Thursday, April 10, 2014

4/11/4 Report - Old US Coin Bonanza Including 21 Over One Hundred Years Old Taken From One Site

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Barber Quarters, Dimes, Mercury Dimes, Indian Heads, Buffalo Nickles, etc.
Finds and Photo by Russ P.

I received an email from Russ P. who shared about finding one of those sites that detectorists dream about.   In the process he recorded several big personal firsts!

Here is Russ' description.

I thought you might like this story, though it involves a mainland site.

I happened upon a site next to a building that used to be an old A&P.  The concrete parking lot had been removed at least a week or so.  I was disappointed to immediately notice that someone had been there first, as there were a few scattered holes down the middle of the site with the dug metal junk beside.  I was not very optimistic and debated even pulling out the detector, especially since it seemed the prior detectorist had left without finding much.

What followed was the most thrilling few hours of detecting time that I've had as I realized that I had found, for the first time in my experience, a nearly unsearched site with access to much older coins.  I had a taste of what it must have been like for those detecting in the 1970's and early 1980's. 

I spent five hours the first day.  It was not a large site, probably just 30 by 100 ft, but I go slow and there was a lot of iron.  I actually moved faster than I would have liked towards the end, but still I felt like I covered the ground fairly well.  My coin totals blew me away, with 45 coins earlier than 1945 and twelve silver coins.  One was a 1915S Buffalo.

I returned a second time for just one hour and worked a few of the planters and other poorly accessible areas and found six more pre-1945 coins including an indian-head.

Taking some advice from your blog, I switched to a smaller coil and returned for a third time.  I then covered the ground by swinging the coil at 90 degrees to the angle of my initial coverage.  I only had two hours, so spent them in the areas of previous highest yield.  There had been no further disruption to the site, so I was stunned to find eight more old coins, including three silver.

Then it got really interesting.  I returned for a last time after final preparations had been made for the new pavers.  Excess concrete from the newly poured curb (which was poured prior to my first visit) had been scraped from the edges.  I covered the entire site again, finding twenty-three more old coins, with six silver.  I found my second Barber quarter at the site in a spot that I am certain I passed over with the coil twice in earlier searches.  

I learned so much in those few days. It was an area small enough that I could cover well, but I now believe, because of this experience, that there are truly no completely cleaned out sites.  I would work that site a dozen more times if I could as I firmly believe there is a lot left.  Unfortunately, it is now covered with pavers so I'll have to be very patient.  Maybe in a couple of decades I'll have a second chance!

There were many first finds for me at the site, including these highlights:  first Barber quarter (I found two), first double-digit silver day, first V-nickle with legible date (I found nine). Twenty-one coins were older than one-hundred years. 

In hindsight, there were several techniques that led to additional finds: extreme persistence once the site is known to be productive, covering the same ground repeatedly from different angles, switching coils, removing surface iron.  All of those techniques have been mentioned in your blog, so thanks for those tips.  I would have liked to have dragged a magnet and used a different detector but just ran out of time.  I'm convinced that I would have made additional finds had I done so.

I've included a picture of my uncleaned finds from the first day.  I'll send two further pictures of the finds cleaned.

Russ P.

I showed those two photos of the cleaned coins that Russ sent.

Thanks for sharing Russ!
More Silver Finds by Russ P.

There are several lessons that you can get from Russ' experience.   Here is a big one.  Don't give up on a site when you get there and see holes where someone has already been and found junk.

Many detectorists have no tolerance for junk and give up on excellent sites way too soon simply because they find junk.

You will often find the junk first.  Junk is often big and often is close to the surface.  As a result, if you are not an experienced detectorist, you will find the junk first.   If you give up after finding the junk, you won't get to the good stuff.

Many good targets will be masked by the junk.  It can be worth the time to remove some of the junk to see what might be in between the junk or under the junk.

An inexperienced detectorists will often leave a lot of big holes and dig a lot of junk while a lot of good targets remain.   Don't be fooled by those holes.  Check to see what remains.

Another good tip that this story bring out is to watch for special opportunities.  They usually are times when the soil or sand has been moved a lot, either by man or mother nature.   Always keep your eyes open for those special opportunities.  And when they occur, take advantage of them.  You never know how long they will last or what will end them.  The window of opportunity can close as quickly as it opened. 

I remember one particular time when Mother Nature slammed the door shut.   I had spent a little time on each of the two previous days at one water site, when the second evening the wind changed direction and the targets that were all over the place disappeared by the next time I visited.  The change in weather took a site that had hundreds of targets and completely shut the door.  In retrospect, I realize that I should have worked the site harder while it was producing. 

Online bidding has begun for the Sedwick Coins auction # 15.  Some lots already have bids.

The tides on the Treasure Coast have been close to normal lately.  The big tides that we had a while ago are over for the time being.

The wind Friday will be directly out of the East and the surf will be down around two or three feet.  That won't do anything to change our poor beach detecting conditions.

Happy hunting,