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.


Not much detecting lately — got out Tuesday to do a field hunt, something I rarely due cause you rarely find anything, and that’s pretty much what happened.

Yesterday got out to the 7 silver site with the cache, and pulled 9 wheaties and not one silver coin.  Really frustrating.  Did find this sterling peace earring, tho,  Thought it was a half dime when I saw it in the dirt at first.  Too bad,

Zone 1 of that site is pretty much done, and zones 2 and 3 gave not given up any good tells on quick prospecting.  They are both huge, but both may be dead.  Looking like a 7 silver site at this point.

Merc & Button

Got out for a Sunday morning hunt today, weather was gorgeous, at a construction site where they are putting up some McMansions where an old house stood.  I generally don’t have all that much luck at these sorts of sites, but I have found a walker, a 2 cent piece, and a handful of bulk silver at similar in the past, so why not?  You never know — a big fish could lurk at such a property.

The problem with this site is that the area near the house is overgrown with grass.  You can kinda swing in it, but you do lose a couple of inches, and you have to swing faster than I would like.  No steady low and slow possible here.  I did do some of that with no luck for about a half hour, but then decided to concentrate on shady areas that had little grass, but, unfortunately, were farther from the house.

Eventually, in a treed area I found a clothespin — that’s a good sign, maybe the clothesline was in this area (but who puts a clothesline in the shade?), and all the sudden I was finding plenty of coins: 8 memorial pennies, and one wheatie.  Are you kidding me?  You won’t even give me a clad quarter?  Where’s the loose change from 100 years ago?

I felt like bagging it, but I did want to hit every shady zone where the grass wasn’t an issue, and I eventually got a flat button.  It was pretty deep too, and I thought it was a copper at first.  I don’t get too excited about these like some folks do, but it least it was a decent tell, and the only old thing I had found.  That gave me the will to keep going, and eventually I nailed a ’44 merc.  Why wasn’t it a seated or bust?  C’mon, I want a big fish.  But we’ll take it.

The FE number never read below 20, and it ranged from 20 to 26.  This is almost always a bulbous ferrous (like a bolt or something), but you gotta dig ‘em, especially an old site, cause sometimes they are see thru silvers.  Sure enough, the threshold had a big null after I recovered it, tho I never saw the iron that was affecting it..

Site seems like its been pounded pretty good, but you never know about these sorts of places.  Between the grass, construction regrading, equipment, new foundations, and so forth, such a large percentage of the old land is lost.  If the grass dies off and withers away, or it is matted down by snow, I might give it another go someday, but the site isn’t high on my priority list going forward.


Yesterday didn’t go well.  Back to the site of recent entries, and after about an hour an a half, the battery died.  That’s less than 5 hours on a full charge.  Its supposed to last 18 hours.  What’s up with that?  Does that mean I have to buy another one of those overpriced Minelab battery packs?  All I found was a really toasted, non-pic worthy IH, and a wheatie.

Today went a little better, continuing to work the only zone of this park that has given up anything (and its a small section of that zone, for that matter), and I got a deep merc right off the bat.  Nothing beats silver early in the hunt.

About 15 minutes later was a 12-38, 3 inches deep, a little on the big side, which is generally one of three things: a bottlecap, a bottlecap, or a bottlecap.  This time, tho, it was a small cache.

A cache? A spill? Who knows?  But it looks like it was in this small iron box, like a change box or something maybe?  I dunno, so I’m calling it a cache.

Anyway, all that stuff came out of the hole at 3-4 inches. The remaining iron from the box, 2 mercs from the 40s, 4 wheaties from the 30s-40s, and a pair of nickels from the 40s, one of them being a war nickel, so that’s a bonus silver.  Whohoo.  8 coins in all, they just kept on coming, baby.  It was pretty cool.

The E-Trac pretty much nailed it.  I wonder what that mishmash would have sounded like to other machines?

Well, that’s 7 silvers from this site so far, but 3 from the cache were sort of circumstantial, so it still feels like a 4 silver site.  Its pretty big, but only one small section of one zone has given up anything.

Well, first 4 silver day in forever, and I had them all in the first half hour.  Here they are sort of shinied up, as best as possible anyway –

Sweat Baby Sweat

95 degrees. 100% humidity.  For all the whining back in February when it was too cold to exist, but I was pulling 65 silvers from that site at the time, I was in my climatic element today. Sweat was literally dripping everywhere, mixing with dirt, and where I wasn’t muddy, I was totally soaked.  A pleasant image in your mind’s eye for sure.  And the sweat was the only thing that gave even a modicum of dampness to the bone dry dirt, as it hasn’t rained in forever around here.  But, I love it.  I like heat.  Bring it on.  Global warming to the max, baby!  Truth be told, however, I’d rather freeze and be working a 65 silver site than be comfortable and moving from one barely double digit (or less) site to the next.

Anyway, after that ridiculous preamble, onto the detecting.  Back to yesterday’s site, which, unfortunately, shrunk after looking at more maps and aerials — buildings, fill and grade, and so forth making certain zones worthless.

Working off yesterday’s grid tho, which produced a 2 dimes and a ring, I got 2 rings and a dime.  The dime, unlike me, is 20 something (haven’t worked the dirt off yet), but if its a 21, I’ll be sure to post an update.

I was using the stock coil rather than the big unit, as I suggested I might, and noticed no difference in mineralization or noise.  The big unit, as the cards sat, might have been a better choice, as it would have covered the ground faster.  I expected better performance from the stock at this highly mineralized, ferrous infested site, but I was wrong.  Maybe I’m just comfortable with the big unit (when its working, of course), in pretty much any ground at this point.

