 7 (I think its a crap channel for silver), but for some reason, there was brutal EMI here today, and channel 7 was by far the quietest for some reason, and it did hit a reasonably deep wheatie).

When I hit the Q, it seemed like an iron false, a deep, iffy high tone with an FE # in the 20s, and when you pinpoint, its wasn’t a tight pinpoint, but a long, linear, pinpoint, the signature of a false off the end of a deep nail.  But, when carefully going over the area in pinpoint mode, there was a slight drop in signal strength between the putative ferrous iron object and the putative Q, and that is the tell to dig, and there it was.  We’ll take it.

I’ve seen this before, and I think the takeaway tip is this — when you can’t tell between an iron false and a deep silver next to iron, go as slow as molasses over it, and listen for a subtle signal drop between the nail and its putative end.  If you get that, dig, otherwise move on.

The merc’s were both slam dunks.  We’ll take them too.  So, that’s that — opened the site yesterday, and closed it today.  Farewell farewell.  I prefer sites that take 2 months to work, not 2 days, but we’ll take it.  5 silvers from an abandoned home, 4 indians, and a possible extremely rare coin (we’ll see at some point).  Not bad, not bad at all.  But, it leaves us wondering what our next trick will be.  I guess we’ll see.

BTW, that barber Q is my 10th career, and 2nd of the year.  They are hard to find, but this is a nice one, full liberty and beautiful, shiny features.  Stunning when it came out of the dirt.  Too bad the pic doesn’t do it justice –

Rare SLQ?

Alot goin’ on with this one, but it is way past my bedtime (way too much wonk on month end day), so it will have to be on the short side (for me, anyway).

Anyway, today’s hunt was at a new site, an abandoned house.  I rarely do well at these sorts of sites, as they are generally pounded to death, but its a good choice for dry conditions cause the stuff generally isn’t as deep as at a park, and no one cares if the plug dies.

First 9 old coins were wheaties, and there were more if you count the ones I didn’t bother to dig, and not a stinkin’ silver among them.  The oldest appears to be a 1928, tho there may be one in the teens with an unclear date.

Then, I get 3 indians in a row.  Are you kidding me?  I think that is only my second multi indian day, and I know I’ve never gotten 3 in one day.  Of course, I rarely dig mid tones unless the site is old enough to have something good, and since there weren’t many high tones, I had to be content with trying to get a mid tone silver like a half reale or half dime.  When you see the indians, you’ll see why I could care less about them.  Anyway, dated 1900, 1894 (I think), and totally toasted.

Then I finally get a silver, a slam dunk 1942 merc.  Then I get an 11-47, which is almost always a clad quarter, but it was deep and sounded pretty, and it turned out to be an 1918S SLQ.  The date is really hard to make out (in fact, all you can make out is the 8, and you need a loupe), but it really looks like the 8/7 variety under my cheap loupe, and if so, it would be rather rare.  I doubt there is enough definitive evidence to get it authenticated and slabbed, so I will have to be content with almost supermodel again.  Too bad, so damn close.

Then I got 6 more wheaties, and this US pin thing, which is about the size of a nickel, and I think brass or pewter.  I’m not a relic guy, so I have no idea how old it might be.  (I also have no idea how old the site is, except that it shows up on the ’42 aerials).

I was really surprised at the number of older coins at this site; I’m usually lucky if I get a wheatie or two at places like this.


Oh, its so nice to see the shiny in the hole again.  As I said last entry, I think 4 days of hunting without scoring a silver coin is my worst streak since Apr 2010.  Prolly much more of that to come, rather than this, but we’ll take it today, won’t we –

This is from last Sunday’s site, which was again in the direction I had to be today.  This has now become an 11 silver site out of nowhere.  Too bad there is only about an hour of terrain left to close it out.  Interesting that today was my worst day at this site.  Sometimes you mis-estimate the potential of sites; fortunately the competition appears to have as well, tho most of last Sunday’s silvers were circumstantial rather than systemic.

Well, I guess half of last week doesn’t really count, but of course if I found silver, it certainly would have counted, wouldn’t it have, so fair is fair?

Anyway, its what to do about the upcoming week, and it may be the case that more silver will be found by staying inside for the week (or month).  What?  Well, the fact of the matter is that there hasn’t been material rain around here since I think June or so, and its not so much that the ground is rock hard everywhere, (which of course is a pain in the ass), but that you lose that inch or two of conductivity from the wet ground.  It seems to me it might be more rational, given my style of gridding, record keeping, and never being inefficient by going over the same section of ground twice, that it might make sense to wait for wet ground.  That is certainly why I tabled the recent cache/7 silver site/wheatie fest, cause wheaties and no silver seem to be a symptom of not being able to reach deep enough for the silvers, and the dry ground can’t help that problem, can it?

