Awesome Day!

Tim and I were excited for another day of detecting. We rendezvoused at my house at 7am and were at the first field by 8. Tim had yet to visit the latest producing honey hole and he was due to find some silver. The air was brisk this morning and our hands were freezing. But we quickly warmed up when Tim uncovered his first Mercury dime for the day!

Shortly after his lucky find, laying directly on the surface, I found a pretty buffalo nickel. The weather went from mid 30’s to high 50’s very quickly and we found ourselves taking off our jackets as we continued to search the field. We both found some wheat cents and clad before we decided it was late enough in the morning to go knock on doors to get new permissions.

There was a home I had been eyeing about two blocks away from 1890. Unfortunately, we were denied access to the property by the land owner. We went back in the opposite direction where, only a block or so from the field, was a home from 1935. Tim and I were greeted by a kind elderly man, which after some explaining of what metal detecting is exactly, were granted permission to give it a go in his gigantic yard. Thrilled, Tim and I geared up and headed in opposite directions.

Moments later, on the side of the house, I was smiling when I dug a nice wheatie, but then I hear “Oh, Mike!”. I look over my shoulder and in the front yard Tim’s first target was a 1934 Washington quarter. We knew we were in for treat. It was very exciting, target after target I was finding old wheat cents. There must have been 7 or 8 when, BAM, I score my first silver for the day, a shinny Merc only inches deep.

An hour or two later, Tim and I find ourselves both searching the back yard. I had skimmed through it earlier, before I jealously entered Tim’s front yard turf after hearing he had found his 3rd piece of silver, a 2nd Mercury dime. As we swung in the back, Tim asked if I’m ready to get some lunch, to which I replied with his favorite line to me, “15 more minutes”. About 5 minutes from then, Tim glees with excitement, “Mike, I got another one”. It was a 1946 Roosevelt. That 15 minutes became about 45 after I then dug up my 2nd mercury dime for the day.

Tim and I thanked the old man and asked if we could come knocking on his door again. He said that would be fine, but was befuddled as to why after we showed him our great finds. Tim and I filled up on some great lunch before heading to the next location. It was the neighbors house. We were able to get permission from the neighbor before we left for lunch when he had spotted us detecting while he went to get his mail and sparked up a conversation when he curiously asked us what we were doing.

His house was new, built in 1978 I believe. But he told us that before it was built, there were a couple older homes on the lot that were tore down. He further explained that on his other neighbors yard, there used to be a mortuary. He said that he was good friends with that neighbor, who was currently out of town, but that it would be OK for us to head in that lot too as he knew he wouldn’t’ mind.

Tim and I were lethargic from lunch, but still excited to hit this lot becuase we had done so well at the house next door. Around 40 minutes into the hunt, I got a nice 32 signal on my Equinox 800. I dug up the barrel of an old cap gun. But wait, a cap gun usually doesn’t ring up in the 30’s. I check the hole and sure enough, that nice 32 signal still toned away. I continued to dig and found a beautiful sterling silver winged Saint Christopher ‘be my guide” emblem.

Getting tired, I headed towards Tim to see if he had found anything. He did! It was a buffalo nickel. We then headed to the mortuary lot, where we didn’t last but another 20 minutes before calling it a day. We knocked at the door and told the owner our thanks.

Tim’s Garret GTI 2500 finds of the day included a 1934 Washington quarter, 1936 & 1944 Mercury Dimes, 1946 Silver Roosevelt dime, an undated buffalo nickel, and 10 wheat cents.
Mike’s Equinox 800 finds include a 1942 Mercury dime and 1941 Mercury dime, St Christopher “Be My Guide” Stick Pin for car visor circa 1940, buffalo nickel and 15 wheat cents.

Saturday Detector Hunt

My day started early, I woke up around 6:15am to get ready. My daughter was scheduled for physical therapy in Atlanta and it’s around a one hour drive. After taking Taylor to therapy and then driving her home, I headed towards Mike’s house for the day’s hunt.

Mike and I would have a visitor this afternoon, his name was Scott and he was reading our blog and wanted to join us on a hunt. We said sure and we’d be happy to bring a new comer along with us. Scott just started metal detecting about a month ago and had purchased a Minelab Equinox 800, so he had the right equipment to find some serious treasure!

