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Old 01-21-2013, 02:42 AM
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Default Question for experienced detectorists about silver coin depths.

I'd like to get some opinions from those of you who are more experienced detectorists and have found a lot of older silver coins. Do you notice that generally, they tend to be a bit deeper than the more recent coins? I've only found 9 silvers so far but they do seem to have been several inches deeper (6-8 inches) than the majority of the clad I find in the same area (1-5 inches). I know there are exceptions where, for example, you might find an old Seated or Barber coin near the surface and a clad dime at 7 inches nearby, and I know there are many factors such as soil density, obstacles like rocks and roots, etc, but I'm talking in general. I see these Minelab users finding older silvers quite often and I've wondered if it's mostly because of the extra depth they're getting. In short, what percentage would you estimate are found deeper than 8 inches or so, where some detectors might pass right over them? Thanks.
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Old 01-21-2013, 03:46 AM
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Gravity on earth causes objects to go down. Since coins sink slowly when they are dropped, it is logical that they will slowly make their way farther and farther down. Also, grass cuttings, leaves, etc pile up on top of the ground and decay.

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Old 01-21-2013, 04:09 AM
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Default Silver coins

Its not always the detector that finds the coins, Its the operator that is very experience of the person using the detector. Ken
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Old 01-21-2013, 11:19 AM
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Originally Posted by dirtykneese View post
Its not always the detector that finds the coins, Its the operator that is very experience of the person using the detector. Ken
False. Entry level detectors can not find coins in heavy trash like iron, especially at depth. I don't care how experienced you are on a Bounty Hunter, the machine is incapable of "seeing" through nails like an ETRAC or CTX. I seriously wish you guys would stop putting out this false belief that experience trumps technology. When it comes to two people using the same machine in the same conditions, then yes, this applies, but as far as the real-world, and learning your detetor, there are limits to what they can do. Entry level "beep-and-go" machines do NOT have the same technology to sort through iron infested ground with faster processors that relay the info to the control boxes. Not picking on your statement Ken, but it's misleading, and incomplete.

A noob on a CTX will find more coins than an experienced Bounty Hunter operator even in the Basic "Coin" mode simply because if you stuck them both on a patch of dirt with a lot of garbage, the CTX guy will be able to see, and hear coins that the BH guy will not. Mid-level machines have more of an advantage than entry level obviously, and for their costs are usually the best option for a majority of hobbyists.
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Old 01-21-2013, 01:03 PM
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Silver tends to be deeper, because it's been there longer than the clad...People have been detecting and picking silver for 40+ years, so most of what's left is either deeper than most machines can id correctly, or masked by trash. Out in the woods or in hard to hunt locations, you will have a better chance of finding shallower silvers...

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Old 01-22-2013, 04:45 AM
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Originally Posted by DiggInOhio View post
I'd like to get some opinions from those of you who are more experienced detectorists and have found a lot of older silver coins. Do you notice that generally, they tend to be a bit deeper than the more recent coins? I've only found 9 silvers so far but they do seem to have been several inches deeper (6-8 inches) than the majority of the clad I find in the same area (1-5 inches). I know there are exceptions where, for example, you might find an old Seated or Barber coin near the surface and a clad dime at 7 inches nearby, and I know there are many factors such as soil density, obstacles like rocks and roots, etc, but I'm talking in general. I see these Minelab users finding older silvers quite often and I've wondered if it's mostly because of the extra depth they're getting. In short, what percentage would you estimate are found deeper than 8 inches or so, where some detectors might pass right over them? Thanks.
Great question. I've no reply as I've only found one dime and it was by a sidewalk at 4 inches.

What do you use and more importantly, did your machine tell you "coin!" or was it iffy due to 8" depth? Thanks

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Old 01-22-2013, 09:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Sicklehound View post
Great question. I've no reply as I've only found one dime and it was by a sidewalk at 4 inches.

What do you use and more importantly, did your machine tell you "coin!" or was it iffy due to 8" depth? Thanks
i've dug 2 silvers at 8 inches. one walker..and one washington quarter. none deeper, but that's the machines fault i think. the majority of the silver here in sw La. is on average about 5 inches, maybe a shade less. and we have more buildup on top of the ground here than the northern states, due to our cutting grass 9-10 months out of the year vs 6 or 7 months for up north. (btw i think its physically impossible for a coin to sink in dirt , unless the water content in ther dirt turns it into just about quicksand. its all about the buildup on top)

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Old 01-22-2013, 09:15 AM
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Key is location, location, location. Soil condition and "recent" digging/landscaping/excavation can keep or bring older coins to the top.

