Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Digging cellar holes with deputy Brett

Chief deputy Brett from the local sheriffs department offered to take me to a place with old cellar holes dating back to the late 1800s out here in rural Maine.  We drove out in his SUV and went up a dirt road as far as it felt safe to go which was over a half mile.  Then we hiked in on well traveled ATV trails for another mile on a pleasant warm day in the low 80's.
The best spot was this large cellar hole that had had a huge collapsed brick chimney in the center.   A lot of the surrounding forest had been logged recently, including the area around the cellar.  They had marked off the well with orange surveyors tape - it was adjacent to the cellar wall and would be easy to fall in if not marked.  There were lots of signals, mostly iron, but also some high numbers.  Most signals were so large or deep that I decided not to dig them because I was hoping for coins or buttons.  There was also a lot of lead flashing that gave strong signals.

We did not spend a lot of time at each of the cellar holes, but I plan to go back when the weather is cooler.  I did find 2 interesting iron objects, one that looks like a valve wheel, and another seem like a wrought iron door handle, plus a sheet of lead flashing.

I was often reminded of things I had seen or learned about on the Stealth Diggers YouTube videos.  (  Those guys are great and very entertaining, while being serious about recovering relics and recording history. 

We also hauled out some trash including a few beer cans.  Leaving it better than we found it.  I have this spot pinned on my map for future reference.  Lots of potential there!

See my next post to learn how I used electrolysis to clean up that wheel.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Beach and flea market coin bonanza

I have been meaning to explore the parking area of the flea market, and finally got to it.  This is rural Maine, so a parking area is just a flat drive-able area of grassy field.  The owner told me that part of the property was originally garden and she has less than fond memories of being sent out to weed and pick off slugs.  The dirt below the grass sod is very sandy and easy to dig.  I started along the front edge parallel to the road and kept pulling dimes, one after the other.  They were all in good shape dating back no further than 1997.  The last person to detect the flea market did it in the 90's, so I rarely see clad coin older than that.  I got quarters and pennies too, but very few nickels which seems to be normal where I dig for some reason.

I don't usually show coins or can slaw, but that is mostly what I got.  $5.60 in coin from today and the previous 2 days at the beach that were also quite productive.

This neat bronze hook is interesting.  Not sure what it was for.
Update.  Some folks on Facebook think it was a piece of horse tack.  The 2 holes would secure the spring steel part of the clip - like a dog clip.

And of course I had to find a hose nozzle from when it was a garden.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Rainy day, lackluster finds

It has been foggy and dreary the last few days, but it cleared up for a few hours in the afternoon so I got over to the flea market for a quick hunt before the rain hit again.  We have had so little rain that only the top 2" of dirt is damp and muddy, below that it is bone dry.  Some items were down and dry, others muddy.  I did get about $1.00 in change, I don't really count it each day.  I just clean the pennies in small batches and then the other coins in separate batches of 10 to 20 coins in the rock tumbler.

The finds we not too exciting.  A bent knitting needle, some stainless bolts, fishing lures etc.   And what looks like a giant thumb tack!

The only mildly interesting items are this Lord's Prayer pendant.
Apparently there is a woman who sells religious items.  I don't recall seeing her at the market but I have found a lot of brass Christian pendants with various designs.

This button is decorated with a ship with some gold plate.

And I'm having trouble interpreting all the symbols in this pin with a screw on back.
Anyone have any ideas?

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Popham beach search for lost engagement ring - day 2

I figured it was worth a long shot to go have a second look for the lost engagement ring on Popham beach, despite it now being 3 days and 6 (8ft.) tide cycles.  I can use the experience beach hunting. I did find a lot of good signals and here's what I turned up.
A lot of recently dropped clean coins totaling $2.30.  Most were found above high tide at the cut where the wet seaweed ends up.  Some had brown crud on them that came off with a brass wire brush and an hour or so in my little National Geographic rock tumbler.  I also found a bunch of rotted "stinkin' Lincolns" in the wet sand that I had to toss.

I met up with another Maine detectorist named Holly and this was also her 3rd day beach detecting and she also had the Garrett ACE 300 detector so we compared settings.  I have been using max sensitivity with iron discrimination on the drier sand with good results.  I am really enjoying "stealth mode" with the Z-Lynk wireless headphones and new PRO pointer AT Z-Lynk wireless pinpointer.  No public beeping to disturb beach goers!
Pro-pointer AT

Holly wears a white gold ring so she put it on the wet sand for a reading and got 38-9.  We both were surprised, expecting a number in the low to mid 40's.  She started off in the wet sand but got so many false signals that I suggested we both hunt above the high tide mark.

It was a very foggy day but pleasantly warm.  You can barely see Fort Popham in the distance in this shot even though it is less than 1/4 mile away.

I kept getting hopeful every time I got a strong signal!  Those lead fishing weights really got me excited for a minute there.  I'd say I covered an area about the size of a football field over 2 days and about 6 hours of hunting.  I learned a lot about beach hunting and where to look.  Too bad we could not find that beautiful ring!

Monday, July 23, 2018

Searching for a lost ring at the beach

I saw on Facebook this morning that a Maine woman had lost a beautiful white gold engagement ring with diamonds on Popham beach (Maine) on Saturday.  It's now Monday, so I contacted her and offered to go look for it.  Needless to say she was distraught, and I could only offer about a 5% chance of finding it.

