What’s Your Take?

These fantastic finds and displays belong to D.J. Yost and they’re a great lead in to what follows.  Thanks DJ for allowing me to share them here.  

Now I have three questions for all of you concerning topics I’ve seen discussed on forums and Facebook. Curious how you feel….

1. Displaying Finds

Whenever I go on social media I see photos of finds displayed in shadow boxes, lit floor displays, glass-topped coffee tables, etc., and I’m curious. Do you display your finds at home? If so, do you display your better, more valuable finds? Your gold finds, jewelry?

This display was rebuilt and refinished by Anthony Payne

I’ve been critical of this practice in the past but I have mellowed some in that I understand being proud of your efforts and sharing the results with your family and friends. AND… believe it or not after the tornado what few finds were recovered are now in a couple of shadow boxes in my office. What concerns me is what about outsiders? Plumbers, AC people, delivery men, carpet cleaners, cable installers…? Are you comfortable with them seeing your finds?

2. Do you know your rights before…

…you venture onto that city or town park?  Do you know whether metal detecting is allowed? Do you know what the regulations or guidelines are? I’ve seen various positions taken on this. One is don’t ask because you are surely setting yourself up for a “no, we don’t allow metal detecting in our parks”. In other words if there’s no sign posted you are good to go.

The other option  of course is to ask and be safe. Personally I think not only should you know ahead of time, you NEED to know. Better safe than sorry. Almost every city or town has a website. Find it and look under the parks department for rules/regulations. Okay that’s my take. What’s yours?

3. Coin or Con Job?

Now a topic that’s a little stickier. It’s about the legitimacy of finds shared on social media and YouTube. Are they legit as in dug, or are they phony, as in store-bought? I’m honestly torn on this subject. I think (or want to think) that 90% are honest hard-earned recoveries but there are times I find myself saying “get outta here” or “are you sh***ing me”?

I’ve been a coin-shooter for over 40 years and have never found a silver dollar but today they seem to be turning up with some regularity. Now I’ll give you that machines today are better, deeper than those I used when I was most active but I just can’t wrap my head around the numbers showing up on social media. Likewise the detailing on many finds is just outstanding.

I can accept that today’s treasure hunter is a better detectorist than I ever was but given when I started, along with the singular access I had to virgin sites (and lack of competition), I just have doubts.  Then again maybe I’m just plain jealous. What’s your take?



You surely know by now how rabid John Howland is when it comes to the anti-detecting faction (he would use another name) and he’s decided to take his anger out on his own blog Detecting & Collecting.  

He will continue to keep the Malamute Saloon going here on SS as he has for the past six years. Good luck Bubba…




Filed under Metal Detecting

18 responses to “What’s Your Take?

  1. Hi Dick, Merry Christmas and Happy New Years to you and the Mrs.

    I have to agree with you on this. I quit a lot of videos. I only show some of my finds at my shop under lock and key. I don’t Display anything to anyone at our home. Right now we are having armed home invasions in the county to the north of us.

    I strongly feel that permission has to be obtained before going on ANY!!!!! property. Being a retired Law Enforcement Officer, I know what Criminal Trespass is and Criminal Damage is and how much the Citations cost. If people feel like having a criminal record the rest of their life, then go for it and possibly having their Detector confiscated. Me, I don’t need press like that after the years I put in.

    I have the same doubts as you as to some of these coins coming out of the ground. Just my 3 cents from an old timer Detectorist.

    • Kenny if people only thought about all the hours, days and months it took to accumulate all their finds and then how quickly it could disappear via theft it might change their views. On the other hand after living through a tornado losing coins pales compared to losing our home. We are thankful to be alive…

      Merry Christmas Kenny

  2. Anthony Payne

    Very well written, nice format, besides that you’re addressing relevant topics. Asking the readers opinion as well as sharing your own.

    #1, Yes, I proudly display my finds, some things in my case are valuable silver coins, others are cheap children’s toys, old dog tags and tokens, which are all very valuable to me. I never worry about the security of my finds case since I rarely have anyone over that isn’t close family, I do all my own maintenance so having strangers in my house is irrelevant.

    #2, Personally I know the state & local laws regarding public/private land. I try very hard not to do anything to hurt the hobby’s image.

    #3, A bit tougher for me to answer. There are just so many variables! Yes today’s machines are impressively more sophisticated, they’re much more popular and common allowing for a lot more detectorists to find cool stuff. Social media also increases the amount of cool/rare finds seem more common since we hear from an infinitely larger group of people’s detecting finds so I wouldn’t be stretching to agree with your 90% honest finds opinion, although I’ve been wrong about the honesty of man enough times to make me question my instincts on honesty. Look at the millions of dishonest individuals posting pointless lies geared towards one thing, pride. It’s become a digital popularity contest that awards people with ego boosts and false pride. Great article, very interesting topics, nicely done!

