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Permit an old metal detectorist to post a recent find?

WeissWeiss Posts: 9,884 ✭✭✭✭✭
edited April 22, 2023 5:06AM in U.S. Coin Forum

I was a pretty avid metal detectorist back in the late 1990s. I was the president of our local club for 3 or 4 years, found thousands and thousands of coins, including about 100 silver coins, several dozen obsolete (Indian cents, buffalos) and dozens of wheats. Even more marked pieces of silver jewelry. I even had two articles published in the largest metal detecting magazine.
But as is often the case, life gets in the way. Weekly outings became monthly, then semi-annual. In the last 5 years, I've probably gone out 3, maybe 4 times.
But I've had my eye on a particular patch of land for years. Because this property, on a quiet brick street in the middle of town, was across the alley from the first house I bought. I'd cast a forlorn eye at this empty, clover and grass covered lot often. They weren't even using it! It was behind their 1915-era bungalow--technically behind the garage. They mowed it every month and that was it. Here's my old house, and the lot across the alley:

But I eventually sold that home and moved a couples of miles down the road to a new house with a new wife. And we were happy there. And my small real estate company grew from 2 or 3 properties to 20 or 30.
And while my coin collecting and precious metals hobbies continued on a great trajectory, there was always something more pressing than detecting.
And then a funny thing happened. Four years ago, the house three doors down from the one with that back yard absolutely choked with silver coins (in my mind, at least), came on the market. And then the house on the other side. And then the house next to the one with the silver choked yard. And would you believe it? The very house itself.
And I bought them all, one by one. I own the whole block now, save one house all the way on the opposite end of the block.
At Christmas, my main contractor asked my opinion about metal detectors. He'd heard my war stories and figured he'd give it a shot, too. I remembered a fair amount. But technology has changed so much in the 20 or so years since I'd semi-retired. My fellow detectorists will appreciate my main weapon back in the day was a Fisher CZ-6a, then a Minelab ExplorerXS, with a Tesoro Sidewinder as my backup. In the interim, the Fisher had been traded and the Minelab had just given up the ghost. Which left me with the powerful but very simple Sidewinder.
So I started researching a nice entry-level machine. And without telling him, I had a brand new Minelab Vanquish 440 drop--shipped to his house for Christmas. His wife still hasn't forgiven me.
And after months of crap weather, we finished up work this beautiful Friday afternoon. So I asked if he was ready to try out his new machine. He ran home to get his gear, and I met him at the house. The very house. That same damn house I'd dreamed about.
I took about a half-hour to walk him through the Minelab (very intuitive, a ridiculously low learning curve compared to the machines 20 years ago). I watched him dig a few targets, then set off on my own.
The yard was about as trashy as I expected. But I dug a few dimes and cents here and there. The Sidewinder still had it--though it was practically a toy compared to my guy's Minelab. Rounding the corner towards the front, I got that solid, faint, but crystal clear and perfectly repeatable signal that tells you it's something good and something deep. I carefully dug a conical plug in the moderately damp soil and carefully set the plug aside. There at the bottom of the hole was the unmistakable outline of a coin. A dime by its size. And then the tell-tale glint of silver. For those unfamiliar, clad, nickel, and copper is almost always as black (or dark red) as the soil from which it is retrieved. But not silver. Silver usually looks like silver. Which is, after all, one of the reasons silver IS silver. But this little dime had a thin coating of soil over both sides. My eyes aren't what they used to be (hard to see items close up with bifocal contacts in). But there was a wide field on one side that seem to be saying "Mercury dime" to me. So I trotted over to my contractor to show him the dime. He immediately recognized that it was silver, too.
And let me tell you: The urge to discover what you have by wiping soil across fragile surfaces can be overwhelming. But the waiting can be part of the fun, too. Any silver was wonderful, the idea that it was a Merc was enough to keep me going for another hour and a half.
Finally after many other targets, including at least 3 wheat cents, we called it quits. He had a blast and immediately went to the hardware store to get a new digging tool. I puttered on home to clean my finds (with water!) and get ready for dinner.
Back home I set the dime aside, then scrubbed the wheats with a toothbrush: 1945, 1945-D, and 1954-D. Nothing special, typical for the area. But as I always say (or said, back in the day): If you're finding wheats, you'll find silver.
And then it was time for the reveal. Holding the dime carefully by the rim, I set the tap at medium low and moved the dime into the stream.
Imagine my surprise...



