In part one of this three part series, we discussed coinshooting without using any electronic instruments. In this segment we will look at coin shooting with a metal detector and how-to-elements of metal detecting research. I love this arena and for forty years I have participated passionately with all types of detectors and want others to experience the same ecstasy that a valuable or keeper coin brings when it comes out of the ground.
Today we are blessed with great technology in the metal detecting hobby. When I started detecting on Christmas day of 1969, I had a $ 50.00 BFO unit manufactured by a FL high school science teacher, Jim Ford. That Medeford unit in many ways matched or was better than the big boys and I became hooked on coin shooting my very first time out. Today the metal detectors are far superior and one of the largest keys to anyone's coin shooting success is research.
Coin shooting is the most popular form of treasure hunting as coins can be found naturally everywhere people have been. Just in the US alone, in the last hundred years, more than a hundred million coins have been lost and only about twenty-five million recovered or dug-up by coin shooters.
The most obvious areas for hunting coins are the sites that are still in use. These sites include school yards, parks, picnic areas, roadside rest areas, ball parks, swimming holes, carnival grounds, art / jewelry show grounds and many more areas like these. Although most of the coins found at these sites are relatively new, they are great for training and teaching the user the basics of their detector's operation and the sounds that the unit makes on all types of signals. I personally do this type of searching to fine tune my recovery skills needed in working those reviewed sites that contain older and more valuable coins. Often the targets that are very fault at the edge of the detector's depth range, are the coins other treasure hunters have missed due to not using good headsets, or sweeping to fast without overlapping each sweep by 30 to 50%, or just by them being marginal signals.
The largest untapped field for finding older and more valuable coins is old home sites. A family member of mine in Wallingford, CT has a 1732 built colonial home. Using a Fisher 1210 she uncovered some wonderful coins. There are homes out there in the world that date back to the 1600's and the advantage of looking at these sites are two-fold. Most treasure hunters will not ask permission to hunt these areas for fear of rejection. You could have the very first person to check that yard. The second advantage is that yards usually will have a lot less junk than most other frequented sites making hunting there so much easier.
A little research of any city or town can produce many sites that will be productive for finding valuable coins. My favorite and most productive sites have been old watering holes for stagecoaches, fresh water swimming holes and beaches, church campgrounds and recreation centers, old schools sites, WPA work sites, WWI and WWII training sites, old fairgrounds, parking meter sites of the 40's and 50's along city streets and old dance and performance areas in city parks. County atlases published years ago are available in most city libraries and historical communities and they give the locations of these old sites. Get a modern map and compare the two. It is eay to follow through with and drive right to those areas. Reading histories of a city can also produce many old sites. Pictures taken more than 100 years ago reveal potential sites too. If you are looking for a rare coin, like the 1909 SVDB Lincoln Cent or the 1916 Standing Liberty Quarter, look for buildings and homes that were built at that time. The internet has a wealth of information and research material about communities also. As a people person, my favorite research method is to get to know the senior citizens of a community. These individuals remember the old days, and usually, will gladly share information that will make coin shooting rewarding.
Joining a treasure hunting club and getting to know members will also be productive in terms of finding new sites. Questioning fellow detector users in the field can also be productive. In 40 years of coin shooting, using good research skills has produced enough leads and sites that will carry me through the next few years and I know I will reach my personal-lifetime goal of 200,000 coins. Get started by doing some good research. Can you dig it? I do!