Spanish Mexican colony silver 1/2 real found in GA!

Mike and I started fairly early (around 8:30am) and headed towards Bartow county GA. I live in Forsyth County GA and Mike lives in Dawson county GA, so Mike came to my house to start the journey. After loading the car and giving my wife and daughter hugs and kisses we were on our way. We’ve both done good in Bartow county and we were hoping for some more success this afternoon.

The 1st stop was met with a firm no. We’ve asked a few times and the owner always made excuses, but he finally just said no way. You win some and you loose some, so we cut our losses and moved on. The 2nd home we stopped at was a little bit scary. When I opened my car door, a very large german shepard dog came immediately up and was barking loudly and showing his massive teeth. I was afraid to put my arm out and close my door! He finally backed away and I quickly closed my car door and looked at Mike and said, “I’m too scared to get out!”. We didn’t think getting hurt was worth the trouble, so we moved on.

Our third stop was a familiar hunting ground for Mike. I was only on the site two times prior, but I found a large axe head and a few civil era round balls on those two previous hunts. Mike had hit the jackpot on previous hunts on this site with dozens of civil war era round balls, a silver dime from the 1950s or 1960s and a Barber silver half dollar among his finds. So we both knew it was a good site and hopefully our luck wouldn’t run out.

Mike started the hunt in the back of the house in the woods. I started in their back yard, but after a few minutes I was getting pretty bite up from mosquitos, so I went looking for Mike. When I found him my mouth dropped open, his face was completely tore up from insects bites! Mike informed me that he had some deet back in the car, so we both returned to the car to apply some bug spray. We both didn’t find anything interesting in the back of the property, so we both headed to the front where all the previous good stuff was found.

Almost immediately while hunting the front, Mike calls me over and says, “I think I found something good”. I walk over and he shows a thin grey disk. It’s very smooth and I don’t see much detail, but Mike keeps insisting it’s a great find. Here’s what it looked like:

The find did look like silver to me, but it was so thin! We both continued on with the hunt and remained on the site another 3.5-4 hours. Unfortunately neither Mike or I found much of anything to write home about the remainder of the hunt. So when we got home, we started to look at his “good” find more closely.

All we could see was a pillar and part of coat of arms on one side and what looked like part of a neck on the reverse. Not much to go on, but eventually mike said he thought it was a 1772-1789 Carlos III 1/2 real minted in Mexico for Spain. However, we needed more evidence, so we took out a small scale and measured the coins weight. It weighed 1.41 grams which correlated great with the 1772-1789 Carlos III 1/2 real weight of 1.42 grams. But we needed one more piece of evidence to be sure, so we took out a pair of calipers and measured the coin’s diameter. I couldn’t find the correct batteries, but I the calipers had a scale on it and coin was clearly 17mm. It was official, Mike had found a 1772-1789 Carlos III 1/2 real in North Georgia! When we figured it out, we were practically jumping up and down!!!!

Small spanish silver coin (front) found in North Georgia (uncleaned)
Small spanish silver coin (back) found in North Georgia (uncleaned)

When Mike left my house, we were both estatic! What a wonderful find, but when Mike got home he decided to clean the coin.

1810 Spanish Mexican 1/2 Real found in Bartow County GA (front and cleaned)
Front and back of 1810 Spanish 1/2 Real minted in Mexico found in Bartow County GA

Our initial analysis turned out to be incorrect and there as another Spanish/Mexican 1/2 real that had both the pillars/crest on the back and a similar front. After cleaning, Mike determined he had actually found a 1810 Spanish silver 1/2 real minted in Mexico. The coin was found around 4-5 inches deep with a Minelab Equinox 800. This was a truly great day to come home after finding a coin with so much history. I wish that coin could talk! There’s no way to know who lost it or how many people had used it but since the coin is so worn, it went through quite a few hands before ending up in a field in North Georgia. Good luck out there and I hope you find treasure too! Don’t give up, treasure is out there ready to be found!

Equinox 800 — silver hammered coins depth test

Mike created a video and chart to prepare for his trip to England. He wanted to test his machine on silver hammered coins and just how deep he could detect them.

Here is the chart Mike created:

Minelab equinox 800 depth test on hammered silver coins tested in southern red clay

Here’s the video Mike created:

BONE 28 – day 2

Great 2nd day attending bone 28 in Keene NH! It rained almost all day, but that didn’t stop us from hitting the fields all day.

Not a lot of good finds from Mike and I, but others found some great finds.

Mike’s button found with a Equinox 800
Tim’s finds for day 2 using a Garrett GTI 2500

Amazing first hunt of 2021

Wow, what a great day! Mike and I went out metal detecting and the good finds just kept coming!

We started near Mike’s house and I scored a magnificent BPOE badge which stands for benevolent protective order of elks. I also found a wheatie and a 1965 silver half dollar!

