Wednesday, June 12, 2019

What I didn't find at Popham beach

I got a call from a very anxious guy who had lost his car keys at Popham beach when his beach tent blew over.  The park rangers had given him my card and I told him I could be there in half an hour.  As I drove down I got caught behind several school busses and then construction that added 10 minutes to the drive.  When I checked in with the rangers at the gate, they said he had just found the keys!  So I paid my $6 admission and figured I would do a bit of detecting.  I met the guy and he offered to compensate me (I charge $25 to come out and $25/hour)  He had $15 cash in his wallet which I gratefully accepted.  If not for slow traffic I might have been a hero!

It was a lovely warm breezy day, so I spent 45 minutes detecting and found 2 shiny coins and a bracelet, so it was not a total loss!

Saturday, June 1, 2019

It's down to pennies and hardware at the playground

My second day digging the local school playground and I got mostly pennies and a lot of discarded stainless steel hardware - presumably from old playground equipment.  

I had a group of young 3 to 5 year-olds "helping me" as I dug and I let them keep a penny "treasure" each.  They were all so delightfully eager and one boy pronounced me a "Good Man" to his mom!  Cute!  They were very respectful of the equipment and understood how it worked very quickly as I took off my 'phones so they could hear the bleeps.  One girl got a surface find quarter right under the swings!

I guess I have almost played out the area and will now start ranging out into the long grass and walkways abutting the playing fields.  Obviously, I do not have permission to dig the athletic field areas.  I do however, pick up trash anywhere I see it.  The locals are pretty good about not leaving trash, but the kids . . . not so much.

Monday, May 27, 2019

Cash bonanza at the school playground

Last year I obtained permission to metal detect on my small town's school property - but NOT the playing fields.  I did explore one small playground, but did not find much.  Today (Memorial Day) was one of the rare warm sunny days we have had this year so I went back to explore the much larger playground on the other side of the building.  I spent about 2 hours just in the playground. 

What a difference!  I found $6.14 in coins, including 16 quarters and a dollar coin!  I have never found that many coins in one place before, and I'm sure there's more to be found.  The whole area is covered in wood chips to a depth of over 8" in most places, and many of the coins were down deep.
Below the surface the chips got wetter, and the deeper I dug the more moldy the chips.  Many coins were near the surface and fresh, but others were so far down that I had to use my trowel to break up the compressed chips.

There were a couple of interesting finds like this token for "Gatti's GREAT FOOD - GREAT FUN" with "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA - LIBERTY" on the back.  

And this "Oliver Vending Game Token" that says: "NO CASH VALUE" on the back:

And a pretty pendant that I'm sure some child missed for a day or so:

I cleaned all the coins up in my rock tumbler with white vinegar and a teaspoon of salt.  Pennies and tokens in one batch for 2 hours and the dimes/nickels/quarters for 4 hours.  Some were really stained from the wood chips, but not badly corroded as they would have been in dirt.  They all came out quite clean.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Digging a Maine fresh water beach

Memorial day is in a few days and I decided to sweep the beach at Damariscotta Lake State Park here in Maine.  The weather has been so lousy that I have not been out detecting much, But today was lovely so I thought I would swing over the sand and see what I could find.  The rangers were cleaning up the parking lot and I guess they were going to rake off all the storm debris from the beach.

I didn't find much, a few coins and fishing lures, but it was so nice to be out in the sun!  My favorite find was this polished stone that was laying right on the beach.  It feels nice in the hand and seem like it would be a good "worry stone" for your pocket.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Civil war veteran lapel pin

My first swing on the flea market site this year turned up a beautiful bronze Civil War veteran lapel pin.  The text says: "GRAND ARMY OF THE REPUBLIC - 1866 VETERAN 1866".  The back is fixed:
Since I'm not a collector by nature, I put it on eBay and it sold for $20!

I keep getting the feeling that the flea market site was a mustering ground for civil war soldiers as it is right next to the train tracks.  Perhaps they were boarding the train to head south to the war from here in midcoast Maine?

Other finds include a rusty old Firebird lighter:

Later that afternoon I also visited a friends field that abuts a small graveyard and found some rusty bits of farm equipment, a file and a few modern coins (not shown).

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Heavy metal in the hay field across from my home

It has been wet, cold and overcast for weeks here in Maine, but finally I saw a little sun late this afternoon and decided to wander off into the 50 acre hay field across from my home.  I started by going around the edge, following the tree line and that's where I turned up the big horse shoe.  And I found some other assorted bit of farm equipment as I wandered across the field.  It was really muddy!

Here's the view from the far side of the field looking back at my home.

And a couple of closer views of the horseshoe right after I hosed it off.

 I don't know anything about horseshoes, but this seems really old.  The field has probably been in active use for well over 200 years.  I welcome any comments about this style of horse shoe.

 Thanks to a knowledgeable Facebook friend, it appears to be from a draft horse with 3 screw type calks remaining on it.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Farm parts in suburban Brunswick

I spent a couple of hours digging a friend's yard in Brunswick, Maine this afternoon.  It was a lovely sunny spring day and I had been helping her clear brush and other yard work beforehand.  The neighborhood was built in the 1970's so I didn't expect old coins or relics.

I did find a lot of modern coins along the road frontage: 10 pennies, 3 dimes and a quarter.  It's funny how you find coins along the frontages of residential neighborhoods.  An elderly neighbor stopped by and observed that I wouldn't find anything in the front yard because there had not been any kids living there.  Well, 38 cents begs to differ.

Then I wandered into the back yard and kept finding big iron signals that when dug up looked like old farm equipment parts.  My friend explained that her elderly widower neighbor that I had met earlier had lived next door for 65 years, and his house was the original farm house in the neighborhood.  So that explains the old farm parts!  I'll have to get permission to dig his property next!

The dirt was all dark moist loam - perfect for detecting, and it was a really enjoyable start to the season for me.