The Highwayman's Hoard
Getting Permission Can Be Rewarding
Hunts Are Educational
People In Scoping
Nice Day For Treasure Hunting
A Balancing Act
About Those Electroscopes®
Model 20 in Tennessee
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A Nice Day for Treasure Hunting
by Mike Bower

There is something about getting up early and going treasure hunting; it can't really be described in any book and it is hard to put into any words. It was one of those day when everything was just perfect - no rain, no clouds, no wind, just a beautiful warm day. Since I was going on a longer trip, I had packed most of my gear the night before. My destination was an old boy scout camp, about an hour and a half from my home. It has been gone over for so many years by hundreds of detectors, it was written off by the most dedicated coin shooters. I was going to use my Model 20 Electroscope®, as I had been there just once before, and recovered some interesting finds. One dime, as a matter of fact, was 9 inches deep. (I always remember finds that are deep.) I was thrilled on the opportunity of getting back to this location - I felt there just had to be more silver there. All the way there I was dreaming of finding a handful of silver, possibly even in one area, as this has happened to me before. It seems that these boy scout camps produce well, areas used heavily over large time spans around campfire. Loose change dropped in the dark of the night, to be forgotten, as old scouts left, and new scouts moved in and added their own changes in different locations.

As I pulled my station wagon into the parking area, I noticed only a few fishermen working the small trout stream that runs along side of the campgrounds that once housed hundreds of scouts, and now only church groups and organizations of this nature occasionally come here. As I prepared to venture towards the area that had proved most productive for me in my lasting outing, I was trying very hard not to be over anxious in what I believed to be a utopia of silver coins missed for generations, but other metal detectorists. As I approached the area of my search, I pulled out my Model 20 to scope the previous hot spot from about 35 foot away, that was the distance at which I had narrowed down may last silver coin in this particular area.

As I received my first signal, which was off to the left of my previous finds, I narrowed down a section approximately 4 x 4, and began working with my conventional metal detector. I spent what I considered a valid effort in this area, but could not duplicate my former accomplishment and eventually had to give up. This is a very large plot of ground, if I had to guess, I would say 75 to 100 acres, so I decided to try in another direction. After a couple of more attempts with no success, my spirits ran low and I decided to abandon the campgrounds for the day. What a disappointment. After all, I had driven a long way to get there. But since the day was still young, I decided to get in my car and drive along to explore, possibly to find and area that no one else had ever hunted.

As I turned onto a dirt road that led up a steep hill surrounded by woods, I cam across an open field in what I would have to call the middle of nowhere. I could see a very old partial foundation approximately 150 feet from the road. I pulled the car over in the only spot that would allow another car to pass me, and checked the area for "No Trespassing" signs, but there was none to be found. So I brought out my Model 20 Electroscope® and began scoping the area from the road. My first signal was approximately 15 foot to the left corner of the stone foundation, where a small tree was lying, but since this was the first time that I had ever been there, I was not eager to venture so far from my car. I received another signal about 40 foot away about 10 foot to the backside of a huge tree. Since this target was obviously closer, I worked an intersection from the road then followed by Model 20 into the area.

After marking the area, I began to use my conventional metal detector and immediately a nice clear sound emerged. As I began to recover the target the depth became 6 inches and I felt that the target had been in excess ground that I had already removed from the hole. But my conventional detector still responded, so I continued to probe deeper into the ground. That is when I noticed a coin sized object, dull in nature. After cleaning off the greenish corrosion, the date was still recognizable - it was a 1907 Indian Head Penny. I was happy, if there was one coin of this era here, the chances of there being more was very high. I felt this must be an old area where people must have frequented, possibly with a swing on the old tree branch, or to get out of the sun on a hot day. But I was confused at such a strong reaction on what I thought was possibly silver, as I practiced with my scope frequently.

As I looked down to the small pile of excess dirt next to my hole, I noticed a glint of something shiny. Naturally, I investigated. There it was, a 1914 Barber Dime, in absolutely perfect condition! "How in the world did I miss that?" was my first thought. I felt a bit embarrassed as an experienced coin hunter, I should have immediately rechecked the hole. I was just so excited, picking that silver coin up from over 40 foot away was enough to get any treasure hunter fired up. Upon that lesson, I didn't hesitate to get my Model 20 and recheck the area again from the same location that I had previously used. There was still a strong response, so there I went, back in with my conventional detector. I began retrieving coins ranging in dates from 1904 to 1914 out the ground, in what was no more than a 2 to 3 foot area.

This was a field day like I hadn't experienced in years in metal detecting! Suddenly, all the frustration and disappointment of that morning, was far behind me. I must have worked the location for hours. I retrieved Indian Head Pennies, Lincoln Head Pennies, Barber Dimes and Quarters, the real beauty of this recovery was the opportunity to return on numerous occasions to search for more treasure. It has become one of my favorite hot spots, a coin hunters paradise!

If there is a lesson to be learned, it has to be this: regardless of how well you plan your day, sometimes the going gets tough, and that's when the tough have to get going. In this case, the memory of that afternoon is burned into my treasure hunting heart forever, as I now as constantly on the lookout for that out of the way place, still waiting to be explored, that glory-hole of coin shooting, that utopia of silver coins, missed by others. I have found a few such places in my treasure hunting career, and it is a feeling I cannot explain!


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