The Pastime Through These Old Eyes…

I think by now you all know that I am pretty much an old school/old fart when it comes to this pastime. The funny thing is I could never understand my parents similar, seemingly outdated views of things when I was growing up. Now I do.

They were merely reliving what was probably the best years of their lives and relating it to anything that came later. In their minds they had been there, done that and were just trying to share it with someone who would listen.

In my case I can’t put a time frame on things but I think my reluctance to go along to get along with all the hoopla today started with the increasing popularity of social media, especially whenever it  pertained to my beloved pastime. Social media was and still is a vehicle to instantaneously throw out information, both good and bad, to millions via the click of a mouse. A medium, ideally, where people could come together to share, assist and unite. Unfortunately it also became a place where people could lie and exaggerate to their heart’s content and I am not just talking about archaeologists but detectorists as well. The need to back up your bullshit wasn’t and isn’t necessary anymore. Once it’s out there millions are more than happy to run with it.


Then came shows like American Digger, Dig Fellas, Dig Wars and Diggers, making the metal detecting pastime an instant favorite way to get rich, despite the fact that most of the storylines were over-the-top, geared to keep you watching and wondering what the big payoff was going to be. Everybody in the country wanted to be a “digger” a “treasure hunter” and retire a millionaire. I so wanted these shows to succeed, but all they did was lure hundreds, if not thousands, into the pastime and of course Go Pro’s profits soared because every tekkie now wanted to be a TV star.

While all this was going on the manufacturers decided it was a great time to introduce a more sophisticated and more expensive product, resulting in detectors priced in the two thousand dollar range, all promising greater depth and more finds to put you on easy street. With this increased depth of course you also needed to own a pinpointer, priced at between $150 and $200. Suddenly this ever so simple pastime was becoming one that required a small fortune and a college degree, that is if you believed all the hype. I didn’t and I suddenly became my parents overnight.

I have often wondered whether or not I would find this hobby as fascinating if I were just starting out today and I honestly don’t think I would. Too costly, too much competition, too many areas being placed off-limits and too much emphasis on making things more complicated than they should be. I am positive YOU would call it progress. I prefer to call it overkill and heavy drama. Metal detecting to me is a fun pastime and no matter how much spin anyone puts on it the odds of making a living swinging a coil are nil and next to none.

I wonder at times how we ever came together back in the 70’s & 80’s and accomplished what we did without social media. Organized trips to the UK, the formation of a World Council, a better than average record when it came to fighting city hall, and all thanks to Ma Bell and the US Post Office. No PC’s, iPhones or iPads. Think about that and then think about where we are today…..are we really any better off?

Not too long ago someone called me a curmudgeon and perhaps I am, but I prefer to call myself a down-to-earth “realist””….



Possible Shipwreck Found On Jersey Shore 

UK Man, Finds $156,000 In Roman Gold Coins On First Time Using Metal 

The UK’s Detectorist Show to Return in 2015 


I never see the glass as half empty because I always drink straight from the bottle….

Holiday Instant Savings



Filed under Metal Detecting

22 responses to “The Pastime Through These Old Eyes…

  1. RoyR

    As we get older we just don’t have the fire in our belly as we did when we were in our 30’s and 40’s. When we hit 65 or 70 everything slows down to a mere crawl. And it gets harder to get up off of your knees once you get down to dig up that gold ring or pull tab.

  2. Damn Roy, didn’t think I was talking about becoming ancient (even if I am). Was just trying to say things were much less complicated a few years ago and we still found a boat load of neat finds.

  3. Big Tony From Bayonne

    Dick, I can still hear my dad saying “Anthony, stay home where you belong”. Now I do that more often…now I know why he said it….he was older and was happy staying home with the family. To me there is a new family in the detecting world, they use new tools like the go pro to share with their family and friends posting stuff online no matter how trivial. it;s there time to explore this terrific hobby in a new way. Maybe I’ll just go coin shooting in a park and dig some coins up with a screw driver and be happy. I am sure to find a ton of coins because these new detectorists aren’t going to be there.