Antique BPOE (Benevolent Protective Order of Elks) badge/shield, 1964 Silver half dollar and a wheat penny — found using a Garrett GTI 2500

We headed further north and our first stop was a local church. We had previously obtained permission to detect this site from the grounds keeper but we had missed a small section on the other side of the church so we decided to give it a try. Mike and I found a few clad coins and I scored a 1965 Bahrain 100 fils (roughly 27 cents) coin. What a obscure find! It rang up as a nickel on my GTI 2500. Another example of why it’s important to dig the nickel signals!

By this time, Mike was pretty discouraged because my finds were pretty good and all he had were some clad coins. However, I kept telling him, “you’re going to beat me by the end of the day, I just feel it!”. Sure enough, our next stop Mike scored a 1916 Barber dime in excellent condition! He hit a homerun, what a beautiful coin and a extremely hard to find coin!

However, Mike and I weren’t done yet. After lunch we headed back to the same site where he had found the Barber dime and I found a 1907 V-nickel! It was my first v-nickel in Georgia, I had found them in Michigan, but not down south so I was thrilled. As amazing as Mike’s Barber dime was though, he out did himself and scored a silver 1899 Barber quarter!!!! Mike just hit a grand slam (using the baseball analogy again)! Mike also found a cool buffalo nickel (no date) and four wheaties, but finding two barber coins in the same day was outstanding!

1899 Barber quarter, 1916 barber dime, buffalo nickel (no date) and 4 wheaties found using a Minelab Equinox 800

One more stop and Mike found some more clad and a few more wheaties. No more silver on the last stop, but we were riding the clouds and you can’t win them all. I found a few old pocket knives and couples of bullets shells at the last site. Here are my finds for the fantastic day!

1907 V-nickel, 1964 silver half dollar, 1965 Bahrain 100fils coin, antique BPOE shield and numerous clad and relics found using a Garrett GTI 2500

During the last week of 2020 I found a gold ring and now its the first week of 2021 and I’ve already scored a v-nickel and silver half dollar! Mike’s first week of 2021 and he’s already got two, count them two, Barber coins and his first silver quarter. How many detectorists can say their first silver quarter was a Barber from the 19th century, simply amazing! Welcome to 2021…it looks like it’s going to be a fantastic year!!!

Mike’s find from the amazing day in North GA included a 1899 Barber silver quarter, a 1916 silver barber dime (excellent condition), a buffalo nickel (undated) and numerous “wheat” pennies — All found with a Minelab Equinox 800

Silver & Gold found!

My wife called me around 3:30 and told me that she would be running late and would be home later than usual. I thought to myself, “yes! That will give me a couple of hours to go metal detecting!”. I’ve been itching to head back to the 1906 farm house site. During my last visit I pulled out a couple more pennies from the 1940s and 1950s, so I knew there could be more! It’s getting tougher to find the good stuff, but you can’t give up on a productive site until it’s completely worked out!

Arriving at the farm, I knocked on the door and I was greeted by a nurse. She said the owner was sleeping and asked me who I was. I told her the owner normally gives me permission to go metal detecting in her yard. She said, “just a minute, let me check with her”. The owner was confined to her bed, she had recently taken a fall. I asked if I could speak briefly with her and took off my shoes and went inside to go talk to her. The owner is always very sweet and immediately wished me luck and I was off running!

My first good find of the day was a “war” nickel. I was working in all-metal mode and the target rang up as a nickel, but when I saw it, it just looked strange! I immediately, thought, silver “war” nickel and checked the date — 1945.

I was digging every single target that didn’t fall in the “iron” range, so that included a few larger iron relics and even a couple of nails fooled my detectors discrimination. I continued to work the field and out popped a 1942 “wheatie”. Not a spectacular find, but with the silver “war” nickel and the wheat penny, I was encouraged there might be additional good finds waiting to happen.

I worked the yard from around 4:00pm until dusk which since it’s winter was 5:45. I got another pull-tab signal about 3 feet from the large tree in the front yard and I thought to myself, “another pulltab :(“. I cut the plug and in the bottom of the plug I saw gold! It was a beautiful two tone gold band. My wife thinks it might be a wedding band, but I’m not sure. It’s around a size 5.5 or 6 and fits my pinkie perfectly. It’s a beautiful ring, but unfortunately it’s not marked. I’ll have to take it to a jewelry store or pawn shop to have it tested, but it sure looked shiny and new in the Georgia dirt!

I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but I think the saying still goes, “Dig everything and a site is never worked out!!!”. It’s not often you find both silver and gold when you go metal detecting, but when you do, it sure feels great! Good luck and I hope to see you all in the field getting your own silver and gold!

