Monday, May 21, 2018

Finish 1 penni and a cute bear pendant

May 21, 2018
 Metal detecting is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're going to find.  Today I hunted the flea market for the 2nd day with my new Garrett Z-Lynk wireless headphones.  I love that you can easily adjust the volume with the knob on the headset.  And the new wireless pinpointer works great!  Not shown above are the scrap metal and clad coins totaling 85 cents.

As I hunt, I often become tired of digging up modern coins and begin to think that it's time to knock off for the day.  But I always hope for that something special so I hold out until I find a piece of jewelery or an unusual coin or something.  Today I quit after finding the coin and pendant. Plus the black flies were getting bothersome despite my liberal use of Cutter bug repellent.  Mainers refer to this stuff as Maine cologne as it does smell a bit like aftershave or cologne.  At least the mosquitoes aren't out yet!

In my 1 hour hunt I found a 1979 aluminum 1 penne coin from Finland (Suomi).  I have to assume a tourist dropped it.  Maine is known as "Vacationland" and we see an influx of foreign tourists all summer.
I am certainly learning about foreign coins!

Then I got this cute little bear pendant on a rusting bead chain . . .
. . . and that was it for my day!   I used my ultrasonic cleaner to get all the embedded dirt out of the holes in his ears where the chain ran through.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Silent running at my flea market site

May 20, 2018
My birthday present to myself came yesterday.  I got the Garrett Z-Lynk wireless headphone kit for my ACE 300 detector.  This also works with the new wireless pinpointer.  
I have been envious of Jocelyn and Beau  (Relic Recoverist and Aquachigger - see links at right to their YouTube channels) as they were testing the pre-release version of the pinpointer and showing it in their videos.  It was so easy to set everything up as the batteries arrived fully charged (both the transmitter module and the headphones charge from a uUSB connection).  Pairing both devices was quick and easy and I was up an running in minutes.  As someone who designs electronic products for a living I have to applaud the Garrett engineers!  Nice work there!

So today I got out and tested the system.  The flea market is next to a busy road with loud trucks and motorcycles and that is one reason I got the Z-Lynk headphones.  I also prefer the "Silent Running" mode so I'm not announcing my presence or bothering people nearby, although I usually have the site to myself.  I really like the sound quality, it is much more pleasant than the harsh buzzy tones emitted by the detector and pinpointer's speakers.  Overall I'm really pleased.  I'm a total convert and can highly recommend the Z-Lynk wireless system, it is fast and responsive.

I found a lot of trash metal, pull-tabs, brass screws and washers etc. and lots of clad coins - not shown.

But the interesting finds are these:
That's a big rifle shell!  Markings are: RG L2A2 + 69.  As a Quaker, I know nothing about weapons or things that go "BANG!".  It will get turned in to the county sherrifs with others I accumulate.

Also a Cutter & Tower extra fine steel dip pen nib (center above). I grew up in England and recall using these and the ceramic inkwells embedded in the school desks at boarding school - yes I'm THAT OLD!  Well actually my school was trapped in the past, so this was in the early 1960s.  Students were assigned to mix up a batch of ink from powder each week and top up the ink wells in each desk.

The pendant is a solid 7gram (.24ox) brick of 925 silver - nice!

This is my second Chinese coin from the flea market.  I used this site to identify it.  Minted during Emperor Gao Zong reign title Qian Long from 1736 to 1795.  According to the site this well-made coin is typical of the cash coins cast during the early part of his reign.

Finally I found this silver coin that tests as 50% silver and I almost missed it as it is the same size as a quarter, but thinner.  I learned that it is an 1891 V nickel.

All these were found in a 100ft transect of the parking area for the sellers.  I could barely walk 2 feet without hitting a good signal.  The whole experience with wireless headphones and pinpointer was really great and makes the whole process a bit more enjoyable.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

GP pointer vs Garrett Pro-pointer AT with Z-Lynk wireless

May 17, 2018
I visited a friends summer house on the coast nearby that dates to the 1930s.  It's in the woods with a nice view of a bay through the ubiquitous Maine trees.  I spent an hour hunting around the building an the path down to the dock.  All I found was nails and some clad coins.  So on the way home I stopped at the flea market and bagged more coins (not shown), pull tabs, a padlock and a lead fishing weight etc.  Nothing exciting.

