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Metal Detecting is Cool, Damn it.

by J. Money on Monday, July 12, 2010

old man metal detectors

I’m back from the beach! And let me tell you, I feel like I’ve been transported back into 1992 again (aka 6th grade).  By that I mean I went metal detecting!  Twice!  And I actually found something of value!  It might have been only $2.12 worth, but nonetheless it was AWESOME.  And contrary to popular belief, all the cool kids are doing it ;)

Have any of you guys tried it before?  It may sound nerdy as hell, but I gotta tell you – it’s really exciting.  The idea that you could be standing on top of piles of gold coins or diamond rings? Total hotness.  In fact, someone literally JUST found $5 million in Roman coins this week!  Off a regular ol’ metal detector! (Okay, well maybe it was a higher end one I’m not sure, but still – any detector would have picked it up.)  Not something you see every day, that’s for sure.  But at least it proves it’s do-able ;) And his words on the sport sums up the love for the game perfectly:

“The joy of metal detecting is that you never know what you will find.”
 

I couldn’t agree more.  It’s like turning on a “hope machine” every time you step out and give it a shot! The possibilities of what you can find are endless.  Also like lottery tickets, only it’s free (once you have the equipment) and the odds are much better that you come back with something of substance ;) Even if it is a handful of pennies.

So why should you care? Well, maybe you won’t I don’t know.  But the more I started typing this out and thinking about it, the more I wanted to share all this with you in hopes you find it equally exciting :)   If you’re interest is piqued, continue reading!  If not, click away and move on to your next favorite blog. Or use this knowledge to form your next Halloween costume! (“Beer Detector” anyone?)

Metal detecting 101 starts right….NOW.

What exactly IS metal detecting?

You know those old white guys who scour the beach scaring little kids with a long metal stick that beeps?  Those are metal detectors :) And what they’re doing is looking for gold. Or Rolexes as my dad likes to say.  But what they usually come up with is handful of bottle caps and an assortment of coins. Quarters if they’re REALLY good. And all it entails is basically swinging/swaying these detectors back and forth over the sand or dirt until you’re happily notified there’s metal beneath you. Then, you cross your fingers and dig!

Where do you metal detect? What can you find?

On beaches (usually in the early evening after all your beach-goers have gone for the day, leaving all their goodies behind), forests, deserts, mountains, underwater, pretty much anywhere – all depending on what exactly you’re trying to find, and how much time you have to do so ;)

As a kid, I used to actually go in my backyard! We lived on an old Civil War campground at one point and I’d literally go searching for bullets and swords and the like.  I never came up with the latter (although I’ve heard stories of friends who have), but I’ve def. found my fair share of buttons and belt buckles – one time even finding a rare one worth over $700! – and a plethora of other things once worn by our fellow soldiers.  Pretty damn awesome in my books.

Then, of course, you’ve got the treasure hunters who search for sunken ships and lost chests and booty (that’s what she said)!  I call them the “all or nothing” types.  You’re either gonna hit it BIG and become an instant millionaire, or you’ll slowly drain your savings but continue searching with all the hope in the world.

Oh yeah, there are also metal detectors who are actually trying to find something in particular and NOT get rich off of it ;)  Say, historians and the like.  Not as sexy as striking gold for one’s one benefit, but equally as exciting.  And you probably get paid to do it for a living too!

Other things one might find: Coins, rings, trash, gold, silver, bottle caps, watches, nails, cannons, swords, bullets, more trash, jewelry, antiques, and anything else that contains metal.  The more expensive detector you have, the more crap you can usually avoid (something about the sound waves being able to tell the nature of the item under your foot)

metal detecting finds - J$

Metal detecting resources

I actually had to research this one from the start as the internet wasn’t even around back in my metal detecting days ;)  And man, there’s a lot of good stuff online!  I found metal detecting clubs – like, groups of people who get together and go detecting, and then come back and share their findings and swap stories – magazines, online forums, blogs! and pretty much anything else a hobby consists of. Here are some of the more interesting links I came across:

There you have it – Metal Detecting 101! It may not make you the next millionaire, but you’ll sure as hell have fun trying. See ya on the beaches, pimps.

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(Photo at top by uvw916a)
(Photo in middle by J$ – a snapshot of his Civil War findings can be found here. W00T!)


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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Rachel July 12, 2010 at 9:58 am

I always thought it would be really fun – but before you go out to buy one to go beach combing, make sure you actually can! I know that the large majority of beaches out here in Florida won’t let you! :)

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2 Everyday Tips July 12, 2010 at 10:03 am

My youngest son loves to metal detect. We haven’t found anything too exciting, but it is still fun to go.

My husband and I were just talking about the urn of roman coins. Do you think the symbol for ‘Roman Gold Coins’ lit up when they found that urn? :)

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3 Matt July 12, 2010 at 10:24 am

That’s nothing! Look what this guy found over the weekend:

http://www.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/europe/07/09/uk.roman.coin.treasure/?hpt=Mid

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4 J. Money July 12, 2010 at 10:31 am

@Rachel – Oh no, really? That kinda sucks… wonder if it’s because they have those big beach comber trucks that search for lost stuff for everyone? I know when my dad was growing up he’d lose his watch or keys and there’s be a place to go check and see if the beach combers found them the next day (had to wait till they did it overnight). I’d totally turn in keys and stuff like that though if I found them. Probably even engagement/wedding rings too, although it would be hard ;) Maybe you could do a thing where if no one claims it after a month it’s yours? haha…

@EverydayTips – Hah! All I know is that he said the detector was “acting funny” – guess we know why ;) Everything I found this weekend came up as “bottle caps” even though I was getting quarters and dimes (and also a ton of bottle caps). You always have to dig and make sure though! That $700 belt buckle I found years ago was buried under a smashed coke can. So rule #2 is to always re-scan the spot after you’ve found the metal just in case.

