Finds

Bucket List Find

As the sun rose, it was like most days: A road trip to another small town, not knowing where we might end up or what we might find along the way. Ready with our detectors, the CTX 3030 and the Equinox 600 by Minelab were my weapons of choice.

As we pulled into the first small town, the ground was saturated with the 5in of rain they had received the night before. Our first house was a 1900s home and looked very promising. After a short time of hunting, my CTX was giving me a solid signal between the sidewalk and road. I dug it to find a newer dime and quarter shortly after.

As I moved into the yard, I uncovered more newer “clad” money before landing a deep signal. I dug it to find an interesting-looking pocketknife. It wasn’t old, but it was very deep. As I stood wondering how this newer knife could have made its way so deep in the ground, my friend Jeff noticed I had found something and signaled to me, asking if I had found anything of value. I shook my head and propositioned that we stay another 10 minutes and go. He nodded in agreement. Next and not too far from a big tree in the yard, I dug a Missouri tax token at 6 inches.

A tax token is usually a good indicator of more treasure, as they were only made until the 1950s. After a while later with nothing to show, we headed to the next spot. In the next town over, we began by maneuvering through the narrow streets. We noticed several older homes, but the yards weren’t suitable for hunting. We finally found an older home with a nice yard, but no one was home, so on we went.

After some more searching, we finally came across an older home with cars in the driveway. Jeff made his way to the front door to ask permission to metal detect. The homeowner was already waiting in the threshold to greet us. Jeff explained to the older gentlemen that we would like to metal detect his yard, and he was more than welcoming, but cautioned that his yard had been hunted several times in the past and the chances of us finding something were slim to none. He then regaled us with the history of a civil war skirmish that had occurred just a few blocks away. Considering the age of the home and the area’s history, Jeff and I knew that we might uncover something worthwhile, in spite of the homeowner’s doubts.

With the knowledge that the yard had been previously hunted, I decided to use my Equinox 600, as it provides greater depth at the expense of a faster return. I started again with the strip of grass at the edge of the sidewalk and found an old key, possibly 1920s. I moved further down until I landed a signal on the Equinox 600. It was faint but consistent, so I decided to dig it.

Deep in the ground I found a coin covered in a green patina from years of oxidation. I was hoping it was an Indian-head penny. After cleaning it up a bit, I realized my instincts were right. Not only that, but it was also dated 1906! I filled in my plug and on I went. By then, the wind had increased to about 40 mph and was cutting through my hoodie like a cold knife. A few steps further and I had another same-signature signal on the Equinox, only a stronger this time. Kneeling down to cut my plug, I could feel the effects of my age as my knees creaked and back ached. I uncovered yet another green Indian-head penny dated 1907.

I moved on a little further and dug an old silver spoon. I looked to my right and noticed Jeff giving me a thumbs-up sign, meaning he had found silver. I walked across the yard and he had dug a small plug near some bushes. Not wanting to damage the coin in any way, he pulled out some coin cleaner. A winged lady quickly

appeared on the 1941 coin. He lifted the coil of his machine and quickly hit another high tone, only not nearly as deep. Another squirt of the special formula and out came President Roosevelt. Both great finds! As I was returning to my section of the yard, I picked up a few more neat items. A small button with a shield at about 4 inches, a few wheat pennies, and some clad.

After a few more hours of hunting with nothing spectacular to show for it, we decided to head home, hoping to hit a yard or two on the way back. We decided to pull into the next small town to look for houses. With the wind blowing hard and the temperature dropping rapidly, we finally spotted a home that looked very old. The door was answered by an elderly lady. She explained that while she wasn’t the homeowner and was only watching the house, that the owner wouldn’t mind.

Jeff and I started by claiming the side of the yard, him on the left of the paved walkway and me on the right. His first find was a 1902 barber dime. Already set up with the Equinox 600, I decided to keep using the machine, walking lengths of an imaginary grid across the yard scanning for coins and relics. As I’m moving along, I get a solid

reading of 23 on my detector. After digging, I suspect it to be a fairly corroded wheat penny. Jeff manages to get my attention again and calls me over. Under some older brick that had collapsed years ago, he dug a quarter. After cleaning it with some of the coin solution, he discovered it was an 1897 Barber quarter! I congratulated him on his find and continued with my grid scheme on the other side of the yard. After only a few minutes, my machine produced a reading of 22. About 3 inches deep, my pinpointer locates a small coin about the size of a quarter.

After some closer inspection, I noticed a large “2” on one side. My heart rate increased a bit at what I suspected it could be. After some cleaning, all of my suspicions were validated. I had just uncovered an 1864 2-cent piece! In all my days, I never thought find such a rare treasure. A bucket-lister for sure!

Another hour of hunting and some added layers of clothing later, we finally decided to turn in. As the last flecks of light were fading from the sky on our drive back, I was proudly telling Jeff the story of my find and thinking what an awesome day of detecting it had turned out to be.

I’m incredibly thankful to have discovered the sport of metal detecting and to have one of my very best friends to share my successes with. It still amazes me to this day the amount of treasure that lies beneath our feet. You truly never know what you are going to find!


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