Saturday, June 15, 2013

Old Converted Home Site

Today's metal detecting hunt took place at the site of an old house that has been converted into a town function building. The property had three separate buildings on it, not including the two outhouses and shed. The property was also surrounded by an old stone wall, and there were several couple-hundred year old pine trees on-site. My research leads me to believe that the main building was built somewhere in the mid-late 1800's, though there is a possibility that it was constructed at an earlier time. Plenty of land and several outbuildings gave me hope that I would be able to make a few interesting finds.

A front view of the main building

Equipped with my Whites MXT, I started my search for old coins and relics. My first observation of the site was that the ground was loaded with iron. I couldn't find any patch of grass without getting interference from the ground mineralization. This made it extremely difficult to get any solid, repeatable signals and no signals reached more than 3-4 inches into the ground. Coming back to this site with a smaller coil might be a good idea in the future. But since I had no such option today, I stuck with the stock coil and did the best I could do.

I was hunting behind the main building at first, and was only finding clad coins and scraps of aluminum. Every relic hunter's worst nightmare. This prompted me to change positions and check in front of the house. A few minutes after I started hunting the front yard, I got a repeatable nickel signal; an 18-20 on the VDI, and thought "why not" and decided to dig it. About 2-3 inches down, sure enough there was a nickel at the bottom of the hole. Thinking it would be a modern coin, I pulled it from the ground and wiped some of the dirt off only to find that it was actually a Buffalo Nickel. This would only be my third or so Buffalo Nickel I have ever found, and the first with a readable date. Today's nickel was made in 1930, making it, for all I know, my oldest nickel I have ever found metal detecting. This find gave me hope that I would be able to beat the mineralization and dig up a few more keepers.

1930 Buffalo Nickel found in front yard

Only fifteen or so minutes after finding the Buffalo Nickel, in the same vicinity I got an iffy signal - jumping around anywhere between 50 and 75 on the VDI. This signal generally means that it's a zinc penny, but I knew I was hunting some old ground and it very well could be an old coin masked with iron in the hole. I dug down about 4 inches, stuck my pin-pointer in the hole and began to dig where it directed me. Eventually I pulled out a small, round disc the size of a penny. I immediately knew that it had to be an Indian Head Penny, and after brushing some of the dirt off of it, I discovered that I was right. My first Indian Head Penny of the year is from 1891, a 122 year old coin.

1891 Indian Head Penny - 47,072,000 minted

After finding the Indian Head Penny, progress started to slow down. I started to once again find modern clad coins and scraps of aluminum. The iron infested ground found it's way back to my coil and it was a job only a small coil could handle. It was time to go home. At the end of the day, I'm pretty happy with today's finds. I was able to sniff out two old coins in iron-infested soil. I was pleased with the hunting location and I will return back one day with a smaller coil. It was good to get out and dig up some history today, I'm already looking forward to getting back out.