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!!!

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.

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