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Old 01-22-2013, 10:43 AM
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As mentioned/eluded to by others, the depth of a silver coin, any coin for that matter, is really dependent on soil composition, weather/environment in the area, and earth "movement". I have found silver coins at 2 inches and others at 10 inches....sometimes in the same general area with no great difference in date. The difference was one coin was in a wet/damp area under a predominantly shady location, the other area of direct sunlight....thus the soil in the shady area allowed the coin to "sink" down due to the soil being softer and the other was hard and packed due to sunlight, thus the coin was only 2 or so inches down. There are literally hundreds of soil types throughout the world which will affect how a coin "drops"...ask any water hunter and they will tell you tales about coarse sand versus powdery sand....mud versus clay, rocky versus fine, etc....

Size does matter as well....larger coins have a tendency to sink lower in the correct soil versus smaller coins...and how they were "dropped" matters too (face or edge)..read surface area.

The best thing is that you found silver....and there is NOTHING better than seeing a "clean" shinny coin smiling back at you after more than 50 years in the dirt!!!!

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Old 01-22-2013, 11:01 AM
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I've found 1" deep barbers and 8" deep clad. I've found multiple mercury dimes sitting on the surface (at several locations). Logically, the potential for an older coin to be deeper than a newer one is sound, but it is hardly uniform.

For heavily searched areas, you are not worried about depth as much as the ability to work through trash. If you are using a detector not known for handling that kind of environment, you should think outside the box and put your coil over areas that are unhunted.


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Old 01-22-2013, 11:10 AM
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I have found hundreds of silver coins at less than four inches deep. Of course this was hunting virgin school grounds where the swings were still where they had been since at least the 1940s, and I was hunting in the early 1970s. I used a Garrett BFO with no discrimination and dug all signals. A CTX 3030 won't find more silver at four inches than an entry-level detector, it will merely find them faster. I had no problem digging all signals, and when one does that one does find the dimes under a bottle cap or next to the nail. No matter what a discriminating metal detector says or indicates one can only know without conjecture what is down there when one digs it up. I also have found a lot of cool old cast iron toys that my Safari in "coin mode" will pass up, and a couple of four-pounder cannonballs of American revolutionary war period.

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Old 01-22-2013, 11:26 AM
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Ok there are always exceptions to the rules but generally speaking the older the coin is the deeper it will be. Not so much because it sinks, I don't believe a coin sinks much at all, but because decaying grass and vegetation build up on top of the soil year after year. And sure you could find 100s of silver coins less than 4 inches back in the early 70s, silver had only been out of circulation for 6 years then lol.
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Old 01-22-2013, 11:42 AM
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3 inches average depth on silver coins, but terrible soil, highest mineralized and very hard.

I think we should all post the average depth we find silver at then comment second.

A major factor is how much rain you get. Most places get a ground soaking to the degree of total mush going down 12"+ at least once every year or two. Here the clay and even topsoil turns to concrete with 90 degree plus heat for around 5 months a year. In areas in creek beds with rich soil that flood or pool water for days, coins might sink several inches a year. A guy in the club said that in the late 80s the city excavated 30 inches deep of soil for leveling and putting in sidewalks and he found 200+ old coins at around that depth. He could not believe it. This must have been really deep topsoil, or filled in.

Normally the coins sink through our shallow top soil and rest in the top few inches of our clay. The top soil is often only 3-6 inches deep, as the entire state was clearcut of almost all of its trees in the early 1800s, this probably led to all of the top soil washing into mobile bay, in hilly areas.

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Old 01-22-2013, 01:11 PM
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Originally Posted by DiggInOhio View post
I've only found 9 silvers so far but they do seem to have been several inches deeper (6-8 inches) than the majority of the clad I find in the same area (1-5 inches)....
First, silver coins weigh about 11% more than clad coins (for example, a silver quarter weighs 6.25 grams, but a clad quarter weighs just 5.67 grams).

