Tag Archives: parks

IF You Don’t Love It…

3 Jan

Why do you metal detect? I suspect that the reason you started is very similar to my reason: I wanted to get rich. Nah, not really. I did hope to find a gold ring now and again but what I really wanted was to find an Indian Head penny.

I found my first Indian Head cent (IH) after some time and effort. I can pinpoint with GPS-like precision where in Riverside Park I found it even today. I have to confess that in that day, I was ready to give up metal detecting for good. I had been at it for a couple of months and I had not found anything that sparked my imagination, nor anything that made me rich. I didn’t love metal detecting.

That faithful day it was different and the treasures came all at once. I found the IH at the base of a tree. It was about six inches down buried in hard, dry clay. It seemed to me I was never going to get to the target. When I saw that small disc protruding from the dirt however, all the tiredness and pain went away. I took the coin and washed it in the muddy waters of the Arkansas river. As the details of the coin were revealed I sat down on the bank and nearly cried. Yes, yes; I am a simpleton, what do you want from me? I then recorded a long, sappy, video about it where I talked about all kinds of silly stuff; all from holding that coin in my hand. The video is lost now; thank God but the love for the hobby is still with me since that day.

I was so excited about finding this IH that I DROVE around my city looking for another hunter to share my experience. As it turned out, I saw someone at Linwood park quietly enjoying the day with his metal detector. I parked my car and like a seven year old I practically ran to talk with him. I was very lucky that this person was Richard. Richard has been metal detecting for many many years and he appreciated my find. Through Richard I met the rest of the gang: Steve, Danny, JC, Doug, KS Dave, and other colorful characters who share this hobby.

In my time, I have seen many people try metal detecting and give up. I have gone out hunting many times and returned home with a handful of aluminum and rusted iron for my effort but now, the searching is the reward. I love metal detecting. I mean it is called METAL detecting, not Cool Relic and Coin detecting. And who knows, my next Indian Head cent may be just around the corner.

Happy Hunting!

The Dead Horse

29 Dec

I have written at length about why we need new detectors. Unfortunately there are still many old codgers out there still talking about popping coins with a screwdriver and using detectors from the 1960’s. But again, this is not the 1960’s or the 1970’s; this is the dawn of 2022. Gone are the carpets of silver coins and here to stay are the carpets of aluminum slaw.

Now, I am an old codger myself (or getting close to codgerness) and I believe that there are still thousands of silver coins buried in our parks. These coins are often heavily masked by trash or too deep for the discriminating circuits in our detectors to do their job. Better than trying to pop coins with a screwdriver, we should learn to dig a clean plug and we should learn to hunt by sound if possible. We should also develop the discipline to go “low and slow” to get those hard-to-get targets.

And to help us along, new tech is our friend. Oh I love hunting with those old machines, don’t get me wrong. I use those machines for the love of the hobby but when I want to come home with keepers I reach for my trusty XP Deus.

I will add one caveat though; please don’t use the rent money to buy the new tech. Unfortunately, detectors have become very expensive. My favorite strategy is to trade the detectors I already own for new ones with a little cash added; and if I can sell some coins to get that cash, even better.

So here it is. Upon my return to the blog I felt the need to kick the dead horse once more. Just in case.

Happy hunting!

Another British Invasion?

29 Dec

I returned to the spot where I found the gold button from the Royal Army Pay Corps and although I did not find gold again, I did find this curious medal, about the size of  a U.S. dime:

Unfortunately, I broke it into three pieces when I dug it up and I misplaced the third piece but you can see most of the medal. It says: “Queen Elizabeth The Second” and it includes a profile of the queen.

Something brought subjects of the Crown to my beloved city and during their sojourn they dropped some items for me to find later. Now I am really curious as to what else is under that dirt.

I’ll say this again; people who don’t metal detect will never encounter these mysteries and their lives will be duller.

Thank you for stopping by.