  3. Brian Obitz

    Hi Dick,Merry Christmas to you and yours.

    Regarding question #1, I have coins and buttons displayed in clear plastic cases mainly out of sight near book case, books placed on top of case to hide.More importantly a good cell phone with camera can help with documenting valuable finds in event of anything catastrophic.Insurance company would need this proof for any type of claim.

    In regards to question #2 permission, always easier to ask for permission than to beg forgiveness. The problem we have today is the wording that is used without saying directly no metal detecting. Example: No disturbance of vegetation,that can mean a shovel ,mountain bike tire,heavy work boot,etc.. Pretty vague statement if you ask me but try and find the proper authority to answer that definition and i bet you’ll get 3 different explanations and possibly 1 no to detecting and 2 okay. Not to phrase Bill Clinton but it seems we’re left to accept a dont ask dont tell position since they won’t clearly give a yes or no. If rules or sign don’t mention specifically no metal detecting then it must be ok since metal detecting isnt mentioned as being prohibited.We are also a very good steward of the property by removing unwanted small trash. As far as private property is concerned an introduction letter is a highly recommended way of meeting with the owner.

    Question #3 about very remarkable finds can be attributed to very good internet related maps and resources gathered instantly then combined with detectors having better separating ability. These two factors alone open up new and previous hunted sites like never before. I feel that years ago the unmasked items and silver were easily found in great quantity and that technology has enabled us to find the more elusive items which stayed hidden. Namely less conductive items,coppers, buttons,etc.

    Merry Christmas to all.

    • Hey Brian, thanks for checking in and Merry Christmas to you as well.

      You brought up a good point about documenting your finds for insurance purposes. Nobody knows that better than I. I might also add that getting an appraisal is important too, even if it’s a ball park guess on the entire collection. My insurance company was very good after the tornado but when it came to the finds part they needed documentation and not just my word.

      Torn about question 2….I understand if it’s not spelled out it must be okay but just uneasy about it. I think the vagueness in the wording is on purpose to cover everything (lawyer talk).

      You may be correct about number three but it still doesn’t explain why more silver dollars weren’t showing up in the early years? It wasn’t just me either…

      Thanks again Brian.

  4. Tony

    Hello Dick, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year’s to you and your family. I wish you more mobility in the coming year.

    I do not display my finds at home. I have lent finds to the local Historical Society for thier displays.
    Over the years, I missed on two targets that rang so loud I thought they were cans…..two different partners dug them and found silver dollars, one was a Morgan; that was long ago when I first started detecting.

    Here in Hudson county detecting is not allowed in county parks even though they use Green Acres money which confuses me. I was under the impression that anyone can use lands where Green Acres money is applied too. Also no detecting in State Parks except in the water with permit and during posted times only. So that cuts detecting down on some old places right off. Mostly it is the county that says no detecting, not the towns with some exceptions of course.

    Lastly I have limited my video viewing not because I don’t believe them but if it is just a mercury dime in a park, it’s gets old quick (after so many years of detecting) but I do agree some of those videos seem like they were staged, as in some digging reality shows of the past. I do like the videos that tell the story behind a cache or large hoard and I like the ones that help folks learn how to detect when first buying a new machine.

    Cheers, Tony

    • Tony it’s certainly possible that I passed up silver dollars but back in the 70’s & 80’s I put in a lot of time and the odds were certainly in my favor. I just always assumed that a silver dollar was easy to spot if you dropped it and it was certainly worth your time to look for it. Oh well, water over the damn at his point.

      Merry Christmas to you and family. Have one of those single malts for me.

  5. Happy and healthy Christmas mate to you and all the family. I shall raise a glass or three to you all.


    A Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to one and all from a damp Eastbourne in East Sussex. Dick, keep up the good work. All the best, John

  7. Hey, Dick — Great post!
    I do, indeed, display my finds in my home. I have an old wood tray that’s kind of like a type tray but deeper and with not so many compartments. I use it to show my items that are too bulky to display in Riker cases, as well as ones I’d just rather have out to look at more often. Some of my others are in the Rikers boxes, but those are mostly for my use when speaking about my book. And then there are my old coins. I do NOT display those openly, though I have them somewhere easy to get to when I want to show them to visitors. Honestly, my feeling is that if someone breaks in my place there are so many other things of obvious value, I doubt my finds would be all that attractive. But who knows? Bottom line is, I want to live as I wish to live, and will never change any of that to comply with whatever it takes to make sure nobody takes anything. Life’s too flippin’ short to be that paranoid. If I have to feel like that about stuff, I’d just as soon not even be a digger. I’m not giving anyone that much power over my happiness.

    As for asking permission in public places, I advocate strongly to know in general which public places are off-limits and which allow detecting. But there may be small exceptions we just can’t know about. For example, one local digger whose heart was initially in the right place but who got carried away with his own importance contacted a local municipality about creating an ordinance addressing metal detecting in parks and government-owned local land. His idea was to pre-empt any anti-digging laws. Smart, right? Yeah, theoretically. But the execution? Not so much.

