Monday, January 31, 2011

1/31/2011 Silver Plate Find & Value of Keeping Metal Detecting Records

Old Silver Plate Found with Metal Detector.

I found this silver plate a number of years ago. The penny in the plate is for size comparison.

Since the time the plate was found the price of silver has gone up nicely and now the plate is worth about ninety dollars in melt value.

I personally value the plate higher than that as an interesting artifact and would never melt it down, but with current metals prices these days it is worth digging things like this.

I ran across some of my old records the other day. Unfortunately I only found two pages and the year wasn't marked on those pages,but I know those records are from when I first started detecting. Even though I kept fairly detailed records, I wish I would have kept more detailed records. It was fun looking at what them anyhow.

If I was starting out again, I would keep better records. I'd recommend that you consider keeping good detailed records of your finds. It can help you determine things like the most productive hunting areas, what things you are finding when using different detectors, and if you keep really detailed records, what detector settings are working best for you under specific conditions.

When I first started I was primarily keeping track of the number of coins I found. After a few months, I see that I added information about where I hunted, including if I hunted the wet sand, dry sand, or in the water, and descriptions of any jewelry or other interesting finds.

I also recommend adding the detector used and the settings used, but I doubt that many people are that detail oriented. The information could be useful if you have the discipline to keep it though.

One Page of My Old Metal Detecting Records.

Just to see the percentage of different types of coins found, I took my total from one place in my records where I totaled 8978 coins found. Doing the math revealed that at that point, about 18% of the coins were quarters, 21% dimes, 12% nickels, and 48% pennies.

Unfortunately I don't know what detector I was using then, but since the records are from shortly after I started, I would guess that I was probably using my Fisher 1280 Aquanaut.

Later I started keeping track of jewelry items and their approximate value. That can be a very important statistic because even though some places produced many jewelry items, there were places that produced fewer but much more valuable items. One good piece of jewelry can be worth more than a dozen lower quality pieces. Since some places tend to produce more valuable items, you have to make a decision whether you want to go for quantity or quality.

I knew one place where I could almost always find a some type of jewelry, but it was never the highest quality. I usually decided to go where I could find the higher quality items even if it took longer.

Good records can help you make decisions like that. As they say, past results do not guarantee future returns, but knowledge help you make more informed decisions.

Of course many factors go into determining your level of productivity and you have to take many factors into account if you want to make the best decisions. One very big factor is current conditions. No matter what a particular beach has produced in the past, you should consider present conditions.

Besides keeping paper records (a spreadsheet would be a good idea but has some disadvantages too), I also regularly took photos of jewelry or other interesting finds. That is helpful in a variety of ways, especially if you keep them in a safe deposit box, which I highly recommend.

I can't understand all of the codes on my records now, so if you want to be able to look back and decipher your records, be sure to make them clear.

On another subject, if you have a bunch of finds to store, separately wrap them. Silver and other metals stored together can leach and discolor. Of course, you don't have to worry about that with gold, but other metals, especially if they are corroded or tarnished, should be individually wrapped.

One person sent an email asking about a rock that they found. I responded to their email only to have my response kicked back. I generally respond to emails but sometimes something happens - sometimes due to technology.

Forecast and Conditions

The wind is from the east today, but the seas are very calm. It might be a good time to get in the water. Smooth water is easier to work, although not always the most productive.

It looks like conditions won't change much for the next few days.

I haven't been out lately, but will have to get out there just to look around.

Happy hunting,