Christmas gold

25 Dec

On Christmas eve, the temperatures were holding on the high 50’s and the sun was out and shining. After a while, my family got busy with things and my wife told me to go and hunt.

I wasn’t planning on disturbing the soil this day and so the XP Deus was not charged. I decided to do a little gold hunting with the mighty Tesoro Compadre.

I spent two hours at the park and for my effort I found this: img_2162

img_2163

This read as a nickel and although it is not marked, I know it is gold. The button has the words Fide Et Fiducia at the bottom and a lion atop a crown above that motto.

This it turns out, is a button from the Royal Army Pay Corps. These guys did the finances for the army of the crown. They were vigent from 1919 t0 1992. What in the world this button was doing in one of our parks, I will never know.

The second piece of gold is not less impressive but I won’t picture it here. Also unmarked, it tests as 22k gold with my old acid. It is super soft and about 1 oz heavy. The signal was that of a pulltab. You can id things on the Compadre by dialing the discrimination up or down. Anyway, when I came home, I ran both pieces by the Deus and the id’s remained the same.

The problem with these two pieces is that since they are unmarked, no one around here will pay me for more than 10K gold. The thing to do is to send it to a smelter but I quit doing that a while ago when they lost a necklace with diamonds on it and only gave me $18 dollars for my trouble.

I’ll figure something out later. Meanwhile, I have the day off tomorrow and the day promises to be a beautiful one. I will go see what other gold may be lurking under the dirt. Hopefully I can find enough to finance my next detector.

Thank you for stopping by.

The Conquest of Henry Park

23 Nov

A long time ago, I foolishly declared that I would find silver coins in every old park in our fair city. By sheer luck, I’ve managed to do that at almost every old park except for one; Henry park.

I got the information about Henry park’s founding from a city web page that no longer exists. If I recall, the park opened in 1886; a neighborhood park the size of a city block. Today, the park is a flat piece of land with no trees in it. The oldest trees on its periphery, could be from the 1940’s. Only recently, the city put some modern play equipment on one of its corners.

I hunted this park once or twice in the last five years and didn’t find any silver coins. Today, I wanted to give it another shot and took my XP Deus metal detector and two hours in an incredibly beautiful day. For the first hour and half, the park behaved exactly as before. I found nothing but aluminum foil and a few pieces of rusted wire (there are lots of wire at this park for some reason). However, towards the end of my hunt, the park began to act its age. At about 6 inches down I found a 1942 War nickel. A few minutes later I pulled the bottom of a shotgun shell known around these parts as a head stamp. Last came a small silver earring.

Henry park loot

Henry park November 23 2016

henrypark02earringdetail

I see that I need to spend more time at this park. It is incredibly trashy for not having any amenities and for not being used very much. I also suspect that sometime after the Second World War, this park was filled and graded, putting the coins from the turn of the century out of reach. I could be wrong. I aim to find out.

Thank you for stopping by.

Fall Day Silver

11 Nov

For lunch today I took Maurice, my XP Deus metal detector, to a section of river bank where I found a number of rings a few years back. My intention was to dig all mid-tones. A good number of pulltabs are no longer buried there and this:
1942mercury

Not too shaby. I plan on returning and finish cleaning the area of all foil and pulltabs.

Thank you for stopping by.

So many coins, so little time

3 Nov

Yesterday, I went back to a couple of spots that have been producing coins for me. The first was at the 1884 park where I have an 5′ x 10′ area that won’t stop giving up coins and the second was at another old park (1887) where I pulled a number of old coins this past Summer from an area equally as small.

I didn’t take a picture but I found two wheats from one park and one wheat and two copper pennies from the 70’s from the other. Again, these coins were there every time I hunted those two spots before and I missed them.

Anyway, today at lunch I tried a different park (1886) and as I was detecting, the thought struck me that there hundreds of spots in the old parks where I’ve never ran my detector. The possibilities are endless.

