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  #1  
Old 04-06-2010, 05:12 PM
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DWtexas DWtexas is offline
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Default How I Find Older Coins (long post)

There are many different approaches to performing a task successfully and metal detecting is no exception. This is MY approach to finding old coins and not the be-all-end-all approach. Usually 20 to 25% of all the coins I dig are pre-1964. I follow a very methodical process and have shared it with others whoíve had success with it.

Know your machine and how to use it. To learn it, I recommend two techniques. Hunt with an experienced detectorist who's using the same model of detector as you are. As he/she locates a target, have them explain what they think the target is and why. Also make sure you hear the signal, see the display and the recovered target. This will minimize a lot of frustrating guesswork. The second technique is to dig everything while taking note of the sounds you are hearing, the visual indication you are seeing and the target youíve actually recovered.

Use good equipment. This does not mean you have to purchase the most expensive detector available. You simply need to make sure your detector can offer some sort of feedback regarding the target. Use a pinpointer! Nothing is worse than finding a key date coin and scratching it in the process. A pinpointer can also mean the difference in finding 50 coins rather than 20 in a day.

Now for my process:
Locate an older neighborhood or home. When Iím travelling around the country, Iím often visiting cities I have no knowledge of. I do an Internet search for ď<city name> historic neighborhoodĒ. Once I have the names of a few areas, I look at the online tax records for those areas. Each record will tell you the age the home was built. After Iíve found about 20 homes in a given area, that are 1800s to 1920, Iíll look at the homes on Google Maps using the street view function.

Determine the date of a home. If you donít have the tax role information available, evaluate the age of the homes by looking at the chimney and the foundation. Often a home owner will put new siding on a 100+ year old home to make it look newer, but they will rarely repair cracks in the chimney. In 1913 Ready Mix Concrete revolutionized home building by making concrete foundations an affordable alternative to pier and beam construction. With that in mind, I usually consider homes with concrete foundations to be built no earlier than 1920. It should be noted that some home owners, in effort to keep up with the Jones, had faux concrete foundations built under the edge of their homes. These are basically stucco looking constructions. If a home has a stone foundation, itís definitely worth stopping.

Read the yard/land around the home. Look at the level of the lawn. If itís very flat, one of two things may have happened. The surface may have been bladed by a dozer, or fill dirt may have been brought it. Both of these may adversely affect the amount of recoveries youíll make. Of course, the home may have been built on a flat lot, but you should find out before detecting. If the lawn is rolling, there are high spots around the trees, or a low spot where a tree was removed, the lawn is probably untouched and a great place to detect.

Go knock on the door and get permission FIRST. This is the most important point of my tips. Permission is everything and the best way to get it is to dress appropriately. A button-down shirt, clean jean (no holes), leave the digging tool and detector in the car and take off your sunglasses. People will trust you quicker if they can see your eyes. Remember, bandits wear masks and your sunglasses often create the same subconscious image. If you look like a person who has a job, youíre probably not looking for an easy score and are easier to trust as well. Business cards are helpful, though I donít personally use them.

Picture life in 1935 - it was hot and sticky during the summer months. The first modern air conditioned home received its AC in 1914, while the rest of the country didnít really enjoy it in their homes until 1948 when the industry boomed. So, back to 1935. People would sit under shade trees during the evening hours after coming home from work. Look to see where the trees cast their shade during those hours of the day. People would often sit on the Eastern side of the home, allowing it to provide shade. All of these areas are great spots to hunt. Look around the edges of the porch for coins that may have fallen from pockets and rolled off the edge Ė folks sat on the front porch and often on porch swings. Locate the clothes line. If there isnít one, imagine where you would put one. Often clothes were hung with change still in the pockets, only to shaken loose by the wind. Locate the privy, again imagining where one would be. Occasionally you can still see a depression in the lawn where a trail was worn going to the privy. During those evening hour trips, coins were dropped as a person raised or lowered their trousers. Being dropped in the dark, the coins were not noticed or pursued until the next morning. Then the person couldnít remember just how many steps away from the privy they were, or how fast they were moving when they dropped the coin.

Urban homes are more productive than rural homes. Urban folks carried money because they used it daily. Rural folks kept their money safely tucked away until the rare trip into town for supplies or for Sundayís tithing. Consequently, they didnít drop too many coins. This is not to say avoid these places. Quite to the contrary; you will often find that a well-maintained older home will usually have less trash on the lawn. The targets you recover, while fewer than in the city, will be worth the effort.

Work every lawn like it belongs to someone really important Ė because it does. People are curious about what lies beneath the surface, but they donít want you destroying their lawn to get to it. I do my absolute best to make sure every plug I cut looks like it did before my recovery. It doesnít always work that way; occasionally a plug will fall apart. Several times Iíve had neighbors come over and comment on the good job Iíve done respecting the lawn. Nearly every single time Iíve received an invitation to detect their lawn. Once in Fairborn, Ohio, I detected over 30 homes in a single neighborhood. It took several weekends and my hunting buddies and I worked as quickly as we could. More than half the lawns were by invitation from observant neighbors. I realize this was probably an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, but it can happen. It should be noted, this happened in 2003-2004, not 20 or 30 years ago in more carefree times.

Thatís my method to recovering older coins. I hope it helps you find those older coins.

