Is the Handwriting on the Wall?


This is a topic I’ve discussed in the past and it’s even clearer to me today as I try and find a place to detect….

“The law of diminishing returns…

…is an economic principle stating that as investment in a particular area increases, the rate of profit from that investment, after a certain point, cannot continue to increase if other variables remain at a constant. As investment continues past that point, the return diminishes progressively”….

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What does this have to do with metal detecting?

Very simply the more people entering the pastime, the greater the competition, the fewer the finds, the fewer the places to hunt. And you’re saying “nah that will never happen”. Well you’re wrong and it’s happening now.

Think about it…

…is it becoming more and more difficult for you to find a place to swing your coil? Are your finds increasing or decreasing from year to year? Are all those old detecting sites still available? I think I already know your answer.

Thanks to the early arrival of Texas heat I’ve been reading, taking notes and driving a few back roads to see if what I digested might provide some excitement and so far I’m 0 for 3. That’s a hefty .000 batting average and it’s taken a little out of me for sure. You see that intersection where the old Baptist church used to sit is now home to a hundred or more houses and that area near the bridge that used to a popular gathering spot is also part of urban sprawl thanks to an obnoxious  gas station and convenience store. Add in a gigantic power station and you get my drift. Yup, you better hurry if you’re going to save history because it’s going, going and gone.

I can remember talking to old timers back in the 70’s and 80’s, picking their brains about places they had frequented and how many of those places paid dividends. It’s now fifty years later and the finds (if we can find them) are newer and harder to come by. I have to assume as well that’s why rural hunting is now the norm and Mercury dimes are more prized and bragged on today.

Apparently spending more and finding less is now the norm…

I also see this problem on social media where what used to be thrown in the junk box is now cleaned, shared, analyzed and praised. Here again I suspect the reason is that the daily haul or take is not what it used to be and everyone is grasping at straws. The ole “it is what it is” comes to mind.

So what’s the answer?  I really don’t know. For the time being I will stay with the research effort and do a little more driving. I might even stop a time or two at the local Dairy Queen to see if I can tap into an old brain or two. I’m also aware that I’m not the only one facing this dilemma but that doesn’t make it any easier. Having started out when I did a great deal of what excites today just doesn’t cut it for me and that’s not bragging nor is it meant to insult. It’s just the way it is and ‘was’….

I have more reading planned for today and my local library reopens tomorrow (moved to a new location) so we shall see what develops. If nothing else I’m at least a smarter person than I was yesterday and that’s a good thing.

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11 Comments

Filed under Metal Detecting

11 responses to “Is the Handwriting on the Wall?

  1. DonM

    You have nailed it Dick…..that is why I refuse to purchase any of the new models that are coming out…..I will stick with my IDX Pro because these days, it is all about research and finding the right location if you want to make some silver finds…otherwise we will have to be content with clad shooting if all that we want is some exercise .

  2. So many more newbies, so many more machines, so little care about the hobby as a whole. It’s like a competitive sport.

    Even with group hunts like the BONE in New Hampshire they have had 25 years of events and sooner or later they will run out of available sites. Nothing we can do about diminishing returns, when nothing is invested nothing is returned.

  3. Tony

    Good article and topic. Most places are over hunted and we need to do research to get something to talk about or feel good about. Maybe the future detectors will have old folks additives – like vibration for hearing loss or a voice like the GPS has – One of my favorite lines from the GPS is “What the hell did you do that for”. Detectors could have something like this “why didn’t you dig that one you dummy”. Or “dig Here, dig Here….oh man….dig here!”

    How many folks who aren’t finding silver in their local parks or haunts try to find jewelry instead? I bet this is a high percentage because folks don’t want to dig the lowly pull tabs. When you think about it – a few ring finds will pay for that machine quicker than zinc cents and a few silver coins will.

    • Not sure about talking machines Tony. I would sure as hell be stomping on something lie that. I hate nagging….

      I think the point of my post got lost…I wasn’t so much saying that places are hunted out…I was saying that they’re ‘physically” disappearing, as in being concreted over.

  4. Tony

    Dick, that is most of NJ, good thing you left when you did.

  5. Ed B.

    Excellent point you make Dick about places disappearing. One example here in my home state was a very large old park that dated back to the 1800’s where years ago I found numerous old coins of copper, nickel, and silver. I went back to it two years ago to give it another try and the park was gone, replaced by a huge low income housing development.

  6. The fine point of paving over everything, including and especially history, is so well underway as to be an automatic given here in Central Florida. We’ve watched them literally plow miles and miles of old growth forests and woodlands and parks into obnoxious low-income housing for people who spend all day standing in doorways, sitting on concrete steps, and tossing their mangled 7-Eleven “Big Gulp” sugar drink cups into the streets. I get roundly criticized many times as being “old fashioned” (actually a compliment, not the insult they think it is!) when I speak out against the ever-growing crowd of “newbies” entering the hobby for the “riches” and not the history. Hunting beaches here nowadays here is like looking for germs on a sterilized scalpel…not even pop-tabs remain! It’s getting so bad, we’ve got people on social media proudly showing their BOTTLE CAP finds….lining them up in neat rows, on a paper towel…just so.

    A few parks north of us are still untouched…temporarily. A few weeks ago, I found a sheet of copper, about a foot square, about 15″ deep near the St. Johns river. I almost threw it in the junk box. After cleaning it up and bending it back into shape, I suddenly realized it was a 19th Century copper hull patch from either a steamboat or fishing boat from the late 1800’s. Not a bottle cap in sight. Soon, though, that will be a condo or low-income housing, with a nice view of the river to throw your “Big Gulp” cups into, I am sure. A sad, sad state of affairs. Who knew getting old was going to be so painful, literally and figuratively?

    Good post Dick!

    • “The fine point of paving over everything, including and especially history, is so well underway as to be an automatic given here in Central Florida”…. Isn’t that called progress?

      Jim I could relate the loss of open lands to so many other aspects of life but I would be labeled “too old to get with the times”. Today more is less except when it comes to open nature and open spaces.

      Getting old may be painful but I am glad I got to experience the best of this pastime….

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