You may think me overly optimistic for no reason but in fact I do have a reason and I am going to tell you about it.
Before the Great Depression, Wichita was a happening place. I don’t mean just a good place to be at; I mean THE place to be at. Wichita was slated to become the next Chicago. Movers and shakers were relocating here in troves. Opportunity flowed through the city streets and anyone with a modicum of spunk could make it big. All these successful and driven people needed a place to be seen and a place to relax after a hard day of getting rich and our city parks were a great place to do just that. That is why I get excited at the thought of all those areas in our old parks I’ve never touched.

Before I had to go back to work, I pursued a faint signal under an old tree among a roar of iron grunts. at the bottom of a nine inch hole sat a spoon:
img_2130

Sometime in the 20’s I would guess, one of those early Wichita dreamers sat near the Arkansas river with his lovely companion to have a pick-nick. Between laughter, drinks, and talk about their bright future, one of them dropped this spoon and forgot all about it.
(Or a hobbo during the Depression ate his hobbo stew with an old spoon he found somewhere). Take your pick. It is still a cool find.

Thank you for stopping by.

Back at it

25 Oct

Now that the weather is cooler and my health is sort of ok, I decided to get back out there and do some detecting.

First, I put the 9 inch coil back on the Deus as I had decided I wanted to explore a park with more pulltabs and bottle caps anyone should have to contend with. My rationale was that since all that junk was still there, the park had not been hunted properly and there may be some gold hiding therein. Three hunts and lots and lots of junk later I decided I had enough of it.

So Sunday evening, finding myself with a bit of free time I went to a site that is super interesting and that has been hit by EVERY metal detectorist to ever walk my beloved city.
This site, as everyone knows because of an 1888 map, had a horse track on it. What most people don’t know is that 10 years or so before said horse race track was ever laid,  a farm house stood there.

In the past, I and many others have found horse related iron at the site. Horse shoes and horse tackle are common finds. I always believed that this was related to the horse race track but now I think I am wrong. Now I believe that the all that horse related stuff is linked to the farm house not the race track.

Since I hunt deep stuff, I have found many old brass remnants there that I believe were part of the house. Thus I returned and began to hunt for deep stuff again. I dug five holes as I was being highly discerning. Hole one had an old rusted iron bolt at about nine inches deep. Hole two produced a small iron handle which perhaps went with a kitchen drawer, also in the nine to ten inch deep range. Hole three gave me a brass button close to eight inches deep. Hole number four was a bullet; not terribly old but also the shallowest target at only seven inches. The last hole produced a lead tag for some kind of product. The lead was nice and aged and the writing on it described something using product codes. This beauty was all the way down the bottom of a ten inch hole.

The significance of the non-ferrous items is that these items were missed. In fact, the site had many more of these kind of deep signals but I didn’t have my shovel with me and after five holes I was worn out. Today at lunch I will return with my t-handle shovel and see what else is  there. Hopefully my first ever Seated coin will see the light of day.

Thank you for stopping by!

Why do I do it??

29 Aug

After several weeks of not even looking at my detectors, I finally went out for a four hour hunt. It was glorious. I dug up what seemed like a thousand holes and found only ONE thing even mildly interesting: a tiny silver-coated locket. I don’t have a picture of it but it is round and it has a hinge so I assume I’ll be able to open it.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining. I had a great time alone in the park, answering the call of the tones as sailors of old answered the call of the sirens. Among the legion of trash, I dug up a handful of center-fired bullet cartridges (probably 25’s, although I am no expert) wondering once again if it was legal to shoot your gun at the park back in the 30’s and 40’s. Also, I unearthed a couple of very rusted square nails and about 30 lbs of aluminum foil. OK, OK, I didn’t really weigh it.

So, any reasonable person would ask, why do you this? It is sheer madness to spend 4 hours digging for naught but trash. What can I say, it’s a detectorist’s thing.

