Wednesday, March 23, 2016

3/23/16 Report - Why You Might Not Be Finding Old Silver Coins Where You Would Expect Them.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Two Silver Quarters Recently Found by Russ P. At An Old Home Site.
See story below.

Not finding any old silver at sites where you would expect to find old coins?  There could be some reasons for that.  The following email that I received from Russ P. might give you some good ideas.

Here is what Russ had to say.

Can you stand another story about digging pennies?  This one is from a mainland site.

I have worked a small, trash infested site a dozen times in the past few weeks without finding a single silver coin using conventional hunting methods.  I decided to give another try with the detector after a decent rain.

After a fruitless hunt, not a single coin, I was headed back to the car when I got a poor, inconsistent chirp that was occasionally high-pitched.  It registered, at times, as a zinc penny.  I dig all questionable signals at this site so got after it.  I took about three inches of soil and, to my surprise, amongst the trash was a wheat penny.  I swung the detector over the hole and got another poor signal, but more of a copper penny signal and reading.  I had a large shovel with me and took a generous scoop.  I ran the detector over the dirt and an got an incredible sweet signal.  It was a Standing Liberty quarter!  I put my pinpointer in the hole.  Of course, there were still several different metal targets, but one of those targets was another Standing Liberty.  

I never got a good signal on any of the coins until they were out of the hole.  In my judgment, the penny was not part of the spill as it was much shallower, but certainly helped mask and confuse the detector (and its user).

Now a question for you and the readers.  Everyone can probably see the rust on the coins from the close proximity of iron.  Does anyone have specific experience with the best means of cleaning rust off a silver coin?  I know one very valid option is to do nothing, but, should I choose to at least attempt for a visible date (one is a 1917 from the reverse), I'd like to rely on some expertise.  I thought electrolysis or muriatic acid were best options, but not sure.  

Russ P.

First notice that Russ detected the site several times without finding a single silver coin. 

Also, he tried again after a rain.  Rain can make deep targets more detectable.

He finally got a poor, inconsistent chirp that was occasionally high pitched.  On the ID detectors that I've used, target ID is less reliable on deep targets and targets that are close to or masked by other targets.  Also if the target is on end or not laying flat in the ground or bent, the target ID will not be as accurate.  That is something to remember, especially if you are interested in deeper targets.  Older targets are often deeper.

Russ dug the target, and the first thing he found was a wheat penny among the trash.  

How many times have your heard that you should check the hole after removing the first target.  I talked about an expanding hole a few days ago.

If you have never tried it, take a variety of coins out in the yard and lay them flat on the ground and see what your detector tells you.  Then take the coins and stand them on edge and see how the detector reads.  And then move your coil up and away from the coin to near its range, and see how the detector responds.  Then put a nail or other junk targets beside the coins and see how the detector responds.  That kind of testing will really help you get to know your detector and what it is trying to tell you.

Thanks or sharing Russ.

After checked again, Russ got a target ID suggesting something like a copper penny, but after removing the dirt from the hole, got a very "sweet" signal.  He removed a Standing Liberty Quarter and then another Standing Liberty Quarter.

You can skip over trash if you want, but it can mask a lot of good targets.  As I've said before, if you remove a lot of surface junk, you'll then often be able to find some better targets that you did not hear before.

Russ says he never got a good signal on those targets until they were out of the hole.

If you throw a target on the ground or if the target is shallow, you'll likely get a good reading, but as I said above, if the target is deeper, you might not get a good target reading.

Now to the question.  Have you ever removed surface rust from a silver coin?  I'd like to get help for Russ and all of my readers on how to that.  I'd like to hear from any of you who have tried methods either successfully or unsuccessfully.

Please send your ideas on that to me at


The surf has calmed down some now.  We'll have a couple of days of south winds.  That will not help most beaches.

Happy hunting,