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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Large cent found at local elementary school in 1990s

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