“A Dwindling Resource”…and More

This following is an article I wrote for Western & Eastern Treasures ten years ago. I decided to resurrect it because, well, um, I am one lazy SOB. As I was reading through it I suddenly realized that I am now a very integral part of the subject group. Hmm, and I haven’t been feeling all that great of late either….


Reprinted with Permission from Western & Eastern Treasures

I am now sixty-three years old (that was then remember), and have enjoyed the metal detecting pastime for almost thirty (40 now) years. I have also been privileged to meet hundreds of detectorists during this time, and stay in touch with many of them. I have detected in almost every part of the United States as well as in Europe, and whenever I remember the best of my finds, or the best outings, they were almost always the result of information I received from talking to people. In particular….older people.

If you’ve been a regular reader of WET you know I am a big advocate of detailed research. I would much rather find one silver coin in three hours than 100 clad. As a result I may not get out as much as you, nor do I necessarily find more coins than you do, but I feel somewhat certain the coins I do find are older, and probably more valuable. No, I don’t throw the clads away, but I do put them into a box that will eventually buy a semi-key or key coin.

Your goals?

Obviously you like treasure hunting! Otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this magazine. So what is it that attracted you to this pastime? What is it you hoped or wanted to find? Better yet, what have you done to meet those needs? Other than buying a metal detector, what do you do when you head out in the field to insure you come home with the treasures you hoped for? Stupid questions? Perhaps, but if you answer them honestly, you will understand what I am getting at. Ever heard the expression “you are what you eat”? Well if you are a detectorist, “you are what you find”.

While I do not detect that much anymore, I will not drive to the local schoolyard, park or town square, unless of course, they happen to be “at least” 75 years old. I am finicky in my old age, and extremely particular. I do not enjoy wasting time in the field. I like to know that each and every time I head out with my detector, it’s with the understanding that I have a very good chance of coming home with something interesting or something of value. It makes the day a lot more exciting and a hell of a lot more fun.


With the advent of the computer we now have limitless resources when it comes to researching places to detect. You are only limited by your enthusiasm or lack thereof. Even the local library is available to you online. Having said that, today, as it has been over the years, my best source of information is the “old timer”….a.k.a., “senior citizen”…a.k.a., “retiree”. I hate using those words, because they are all “me”, and a reminder of just how few years I have left.

Old folks, or seniors are everywhere, but if you procrastinate and delay talking to them you may lose out. The longer you wait, the older they get and the fewer your options. They will leave us at some point in time, and with them will go a lot of information and  wisdom. When you run into seniors at the coffee shop, Dairy Queen, feed store, park or town meetings, introduce yourself. Be upfront. Tell them you have a metal detector, and want to find older coins & relics, and can they steer you to a place or two where you might have some success. From past experience you will be bombarded with ideas and locations.

What might you ask? For starters….

Where did they play when they were kids? Where did they play baseball? Where was the local swimming hole? Where did they attend school, church and where was the local carnival, rodeo, medicine show and revival held? Was there a town picnic grove or meeting place? Where was the train station located. The farmer’s market? If you live in the North, where did they sled in the winter? If they were scouts, where did they spend summer camp?

The questions you can ask are many, and actually the easy part. Have a pad and pencil handy, write down their responses, and let them keep bending your ear. Remember this information is first hand, and about as factual as you will ever get. Take the time to listen.

As I get older I try to find ways to relax and lessen the stress. I don’t always succeed, but I at least make the effort, and while I hate to admit it, I find myself reminiscing about the past more and more. The ‘good ole days’, when I was a kid and there was nothing at all on my mind. When all I had to do was get up in the morning, bike to the playground and play baseball all day. When all I had to do on those snowy days was take my sled to Clawson’s hill and sled with my friends. When summer meant the carnival, the swimming hole up the creek, and the fireworks down in the meadow. Get my drift?

Do it and Do it Now!

Again, do yourself a favor. Sit down with a few of the seniors in your area. Make friends with them, chat with them and no matter what happens after that, treasure or no treasure, you will be a much better person for it. I guarantee it.




I have been meaning to mention and thank Dan Hughes for his recent podcasts. I love Dan’s work, and if you are a detectorist, give him a listen. I guarantee his easy-going style will win you over, and if you email Dan at danhughesmail@gmail.com and he will contact you when the next podcast show goes online.

To hear the podcasts just click on Dan’s photo!


From one old fart to another….thanks Dan!