@Matt – Yeah, I linked to that in this post ;) Absolutely incredible find.

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5 Rachel July 12, 2010 at 11:46 am

I’ve never heard of the beach comber thing, but that is probably what they use on the big beaches like Cocoa. Although I’m pretty sure that on the national park beaches its because a lot of the time those guys can be really PUSHY! I think they had too many people complaining of having a picnic or sunbathing and having someone walk circles around them scanning the ground or ‘finding’ stuff that just fell off their blanket – like their wallet – when they were down near the water. ;) Of course I’m not saying that is usually the case but it sure makes a good cover and one bad apple can spoil it for everyone!

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6 doctor S July 12, 2010 at 6:17 pm

hahah see this is why I and 1 million people have read your stuff, you turned a simple and very obsolete task such as Metal Detecting, and you made it relevant. And by relevant I mean $2.12 and more importantly, you spent that time relaxing, vacationing, and not wasting any money! Imagine if you were the one that found those Roman coins, BudgetsAreSexy would have been changed to MetalDetectingMadeMyAssRich.com .

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7 finallygettingtoeven.com July 12, 2010 at 7:17 pm

My grandfather who lived in Florida had a detector and whenever we visited as kids we all fought over who got to use it every time we went to the beach. We never found much of value but the hope (kinda like buying lotto tickets as adults) was still there.

When I got older we got hold of a detector and took it around the property of a house that we had bought (built in 1874). Back in the old days people didn’t have trash pick-up, what little trash they did have (which was very little people!) they would bury in their yards. We once again thought we were going to hit the mega-load. We got nothing but a little bit of junk. Oh well, it was exciting all the same.

There are places in Florida where you can rent them for a day or so (probably places all over the country if one wants to look). Glad you had a blast with yours!

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8 Donna Freedman July 12, 2010 at 7:50 pm

“Keep the coil to the soil” is the motto, I believe. :-)
I grew up in a farming area and sometimes in the spring, after the fields were turned over, you’d see guys (never women) out there with detectors.
It sounds just nerdy enough for me. I think I’d begin under the jungle gym and monkeybars at public playgrounds — a whole lotta change falls out of pockets and lands in the sand/bark chips.

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9 danielle July 12, 2010 at 8:54 pm

i don’t know what i would do if i found a cannon in my backyard :D hahahah!! that is rad that you did some metal detecting back in your day…

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10 J. Money July 13, 2010 at 3:47 pm

@Rachel – That could certainly be true! There are a lot of jackals out there.
@doctor S – Haha, I like the way you think ;) Appreciate the kind words my friend, you’ve been here from almost the beginning! You’re awesome dude.
@finallygettingtoeven.com – Interesting! Never thought about that before…trash in backyard? I bet they buried their savings and stuff in there too. Every now and then you hear stories of people finding mini-jackpots in coffee cans and what not :) Never knew you could actually rent detectors too….i’d totally make that a side gig if i were closer to the shore. *evil laugh*
@Donna Freedman – Good idea! Better be sure that detector is out there for all to see or you’d come across as a creep ;) Coil to the soil, baby!
@danielle – You wouldn’t just strike it up and see if it worked? :)

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11 danielle July 13, 2010 at 4:19 pm

hahahaha…. kaBOOM!!! that would be pretty awesome actually

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12 Rachel July 13, 2010 at 7:54 pm

Speaking of KaBOOM – a whole neighborhood in the central Florida was found to be build on AN OLD BOMB RANGE!! The houses there have dropped to in value to practically nothing for the poor people who live there and they are constantly finding old bombs that they have to blow up on the grade schools grounds! There is a big stink about what exactly is to be done considering these people were lied to about where their homes were built – but the guy who did the lying was like a seller of the land about 10 transactions back or something. It’s just a huge mess!

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13 danielle July 13, 2010 at 8:15 pm

ok that’s messed up. and i thought having trace amounts of rocket fuel in our ground water when i lived in Irvine was bad. at least it wasn’t rockets. that i know of…

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14 J. Money July 13, 2010 at 9:10 pm

Wow, what DO you do about that? I feel like the first thing is to get outta there right? Not sure how dangerous it actually is, but you’d think safety would have to come first on top of anything else. Then again if it meant moving out of your childhood home or something it would be tough as hell…still, better to be alive and real estate-poor than dead :(

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15 Aury (Thunderdrake) July 15, 2010 at 1:24 pm

Aww geez. I wanna do some metal detecting now… X3

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16 PT July 21, 2010 at 12:09 am

I saw someone doing this last weekend and thought the same thing. Are we back in the early 90s? Wife and I had a good laugh.

I just saw a news story where someone found a senior ring from the 60s and reunited with the guy. Pretty cool.

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17 J. Money July 21, 2010 at 4:59 pm

Hey! No laughing sir, it is the coolest things since Hammer Pants.

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18 Beep Dig Metal Detecting October 11, 2010 at 9:02 pm

You should try detecting in Thailand – people here have absoultely no idea what I am doing. Most think I am out there picking up the trash or looking for fish. I not only get states, I get stalked. people have been know to follow me for almost one mile never more than a foot or two away watching my every move. But, I don’t care. I love to detect and would go out to the beach and hunt every day if I could.

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19 J. Money October 14, 2010 at 9:49 am

haha, that’s awesome. i’d come out there and join you every day too if i could!!

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