Couple of Dimes

First time out for a while, except a quick hunt at a volleyball court the other day to look for gold, and more importantly, test the big unit.  Coil was fine for a while, but then started to get wonky.  And this was a sandy volleyball court with no noise at all (and no gold either, as it turned out).

Tried all the usual things like lowering the channel and power cycling, and nothing helped, so I figured it was another big unit gone bad.  Then I disconnected it from the console, and reconnected it, and it was fine, and was fine today.  The connection didn’t seem loose, but that seemed to be the trick.  Go figure.

Today’s site was an older park (at least before the 30s), which I last visited in April, 2010 and was always excited about.  In those days I had a V3, and was quite disappointed in its performance (one of the reasons I went with the E-Trac a month later and then actually started finding silver), tho I did find some sort of religious pendant on that hunt.

This site sort of has a main section, and several out of the box sections.  This time I started in one of the out of the box sections, and hit a silver ring (not stamped), a rosie, and a merc, in the first 90 minutes.  Not bad.

The rosie was at just 2 inches, and the merc and ring were at about 4 inches.  The site is hard, tons of iron, and no real clean TID, which means you have to dig the clad.  Yuck.  It’s a hard site, but fortunately not as hard as the last one, with all that brutal high tone trash.

I look over the site, after the first 90 minutes, and figure it is a 5-25 silver site.  But, as I pressed on, no more silver was to be found, tho I got a couple of good sounding deep clads and some sort of copper toy.

As this section of the site was so hard, I decided the big unit wasn’t the best choice of coils, at least for this section, and figured I’d come back sometime with the stock coil.  I had some time left, so I tried one of the other out of the box sections, which I felt might even be more promising, but I did not find one single coin in about 30 minutes.  It was a much cleaner site, which once again shows that the harder the site is, the better chance you have.

Finally, I went to the main section  for about a half hour, where the V3 didn’t hit much deep, and I was hitting deep clad left and right.  I said to myself, its gotta be here., and at the very end, I got a nice, deep 10-46 which I was certain was a dime or quarter, but it was a huge base metal ring.  Are you kidding me?  Oh well.

Well, this site has promise, as it is on the large side, and has good tells.  OTOH, it appears to have huge dead zones, so its hard to guess where it will come out.  Could be as much as a 10 silver site, but maybe all I’ll get is the 2 from today; we’ll see.

Also, on the downside, the place is far.  45 minutes to get there, and 60 to get home.  Yikes.  I believe 95% of my silvers have been found within 25 minutes from my house (maybe I’ll figure that out someday), and that extra time just cuts into hunting time.  Oh well.

No Silver

I generally don’t like to write about failed hunts (but I at least mention them so people don’t get the idea I get silver every time out), but I’m in a really grumpy mood, and this one hunt was rather remarkable.  And besides, there are only so many ways to write “dug silver today”, and as readers well know, they get more and more bizarre and lame.

Anyway, I got for a rare weekend hunt on Sunday, to an old abandoned mansion site that is slated for demolition to build offices condos or some such.  Its at least 200 years old, and has huge trees, a mowed lawn, a few outbuildings, and so forth.  A dream site really; very similar to the old colonial mansion I was hitting a few months ago where I pulled a dreamy 2 reale, 1875 IH, and a couple of other silvers and coppers (I still have to update my best finds section with those).  The sort of site that has been hunted to death, but if you keep at it, you usually get something, and may even get a big fish.

But, at this site, I did not find one single coin in 3.5 hours of detecting.  Are you kidding me?  Not even a silly zincoln or other clad.  Unbelievable.  And, I believe the site was occupied to at least 2011.  How could a site be so hunted out?  And I tried everything — every paradigm, careful gridding, and so forth.  Never seen that before.  Even at abandoned houses in the woods where there is very little swing area, and it is really tough, I usually snag a wheatie or two.  How could there not be a single coin?  I guess its a good thing that the competition doesn’t bother with the sorts of sites I usually do, which have given up over 1100 silvers.  Go figure.  (And fill and grade weren’t the culprits, as there were plenty of old trees to verify the grade).

I figured maybe my machine or coil was bad.  The only nearby site was an old field which is very sparse in targets, having given up only a 1 reale, old silver ring, and about half a dozen musket balls.  Even in that field, after about an hour, I found a couple of clads.  Machine seemed fine.

One reason I thought the coil might be bad was because, at both sites, I was getting alot of low tone falsing, stuff in the 01-02 range.  This was exactly what happened when the coil went bad the last time.  But, I wasn’t getting that when I held it in the air like I was then.  Must have been something weird at both sites, as it went away at the next one.  One thing I did notice was that as I lowered the channel number. I got less of it.  I had always observed that channel 11 was a bit noisy in this way, but never realised there appeared to be a linear correlation between channel number and noise.  I’m no engineer, but that would imply a linear relation between the frequencies it is listening for (and hence sending), and channel number.  I had always figured that there was no correlation based on the observation that good channel number performance seemed random.  Who knows how these things work?  I certainly don’t, but my noise cancel strategy, articulated elsewhere, does work, so WDIK?

Tuesday I again got to the site of recent entries to close it out, and it was once again miserable.  Its just hard to describe, but pretty much every swing produced a high tone, generally some big trash.  Canslaws, sheet metal, long pieces of metal, copper piping, and so forth.  Never seen even close to this density of this stuff at a park.  Why is it all there?  Why so much copper pipe, for example, in the ground at a park?  And, you have to dig alot of it (in rocky ground no less), cause sometimes it is big silver objects; witness the intact pieces of silverware dug here.

But, I had enough.  It wasn’t fun.  There wasn’t much of the site left, but I closed it out without finishing it off.  5 silver site, all modern, and 3 silverwares, 2 intact.  We’ll take it, cause silver coins are hard to find.