Found Civil war relic and a tale of two nickels

Mike and I hit north GA again this weekend looking for civil war era relics and we had a blast! Mike scored some serious coin finds by landing two really old nickels. The first find was a 1867 US Shield nickel! 1867 was only the 2nd year the US mint starting producing US 5 cent pieces from Nickel!! It was Mike’s first shield nickel and I’ve never found one, so it was extremely exciting. When Mike first showed me his find, I thought he had found a “V” nickel, but he kept saying, I don’t see a “V” on it. We both looked at the coin and then at each other and almost shouted simultaneously “shield nickel!!!!”.

1867 US “shield” nickel found using Minelab Equinox 800

When we spoke with the property owner, she said she had no problem with us detecting the property, but 15 other metal detectorists had beat us to it! That’s assuming she remembers every single one too, the number could be even greater! To say the least, this site has been hit hard over the years!

After Mike’s shield nickel find, we continued to hunt the civil war era home. I found the following copper relic which at the time Mike and I had no idea of its purpose:

Civil war era US issued sling blade belt tongue or batwing found using GTI 2500.

After a lot of internet searching, I finally identified the relic. The piece was part of a US issued carbine belt that would have been used around their shoulder to help a soldier carry his weapon.

Here is a complete example of the US issued Carbine belt. I found the piece that secures the end of the leather belt.
Another view of the 1867 shield nickel and “V” nickel found using a Minelab Equinox 800

Mike’s 2nd great find of the day was the above “V” nickel found on the adjacent property. A partial date is just barely visible with “188x” shown and “V” nickels were first made in 1883, so that dates his 2nd nickel between 1883 and 1889!

Mike and I had a great day of metal detecting. We also found numerous pieces of trash and a few clad coins. We hunted three old homes, the oldest was dated to 1840 and was used during the US civil war. Mike’s other nickel was found on the property adjacent to the 1840’s home which was built around 1890. This is just another example of the old metal detecting adage, “a site is never completely worked out”, so get out there and hit some hunted out sites!

Civil war US soldier shown using Carbine sling

Metal Detecting Daytona Beach FL — Summer 2020

Trina, Taylor and I found a whopping memorial penny, a tent stake and a few trash items like foil, bottle caps and other typical beach trash on day one.

We did a little better on day 2. I found two quarters and two zinc pennies. Trina found a quarter and Taylor unfortunately struck out and we never found any of her targets. This year we were using my dad’s Garrett AT Max while detecting Daytona. Last year I was using my GTI 2500. To setup the AT Max for salt water beach detecting, I’ve been ground balancing the machine, turning the sensitivity down three notches and also turning down the threshold to negative six. The machine is fairly stable and a couple of the quarters were 6-8 inches deep, but most of the coins found are new drops. We did have numerous signals that might have been ghost signals. They read 81-82 or 40-45 on the meter and were very repeatable, but after digging about 12-15 inches, I gave up on the targets. I guess that could have cans or other trash super deep but I never found them, so we’ll never know.

The rest of our trip, I only went 2-3 more time with finds similar to day 2. On my last metal detecting excursion, I decided to try and eliminate the falsing from the salt water, so after ground balancing, I set the Iron Discrimination setting to maximum which is 44. My thinking was this setting would eliminate the falsing that was in the 40-45 range on the meter. The setting worked, no more falsing but I feel like I was definitely missing small gold (discriminating the signals out).

On my last hunt, I was working the dry sand and I was way on the south end of the beach. Near the life guard tower, I got a nice repeatable signal that read 45-47 on the Garrett AT Max. I bent over and retrieved the target on the first scoop, as I’m shaking out the sand I spot a gold colored chain sticking out one of the holes of the scoop. It turned out to be a men’s bracelet marked 14KT! Good finds always pop up when you least expect them!

Metal detecting finds using Garrett AT Max on Daytona Beach Summer 2020 (5-6 hours of metal detecting)

The AT Max seems to be a great VLF machine for beach hunting, but I think I need to get a good pulse induction machine to really hit it hard or metal detect directly in the ocean or salt water.

A Day Full of Metal Detecting

I woke up naturally at 5:30am, I had my alarm set for 6:00, but I didn’t need it today! I was in the water by 6:15 and my first signal was a quarter.