I’d love to have a deep, iffy test silver in the ground somewhere, so I could test this rain/damp dirt theory once and for all, to know if it is BS or not. But, I don’t.  I used to keep such a silver, but in 2011, my 52 hunt silver streak was in jeopardy, so I went and dug it up to keep that streak alive (fortunately, it was a silver, and too bad I wasn’t blogging those days).  Oh, and test gardens are BS, IMHO — gotta be a natural silver for these experiments — too bad its so hard, psychologically, to leave one in the ground.

But, I need to know if this wet dirt hypothesis stands the test of science, or is nonsense.  Not likely I’ll know for some time, cause it ain’t gonna rain around here for a while to come. Hopefully, I’ll find something to do this week that isn’t deep silverish, maybe sidewalk strips or something.  We’ll see, but likely a better use of time is chores and research.

Oh, and silver 149 for the year today.  Was hoping for 150 by the end of the quarter, so I could feel an outside shot at 200 for the year, tho, in all fairness, I spent most of this quarter dealing with my running and its injuries,. so I don’t think I had close to 50.  No chance of 50 in this quarter, realistically, unless it rains, or I actually find a reasonable site.  We’ll see.

And yeah, I can’t door knock with the ground this dry.  All the plugs will die.  Some guys will do it; I just don’t think it is right (for some reason, however, I feel no such guilt w.r.t to public property.  Well, of course that “some reason” is called “tragedy of the commons“, as any economist could tell you.  It never ceases to amaze me how the dismal science applies again and again to this hobby).

Rough Week

Tuesday I didn’t have alot of time to hunt, but it was back to the 7 silver/cache site of recent entries to clean up that zone, and hopefully make some progress in the second zone of the site.

Neither ended well.  The edge of the first/cache zone was a steep embankment of a 7 silver zone, and should have yielded 1 or 2 silvers.  It didn’t.  Too bad.  Didn’t even yield a wheatie.  It should have.

Onto the second zone, which I’ve done a couple of fruitless prospecting runs in, but today was transects at various angles, and specific grids, and again bupkis, except for a singe wheatie.  Not even any clad or deep high tones.  And this is a zone I had high hopes for, sort of like the 65 silver site of earlier this year.  Too bad those days just ain’t coming back.

Wednesday was back to the same site to close the second zone, which had produced exactly one wheatie, and zero silvers — more transects and random grids, and I hit a hot zone near yesterday’s wheatie.  All of the sudden I couldn’t swing the coil without hitting a wheatie.  It was unbelievable.  And dammingly frustrating as well, as I couldn’t pull one damn silver, while pulling 13 wheaties from this zone.  Are you kidding me?

That blob on the top is a steelie, only the second one I’ve ever pulled.  They are a rarer find than even seated coins, at least in my experience, and can only be found in a spill with other coins.  Should I be happy about such a rare find?  Go away.

So, what was going on here?  Why such a high density of wheaties (actually the highest I’ve ever seen), in an otherwise dead zone?  Who cares?  If it was silver, I’d care, and write something intelligent; at this point I’m just pissed.

(As it turns out, and of course I composed the entry in my head expecting to find silver, the wheatie zone was a section of green grass, while the dead zone (the vast majority of the site), was brown, cause it hasn’t rained around here since Jefferson was president (which, BTW, adds to the frustration, like digging in cement)

Why was this?  Correlation is not causality, but why so many wheaties under the green grass, and none under the brown grass?  Looking for a causative factor — a) the dirt under the green grass is wetter, and therefore conducts better b) the green grass happened to be under a large tree (it was green cause the tree protected it from the sun), and its always easier to find older coins in shady spots rather than sunny spots (cause less grass, and hence less topsoil, is produced in such zones), c) as it turns out, the green section was near a Victorian era house by the edge of the property, and while it seems unlikely there would be so much spill from this property, especially when there was no spill in similarly situated brown sections, it is certainly possible.  It is also possible the competition was afraid to hunt to close to the property line or did not know where it was.

Who knows?  Who cares?  Does it matter if silver is not produced?  Of course not.  But, I’m always thinking like this, and once in a while, said thinking solves the site, and produces silver in an optimal way.  Too bad it it ended badly this time).