So I though I'd write about pinpointers and compare the 2 I have.  Physically they are almost identical.

I have been using the inexpensive (US $30-40) GP pointer for about 6 weeks and I'm very pleased with it - despite it's occasional "brain farts" where it will just start beeping randomly or if I hold it pointed up.  When it works correctly which is over 95% of the time it does the job very well.  I use my Garrett ACE 300 pinpointer feature to locate the center of my target area and that gets me within 3" on average.  When I dig a plug the GP will find the item in the plug or deeper in the hole from 2-3" away.  And this is fine and just what I need and need from a pinpointer.  As a beginner level tool it is a bargain price that delivers good performance.

So a few days ago I got the brand new Garrett pro-pointer AT with Z-Lynk wireless capable pro-pointer from Garrett affectionately known as the "Garrett carrot" for obvious reasons.  At around $150, it is much more expensive and has all the advanced features of the base model pro-pointer plus wireless.  And that's the reason I got it, so I could go full wireless.  I don't like bothering people with my bleeps and this will allow me to go "silent running".  So I have also ordered the Z-Lynk wireless kit for my ACE 300 detector and BOTH my detector and the pinpointer will pair with the headphones - cool!

It is taking some getting used to because it has so much more range that even in the lowest sensitivity setting it picks up signals from small items from farther away than the GP.  I'm struggling with this added sensitivity and trying to figure out the optimal setting.  The factory "default" is level 2 of 3.  There are 6 modes in total, 3 with beeps and 3 with just vibrations.  Plus you can re-calibrate as you home in on the item you are detecting by pressing the button briefly to de-sensitize it.  I guess I'll learn to love it in time but will really love it when my wireless headphones arrive!

I'll do another write-up when I have the whole wireless kit going.

Monday, May 14, 2018

18K gold earring and my new Pro-pointer AT with Z-Lynk

May 14, 2018

I am finding that 5-7pm is a nice time to hunt the flea market site.  While the traffic is loud, the trees offer nice shade as the sun goes down.  I have decided not to to show all the crappy modern clad coins I find any more.  There are just too many and I toss a lot of them because they are too far gone.  

The plastic toy soldier suffered "collateral damage" as I dug up an adjacent .22caliber live round.  A broken rifle and leg snapped off at the knee.  A solier's life is rough!

Today was my first hunt with the new Garrett Pro-Pointer AT with Z-Lynk.  While I can't use the wireless feature until I can afford the wireless headphones I am enjoying the adjustable sensitivity and enhanced range compared to my inexpensive GP pointer.  The GP pinpointer works fine and is a bargain but I do want to go wireless eventually to block out traffic noise and also to go "silent running" so I don't bother those nearby.  This will be especially valuable at the beach and other public places.  I'm still learning how to use the AT pointer, the expanded range is helpful, but I'm still figuring out how to dial in the sensitivity as I get closer to the object.  It is certainly sensitive.

So today's big find is a 18Kt .54gram gold earring.  Unfortunately the hoop broke off as it came out of the dirt.  But otherwise this is a nice chunk of gold.

Another intact gold plated earring.

This little badge is interesting, maybe for a bricklayer?

I was able to test the gold using the chemical test kit I bought so I can test for all the gold and silver types and platinum.  As a tool geek I also have a jewelers scale, diamond tester and 30X illuminated magnifier for reading the imprinted text in jewelry. 

My dream find would require all these tools to identify and estimate the value.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

My first silver coin and some sterling jewelry

May 13, 2018

It was a lovely sunny afternoon and I put my hand made wood canoe in the water for the first time this year and paddled around some tidal waters in town with my housemate Daniel.  It was a bit windy for my canoe, but he was fine in his kayak.

