Bubba Talks Old & New…

A brief update from the UK via the Malamaute Saloon….

New £1-coin – update

John Howland

Andrew Jones the UK’s Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury said recently that the new issue, twelve-sided £1-coin introduced in March this year (‘77’ on an ATPro readout) hailed as the most secure coin in the world, is impossible to forge. He went on to say that three per cent of all the old ‘round’ pounds – a staggering 50-million – were counterfeit.

£1-coin REVERSE

Therefore, if you’ve got a few old £1-coins in your finds tin, bear in mind that after midnight 15th October this year, they cease to be legal tender; though you will be able to exchange them at banks after this date provided you have an account; so best get yer skates on. However, before you rush off to the High Street, check out the ‘oldies’ as some designs are worth up to 35 times their face value to collectors with the ‘Edinburgh City 2011’ issue leading the pack.


A walk down Memory Lane

Way back in the mists of time, Tesoro’s Golden Sabre was hailed as a revolution; it being the first Tesoro with notch filter discrimination. Built to work in highly mineralise soils to aid coin-shooters and for plucking out gold nuggets in US gold fields, 6000-miles away in England, ownership of the Golden Sabre was gathering momentum; but not for the reasons the men-in-white-coats in downtown Prescott, Arizona, had envisaged.

Being factory set to run silent over ferrous targets, it soon became apparent to UK treasure hunters (me included) that the Golden Sabre was top of its class in another arena; it was the machine to use on those roman habitation sites plagued with iron nails. On one of my roman sites which had a huge untapped finds potential, I’d tried several quality detectors such as the Arado 120b; a Fieldmaster; a Groundhog, and even the famed Compass 77b to break into the rich seam of finds I knew existed. The Golden Sabre however, sliced through the ferrous trash like a hot knife through butter and when fitted with the small-diameter sniper-type coil, proved a revelation.

Away from these highly-contaminated sites it was no match for my Groundhog. Many of us carried two machines; one for habitation sites and one for pastures. Neither was the Golden Sabre a slouch on beaches.

Browsing through the Tesoro website recently the following brought back many happy memories…

“1985 brought the Golden Sabre and the Cutlass and 1986 introduced the Silver Sabre Plus, the Eldorado and the Royal Sabre. In this time the Golden Sabre and Eldorado were very popular. The Golden was our first detector with notch filter discrimination. […] but with a new style of circuitry that worked incredibly well in the highly mineralized soil. All of the relic hunters soon found their favorite Tesoro detector.”

Jack Gifford, founder of Tesoro Electronics, pledged over a quarter of a century ago, “As the Spaniards were yesterday’s undisputed masters of treasure hunting, we at TESORO will always endeavor to meet our goal of making TESORO Metal Detectors today’s undisputed masters of treasure hunting.”

Arguably, Jack who advanced English treasure hunting more than most, died on January 3rd, 2015. He will always be remembered with affection.


A popular archaeologist drowned in Poole Harbour and the local treasure hunters bought a wreath in the shape of a lifebelt. They reckoned it’s what he would have wanted.



When one person makes an accusation, check to be sure he himself is not the guilty one. Sometimes it is those whose case is weak who make the most clamour…….Piers Anthony

I’ll see y’all in the bar!





Filed under Metal Detecting

4 responses to “Bubba Talks Old & New…

  1. Interesting post, John. I never owned a Tesoro detector, but it sounds like it was a paradigm change in detecting Roman coinage, among other things. Do you still own the Golden Sabre?

  2. ‘fraid not Jim. Gradually the rest caught up with Tesoro. I sold the Golden Sabre to a newcomer to the hobby.

    They were well made, durable, and I used mine in the hip-mount configuration. The control box was metal construction and the knobs recessed to prevent accidental alteration to the settings. The control box had a belt clip and it was a simple matter to disengage the box from the stem and clip onto the belt. Brilliant!

    In the pic you can see – left to right – Garrett’s brilliant engineer Bob Podhrasky; the late NCMD Secretary, Gerald Costello; and Dick Stout (in “Hello Sailor” mode) on one of my ferrous-infested roman sites comparing notes. My Golden Sabre is bottom left. Bob is testing what looks like a Master Hunter with a ‘sniper’ coil. It never came close!

    The whole day’s experimenting was a real eye-opener as to the peculiar ground conditions roman sites presented to UK treasure hunters. As I recall, we all retired to the nearest pub, and as I remember, when it came to Dick’s round of drinks, he said he’d left his wallet back in the States. Could happen to anyone.

  3. Bigtony

    Hello Sailor pose – and the Grand Disaster with small coil at work in a huge field……I feel your pain and in more ways then one!

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