Asking permission to go metal detecting

Our day started at 7am, I packed some snacks and the cooler. I also checked my batteries and grabbed any other essentials that Taylor, Mike and I might need on our adventure.

When Mike arrived, I woke up Taylor and we all hopped in the car and started on our way north. Our destination was a small town in north GA with a deep history. We arrived at our destination around 8:15am and our first stop was Dr. Ash’s house. On our last metal detecting trip, we had detected here and the site had a lot of potential.

The home was owned by Dr Ash, but it’s his second home, so the odds of Dr and Mrs Ash being home were slim. During our last visit, we had obtained permission from the young lady that was staying in the house as a favor during COVID-19. The young lady had spoken this Dr Ash over the phone and Dr Ash had said that he had lost a gold ring in his back yard. I wish we could have found his ring and returned it, but it didn’t happen this trip or the previous (maybe next time!).

After about an hour, I met up with Mike and we went over our finds. At this point, I had two wheaties and a strange lead pouring cup (at least, that’s my best guess).

We noticed a neighbor across the street and Mike went over to obtain permission. Unfortunately, it was a hard “NO” with her response, “whatever is in the ground, stays in the ground”. Not feeling discouraged, all three of us walked next door and the homeowner was in her car in the driveway. She said that she thinks it would be alright for us to metal detect on their property, but we’d better check with her husband. That’s when we met Lloyd, he immediately granted us permission and added that he had found relics just digging in the dirt during renovations. He proceeded to show us a very old hammer that he said was just a large ball of iron oxide and muck when it found it! The head of the hammer and the handle was forged as one piece, which seems pretty uncommon to me. It was a fascinating find and we were very ready to get started metal detecting his yard!

Lloyd’s yard was very large and Mike started in the back. I worked the front, because Taylor was eating the rest of her breakfast in the car and I wanted to stay close by to keep my eye on her. After an hour or two, we called it quits, no 19th century relics, but we had a blast. I did find a cool belt buckle with an eagle on the front, but it appeared modern.

Metal detecting finds using a Garrett GTI 2500 (found in North GA)

Before leaving Loyd’s, we wanted to catch up with him and thank him for his generosity. We didn’t find Loyd, but found his nephew Josh. We showed Josh our finds and he said he remembered some of the toy cars we dug up and they were probably his back in the day. Loyd, Josh and his wife are amazing people and we hope we can visit them again in the future.

As we’re heading to the car, another neighbor across the street was checking her mail. I went over to talk and ask permission. Her name was Kathy and she immediately said “yes!”. She said we weren’t the first to ask, so her yard had been detected before and she would let her husband know that we might be coming by to metal detect her yard.

After grabbing some lunch, Mike, Taylor and I met with Kathy’s husband Bernie. He said we had a “ace in the hole” when asking permission by bringing along my daughter Taylor because she is so cute. He also said he and his wife would be more than happy to babysit Taylor while we detected. However, Taylor declined and decided to stay outside with us. She said she was scared of catching COVID-19.

My first find was the depth of my digger or 7.5″ deep, which is a deep target for me. I got real excited when I popped it out of the bottom of the hole because it just looked old and it was covered in stars!

After we got home we performed some internet “sluething” and identified the object as a compact or makeup container from the 1930’s or 1940’s. Here is what it would have looked like when it was dropped:

Luxor — 1932 compact or blush makeup case

We all had a fun day of metal detecting and the biggest treasure we found were our new found friends; Lloyd, Josh, Kathy and Bernie. The moral of the story is don’t be afraid to ask permission to metal detect, once you do it a few times it’s not nearly as scary as you imagine (trust me, I know).

Mike’s find using a Equinox 800 — metal detecting in North GA

Metal Detecting 1906 Farmhouse — North GA

Mike and I went back to the 1906 farmhouse in North GA. We’ve hit this spot numerous times and the finds keep coming. Here are my notable finds from the hunt (using Garrett GTI 2500):

Finds include a 1946 silver dime, three wheaties (1941, 1956 & unknown), an old buckle and a token with Thomas Edison on the front and a shell on the back
Close-up of token (front), silver dime and wheaties
Close-up of token (back), silver dime and wheaties
The Shell Famous American’s coin game was part of a 1968 Shell promotion game. If you collected all six scientists & inventors, you could win $5000.00. Considering my token was lost, I don’t think the previous owner of the token won anything in this promotion!

Mike did a great job too! He was hunting with his trusty Minelab Equinox 900 and his finds include a WWII uniform button, a 1920’s Model T dust/grease cap, a 1969 tootsie toy (very bad shape) and a “America First” SW Ashworth Buford GA tag (unknown). I attempted to research the SW Ashworth company, but I haven’t found any results.