Anyway, after that frustration, its onto the main zone of the park, and its a few more wheaties.  All deep and hard.  A total of 16 consecutive wheatiies without 1 f**king silver coin.  That’s close to a record for me, and given my career ratio of 2.4:1, I feel totally hosed.

So, I table the site.  I think I need to come back after a good, heavy rain.  There should be silver here — all the tells are in, but the bone dry dirt may be hiding them.  Who knows?  Still doesn’t explain the green zone.  I have no explanation for that.  Sometimes you just have to say — “its one of those things”.

Thursday was simply to close out an 11 silver site, which I first struck silver in the fall of 2010, got another at the end of 2012, and got a few more this winter, and this summer.  I didn’t have much time, and just wanted to close out one small zone that remained.  I got a colonial buckle, but nothing else old.  Was a nice site tho, farewell farewell.

Today I had to stay close to home, and had nowhere really to go for a couple of hours, so I did something a bit different — went to a 70s era park where the aerials show it fully completed by 71, and construction starting in 58.  The neighborhood was fully developed in the 58 aerials.  Of course, you ain’t gonna find something old here, but you may snag a barely legal silver or two.

(OTOH, my best find ever, an 1800 draped bust half dime, was found in a park built in the 80s.  The theory here is you have to hit these sites once in a while cause the competition ignores them.  At least that was my theory, and given I found that half dime in 2010, and nothing that good since (and I’d been avoiding such sites), why not?)

Of course, I ended up finding something old, either a 1777 or 1787 King George III copper.  Rather have the barely legal rosie, but here it is, FWIW.

What a treasure.  Some folks actually get excited about digging these.  More power to them.

Well, I think this is my worst week since I got the E-Trac.  Of course, some of it was bad luck, some of it was work constraints restricting how far I could travel, but whatever it was, it sucked.

Maybe next week will be better, we’ll see.

Awkward Silver

Ain’t nothing awkward about that pic, is there baby!

Damn, haven’t had a 5 silver day in forever.  Here’s how it went down.  I don’t hunt much on the weekends, but I had an engagement at noon in a particular town and looked over my database of sites between here and there, and decided on a 4 silver site that I last hunted in late Nov 2011.  Not overly promising, but not closed either.  Figured I’d close it today on the way.

I’d hit most of the zones, but there was one smallish, unpromising zone that I’d never hit, and I started there, at the edge.  10 minutes in: merc.  15 minutes in: merc.  Woohoo, we’re rollin’ baby!  Not much more for a while, but got in this section between an old parking lot and an old roadway, with a huge pine tree, and worked way into and under the pine tree, where the needles are stabbing you, and so forth, and hit the jackpot — a 3 dime spill with a wheatie on the side.  The signal was awkward, and working under the pine tree was awkward, but the pine tree wasn’t there 50 years ago.

The competition did the same research I did, and saw the same 30′s era baseball field I did, but wasn’t willing to get under the awkward pine tree that wasn’t there in the 1930′s, and dig that awkward silver.  Oh well, for them, at least.  We’ll take it, cause silver coins are hard to find.

5 silvers in 50 minutes at that point.  Not bad as these things go, but one an hour, more dispersed, is better, cause its systemic.  Today’s silvers were mostly circumstantial, but at least they are silver.

Out of the awkward zone, and it was clear the competition had gotten there before me.  Too bad, for my hope of ever logging a double digit day again.  But, why can’t these morons finish off a zone?  5 more silvers just a few feet on (but much more awkward), waiting for them.  Leaves me feeling like a scavenger (which, of course, I am, at this advanced stage of the decline.  Its not like I’m the only one with a Minelab around here anymore — too bad, but I still got some technique now and again, don’t I baby!).

So, on and on we go, hoping we’ll get a double digit day (I mean, 5 silvers in 50 minutes; how could you think otherwise?), but all that comes in over the next 2 hours is this sterling dogtag/pendant –

The other side is blank.  I wonder who RFC is.  The thing was damn deep, and looked like a silver Q in the hole.  Too bad it wasn’t.

Anyway, this is now a 9 silver site, with just unpromising zones left to close it out.  No urgency.  The next time I find myself in this direction, I’ll knock it out.  But oh, what a fun hunt for the first 50 minutes.

Here’s the take all shinyed up.  Interesting that the spill contained 2 ’64 rosies and a merc, now that I see the dates.  Total hunt time: 3 hours.