I was using my dad’s Garrett AT MAX and its super sensitive, so I was getting a lot of deep signals. Unfortunately, this area of the beach is real rocky and very tough to dig. My scoop would hit rocks and I was finding it difficult to penetrate deep enough to recover the finds. I was on a good potential gold target (40-45 on the meter), but after 4 or 5 unsuccessful scoops I was starting to get frustrated! On the next attempt, I had the target a bracelet and it was snagged on the side of the scoop, I had almost missed it again!

Bagging the find, I decided to try the sandy area where its much easier to dig. Last time I was getting a lot of targets that evaded me. I would get them out of the hole, but they would fall thru the holes of the scoop. I slowed down this time and did a little better and netted two more earrings!

Metal detecting finds using Garrett AT MAX in shallow water

I had a blast and found 15 “bad” targets and 5 “good” ones. Unfortunely, all the jewelry items were costume jewelry, but I’ll hit gold eventually!

The “good” finds from the morning hunt

When I got home, I quickly changed and took Jimmy out to go potty. I then rang my dad to see if he wanted to join me on my next hunt. He said sure and we headed off to site that had produced numerous silver dimes, two silver quarters and great relics and tokens in past hunts.

After briefly talking with the land owner, we both headed off in different directions. The site is a working farm from the 1930s to 1950s. The county records show it dates to 1906, but so far all the old finds are from that period.

Dad quickly found two pocket knives and a large cow tag marked 74. I had found one on a earlier hunt marked 69. The owner said they had 200 cattle in the 1980s, so they’re probably from that period. She said they only stopped raising them because the local vet refused to help take care of them. Who would think, in Forsyth county GA, you can’t get a vet. How times change!

After a few hours, we tallied our finds. I had a few clad coins, a toy truck, a farm nozzle, a key and bullet shell and three wheaties dated in the 1940s and 1950s.

“good” finds from the 2nd hunt of the day — found using a Garrett GTI 2500

Dad and I were beat, so we showed the home owner our finds and called it quits for the day. You don’t need spectacular finds to enjoy metal detecting. You just need to get out there and enjoy the day! See you all out there and good luck!

Shallow water beach metal detecting trip

I set my alarm for 5:45, I wanted to hit the beach around first light. I didn’t quite meet my deadline and I pulled into the boat launch parking at 6:30am. The sun was completely up and a few people were milling around, but the park didn’t open until 8am. Luckily the boat launch is open 24 hours and is right next to the beach area, so I just walked over with my Fisher Aquanaut 1280-X and immediately got into the water.

The temperature was a cool 62 degrees, but the water felt warm. In fact as I hunted the shallow water, I was only cold when the wind hit my wet shirt. There are not a lot of targets in the shallow water, but there are a few. My first target was a crusty zinc penny (everyone’s favorite). As I continued to work the beach, I got a good signal and out popped a women’s ring. It didn’t look like it was made from a precious metal and on closer inspection when I returned home, I confirmed it. Just another piece of costume jewelry, but still a exciting find!

I received numerous targets but were unable to locate them. I think they were small and were falling thru the holes of my scoop. I did visually see one of them and it was a tack like you would use on a cork board. Unfortunately, it fell thru the scoop before I could retrieve it. I attempted to locate it again, but I didn’t have any luck.

I continued to work the beach slowly, the targets were few and far between but when I got one my heart raced. In the middle of the beach around chest deep water, I got a good signal. When I looked in the scoop I immediately saw it, another ring! This one was a larger men’s ring, but again it didn’t look like it was gold or platinum. It had a dark finish to it and I was hoping it was silver and it had tarnished. Upon inspection, I think it’s one of the newer titanium or stainless steel rings that now pretty popular. Oh well, maybe next time…

Metal detecting finds — GA homesites

Mike and I hit a few homesites in North GA in the last couple of days. On Thursday (Mike was on vacation and I’m currently fuloughed from my job) we went back to the 1906 farm house. I found another silver quarter! This one was another Washington quarter dated 1948 and pretty worn out, so it was probably lost in the 1950s or 1960s.

Metal detecting finds using GTI 2500 — 1906 farm N. GA

In addition to the silver quarter, I also found six wheaties, a good luck charm, a small buckle and a few toy gun parts that are steadily found on this farm!

Today, we went west and asked permission at a couple of homesites in the area that was occupied by the Cherokee indians prior to the Indian removal act in the 1830s.