    See, he got carried away in his bragadoccio about having frequently found 300-year-old coins, etc. Suddenly, the board became very interested, imagining this latent gold mine beneath their feet. So what began as a protective measure for diggers ended up in a “We may let you keep it but now you have to show us everything you find first” law. Needless to say, I avoid hunting that township like the plague. Really annoys me, too, because that one big-mouthed individual screwed it up for everyone, all because he couldn’t keep his eyes on the real prize. So very annoying.

    So, in certain places, I subscribe to “it’s easier to ask forgiveness than permission.” The fact remains that most small municipal governing authorities don’t even have metal detecting on their radar. And as long as US laws remain such that they basically allow anything unless it’s expressly forbidden, I’m of the “let sleeping dogs lie” school. If it’s obviously not allowed and easy to find that out, by all means, don’t hunt there. But if it’s really a gray area on public (NOT private) land, I’ll usually take a shot at it and take my chances. If, however, I am discovered hunting there and someone asks or tells me to stop, I do so immediately with a profuse apology.

    It’s only happened to me twice, and both times, it was clear the authority was expecting resistance and unpleasantness. Instead, they got a low key and genuine apology, an offer to take what I’d already found, and my immediate cessation of digging. In both cases, they immediately relaxed, told me to keep my stuff and even apologized to me, saying they thought it was a silly law but nevertheless, they had to enforce it. As in most interaction with others, if we just act decent and don’t get all ugly and defensive, most folks are pretty mellow if they perceive we’ve simply made a mistake. So I admit my wrong judgment, feel foolish, probably blush a few shades, and get out of the embarrassing spot as soon as possible.

    And as for more silver dollars being found, I do have to agree I think it’s more a matter of being able to see and hear from so many folks over so much geography that it just seems more people are finding them. I’ve been hunting 14 years now and still have yet to even find a half-dollar. But do I agree with your 90% assessment of honesty? Yep, I do. I think most folks are just happy to share their real finds and to see what others are digging. And a few just have really twisted priorities and probably some level of mental illness, to need the approval and adulation of others so badly they’ll lie to get it. Chronic lack of self-esteem, I’d say. But I don’t think we can minimize, either, the part played by more effective detectors. I’m certain that is a significant factor. Also, I think more people are looking harder for virgin spots and so they’re finding them, and those are more likely to yield such wonder finds, I believe.

    Happy New Year!

    • Hi Mary, many thanks for sharing your thoughts on these subjects.

      My views on displaying finds has changed a lot since losing a lot of my collection to the tornado. It somehow took a back seat to everything else we lost, and the few coins/finds that I’ve found in packed boxes are now in my office in shadow boxes.

      Interesting story about the digger trying to be pro-active. I like to be well versed on the laws and regulations but if I show up and there’s no sign stating I can’t detect I give a whirl. Like you said the worse that can happen is someone will ask me to leave and I will do so quietly.

      I am very cynical and suspicious about a lot of what I see on social media. There are tekkies I know who are honest and hard working when it comes to this pastime and I never doubt there statements or photos. There are others however who just seem to find the best of everything and chalk it up to their “expertise”. The silver dollar fad really floored me. Sorry I don’t buy it.

      Anyway topics for further conversation down the road. Thank you again for taking the time to comment and hope you have a Happy, Healthy & Prosperous New Year!

  8. Ed Brozyna

    I’m with you regarding the number of silver dollars found even though I’ve found three. I’ve been detecting since 1983 and found my first one, an 1879 Morgan Dollar in 1991. It took me until 2013 to find the next one, a 1922 Peace Dollar and then in 2014 I found my third, an 1898 Morgan. As to displaying my finds…..I keep everything hidden away in a safe because I want no one to know what I have. It would be nice to have a room in the house for all my metal detecting finds and my coin collection but I don’t want those various repairmen or deliverymen knowing what I have. I’ve also cancelled subscriptions to various coin collecting magazines and newspapers.

    • Ed you’ve found three more than I….congratulations, I’m envious. The display thing I’m mixed on. I hate the idea pf “hiding” everything but like you I’m wary of service people, etc.. I also think the publishers of coin magazines/newspapers need to mail subscriptions in brown envelopes or something that doesn’t indicate the subject matter. Thanks Ed for sharing your thoughts. Don’t be a stranger here….

      PS: Maybe I’m just unaware of how those silver dollars read out on my detector….maybe you can send me yours so I can check.

      • Ed Brozyna

        I found all three of the silver dollars using my old but trusty white’s Eagle II and they all rang up in the same VDI area……a solid 91-92. Before I send out my silver dollars for you to test, I’ll need you to send me three barrels of Steel Rail Ale as collateral.

      • Barrels huh? I will give it some thought…

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