The moral of the story: Dream big. Because that buried treasure really is right there where you think it is. You just have to go find it.

We are like children who look at print and see a serpent in the last letter but one, and a sword in the last.
--Severian the Lame


  • NumisOxideNumisOxide Posts: 10,940 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Super find! Exciting.

  • OAKSTAROAKSTAR Posts: 4,896 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Great find!! 👍🏻

  • PillarDollarCollectorPillarDollarCollector Posts: 4,252 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Very cool!!!

    Interest: Latin American history with an emphasis on colonial Mexico & Peru

    Sports: NHL & NFL

    Thank you Lord for another beautiful day!!!

  • OwnerofawheatiehordeOwnerofawheatiehorde Posts: 1,205 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Bet you weren’t expecting that! Great find! :)

    Type collector, mainly into Seated. Young Numismatist. Good BST transactions with: Mirabela

  • divecchiadivecchia Posts: 6,460 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Nice backstory with a great score to boot.

    Congrats on your find.


    Hobbyist & Collector (not an investor).
    Donato's Complete US Type Set ---- Donato's Dansco 7070 Modified Type Set ---- Donato's Basic U.S. Coin Design Set

    Successful transactions: Shrub68 (Jim), MWallace (Mike)
  • TomBTomB Posts: 20,298 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Fantastic post and score!

    Thomas Bush Numismatics & Numismatic Photography

    In honor of the memory of Cpl. Michael E. Thompson

  • FlyingAlFlyingAl Posts: 2,502 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Congrats! Wonderful story!

  • pursuitoflibertypursuitofliberty Posts: 6,358 ✭✭✭✭✭

    What a great story, a wonderful introduction for a newcomer to detecting, and an outstanding find!

    You just knew it was there, all along!!

    Thanks for sharing!!!

    “We are only their care-takers,” he posed, “if we take good care of them, then centuries from now they may still be here … ”

    Todd - BHNC #242
  • PerryHallPerryHall Posts: 44,855 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Centennial year and a CC mintmark is the icing on the cake. Very cool find. B)

    Worry is the interest you pay on a debt you may not owe.

  • DCWDCW Posts: 6,751 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Great write up! What a score after all these years. That baby really held up well in the ground

    Dead Cat Waltz Exonumia
    "Coin collecting for outcasts..."

  • That's was a well-written and most enjoyable story. What a great ending to what must be a revival of an old hobby. I hope you don't let your machine collect dust now.

  • rickoricko Posts: 98,724 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Weiss... Wow!!! Great story and super find.... Silver and a CC mint mark. Thanks for sharing that one.... Really nice pictures. You need to go back there.... Cheers, RickO

  • littlebearlittlebear Posts: 1,420 ✭✭✭✭


    Autism Awareness: There is no limit to the good you can do, if you don't care who gets the credit.
  • fastfreddiefastfreddie Posts: 2,657 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Great find...great read!

    Better than watching an episode or Oak Island!!

    Thankfully you didn't do the "at the bottom of the conical hole was a nail. Could that nail be from a ship that sailed from the south of France"...

    It is not that life is short, but that you are dead for so very long.
  • sellitstoresellitstore Posts: 2,242 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Have you found other CCs or was this a first?

    Collector and dealer in obsolete currency. Always buying all obsolete bank notes and scrip.
  • scubafuelscubafuel Posts: 1,651 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Weiss, great story and wonderful find! You do a great job pulling us into your adventure.
    I’m impressed with the real estate empire you’ve created and run. Is it all local residential?

