Since starting in this wonderful hobby, I have become familiar with terms like pocket spill and coin shooting. The terms puzzled me at first, but eventually I caught on. Now, before you read on, I will warn you that I am writing this post from the perspective of newbie and in the interest of a newbie.
(Please feel free to chime in on the comments if you have anything to add.)
In the first month that I took up the hobby, I was fortunate enough to be invited to detect with someone whose skill level far outmatched mine–Micheal Sheesley. (Well, let’s face it… I had only been detecting once before this. I think that anyone’s skill level would likely outmatch mine at this point in my metal detecting journey.)
Our friendship began whilst detecting a field where civil war soldiers camped on their way to shell Carlisle. That day, I found a rusted crowbar, a piece of tractor equipment, and a whole lot of nails. I may not have found much, but I was happy to finally get out and get my hands dirty–quite literally, I’m afraid. I soon realized that I needed to invest in some gloves.
It was only natural that I extended him an invite when I was granted permission to detect the property surrounding our local spring-fed pool, which was established in 1920. Before the pool, the town was a renowned vacationing spot. There was a booming iron industry, ties to the Underground Railroad, a ‘healing’ spring, the Appalachian Trail, and even picnicking alongside the Yellow Breeches Creek.
The township has policies and ordinances in place to forbid metal detecting, so I was thrilled to get a private permission in the heart of all the historical action.
The coolest thing I had found up until this point was… well… a rusted crowbar. Mike–my detecting partner and mentor–knew that. He also knew how jealous I was of his mounting silver coin collection. He was kind enough to bestow his words of wisdom and direct me towards the spots where I had the best shot at finding coins. It was all common sense, really. He pointed out the large trees beside, the older picnic tables, and the muddy bank of the creek.
Well, duh. I should have been able to pick up on that. The odds of someone having a tear in their pocket and dropping a coin are pretty slim–though I am sure it did happened occasionally. The odds of someone taking refuge beneath the shade of a tree and spilling the contents of their pockets… now that is a bit more likely.
I took his advice and started searching under the biggest trees, working my way towards the smaller ones. Sure enough, I turned up three coins that day. I found the silvers under the big trees and a copper cent underneath the picnic tables. Mike searched the muddy banks of the Yellow Breeches and turned up an old class ring.
All that being said, the reason I chose this topic is because I see posts from people who have been detecting for years and haven’t found a single silver coin. I wish I could share that joy that comes with the first glimmer of silver in your plug. The best I can do is tell you where to look.
First of all, you need to find a historically significant property where people gathered–a pool, a park, a lake, a pond, a vacation resort, church, school, sledding hill, or fairgrounds. Then, you need to transport yourself back in time–figuratively unless you have the means to do so literally in which case I would request that you take me with you.
Now… imagine where you would sit and potentially spill your pockets. (On a side note, this is why privy digging is such a popular form of relic recovery. You drop your coins, pocket watch, hooch, pipe… whatever down that hole… are you going in to get it? I don’t think so.) Make sure you check under the largest trees, near big rocks, or stone walls–any place where someone my have taken a load off in the sweltering heat of Summer.
If you happen to be searching an old homestead, imagine where they would have hung the laundry out to dry. If any coins were in their pocket, they would have fallen on the ground.
Along the same lines of coins falling from pockets, this is the exact reason why everyone loves old swimming holes. You mention a swimming hole in a group of metal detectorists and everyone goes crazy. As a matter of fact, I’ve got my eye on a particular swimming hole when the ground start thawing. Just think of all those people who stripped down to take a dip and forgot their pocket change or jewelry alongside the bank. THAT is what I am looking forward to!
Happy Hunting! Spring is almost here.
*As always, I invite you to subscribe to my blog! If you scroll to the top of this page, you can find the widget on the right-hand side.