I struck out on the first two sites, but our final stop gave up 5 more wheaties using my trusty GTI. I usually average about one silver coin to every 6 wheaties found so hopefully next time I’ll find that elusive barber dime or quarter!

More wheaties, but no silver this time out (Garrett GTI 2500 finds)

Mike did great too, he found three wheaties at the 1906 farm house and four wheaties and a 1942 silver dime in the western sites we hunted.

Overall, we had a blast at all the sites and you just never know what you’ll find until you dig it up! Hope to see you all out there and good luck!

Minelab Equinox 800 — 15″ coil depth

Mike and I tested his new Minelab Equinox 800 EQX 15″ Double-D smart coil in our very mineralized Georgia soil (deep south). In addition to the heavy mineralization, the soil was also damp from a substantial rain that occurred in the early morning hours. The following videos outlines our results:

Here are the tabulated results:

Minelab Equinonx 800 — EQX 15″ Double-D smart coil depth results in heavy mineralization

Metal detecting — Mid-20th century GA farm — hunting a previous productive site

My trip started around 10am. I was driving back from a dental appointment and it was raining pretty heavy. I drove past the site and headed home, very disappointed! I made it almost all the way home, and the rain started to lift, so I turned around determined to at least give it a try.

Mike, my dad and I have gone numerous times metal detecting at this site and the interesting finds are still present! This mid-20th century farm keeps producing great finds!

When I knocked on the door, the familiar smiling face wasn’t there. I was greeted by the owners daughter, Rebecca, who seemed cheerful enough but wondered who I was? I told her I was a friend and normally the owner allowed me to go metal dectecting in her yard. She invited me in and she went to talk to the owner. When she came back, she said “just let me know what I found” and I was good to go.

My first target was a penny/dime signal, but it was large and about four inches deep. I was hunting with my Garrett GTI 2500 which has target imaging or target size data. I was confident it wasn’t a coin, but you have to dig everything. You never know what you found until you dig it up! I cut a large plug and I pulled out a toy gun from the 1950s or 60s.

The front yard has produced the most finds from this site, so I started working in that area, going really slow to make sure that I covered the ground throughly. Out pops up a couple wheaties, so I’m feeling optimistic. My next target is a quarter signal around 4 inches deep. Thus site produces a lot of clad, so I thought it was just another clad quarter. I cut a plug and looked in the bottom of the hole and instantly saw silver! I’ve found a lot of silver dimes in George, but no quarters or halves. I grabbed the coin and I had a found a 1957 silver Washington quarter! My first silver quarter in Georgia!

1957 Silver Washington quarter found using Garrett GTI 2500 in previously hunted site!

I continued to work the front yard and got a few more clads coins along with the ever present memorial penny finds. Working towards the large propane tank, I got another great quarter signal and it was four inches deep. As I dug the target, my mind wondered to thoughts of another silver quarter, but I was greeted by a large copper coin shaped target. Gently rubbing the find I noticed the familiar globe and monument from the 1939 New York Worlds fair. I love finding targets that give insight into the lives of the people that lived there. The people who lived her in the the 1930s might have visited the worlds fair! How cool! I wish I could have been there too!

Continuing the the treasure hunt yielded another silver dime (1943), one more wheatie, an old cow tag, an old pocket knife and numerous trash.

All the “good” finds from the 3 hour metal detecting hunt using a Garrett GTI 2500 (I dug plenty of trash too!)

As I said before, this site was heavily searched in the past by my brother, my dad and myself. It yielded numerous silver dimes and great relics, but yesterday’s hunt just proves the old metal detecting adage, “a site is never completely hunted out”. So get out there and hit an old site that was productive in the past, you might be surprised just how many targets you missed!

The “wheaties” found were dated 1939, 1949 and 1956.

Found metal detecting! Early jar lid with crow feets.

Mike and I explored North Georgia again today for about 5-6 hours. We didn’t find anything terrific, but Mike found this interesting jar lid:

Antique jar lid with crows feet?

We can’t date this piece, but it appears pretty old. Maybe mid 19th century??? If anyone has any information about this metal detecting find, please comment below. The jar lid was found on an old fairgrounds that predates the American civil war using Mike’s Equinox 800 with a large 15″ coil.

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!