  • WeissWeiss Posts: 9,884 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @scubafuel said:
    Weiss, great story and wonderful find! You do a great job pulling us into your adventure.
    I’m impressed with the real estate empire you’ve created and run. Is it all local residential?

    Thanks! It's a mix of commercial, multi-family, and single family. I've mostly transitioned out of single family in the last few years.

    We are like children who look at print and see a serpent in the last letter but one, and a sword in the last.
    --Severian the Lame
  • WeissWeiss Posts: 9,884 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited April 22, 2023 7:13AM

    Thanks, everyone. It was a fun outing on a beautiful afternoon.
    She isn't my oldest find: I found one undated large cent that certainly predates her, and two beautifully preserved 1853 seated dimes that do as well. But she's my only CC to date. What a thrill to find her in that lot I used to salivate over!

    Those two 1853s, and the 1875 shown next to them at the top of this image all came out of the same 2' x 2' patch in a park known to Abraham Lincoln. Who knows? :wink:

    We are like children who look at print and see a serpent in the last letter but one, and a sword in the last.
    --Severian the Lame
  • SoCalBigMarkSoCalBigMark Posts: 2,763 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Good job homie, I know a guy, that knows a guy who can make that into a slam dunk 78.

  • TunisTunis Posts: 419 ✭✭✭✭

    Nice story!!

    Successful buys on BST board from NotSure, Nankraut, Yorkshireman, Astrorat, Ikeigwin(2x), Bob13, Outhaul, coinbuf, dpvilla, jayPem, Sean1990, TwoKopeiki, bidask, Downtown1974, drddm, nederveit2

  • SoldiSoldi Posts: 1,979 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited April 22, 2023 10:41AM

    RAHWAY RIVER PARK ..............CIRCA 1999 .........Every die hard detectorist gets one.

    Across the street from the Nova Caesarea' Colonial mint, long torn down.

  • WeissWeiss Posts: 9,884 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Gorgeous CC, @Soldi !

    We are like children who look at print and see a serpent in the last letter but one, and a sword in the last.
    --Severian the Lame
  • pointfivezeropointfivezero Posts: 1,525 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Don’t need to know anything about coin collecting or metal detecting to enjoy your literary style.

    Thanks for sharing.


  • jonrunsjonruns Posts: 1,192 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Wonderful writing. Send that in for publication.

  • Riley1955Riley1955 Posts: 136 ✭✭✭

    Great story! And a neat find. Enjoy your detecting.

  • cheezhedcheezhed Posts: 5,617 ✭✭✭✭✭


    Many happy BST transactions
  • emeraldATVemeraldATV Posts: 3,684 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Some of the oldest trees are money trees.
    There must have been a rainbow there at some point in time.
    Cool !

  • rheddenrhedden Posts: 6,531 ✭✭✭✭✭

    As a fellow collector who also does a little detecting, I loved reading your story. I bought a modern $250 metal detector a couple of years ago, and it blows the doors off my 1990s era machine that cost me $700 way back then. I've been digging old relics like flat buttons and shoe buckle fragments that are down an honest 8 inches. Anyone who detects knows that an 8-inch hole is deeper than it sounds, requires removing a lot of dirt, and takes a lot of time to dig through tree roots and rocks. If only I had this detector 25 years ago...

    Now I just need a place to dig CC mint Seated coins in my neighborhood. :D

  • Namvet69Namvet69 Posts: 8,398 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Nice find! Which is why I detect every patch of ground when I obtain permission. The hunt continues. Peace Roy

    BST: endeavor1967, synchr, kliao, Outhaul, Donttellthewife, U1Chicago, ajaan, mCarney1173, SurfinHi, MWallace, Sandman70gt, Ricko, mustanggt, Pittstate03, Lazybones, Walkerguy21D, coinandcurrency242 , thebigeng, Collectorcoins, JimTyler, USMarine6, Elkevvo, Coll3ctor, Yorkshireman, CUKevin, ranshdow, Jzyskowski1, CoinHunter4, bennybravo, Centsearcher, braddick, Windycity, ZoidMeister, mirabela, JJM, RichURich

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