BONE 28, 2021 – Day 5

All things must come to an end and today was the last day of BONE 28 natural hunts. Steve from Long Island was kind enough to give Tim and I a ride this morning because our rental car wouldn’t start last night and we had to get it towed. When we got to the fields for sign-in, we met up with Jim. He was very lucky and yesterday, on day 4, found an awesome militia button!

Jim B’s Awesome Militia Button

There were two large fields available to hunt today on day 5. The first area was a grassy knoll whereas the 2nd was an alfalfa field that had huge clumps of of grass that made it very difficult to detect.

Alfalfa Field – BONE 28 Natural Hunt Saturday April 24, 2021.

I started on the grassy knoll, where I found a round ball and a prize token. The prize was a Minelab backpack! I didn’t stay on the grass that long though and ventured off to the alfalfa field. Around half past noon, I found my first good target. It had a 26 target ID on my Equinox 800 showing at a depth of max bars. Tim scanned it with his GTI 2500 but didn’t pick up the signal. I started digging a big hole and scanned again. The ID went up to 30! The sweet sound and high number had us thinking silver and we were right! It is marked sterling with a hallmark of IHD or IMD and appears to be a suspender adjustment loop.

It was a great feeling to find silver and about 5 feet away I was surprised to have another nice little tone. This one was reading as an 11 on the Nox; It was a nice little button that still had the shank fully attached.

Mike’s Equinox 800 finds – BONE 28 Day 5 – April 24, 2021.

I detected until 5pm today with only a short break for lunch but I didn’t dig up anything else worth mentioning. I met a guy named Dean out in the field and he had a spectacular day! He was showing me about 5 or 6 buttons he had dug and not one but two draped large cents – plus a barber dime. The BONE 28 event was a success if you ask me and I had a blast! There are talks of a fall 2021 BONE mini 2 day hunt and I’m seriously contemplating heading back to attend.

One of Dean’s draped bust large cents

BONE 28, 2021 -Days 3 & 4

Wow, BONE is such a cool event. Tim and I haven’t been unearthing excellent targets but we have been meeting great people who have been. Jim from TX was one of the those folks; on Day 3 he dug up a Vermont Copper!

Jim’s Vermont Copper

Tim hasn’t been too lucky at this event. On day 3 Tim’s best find was 1834’s – 1913 Mallory Wheeler padlock. He also found a cool set of old pliers. I was able to dig up an old flat button.

Mallory Wheeler Padlock found by Tim using a Garrett GTI 2500
BONE 28, Day 3 – Mike’s finds using an Equinox 800 include a buckle and flat button

Since the fields weren’t being too fruitful we decided to leave an hour early and go door knocking across the Connecticut river in Vermont. At our first stop we gained permission from a very nice lady at an old house but the owner’s weren’t sure how old exactly. She thought it was 100 years old, though it looked older. About 5 minutes after we started hunting, I was startled by a super nice gentlemen that had rolled up in his motorized wheelchair. He followed me around the huge property vicariously metal detecting through me as we both discovered each target. Tim found quite a bit of clad. I didn’t find any coins but did get a cool bell.

Old bell about 4″ tall found door knocking in Vermont

Since the finds weren’t all that great after about an hour we decided to try our luck at one more spot. While the next location was the site of an old wealthy estate, it had been picked over numerous times before us and we didn’t get any thing great from this stop. That didn’t stop us from having a blast though – I’d love to go back to Vermont to give it another go sometime.

On Day 4 of BONE 28 there were several fields available to hunt. Tim and I began the day at a field off Wentworth Rd. My best finds here were a Tombac button and two pocket knives. After an hour or two at this first field, Tim and I went to another field also off Wentworth Rd, where I found yet another flat button and a newer pocket knife. This flat button, however, had some of the gold gilt still on the back side.