Mike and I decided to take Scott north to a small mining town nestled into the foothills of the Appalachian mountains. We arrived around lunch time and the town was bustling with tourists. We parked along a road just off the town square and started knocking on doors to ask permission. The first home we tried was turned into a business and after talking with the next door neighbor, we found out he was only there during normal business hours, so Saturday would be hard to catch the property owner.

We proceeded up the road and knocked on a early 20th century home. The young lady that answered the door was very pleasant and said sure right away. We told her we had parked down the road and would just go grab our gear. When we got back, she informed us that her sister (who also lived in the house), didn’t want us tearing up her new sod. I asked her if maybe we could stick to the backyard and she went inside to check and came out and said that would be fine.

It wasn’t a huge back yard, but Mike, Scott and and I all went in different directions. There was a section of the yard without any grass and I suspected that the original kitchen from the 19th century used to reside there. I started in that area and my first target was just junk, but mixed with the soil was a piece of broken porcelain china, which supported my theory. As we were detecting, someone next door at the church was taking leaves to the road and we asked if he would mind if we detected the church property. He said, “sure, no problem, just fill in all your holes”. So we secured our 2nd location of the day. After about an hour in her yard and not much to show for our efforts, we finally called it quits on the early 20th century home. We thanked the young lady for her hospitality and as we chatted, so told us she grew up in that home and gave us a few tips on what the neighborhood looked like when she was a child. It’s always pays to ask questions and most people are happy to talk about their past and give great tips!

The church yard wasn’t very big, but we found a couple of cool relics. No old coins would surface that day, but there is always next time!

My finds from the church yard included an old pocket knife, copper kids bracelet and about $1.47 in pocket change (all clad). I was using my Garrett GTI 2500.
Mike found some very interesting relics including a Corbin padlock, some house and car keys and a Tootsie toy train from the 1930s! Mike was using a Minelab Equinox 800.
Close-up of 1930s or 1940s-era Tootsie toy train marked “Pioneer stock shippers”
1930s or 1940s Tootsie toy train — non-dug example

After the church yard, we walked down the street and knocked on a few homes and no-one answered the door. Then we knocked on a small bungalow from the 1950s and a gentlemen named Bill answered the door. Bill said sure he wouldn’t mind and he also said he was thinking about purchasing a metal detector too. Bill said his property was part of a large hotel that existed backed in the last 19th century, so it was a great place to metal detect. In fact, the town had a deep mining history that dated backed to the early 19th century, so who knows what goodies we could find!

Here are my finds from the 1950s bugalow that was originally part of a large hotel property in the 1880s. These finds were found using a Garrett GTI 2500.

My most interesting find was a round hollow copper button. Here are some close-up photos of the button:

Close-up of button found using Garrett GTI 2500 — found by the author
Chart — dating old buttons (1963 Dating Early Plain Buttons by Their Form. American Antiquity)

It appears my button is the type F dated from the 1812-1830 time frame! I just got on the 19th century board and the early 19th century to boot too! Metal detecting is a great hobby! Its fun meeting new people, enjoying the afternoon/outdoors and finding relics and coins from the past. We didn’t find any old coins or anything spectacular but we all had a great time! Scott also scored a terrific antique large axe head, see photo below. Till next time, stay safe and good luck!

Axe head found by Scott using a Minelab Equinox 800
Here’s a similar vintage axe head — New Jersey Pattern
Kentucky pattern axe head — Keen Kutter brand
Similar axe head sold by the dozen ($20/dozen) in 1905 — L. & I. J. White Company

Another Score

I realize that people are going to read this and think you never scored a first time let alone again. But it can be tough to find coins over 50 years old. Tim and I have been out numerous times at homesteads old enough for turn of the 20th century finds, but come home empty handed.

Wheat cents are fairly easy to find, however, even those can get us excited, especially if we been swinging for a couple hours. Silver coins and coinage before the modern designs, such as a buffalo nickel, can be difficult to find. That is why when I do find silver, I consider it a win. And today, I won again!

This is actually historic for me, it marks the 3rd time in a row I’ve gone out and recovered a silver coin. Almost, 4 times in a row, but I had an outing in between with not much more than a Tootsie car. Anyway, this Sunday morning, I was able to dig up about $1.28 in clad, six wheat cents, and a 1951 Roosevelt dime.

What did you find today?

Silver again!

All week long I’d been yearning to search for another silver dime. After this past Sunday, I had I counted my tally for the year and I was at 9 silver dimes. So, I was hoping that within a little less than two months, before the end of the year, I’d make that an even 10.