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  #2  
Old 04-06-2010, 05:20 PM
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Originally Posted by DWtexas View post

Know your machine and how to use it. To learn it, I recommend two techniques. Hunt with an experienced detectorist who's using the same model of detector as you are. As he/she locates a target, have them explain what they think the target is and why. Also make sure you hear the signal, see the display and the recovered target. This will minimize a lot of frustrating guesswork. The second technique is to dig everything while taking note of the sounds you are hearing, the visual indication you are seeing and the target youíve actually recovered.
Great post ...thanks!
This one is a biggie for me. I've only had the MXT for about a month now and am still trying to figure it out for it's best potential.
And I've been in a slump for over 2 weeks now. No good finds to speak of.
Starting to get frustrated because I had better luck with my Ace 250.

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  #3  
Old 04-06-2010, 06:14 PM
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DWtexas that was a great post with a lot of very good and helpful information. THANK YOU for your time in putting it together and sharing it.

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Old 04-06-2010, 06:58 PM
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Good post! I copied and saved it to re-read later and for reminder. Thanks

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Old 04-06-2010, 10:49 PM
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Thank you for taking the time and trouble to put together this very useful post! There is a lot of wisdom in your method for finding older coins, and I'm going to print this out for future reference. Thanks again!

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Old 04-06-2010, 11:42 PM
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Thanks for a very well thought out post, we can all learn from it!!

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  #7  
Old 04-07-2010, 01:52 AM
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Thank you for this wonderful post! I see potential for a nice Sticky! HH
NC

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Old 04-08-2010, 04:02 AM
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Good info for sure!

Sometimes you get lucky on a whim, but for me proper research is 3/4 of the hunt.

I got permission today to MD on a cleared off 1/2 block lot. There's an old school 3 blocks away to the north, the county courthouse 3 blocks to the east and an old train depot 3 blocks south.

The lady that owns the place lives across the street. She said her house is 100 yrs old this year, and that she was alive in the dustbowl days.

The terms of being able to hunt is...get this! I have to come over sometime and spray her yard for dandylions! Good thing her house is taking up most of the yard. LOL

I'm crossing my fingers that she will let me on her house yard as well, as I'm pretty sure it hasn't been detected before.

I'm going tomorrow if the wind is calm, and looking forward to silver and some old copper(IH)

If anyone has any good ideas about the OK panhandle in texas co. shoot me a holler!

HH and goodluck everyone!
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Old 04-08-2010, 09:37 AM
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sweet post! the part of how you get permission is great, people are suspicious to anyone thay dont know at the door or on the phone. i would like to add, if i may. when we wright a letter make it as professional as possible. this is basically a resume of who you are and what your intentions are.

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  #10  
Old 04-10-2010, 10:58 PM
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Thank you all for the kind feedback. It would be really great to see pics of any finds this thread may have contributed to.

Just a point of giving credit where it's due, I've learned this information from the school of trial and error and from generous detectorists who've shared their knowledge with me. Among those, Bill Stevens of Dayton, Ohio has taught me a large part of what I've shared with you, so a big thank you to him.

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Old 04-11-2010, 01:19 AM
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Very nice read. Thanks for the great post.

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  #12  
Old 04-14-2010, 08:56 AM
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Just the type of information a beginner like me needs

Thanks
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  #13  
Old 05-06-2010, 01:49 PM
joey35 joey35 is offline
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An Excellent post! Thanks DWtexas! I copied and saved to my computer as I will be just getting into this hobby sometime next month.
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Old 02-06-2013, 02:45 AM
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So keep in mind that I'm new here so hopefully nobody will mind me resurrecting this old thread. The original post is great information, but I have a question for everybody...when asking for permission, do you volunteer to share any finds with the homeowner?

Thanks.
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Old 02-06-2013, 07:07 AM
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Thank you ..

Awesome post, especially the getting permission part. I guess that I can ask permission after work, when I am wearing clean clothes, and a dress shirt.

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Old 02-06-2013, 12:24 PM
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I would like to add my 2 cents. I think one reason for old coins being found is the fact that people wore pants forever back then, due to cost. The pockets were used frequently and became thread bare over the years, and causing small holes that allowed the coins to drop unnoticed, and another reason for finding pocket knives.
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Old 02-06-2013, 03:51 PM
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Thanks so much for this.

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Old 02-06-2013, 11:33 PM
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Really nice read and some good information.
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  #19  
Old 05-22-2013, 01:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Missouri Dave View post
So keep in mind that I'm new here so hopefully nobody will mind me resurrecting this old thread. The original post is great information, but I have a question for everybody...when asking for permission, do you volunteer to share any finds with the homeowner?

Thanks.
Generally I pay attention to how the owner responds - body language tells a lot. If they give approval right off, I don't mention sharing the finds, but I like to pick something from my finds on their property and offer it to them after. Usually it's something interesting that reflects the history of the home. If I find keys, I always give those to the owner. If the owner appears to hesitate giving permission, then I suggest I could return certain items I locate or even start my search by looking for something specific the owner has lost. In the event I find something I can readily identify the owner of, I immediately return it and ask for a picture for my album. A class ring is fun to find, but it's just valuable metal to you. To the owner, it's a priceless momento attached to so many memories. The smiles you capture in pictures are pretty nice to collect. Plus, the good deed you do today, might just lead to a great site tomorrow.

Happy Dirt Fishing,
DW

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  #20  
Old 05-23-2013, 06:27 PM
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I am new to MD'ing also and this is a must read for anyone new to the hobby. I also think a sticky is in order. HH to all
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