I watched/listened to the following broadcast yesterday and wanted to share it here. It’s long but worth your time. Scott Clark did a yeoman’s job representing us, and I thank him. My complaints? The archaeologists’ staunch opposition to “collecting” and their reluctance to work with us because it would “validate” what we do. I will leave you to draw your own conclusions. I will share more of my thoughts next update.




Will someone please tell me why we are getting more and more into camouflage? Camo clothing has been the rage for a couple of years, and now we have camouflage detectors, as well as backpacks, aprons and headphones.  Is that so you stand a better chance of losing those items in the field, or that you have a better chance of getting shot during hunting season?   Hoping someone can explain all this. As far as I am concerned (I know who cares) it does nothing to promote our pastime and everything to damage it!





“The one who follows the crowd will usually get no further than the crowd. The one who walks alone, is likely to find himself in places no one has ever been”…..Albert Einstein 



Filed under Metal Detecting

20 responses to ““A Dwindling Resource”…and More

  1. Who the hell are archaeologists to validate what we do? Bloody cheek! Just goes to show their high-handed attitude. We do what we do, because we can. Now, if they want a slice of the action in terms of data and information, they’ll have to climb down from that bloody great ivory tower of theirs.

    Currently with their attitude, why do we need to work with them? Simple…we don’t… but they need to work with us or be left behind. For example. I detect…I collect… I sometimes sell what I find…and I report my finds. If they can’t handle that tough!

  2. You do know you are preaching to the choir right?

  3. danhughes1

    Thanks for the kind words on my podcasts, Dick.

    Before anyone screams “Podcasts! Oh, No!” let me assure you that I’m not one of those guys who calls someone else on the phone, makes small talk and dumb jokes for an eternity, and then posts the entire “conversation” and calls it a podcast.

    My shows are short (usually about four minutes), fully scripted (I put several hours into each program), and teeming with solid information (and often a bit of humor). I was in radio for 40 years, so I like to think my programs sound a bit more professional than most.

    Check out the index and pick something you like: http://danhughes.net/indext.htm

    As for camo, I went into a store to buy some, but I couldn’t find any. (That’s a joke,) (I wrote that in a treasure group and a guy gave me directions on where it would be. Hmmmm.)

    —Dan, danhughesmail@gmail.com

  4. Bob K

    Dick thanks for redoing the article from WET was great 10 years ago and just as great now. With all the new hunters, that come on in the past 10 years.

    • Thanks Bob. When WET would ask me to do an article for a particular magazine/subject, I would respond with “I’ve said all I can and all I know” before. They would quickly remind me that whatever I wrote would be new to all those just starting out, and of course they were right.

      • danhughes1

        Which should have prompted you to say, “You’re right; it WILL be new to the newbies. So just run that article again and send me another check.”

  5. Hah, you are right, but I don’t think that would have worked.

  6. Ben

    Nice article. I have also made it a point to also get to know our retired city historian as he is a senior who not only knows the city history but lived a great deal of it as well. You hit it on the head that local people can be a detectorists best resource. Thanks for the reminder.

  7. I really enjoyed this article and think it remains as fresh as the day you wrote it. The elderly are our most senior witnesses to history and fountains of information that should be tapped before its to late. Very nice reboot!

    And, yes, the roundtable I read about.. I’ll be watching as soon as I get a chance.

  8. jimnick

    Nothing could be more true ! Be it a tip from a retired hunter or a conversation with elderly people, the informations can be invaluable, and not only provide good finds, but also make you a better detectorist.

    Thanks for the input !

  9. Bigtony

    Thanks for the yesterday/today article, I really enjoyed the read. Honestly, I did watch some of that video but didn’t get through the entire hour.

    Camo stuff for metal detecting is really making finding your lost items more difficult. I have lost diggers and friends have lost pin pointers and such which were never found, but having CAMO on them, no good at all.

    I have listened to Dan’s show many times, thanks Dan, your stuff can be interesting and it is well done, bravo to you.

    And I do talk and listen to seniors – very good tip there.

  10. coin25...aka Bigtony

    Ha ha – your right I am a Grand Pa two times, I’ll have to get younger folks in the club to drive me to detecting sites.

    Question, how many sites should one research for the upcoming season, four maybe five?

  11. How many? Do you have an unlimited supply or something? As many as possible Grandpa. Given the -20 below temps you are facing you could be holed up indefinitely.

  12. coin25...aka Bigtony

    yeah keeping the home fires lit and working my fingers before TV time

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