Wednesday, November 7, 2012

11/7/12 Report - Coin Patterns, Karl von Mueller & Fossil Tooth

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

I've mentioned a lot of different types of finds that Sandy brought but I haven't mentioned fossils.  Besides cobs and coins and artifacts, Sandy did bring out a few of those.  Here is one tooth fossil that was among the many fossils that Sandy exposed.

How much is a penny worth?  Sounds like a stupid question but it isn't as simple as it sounds.  Copper pennies (most pennies made 1982 and earlier) are worth about three cents in melt value now at current copper bullion values.

I remember back in the eighties when Karl Von Muller was hoarding copper pennies expecting them to appreciate in value.

If you don't know about Kark von Mueller, he wrote a number of metal detecting books and was one of the big names in metal detecting and treasure hunting back in the seventies and eighties.  I can't seem to find a bio on him, but he wrote a series of Treasure Hunter's Manuals (numbers 1 - 7 that I know about) and some other books on coin shooting and other topics.   He is a part of the history of modern metal detecting. 

It isn't easy to find a lot of personal information on Karl, but it is said he was actually Dean Miller (February 1915 - January 1990).

You might look up some of his old books.  You might find it interesting.   Some signed copies can bring hundreds of dollars, but you should be able to find some cheap copies.

I found a listing of the number of coins and bills of each denomination in circulation.  You can see it at the following linked web site.

According to this, by my rough estimation, close to 80 percent of the coins in circulation are pennies, 10 percent dimes, 6 percent quarters, and about 4 percent nickles.   That does not include the occasional halves and dollar coins that you might find.

The number of various types of coins dug will not be the same as the number in circulation for a variety of reasons including the fact that people may be more careless with lower denominations and some denominations are easier to detect than others.

If I remember correctly, I once figured that the average face value of coins that I detected was about 7.5 cents.   If you keep good records you can figure that out for yourself.   It will vary significantly depending upon a number of factors, including where you hunt, how you hunt, what detector you use, and your detector settings.

Just to give one example, if you detect a park beach where there is an admission charge of $5.50, for example, you will tend to find more quarters because a lot of people paying admission will probably get two quarters in change.  That  will affect the types of coins that you find.

If you keep good records you will be able to figure out what is normal for a beach, including the approximate percentage of quarters, nickles, dimes and pennies.  

Variations in the distribution of the different denomination of coins that you find can be useful information.  If you find an unusual number of nickles, or example, that might tell you something.   Even if you don't keep detailed records, watch the number of different types of coins that you find so that you have an idea of how many of what types of coins you generally find.

I will give one example now even though it is not as good an indicator these days as it once was.  An unusual percent of nickles dug compared to other coins can indicate that the site was previously detected by people using discrimination.   Now that detectors are more sophisticated and fewer beach detectorists use as much discrimination, you won't find as many people missing nickles as a result of using too much discrimination.

The distribution of dug coins, though, can also tell you where other coins and objects might be located.  It can pay to be aware of how different coins tend to accumulate in relation to coins of other denominations.

I'll give one more example now.  If you find several zinc pennies located at a distance from the water or dunes and a bunch of copper pennies located either closer to the dunes or water than the zinc pennies, that can tell you if the coins are most likely washing in from the water or out of the dunes and also the direction that other coins and other objects are likely to be.  The zinc pennies are lighter and will tend to move farther faster than the copper pennies.  Again, I'll get into that in more detail some other day.

The wind is from the west and the ocean is pretty calm.  That will be the case Wednesday and Thursday before it starts to pick up a little again.  There is no change in beach detecting conditions on the Treasure Coast. 

There are still a lot of shells and a few miscellaneous things to be seen on the beaches.

I did hear that as of yesterday Walton Rocks was still closed.

The ocean will be a little rougher as we move into the weekend.

Happy Hunting,