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!!!

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!