Metal detecting finds using a Garrett GTI 2500 in all-metal mode — large iron spanner wrench, part of plow blade, 1942 “wheatie”, 1945 silver war nickel and a two-tone gold ring!
Gold ring, 1945 silver “war” nickel, 1942 penny and assorted relics found metal detecting using a Garrett GTI 2500

How to repair a Garrett GTI 2500 battery holder

Anyone who reads our blog knows I love my Garret GTI 2500 metal detector! It’s super sensitive and it finds the gold! However, if there is anything that could be improved, it would be the battery holder. About two seasons ago I took my GTI 2500 to Daytona beach, when I got back I noticed I was having more trouble with my battery pack. Sometimes the detector wouldn’t turn on and I’d have to take the batteries out and put them back in and repeat until the detector was working again. I decided to investigate the issue. The first step was to open up the battery holder, remove it from the detector and flip it over on your work bench. The battery holder is held together by 5 phillips head #2 screws.

Garrett GTI 2500 metal detector battery holder — remove 5 screws to open up battery pack

When I opened up the battery holder it became immediately apparent why I was having so much trouble…two of the four battery terminals were severely corroded!

The Garrett GTI 2500 battery holder has four battery contacts that are soldered into the plug that goes between the battery back and the detector.

Garret GTI 2500 battery holder with severely corroded battery contacts (probably oxidation from trip to salt water beach)

After researching, I found the following battery contacts available from Newark.com:

KEYSTONE  209  Battery Contact, AA, A, Snap Contact, Steel, Nickel Plated

I also ordered some new AA battery holders from Newark. Total cost was $18 dollars with shipping and taxes.

QTY-2 — KEYSTONE  209  Battery Contact, AA, A, Snap Contact, Steel, Nickel Plated

QTY-2 — PRO POWER  28-12570  Battery Holder, Snap Fit, AA X 4

To finish the repair I cut off the corroded contacts using a pair of wire cutters. Since the wiring fits snugly in the battery holder, I added a small piece of copper wiring to extend the wiring I cut. I then soldered in the KEYSTONE 209 battery contact and used heat shrink tubing where necessary to complete the repair.

Pay attention to the orientation of the battery contact. I actually soldered in one of them backwards and had to remove it and turn it around and solder it in again (the contact only snaps in with a certain orientation)
Completed repair of GTI 2500 battery holder — I only replaced the outer two battery contacts (the other two didn’t seem corroded bad enough to warrant replacement)

I hope you enjoyed with tutorial. As I said, I love my Garrett GTI 2500, but the battery holder is the metal detector’s weak point. Fortunately, if you’re handy with electronics and soldering, it’s a pretty easy fix. If not, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Garrett directly. They have a world class support team and could either repair your existing battery holder or sell you a complete new one. I can’t wait to see what hybrid metal detector’s they come up with the purchase of White’s electronics. What a great combination, Garrett quality and Whites innovation!

Tale of 3 wheaties — metal detecting tips

I’m no expert on metal detecting, but I’ve enjoyed the hobby for many years. I normally write about my adventures, but this article is going to be a little different. I’d like to spread a little knowledge…like I said I’m no expert, but I’ve noticed I find more when I follow these three rules:

  1. Slow down
  2. If your metal detector has an all-metal mode, use it.
  3. Dig everything and a site is never hunted out!

Tip #1 is the single most important metal detecting tip I can pass over to you. In fact, this is probably the single biggest mistake most metal detectorists (even the pros) make all the time. I know I make this mistake all the time! I even notice my self doing it and I continue to do it! It’s very, very frustrating! It’s just human nature to try and find out what’s in another area or to start going faster when we should start going slower! For instance, I had about an hour and half to work the 1906 farm. Mike, my dad and I have been to this site many, many times, but it’s a large farm, so there is no way it’s hunted out. I decided to try the above tips and see if I could pull any more old coins from this farm. Here are the my results:

Metal detecting finds — 1.5 hrs of metal detecting hunted-out 1906 farm house

As you can see, I didn’t find anything to write home about, but I managed to pull three more old coins from this yard! I did this by practicing my above three points. I slowed down, way down! In fact, I was just taking very small baby steps and overlapping my coil and swinging multiple times over each area. I was also working in all-metal mode which on the Garrett GTI 2500 is super sensitive! I did just one single strip in the front yard that has yielded many old coins including silver dimes and quarters in past hunts. I really didn’t think I would find this much! Just look at how many pull tabs I pulled out, every single one of them could have been a gold ring or gold jewelry! I even found three more old coins, they just happened to be wheat pennies, but my dad, my brother and I had missed them and if we missed these coins, we missed other old coins too! Like I said, I only did one small strip in the front yard. I also noticed as my time was running out, so did my patience! The last 15 minutes or so, I was rushing and my finds stopped dead!

I know it’s easy to “cherry pick” with modern detectors. They’re extremely reliable when it comes to target ID and it’s easy to just dig the “high” tones, but this is a mistake! Gold coins and gold jewelry are very easy to miss and will read anywhere from foil to zinc penny on the conductivity range and that’s a huge conductivity range! So tip #3 is almost as important as tip #1, but I think if you only get one thing from this article it should be slow down, slow down, slow down.

Thanks for reading and I hope to see you all out there getting the gold! Good luck!!!

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

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!