I cannot speak for anyone else but for me, it really is about satisfying the 9 year old inside me. Yep, now you know it; I never grew up. That tiny locket is all I needed as a reward. Sure, a couple of old coins would have been nice too but the locket will do. I can’t wait to open it and see what could possibly fit in it.

There is much more of course. The wind, the trees, the squirrel that humorously and noisily gnawed on a black walnut (I think) right above me as I was trying to decide whether to dig or not, and so on. But at the end, I spent 4 hours just for the sheer curiosity of it.

No one else will know what’s buried in the parks. Only those of us afflicted by this weird sickness can know. And there are so many interesting things buried; each with a story.
I mean, back in August of 2011, I was detecting the banks of the Arkansas when I dug up a golden coin. I still vividly remember the excitement. I even remember that, convinced it was a gold coin in the hole, I looked around to make sure no one else saw the bounty I was about to receive. Alas, it was not a gold coin but a shekel. In fact I dug up fifteen of them from that hole.
Sheqels
The coins were from the 90’s and worth about $5 American. What in the world were 15 Israeli coins doing buried in the mud of the Arkansas?

I will never know but no other person in my beloved city can even begin to ponder this mystery. Only me.

And that’s why I do it.

Thanks for stopping by.

I’ve done told you

27 Jun

Regardless of the heat, at lunch time today, I went to the place where I’ve found a number of old coins in the recent past. Saturday morning I took my Tesoro Compadre and cleaned a bunch of trash from the first 5-6 inches of soil. The spot is a bear in terms of iron. But it wasn’t the iron I was after, I was after all the freaking aluminum foil. As it happened, I removed a bunch of iron that was near the surface as well.

So today I took my time and decided to dig only the choosiest of signals. I was fooled a couple of times with rusted nails and I even got fooled a few times with small aluminum foil that I missed with the Compadre. By the way, I decided to take the XP Deus on this hunt. Towards the very end of my lunch hour I got a nice signal among iron. Nice and repeatable. After I dug up my obligatory 9 inch hole I stuck my pinpointer in and got an iffy bing at the bottom of the hole. This always makes me smile because that means the object is deep. Incidentally, in an effort to avoid holes-to-nowhere, I dusted off my DetectorPro Pulse Induction pinpointer. It has a reach of about 4 inches for a quarter size coin and a solid 3 inches for a dime sized coin so if I miss my pinpointing with the Deus, I can still find the target in the hole.

This particular target was about 2 inches deeper. I know, I ought to quit talking about depth. It means nothing to anyone else but me. Be that as it may, I pulled this nice 1905 Indian Head cent out of the dirt:

This IH was dropped shortly after it was minted. You can see part of the word Liberty on the headdress and the reverse has nice details on it.

And now comes a bit of ranting

Here is the list of all coins found at this relatively small spot at this park: I’d say is about 15ft x 15ft. You can see the pictures of these coins in the last 10 or so posts:
1919 Wheat
1918 Wheat
1915 Wheat
18xx V nickel
189X V nickel
1890 Indian
1905 Indian
1917 Type 1 Standing Liberty
1894 Barber quarter
1901 Barber dime
1912 Barber dime
1904 Barber dime
KS Tax Token

This list does not include the coins found by Redd and KSDave three years ago, many from this very same spot, one of which was a Seated dime.
Also, keep in mind that this park has been hunted a quadrillion times by a thousand detectorists since the hobby came about.

My point is that our old parks are choke-full of old coins but these coins are not easily accessible. You most definitely will NOT find these coins if you:
Swing too high
Swing too fast
Lift the coil at the ends of your swing
Listen poorly to the tones
Use a detector not built for these environs
Use a detector you do not know well
Do not learn from the trash you dig

I am not trying to be an ass. Really. I am just saying those of us who came into the hobby in the last 10 years have a different reality to contend with. Unless you are only hunting private properties (lucky you), you need to approach our city parks with a fresh set of expectations, philosophy, and equipment.

Thank you for stopping by.