Wednesday, May 30, 2018

1872 shield nickel and more!

May 30, 2018
It was a perfect day for metal detecting, temps around 70F and clear and sunny with a light breeze.  Lots of good signals like the padlock and keys that got me excited.  The flea market closes around noon, but there is this one old guy who takes HOURS to pack up his 3-table booth, so he's often still there well after 4:00pm.  He's quite a character with a full white beard and clearly not in any hurry.  He fills every inch of his SUV and straps things on the roof, I hope he does not have to drive far.

My best find is the 1872 shield nickel.  I looked it up and it is worth $25-30 in "good" condition.  I found it close to the property owner's house.  She told me that her family have been on the property for at least 3 generations.  Not sure how old the house itself is, but given that I find civil war stuff it might go back to the early 1800s.

Also interesting is this 1980-1985 vintage brass New York City Transit (subway) token.

And finally this peacock pendant that might be made of pewter.

A good day of hunting that included many pennies and some quarters.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

More Siam Silver

May 29, 2018
This morning I went on a quick hunt before it got too hot.  Day time temperatures here in Maine have been bouncing from the mid 50s one day to the 80s the next and it makes it hard to adjust to summer.  You have to start the day with a long sleeve flannel shirt and remove it by 10:00am on days like today.

I'm not showing the coins, just the other odd stuff.  Bits of brass hardware, and that square of lead at top right.  I find a lot of those that the flea market for some reason.  All the good metals get sorted into bins to be recycled eventually.

The interesting finds include a "Siam Sterling" (aka Nielloware) pendant, this is my 3rd Siam silver piece and they all seem to show Hindu gods:

 This heart shaped item does not test as precious metal.  It's not a pendant, so I don't know what it was for other than some kind of "love token".

Friday, May 25, 2018

Stinkin' Lincolns galore

May 25, 2018
So I said I would stop showing coins because I find so many of them, but lately that is all I have found of any value at my flea market site.  Lincoln pennies rot pretty fast and the owner said that the last time the property had been detected was in the 90's.  A penny can rot to the point of having no value in 10-15 years in this location and soil.  

I have only found a couple of wheat pennies so far (they were made from 1909 to 1958 and were solid copper back then).  Detectorists call them "wheaties".  Modern ones have a thin copper plating over zinc, detectorists call them "clad" coins and once the plating rots through the coin turns black and lumpy.

So here's what I found yesterday:
Coins, a bullet and pull tabs - boooring.  But at least it was a pleasant day in the high 70's with a light breeze and a few light rain squalls.  I remember watching YouTube videos over the winter of people down south or in England (Addictedtobleeps) detecting in the rain and thinking they must be cold.  But it is actually quite pleasant to work in a light warm rain.

Today was much the same, except I found more odd bits of copper and brass.  I am collecting brass, copper, lead, silver and gold for recycling.  So far I have quite a lot of lead from fishing weights and roof flashing etc. 
Most of these pennies are too far gone and get trashed.  But I did run the viable coins I have collected over the last few weeks through the Coinstar machine and got over $7.00.  Not bad.

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 (.24oz) 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 1891 V nickel, the obverse is unreadable, but it's a cool find.

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!