1920’s Ford Model T — showing location of dust/grease cap that Mike found using Equinox 800
Close-up of S.W. Ashworth, Buford GA tag from using Minelab Equinox 800. My guess would be the tag came off a piece of equipment such a vacuum cleaner or farming tool. Anyone with more information, please comment below!

It started to rain, so our hunt was cut short, but I had a great time! It’s always fun to get out there and find some treasure!

Map of Chestatee Mining Company — Dahlonega GA

Here’s a great map showing the Lumpkin Chestatee Mining Company property in Dahlonega, GA:

Chestatee Mining Company — lots along the Chestatee River in Lumpkin County

Timothy Grocken purchased 1000 shares @ $20 per share in the Lumpkin Chestatee Mining Company.

I wonder if you made money on his investment?
I don’t know the age of this photo, but from their clothing I would guess around the late 19th century. It’s amazing the old timers used almost the exact same methods of mining as still used today (sluice box and gold pans).

Metal Detecting North GA — Bartow County GA

Mike and I returned to Bartow County in search of more 19th century coins and relics. Unfortunately, this time around we didn’t find anything definitive to the 19th. I did find a flat piece of lead that is highly oxidized, but it’s function is unknown. Here are my relics and coins found:

Relics and coins from metal detecting in North Georgia — Bartow County GA

Nothing special and only one wheatie (1957-D), but the first target was that toy gyroscope piece. Here’s what it would have looked like when it was brand new:

1933 Chicago Worlds Fair Century Of Progress Gyroscope
Vintage GYROSCOPE

The little boy who lost the gyroscope must have used the heck out of it, because it’s made pretty good and it sheared all six connection points in the center of the gyroscope when it broke and was discarded! It was a deep find, well over 6 inches, you just never know what you’ve found, until you dig it up!

Mike found four wheaties, one kids silver ring, one old miniature bottle and this Sterling silver US marksman badge:

WWII marksman badge — missing specialty hanger

Here’s what a complete badge might look like:

ANTIQUE WW 2 ARMY RIFLE MARKSMAN PROFICIENCY BADGE TN G.I. ON BACK

As always, we had a fun day metal detecting in North Georgia, we didn’t find anything earth shattering this time around, but we’re always grateful for what we do find. See you next time and get out there and get the gold!

Metal Detecting — Then vs. Now (1988-2020)

I started metal detecting in 1988. I was 14 years old and quickly turned 15 in March of that year. For the next four years, my dad and I would go metal detecting all the time. We joined a club, the Michigan Treasure Hunters and attended meetings and went on club hunts. The club hunts were both weekend excursions aka natural hunts (such as an old boy scout camp or a 1930s logging camp) and “seeded” hunts. We loved them all, especially the natural hunts.

Metal detecting photo taken between 1988-1991 (The author on the left, my brother Mike in the middle and my dad on the right)

We would also go metal detecting outside of the club, almost every time we could. We mostly went to old schools and parks. We particularly liked metal detecting in Royal Oak, MI and Bell Island park in Detroit. Here is our 1st year finds:

Metal detecting find log from 1988 — 1st year of metal detecting

Something happened in 1991…I graduated High School and metal detecting continued, but when I moved off to college metal detecting slowed down, way down. Then in 1993, my dad lost his job at the hospital he worked at in Pontiac MI. He was out of work for awhile, but eventually he found a new job at the CDC in Atlanta GA working as a researcher and moved to GA.

I was still living in Michigan finishing my college degree and my dad and I still went metal detecting when I would come and visit. We found civil war bullets and relics in Jonesboro GA and Lovejoy station. We also still went metal detecting at schools and parks and even found an occasional silver dime, but metal detecting took a back seat. By 2002, we had almost completely stopped going out metal detecting. My brother and I got into Gold mining (gold dredging, high banking, etc) and metal detecting took a back seat.

In 2019, I started to really miss the sport of metal detecting, so I purchased a used Garrett GTI 2500 and my brother (who never really got into the hobby back in the 1990s) got a world class Minelab Equinox 800.

Mike struggled at first, the combination of new to metal detecting and a brand new detector, but now he’s just as good as his metal detector — world class. His finds are starting to show it too!

I’ve also found some good finds over the years, here is the large cent I found a local elementary school in Troy MI!

Large cent found at local elementary school in 1990s

I found my large cent in the gravel parking lot of the elementary school where I attended Kindergarten in 1977. I’m sure that parking lot is now paved, but how did a large cent end up in an elementary school parking lot built in the early 1970s? You can see that my large cent is very highly corroded which was common for both silver and copper coins found in up there. The soil in Georgia is totally different and all the silver coins pop out of the ground looking like the day they were dropped. It’s obvious which side of Mike’s large cent was sitting up (the side heavily corroded), because that side has a much higher amount of oxidation. The back of Mike’s large cent looks great!

Bartow County GA — Large cent found!