The flea market is closed up by early afternoon and I have permission to dig any time it's closed so I went over around 4:00pm and dug for an hour.  Another key, strange brass item with a chain, fishing lure etc...  But then, BAM, my first silver coin.  It came out of the ground all shiny.  It's a 1968 Canadian dime that was made from 50% silver according to my research and the chemical test I ran on it.  Nothing ancient, but cool nonetheless.

Then I got a heart stopper.  A sterling brooch with 9 stones.  It says "STERLING BAR" on the back and I checked the stones with my diamond tester and they are fake, I'll take it anyway!

After I got home I decided to play around in the front yard.  I had only done practice sweeps last November when I first got my detecting equipment and found some coins, toys and aluminum cans back then.  But now I know the machine a lot better and quickly found 38 cents on the path from my workshop to the house.  I must have dropped them since I moved here in 2001 since they are all more recent than that.  I don't think of myself as someone that goes around dropping coins!  But I guess they do fall out of my pocket when I take out my hanky to blow my nose - which I do a lot in cold weather.  And I found a Garden hose nozzle that dates back to the 90's I guess, since I don't recall owning one.

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Friday, May 11, 2018

A sterling poodle and wireless pinpointer

May 11, 2018
I had a short hunt on my flea market site late in the afternoon today.  My ACE 300 detector was acting up and going nuts with weird signals but it finally settled down.  I had some good strong signals that got me excited only to find they were "Dirty Harry" 357 Magnum shells - and also some big brass screws.

The only interesting finds were this tiny silver poodle that tests as 925 sterling and weighs in at about .5 oz.  I like it!

And this very tiny cloisonné Odd Fellows Lodge(?) pin:

The big news for me is that I got a shipping confirmation for the brand new, just released Garrett Pro-Pointer AT Pinpointer with Z-Lynk.  I pre-ordered it a week or so ago.
 Garrett Pro-Pointer AT Pinpointer with Z-Lynk

This cool new pinpointer is the first one to have wireless capability.  The flea market site is right next to a busy road with loud trucks and it's hard to hear signals.  If I use my wired headphones on my ACE 300 detector then I can't hear my cheap GP pointer and have to go by "feel" as it vibrates.   Once I get the wireless Z-Lynk headphones and adapter for my detector, I'll be able to use BOTH with the wireless headphones.  Very cool!

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

The key to happiness and 20 centimes

May 9, 2018
The flea market opened this morning for the first time this year at around 5:00am.  I stopped by around 9:30 to see if I could figure out which booths might have the best spills.  It was about 3/4 filled - apparently Wednesdays are for antiques and the weekends are more general stuff.  I did identify a few booths that had jewellery and other small items and went back in the afternoon to prospect one of those booths.

I found a lot of brass stuff including the civil war tent slip.  (Thanks to "Indiana Bones" on Facebook for identifying it).  It was patented in November 1880.  Patent number US234896A.

link to patent
May 21 update: I donated the tent slip to the local Historical Society where it will be featured in a case of other civil war relics.  Doing my part to save history!

This key says "Handy Harry 54 6th Ave. N.Y" on it.  I seem to find a lot of keys on this site ranging from modern to vintage and I'd guess this dates from the 60's.  It seems that by the end of the year I'll have a lot of brass and lead scrap.

I got a bit excited when I dug up what turned out to be a French 50 centime from 1973 - it looked kinda gold-ish at first.  It's a bronze-aluminum coin that held up well underground.

A nice piece of junk jewellery is this earring with a blue stone:
Not exactly the bluebird of happiness, but I'll take it.

So the key to happiness is a hobby that keeps you engaged and that your friends not only tolerate, but find amusing.  My friends are all quite interested and supportive of my obsession!

Oh, and I thought I'd show my photo setup in the corner of my workshop.  

I have 2 cool white LED lamps on 2 multi-joint desk lamps so I can position them differently for each shot.  For instance I drop one lamp down to the table to side-light coins.  I can also move them to front or back light different objects.  I shoot 12 megapixel images and crop them way down for the blog.  I use the green cutting board because I like having the scale in mm and inches so it's easy to get a sense of size of my finds.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Disposing live rounds safely and a 5 pesetas coin

May 8, 2018

I detected the flea market for an hour or so this morning.  Mostly found clad coins, a Chevy car key, another new Hampshire highway token (I have 3 so far) and a Spanish 5 pesetas coin - see below.