Pocket Knife, pocket knife blade and Tombac Button – BONE 28, Day 4
BONE 28, 2021 – Day 4 Mike’s flat gold gilded flat button

We then ate lunch and tried another new corn field that was available to us. It didn’t seem all that great so we decided to again go door knocking, but this time in NH. We gained permission at an 1840’s mansion but it must have been hunted out because we struck out here. Either way, it was a great 4th day and we can’t wait for day 5!

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

BONE 28 – 2021, Day 1

For the last 28 years, George Streeter has been sponsoring a metal detecting hunt called BONE, Best of New England or Best of North Eastern. He has a small metal detecting and gold prospecting store near Keene New Hampshire. This year, BONE 28, has a total of 5 natural hunts and one seeded hunt.

Tim and I signed up for the event around October 2020 and we were super excited to get here and start digging. The first location is a farm of roughly 183 acres. Today the weather was nice starting off at 36F but quickly warming into the low 60’s. We rendezvoused at the location about 7:30am for a 8 O’clock start. Unfortunately, we weren’t released for hunting until closer to 9am after a 8:30am raffle.

The farm crop is corn and the field we were in had old stalks which made swinging a pain. The signals were far and few between. After about a 30 or 40 mintues, I think i dug my first target -just trash though. Some where about 1 – 1.5 hours into the hunt I got a 17 tone on my MineLab Equinox 800. OH- coin size, but no, not a coin. It was a nice flat button with a design in the center.

Within another 30 minutes I again was digging up another 17 tone, and it too was a flat button. Shortly after or before I also dug up an old thimble and a neat relic.

We detected until 5pm but unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get any other nice finds. Tim had a lousy day all together and ended up not making the board today. We did ask around, and there were reports of some old coins, some large cents including a pretty early one circa 1808 -1811. We were close to a detectorist Brian who found a really nice button, possibly a revolutionary war button. I wish I had taken a picture, it was really nice. I had a blast and can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings.

Civil War Relics & Old Coins

Last weekend was so great, I had to go back for more! My brother couldn’t make it but I invited my dad to come out with me and we headed west to a town with roots in the 1830’s. We got there just in time too. I didn’t want to leave too early because I don’t like knocking on doors early in the morning. When we arrived the home owner was on her way out, but luckily gave us the go ahead to stay and detect.

It’s a great place to hunt because the area is large, there is no interference, very little trash, and lots of old treasure. It was about40 minutes in before I had my first good target – a smashed MiniĆ© ball. about 30 minutes later I found a musket ball and about 1 minute after that another.

Another 15 minutes or so when by and I hear a faint signal that read 21 on the Equinox but the tone was hampered with what sounded like trash one direction and OK but not that great in the opposite direction. It sounded just like the first two musket balls, so I called my dad over so he could swing over it with his AT Max. He too agreed that it didn’t sound that great but I told him I think it is another musket ball, so I let him dig it and keep it, it was his first musket ball for the day!

We continued on and the next thing I know I’m digging up another musket ball. Shortly later my dad says, hey I got another one too. Moments later I hear, Mike, and I see my dad waving me over. He’s sitting on the ground with a huge smile on his face. He found what appears to be shrapnel from an exploded canon ball! How cool is that?

Then things slowed down for a while, but we continued on and it was worth it. My dad found a 3rd musket ball and I got a 1902 V Nickel. By this time my dad was getting tired so he went back to the car to sit down.

I kept at it though for about another 30 minutes. I was closer to the road and there was more junk in the ground. But then I hear this loud strong 34 or 35 VDI signal sketching from my Minelab Nox head phones. It was reading to be at about the same depth as the other good finds, but I thought to myself, there’s no way its going to be anything good. I was wrong; it was a 1901 Barber half dollar!

I detected for another 15 minutes or so but I knew my dad was waiting in the car for me so I figured I’d save the rest of the field for next time and we packed up for the day.

Garret AT Max finds included 4 Musket Balls & Exploded Cannon Ball Fragment- US Civil War Era
MineLab Equinox 800 finds: 4 Musket balls, 1 MiniƩ ball, 1902 V Nickel and a 1901 Barber Half Dollar

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

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?