Coin Hunting... It's Really Quite Simple!
By: Dick Stout
Metal detectors have come a long way in that today they will automatically do things that we had to do manually 20 years ago: adjusting for ground mineralization, keeping an audible audio threshold, battery checks, discrimination settings, to name a few. Add to that target identification and depth, programmable settings, and it's a wonder that there's a coin left in the ground. How could there be? After all, all we need to do is swing a coil over the soil, listen for the signals, and recover them.
Well, you know and I know that it's not that simple. There's a lot more that goes into being a successful coinhunter than owning the most expensive, most feature-laden detector on the market. Why is that, do you suppose? Have you ever given it a great deal of thought? Remember, you've purchased what was supposedly the best metal detector on the market, you've programmed it exactly as the manual recommended, and you visited the old schoolyard. Why, then, are you finding screwcaps, bottle caps, pulltabs, and nails? Where are those old coins you were supposed to find? Better yet, where are those silver coins? You know, the ones that you put away for a rainy day...
The answer is really very simple, yet sometimes so difficult to see and comprehend. It's right in front of your face, but so far away that you never take notice! It's you. You (and I include myself, quite often) are too lazy to find what you are after- too lazy to go that extra mile. "What?" you say, "Not me! I work hard when I metal detect, and as far as I am concerned, there's just nothing left to find anymore." Well, that's your answer to the dilemma, and it's an old and often heard response. It's just an excuse, however, and one that only bodes bad things in the days to come.
To overcome this "poor me" syndrome, start with knowing that there are indeed a lot of old coins waiting to be found. Millions of them. Your detector works quite well, and it offers you a lot of built-in assistance. It pretty much allows you to concentrate on anything else but setting up and using your detector. So, why not start your searches with a positive attitude? That's first and foremost, and extremely important. Think positive, and positive things will happen.
Where To Hunt
Since you don't have to worry about the tools of the trade, what do you have to do? Well, how about giving some very serious thought as to where you're going to take this marvelous machine? Remember, if it does all it's supposed to do, and does it in grand fashion, what will it find in your front yard? Will it find anything at the school down the street? Ask yourself, what could it possibly find in either place? In other words, what does the site you are going to search have to offer in the first place?
If you're hoping to find "old" coins, you darn well better be searching in "old" places. Simple? Of course. (Remember, I said that coin hunting is really quite simple.) Looking for that pre-1900 coin in an area that wasn't developed and used until after the turn of the century is obviously a waste of time. Likewise, looking for a lot of silver in areas that were seldom used before 1964 is an invitation to disappointment. In the end, you're the master of your destiny, the victim of your bad decisions, and you will reap what you sow.
There's No Excuse
We can complain all we want about what we haven't found, and we can put the blame on our detector, the weather, where we reside, the assumption that someone else has beaten us to it- or we can start accepting the fact that perhaps we're at fault, and have ventured only to those areas that we were familiar with or that others told us about.
Get to your local library, join or at least visit your local historical society, turn on your computer, and get to work! There's absolutely no excuse today for not searching prime and productive areas. True, you may not be the first on the site, but you will most assuredly be the one who has that positive feeling that perhaps today will be the day you find that key-date Mercury to fill in your dime collection, or that 1916 Standing Liberty quarter worth double or triple the price of your detector. The information you need is at your fingertips. Old and potentially profitable coin sites are waiting for you to find them. What happens next is up to you.
I learned to coin hunt using the detectors of the '70s and '80s, and I appreciated all they could do. I found lots of coins, and slowly but surely graduated to the high-tech machines of today. I have, however, come to realize over the years that it doesn't matter what detector you are using, and it doesn't matter how much it cost. The end results of your efforts will be your responsibility and yours alone.
Take it to the treasure, and it's yours!