On my way to the beach I stopped in at the county sheriff's office to drop off the live rounds I have dug up at the flea market site so they can dispose of them safely.  (Sorry no picture).  The staff and chief deputy Brett always welcome me warmly, he's a fellow detectorist, and they have all seen and enjoyed the TV show: "Detectorists".   I chatted with Brett a bit and we have agreed to go on a hunt together soon.  I'll share that experience on this blog after it happens.

I also stopped at the grocery store to cash in my dug coins at the Coinstar machine.  I got $5.22 after their fee, and this is for about 1 week of digging.  Not bad!

Armed with pictures of the lost ring I located the area whereit was lost.  Apparently the woman had stopped to put sun lotion on her child and took her ring off and left it on the shade of the stroller.  It has been 2 days since she lost it, but I figured there was a chance I could find it as it would present a strong signal.  Here's a shot of the area where she lost it.

And the ring.

I gridded off the area in my mind and did a search pattern walking away from and toward the water swinging parallel to the water to reduce false signals from varying densities of wet/dry sand.  My ACE 300 is not optimal for this search, but I learned that it was quite capable of detecting even a tiny brass washer about 1/4" diameter that was over 3" deep.  Here are the finds - no ring!  I called the gal a few times to be sure I was in the right area and sent her the picture above to confirm.  Each time I got her hopes up, but no luck.  Maybe someone else will find it?  Here's what I did find.

I looked for 4 hours in the afternoon.  The beach was not too crowded and I think I have a slight sunburn but I enjoyed being out there.  Actually I had planned to come out sometime after July 4th to see if I could find fresh spills.  The first good signal I dug yielded a 2007 P George Washington One Dollar coin in pretty good condition.  Definitely a first.  I don't think I have ever seen a dollar coin in person before.

And right next to it was this small silver earring, I wonder if there is a story there!

Beach hunting is quite different from what I'm used to.  At the flea market I get signals every foot or 2.  Here, I walked hundreds of feet with not a peep.  But when a signal did show up there was definitely something worth digging.  I also got a few nickels, a square brass nail and washers.  And another lead fishing weight.  My lead recycling bucket is getting quite heavy!

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Many neat finds around the coin sellers table

I went to the Flea Market this morning to scope it out, and to get an excellent blueberry pie from the "Pie Lady".  She's a bit of a legend apparently.  I have offered to barter some of my surplus crabapples or blueberries as they ripen.  I have already picked a quart of blueberries from my 4 high bush bushes.

I also explored the market to see what tables might yield good spills.  I saw that the antique coin seller was back, he had been out sick for a few months.  So today I decided to have a look around his table.  It was a great day, many cool finds - some right on the surface like the '56 Liberty dime.

Here's a picture of the market in full swing.  It really fills in at this time of year and the weather was perfect, mid '70's with a light breeze.  Although I often pray for a windy day so there are more spills! 

The best find today was this amazing medal from the now closed Brunswick, Maine Naval Air Station.  It says: "PRESENTED BY CMDCM (AW/NAC) DONALD HOLMAN" on one side. this thing is hefty - maybe bronze with cloisonne bald eagle across the state outline in green.

Along with the 1956 Liberty dime, I found 2 wheaties from 1948 and 1953.

Then there is this Moroccan 10 Franc coin dated 1371 Mohamed calendar (1952).  It's aluminum bronze and not worth much in good condition.  I love finding unusual foreign coins!

More unusual is this Missouri sales tax receipt token.  It's the same on both sides and dates from 1937-1942, made of zinc it's original value was .001 cent and was used to pay taxes.

Other than coins, I found some neat jewelry like this silver American Airlines pin badge.  I recall these were given out to kids by the stewardesses back in the 50' to 70's.  I'm impressed that it is real sterling.  The back is serrated and screws on.

A couple of earrings.

Suspender hardware.

And a bullet.

A few other odds and ends include a glass bead, cylindrical chunk of brass and a small lead ball (too small to be a musket ball - maybe lead shot?).

I was there from 6:00 until 7:30pm and there is always one guy, Gary, who takes hours to cram all his stuff into his vehicle.  Most folks are gone by 4pm, but he slowly potters around packing up and chatting with people who stop by.  He's a neat guy who really knows his antiques and I have heard he used to teach history.  He told me he was also active in the civil rights movement in the 70's.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Digging up bits and bobs

Digging at the flea market today I decided to go "freestyle" and just wander around randomly going where the vibe felt right.  Got a bunch of rotting pennies and a few dimes, but no quarters or nickels.  I cleaned up the rest of the finds in my rock tumbler with a little white vinegar for about 90 minutes.  The ELEVATOR PARKING is just a scrap of paper I found.  I always pick up loose trash to be nice to the property owner. 

The silver looking locket was a surface find that must have been dropped by a seller today.  At first I thought it was silver, but it's just tin or something.  I like the way it opens out.

I checked the area around the table for the guy that sells military buttons and added another to my growing collection.  This one was s few inches down, so had been buried at least a year.  But it cleaned up nicely.  Made by "SCOVILL MFG. CO. WATERBURY" as many are.  Not sure what vintage this is but it is fully intact.

This pin for the National Association of Accountants (snore!) is dated 1919 and seems to be gold plated.  Mint condition.
This earring came out of the dirt looking very crappy but cleaned up pretty well in the rock tumbler.  Fancy brass filigree.

And finally the "bits and bobs" as Lance from Detectorists would say. 😉
Probably lamp shade finials.  They will go in my brass recycling bin which is filling up!