My brother was feeling under the weather, so he was unable to join me. But I called my dad up and we met to hit the field where I had found the war nickel the Sunday before. I was in luck! About 30 minutes in I swung, heard a crisp 28 tone and right on the surface, without even digging, I could see some nice shinny silver. It was a 1944 Mercury dime!

Pumped up as ever, I continued to search the area. About 30 minutes later, I uncovered a 1954 Rosie. It is unusual for silver to tarnish in GA soil, but the obverse of this one was blackened. I didn’t know for sure it was silver until I was able to get it cleaned up a bit to be able to read the date.

My dad didn’t make the board this hunt, but he did find around $1 in clad. I think my total clad was about 73 cents. I was lucky enough to snatch 3 wheeties too.

My First War Nickel!

This past Saturday Tim and I went detecting but didn’t find anything exciting. Sunday morning I was making plans with my dad to meet him and my mom for lunch and he wanted to meet later in the afternoon because he wanted to hit the dirt to do some detecting. After getting off the phone with him, I thought to myself, I should get out there too, and boy, I’m glad I did.

It was a fantastic morning! I went out to a field where a I knew for sure used to sit a house from the 50’s. Not too old, but I figured old enough for silver. I ended up getting a few neat finds. The tally included $1.16ish in clad, a wheat cent, an 1942 mercury dime, a Namco token, an 1909 Canadian one cent piece, and my first war Nickel dated 1942 P.

Obverse of significant finds from 11/1/2020. Includes 1942 War Nickel, 1942 Mercury Dime, and a 1909 Canadian One Cent Piece.

The ground was very wet that morning and when I dug the nickel I couldn’t see the date or mint marking. But, I knew it was something special because it had a glow that just seemed to bright for a regular nickel.

Don’t be lazy. Get off your keister and do some swingin’ and a diggin’. I’m sure glad I did!

Reverse of significant finds from 11/1/2020. Includes 1942 War Nickel, 1942 Mercury Dime, and a 1909 Canadian One Cent Piece.

Silver Barber dime found!

Mike found a 1908 Barber dime in North GA this past weekend! He also nabbed a early 20th century ox knob or something very similarly shaped. My significant finds from the same hunt included a 1907 Indian head penny, a WWII military button and a 1950s era token.

1908 Barber dime and ox knob found using Minelab Equinox 800. 1907 Indian head penny, WWII button and 1950s token found using Garrett GTI 2500

The token is in really bad shape, but enough information is shown to identify it as a early 1950s Capitola Flour Mill Token good for 5 cents in trade.

1950s Capitola flour mill token — good for 5 cents in trade
The Capitola flour token was really nice when it was dropped…too bad aluminum oxidizes so bad in southern soils!

Mike and I had a great hunt. Early 20th century coins and relics are really tough to find in North Georgia. I hope you enjoyed the finds and we’ll see you out in the field!

Metal Detecting North GA

Here are some of our metal detecting finds in the last few months. I think a photo speaks a thousand words, so I’ll let the photos do the talking.

WWII era button — found using Equinox 800 (This button was gifted to the owner for letting us go detecting on his property)
Assorted clad coins and ring found using Equinox 800 in school yard. When Mike found the ring, I was really impressed, but unfortunately it turned out to be a fake.
These are very typical finds for shallow water hunting in North GA. These finds were from about 1-1.5 hrs in the 1-3 feet of water using a Whites TDI Beachhunter
More shallow water metal detecting finds — White’s TDI Beachhunter
3rd shallow water detecting trip — the small treble clef is marked 925 — White’s TDI Beachhunter
4th shallow water metal detecting hunt — White’s TDI Beachhunter
The ring found metal detecting using White’s TDI Beachhunter is marked Titanium
Old “shoe” buckle, 1954 silver half dollar, assorted coins and pocket watch found using Minelab Equinox 800 in North GA
Assorted junk found metal detecting — 1930s Chevy wheel cover or hub cap, pieces of 1950 GA license plate, Zippo Alaska souvenir lighter and 7 wheaties dated 1917 to the 1950s — All found using Garrett GTI 2500
One of the wheatie’s I found was shot with a small caliber rifle. The coin is dated 1944 and I can imagine the guys in the front yard throwing up coins in the air and trying to shoot them. It looks like they got one!

These photos are from numerous outing’s metal detecting. The “best” find goes to Mike with his Equinox 800 with the 1954 Benjamin Franklin silver half dollar. I bet that was a exciting find!

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!