Mike, Taylor and I went metal detecting in Bartow county GA this morning. We were hoping to find civil-war era relics…but we found even older!

Mike’s find using a Minelab Equinox 800 include a 6″ antique key, early 1800’s candlestick holder, 50 in trade Maverick token, 1907-1936 good luck Membership emblem of the don’t worry club tom Schneider political token and a 1843-1857 large cent.

My finds using a Garrett GTI 2500 were not quite as impressive. I found a 1940’s-1950’s Bartow County Fair thimble and unidentified piece of metal.

Here are some more photos of the finds:

Here is an example of what the candle stick holder from the early 1800s would have looked like complete:

Early 1800s candle stick holder — courtesy of AntiquesNavigator.com

Metal detecting Atlanta & North GA

I haven’t posted in a while, so I wanted to give you some updates. So far this year, I’ve found 6 silver dimes and other coins from the mid-20th century (mostly 1940s thru 1960s). The 1 anna coin (British coin from India) is pretty unique and it was found in the historic Matt GA area.

Metal detecting finds from North GA in 2019
Metal detecting finds using GTI 2500 in North Georgia.

The silver dimes were found at numerous locations thru-out North GA (Five in Forsyth county and one in Cherokee county). Most of the silver dimes were found on private residence with the oldest location dating back to 1891. However, I did find one of the silver dimes at a public school in Forsyth county that was founded in the 1960s. I’ve also been finding some really cool relics:

Metal detecting Settingdown creek in GA

Wow, I had a blast this morning. I went metal detecting in a creek in North Georgia called Settingdown creek. I was very unprepared for the adventure.

I brought with me my metal detector, a long handle sand scoop and my finds pouch. The first target was a bullet or percussion cap, it’s really small. The sand scoop was worthless, the site was covered in bed rock and there was nothing to scoop!

The next target was identified by my GTI 2500 as a coin and target imaging said it was b-size or coin sized, but unfortunately I never found it. The target was located in a deep crevice in the bedrock and multiple rocks were stuck between me and the target. I didn’t have the proper equipment to find it. I really needed my gold prospecting equipment called a crevice tool that normally used to clean out crevices to find gold nuggets.

The next couple of targets were bullets, a lead weight and a pulltab. I was real excited on the pulltab signal because it had all the characteristics of gold ring. I also identified another coin signal in a different crevice, but again I never recovered it because I just couldn’t remove the rocks that were jammed in the crevice preventing me from retrieving it.

At the end of the hunt, I moved to some deep sand in a area of the creek where the water was moving real slow. The long handle sand scoop worked great here. I found a real deep quarter, a zinc penny, a piece of scrap metal and my first meteorite! It might be a meteorite, but it’s probably just a piece of lode stone.

River finds metal detecting north GA — Settingdown creek
Meteorite or lodestone?

Metal detecting Daytona Beach FL summer 2019

I had the pleasure to metal detect Daytona beach for a few days this summer. I had my GTI 2500 this year, last year I also made a trip to the beach and I used my Fisher 1280-X aquanaut.

Both machines are VLF type machines and neither worked in the wet salt sand. I tried all sorts of settings on the GTI like salt elimination mode and lowering the sensitivity. I also tried the trick of swinging the coil several inches above the ground to minimize the effects of the mineralized soil. Although, I could get the GTI 2500 to work in wet sand everything I did severally limited its depth. At least, that’s what I think was going on, I wasn’t successfully in finding many targets in the wet sand and when I did they were normally right on top of the ground! I would walk for an hour and maybe find one or two targets. The dry sand was another story, so keep reading.

I also lost a day to weather and the entire day was spent inside because of thunderstorms almost the entire day. In addition, our trip was cut short when my father-in-law passed away and we headed home a day early.

Once I figured out VLF machines are terrible in wet salty sand, I detected only the dry sand at the top of the beach. What’s great about Daytona is the fact that cars and pick-up trucks are allowed on the beach, so there is plenty of activity everywhere on the beach. Also anything dropped in the dry sand is instantly lost, where items dropped in the compact wet sand are visible until the surf consumes them. So, the dry sand has a lot of potential for great finds and here are my finds for between 4-8 hours of metal detecting Daytona beach FL:

A pulse type machine such as the White’s TDI beachhunter is the way to go in salt water beaches. Pulse machines are completely unaffected by mineralization including wet salt. They don’t offer discrimination, but the White’s TDI beachhunter does offer two tones (low and high) based on the setting of the pulse delay which can be used as rough discrimination.

As you can see I didn’t find any gold this trip, but I had a great time and my wife would join me so that was big plus too. Metal detecting Daytona is fun, great exercise and I did find a few junk jewelry items. Not everyone wears 14kt gold, but I did find gold in spending time with my family and enjoying what life gives us.