So in those areas where sinkage is involved (is "sinkage" a word? If not, it should be), the silver coins will sink faster and deeper than the clad coins.

Plus, the silver coins had a good head start, because they were usually lost years before the clad coins in the same area. So it makes sense that silver is deeper than clad.

BUT in the case you describe, my guess is that other treasure hunters were there before you got there, and they found the silver coins that were less than 6 inches deep. They didn't find the deep ones, because their detectors were not powerful enough. So you came along and got the deep ones they missed. Which made you think ALL silver is deep. Which is true only when somebody already got the shallow ones.

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Old 01-22-2013, 02:54 PM
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Originally Posted by dan View post
BUT in the case you describe, my guess is that other treasure hunters were there before you got there, and they found the silver coins that were less than 6 inches deep. They didn't find the deep ones, because their detectors were not powerful enough. So you came along and got the deep ones they missed. Which made you think ALL silver is deep. Which is true only when somebody already got the shallow ones.
Yup. Like you, I was one of the guys out hunting with detectors that could get silver to 4" or 5" inches. I was also out taking advantage of quicker response time (2-filter machines) when that was effective. The depth mark keeps getting pushed deeper and the iron masks are tighter.

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Old 01-22-2013, 03:11 PM
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I think if the ground freezes, and how deep it freezes with the type of soil, and frost condition are just a few of the factors that cause coins to sink at deeper rates.

I saw ryan (jresserman) dig a clad quarter at least 12 inches at a baseball field near a park we hunt. it was such a deep target we all were betting seated, or barber, no it was a clad quarter..

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Old 01-22-2013, 07:57 PM
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The deepest silver coin I have ever found was a 1941 Washington Quarter at about 7-8 inches. Which really doesn't mean much because I have found Barber dimes at 1 inch deep. I've noticed that in the woods, coins don't really sink much. Basically, you want a detector that can pick coins out of trash well rather than a depth demon in my opinion. I know that an E-Trac, CTX, T2 can get some deep coins but the majority of silver coins at least for me are between 1-5 inches deep. Depth isn't everything...it is nice though.

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Old 01-22-2013, 07:59 PM
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Virgin spots are the key to finding silver coins too.

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Old 01-22-2013, 08:42 PM
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Originally Posted by NHKeith View post
..........I saw ryan (jresserman) dig a clad quarter at least 12 inches at a baseball field near a park we hunt. it was such a deep target we all were betting seated, or barber, no it was a clad quarter..
Back in November, I dug a Barber dime that was down about 6-7 inches. Funny things is, that it was under some large rocks as if it was dumped inside some soil a long time ago. I feel it didn't just naturally settle at that depth.

Remember to, that surface build up from tree debris makes us dig deeper holes, but the coin itself may have settled years before.

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Old 01-22-2013, 09:13 PM
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Originally Posted by ronfin View post
False. Entry level detectors can not find coins in heavy trash like iron, especially at depth. I don't care how experienced you are on a Bounty Hunter, the machine is incapable of "seeing" through nails like an ETRAC or CTX. I seriously wish you guys would stop putting out this false belief that experience trumps technology. When it comes to two people using the same machine in the same conditions, then yes, this applies, but as far as the real-world, and learning your detetor, there are limits to what they can do. Entry level "beep-and-go" machines do NOT have the same technology to sort through iron infested ground with faster processors that relay the info to the control boxes. Not picking on your statement Ken, but it's misleading, and incomplete.

A noob on a CTX will find more coins than an experienced Bounty Hunter operator even in the Basic "Coin" mode simply because if you stuck them both on a patch of dirt with a lot of garbage, the CTX guy will be able to see, and hear coins that the BH guy will not. Mid-level machines have more of an advantage than entry level obviously, and for their costs are usually the best option for a majority of hobbyists.
I don't know if I agree with all that you wrote down . I have seen some fellows with nice metal detectors that were not really using their machines correctly . Swing coil wildly, coil nowhere close to being level with the ground , just things that would cut down on productivity in general.. Just because someone buys an expensive detector does not mean that they will even understand what the machine is telling them.. even with a machine of lesser capabilities the experienced MD'er would have the advantage of even knowing where the treasure is most likely to be found. A great machine has to go over a good target before it goes beeep ..
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