I stopped in to the local county sheriff's office to drop off some live rounds for them to dispose of safely, I had a rifle and 2 pistol rounds.  Our Maine town is too small to have a police department.  I got to chatting with the 2 women at the front office and they were well aware of the "Detectorists" TV show and enjoyed it.  So then I offered my services to the department and they said that one of their deputies is a detercorist and they called him out front to meet me.  That's what I love about living in a small town, everyone is so friendly in town, county and government offices.  I chatted with deputy Brett a bit and learned that he had started with a Whites machine and now uses the Garrett AT Pro and does all the detecting for the department.  He, like me, also grew up in England - small world!  It's only a few times a year that they need to find spent shells or bullets.  He too, loved the Detectorists show and mentioned that the 3rd season will be available on Netflix later this month! Yay!  I'm going through the series for the 4th time and enjoying it just as much as the first.

The Spanish 5 pesetas coin is a 1999 commemorative made from aluminum-bronze.  It was demonetized on 02-28-2002 and has a small collector value.  When I dug it up it looked like gold for a moment because the bronze has not corroded.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Detecting time-lapse

May 7, 2018

I spent about 2 hours on the flea market permission this morning.  I didn't bother documenting my finds - nothing exciting, just a lot of clad dimes, pennies and a quarter.  Plus a nice sterling earring of a small horse.

I did set up my time-lapse camera so you can see me in action sped up.  I used 1 frame per second to condense about 50 minutes into less than 2.  Enjoy!

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Christian pendants and sterling jewellery

May 5, 2018
I hunted for 3 hours today, oh my aching back.  It was a warm day with strong breezes that kept the black flies away.  I spend more time crouched down digging than I do swinging the detector.  The signals are so close together that I rarely get to walk more then 4 paces without detecting something.  As I get more experienced the size of the plug I dig has reduced to about 4" X 4" - the width of my shovel.  The pinpointing feature of my ACE 300 machine is that accurate.  Often the item is toward the side of the plug, and sometimes down in the hole.  I rarely need to dig down more than 6". 

Coins near the surface yield a a distinctive "ding-ding" sound from the detector if they are laying flat and I can locate it with my pinpointer without digging.  I just use my hand digger to open up the top inch of soil, and there it is.

I only took my gloves off for the pictures.  They stay on the whole hunt for 2 reasons.  They recently sprayed the property with weed killer to keep the spaces under the flea market tables clear so if someone drops something they can find it.  But also I like to keep my hands clean and safe from sharp objects like can slaw (chewed up aluminum cans).

I found tons of Lincoln pennies as usual.  If I had a penny for every "stinkin' Lincoln" - why I'd be . . . dirt poor!😉  I don't find many quarters.  My joke about this is that Mainers are so cheap that if they drop a quarter they pretty much call out the National Guard to find it!😀  The pulls tabs always get my pulse racing because I'm hoping for gold.  I seem to be finding a lot of keys at the flea market, all shapes and sizes - and other cabinet hardware.  

But the interesting finds today are the jewellery.  First is this Swank brand gold filled collar bar from the mid 1900's.  It is stamped 1/20 12K G.F., SWANK and PAT. 75818.  These were common from the 1930's into the 60's.  

Then there's the Siam Sterling cuff link with a nice design, these were made from 1930-80 in Thailand.

This cute .29oz  .500 sterling turtle was probably painted originally. It shows greenish residue on top and yellow on the bottom.

This cute mermaid is brass.

I found a couple of Christian items, there must be a booth that specializes in them as I found some before.  This oval brass pendant says: "ST. ODILIA PATRON SAINT OF THE CROSIER FATHERS PRAY FOR ME".  On the back is: "ST. ANTHONY PRAY FOR US".  I never heard of St. Odilia!

And this tiny brass cross pendant has the text: "THY KINGDOM COME", the back is blank.

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