    • You are right Tony…it indeed a new day and a new cadre. Hopefully they will not get so involved that they can’t see the forest for the trees, as in the opposing camp that is getting stronger by the day.

  4. Don M

    Unfortunately, all these tv detecting shows are eventually going to lead to more public and private areas being declared off limits due to legions of newbies who are rushing out to get rich and digging holes that a gopher would be proud of. The sad part is that half of these clowns do not bother to even fill their holes after they have uncovered a penny or whatever else they are finding.

    I can’t understand why the detector manufacturers are allowing those tv bumpkins to portray detectorists as mouth breathing bozos and encouraging the fools who don’t belong in this hobby to rush out and buy their very own treasure finder – it will eventually lead to these businesses going belly up when the above mentioned bans come into play.

  5. Don, I don’t think the manufacturers have any say at all with regards to the TV shows, though I suspect they like them because it’s free advertising and good for business.

    It’s also too bad they didn’t have a few episodes where meticulous digging was required. It would have been a great learning experience for those watching, or at least I’d like to think so.

    Not filling in holes has been a problem as long as I can remember and it will probably still be long after I am gone. I worry like you however that if we don’t clean up our act we won’t have a pastime in five years time.

    Thanks Don and HH.

  6. Big Tony

    On a positive note – our club has expierenced that there are now more folks wanting to have people detect their private property because of these shows
    They are wondering what might be on their property like the story from California about the gold coin find last year.
    Our club detected a museum farm that was never detected before, some great finds were made but we had to donate them back to the museum that day. I sent the story into American Digger last year and it turned out terrific for all involved.

  7. Dave Wise (HeavyMetalNut)

    Very nice article Dick. I mentioned to a few people that rather than put a monetary value on recoveries (which is always through the roof inflated) They should assign a historical significance to the said item. Keep up the great work sir!

    • Thanks Dave, my comments were more about how I think we’re beating to death and exaggerating what is really a very simple hobby. Just too much repetition and overexposure in my mind, but that’s just my opinion and it comes from someone who is having trouble even walking anymore. I simply cannot keep up with all the websites, blogs, FB pages, forums, podcasts, YouTube videos,etc..

      As for the TV shows I would love to see a sitcom like the BBC show “Detectorists”

  8. Big Tony

    Too funny; he is right that is what people do. I for one can’t bring myself to sell my sh*t on ebay so I put it in a box and started to create my own cache to be burried at a later date!

    • Better yet Tony….spend it and still leave a note you buried it. That way a hundred years from now they will still be talking about “Big Tony’s lost treasure”…

  9. Dan

    Dick , you can keep your “boom baby” , the two “wackos” who swing from trees and all the other pathetic shows . The BBC fictional show “Detectorists” in my opinion is more real , true to the hobby and just plain funnier an entertaining then all the detecting reality shows we have over here about the hobby. I refuse to watch them “reality shows” . now get out there a go detecting!


  10. Big Tony From Bayonne

    Ok, but I am not spending it on an expensive detector!

  11. GREAT ARTICLE! Enjoyed the read Dick!

  12. Dave McCarthy

    Great article Dick .. but I hope you are wrong about our beloved hobby flat-lining in five years. I got a good 15 or 20 years (I wish) before my back starts resisting the urge to dig .. HH !!

  13. Packrat

    Hi Dick. As I have often said you are a voice for the reality of TH’ers and coinshooters from the good days of detecting. You talk about the people and the truths of a time most today care less about. They don’t want the history of our sport or people of the past. I for one enjoy all the stories and information you give out and remember many of the things you bring up. Thank you for being the voice of reason and concern for our sport.

    • Hey Larry, how are you…. haven’t heard from you in a while. Hope you are doing well.

      Thanks for the kind words…I need to remember there are still a few old timers out there, even if I am one of the oldest.

      • Packrat

        Hi Dick doing great. Moved to checkups twice a year and everything looks clean. Been kinda busy getting ready for winter (all the animals you know). Have not had a chance to detect much lately.

      • Larry that’s great. Glad to hear it. Just keep doing what you are doing….

        As an animal lover PLEASE do take care of them and keep them safe. Stay in touch.

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