Pedestrian Adventures…

We just went detecting!

Beyond Taxing

Someone not too long ago suggested that because I don’t get out detecting that much I should tax the brain and share a few stories/adventures from years gone by. My first reaction was hell I can’t remember what I had for breakfast, how am I supposed to remember what happened years ago? 
Plus I gotta tell you there weren’t a lot of exciting or memorable in-the-field excursions. At least not like you see today on Facebook and YouTube. Today everyone has an adventure, a find to share and it’s presented in Oscar award fashion on multiple social media sites.

Aw come on Dick tell us the story about how you saved history and retired a rich man….

Well once upon a time, way back in the stone age, I bought a metal detector and became a treasure hunter! Yup, two hundred smackeroos and I was Indiana Jones (actually he didn’t come on the scene till a few years later).

Anyway in the 70’s I was initially a loner so the adventures I had were with me, myself and I. I wasn’t very savvy about metal detecting but I was fortunate to have access to a lot of productive sites and took advantage of it, digging a lot of cool finds, especially coins. What I didn’t have however was a smart phone, video camera or the internet and the idea of taking a photo of everything I dug never entered my mind.

After a while I did start hunting with other detectorists and when we ventured out in the field we had the minimum when it came to equipment ….detector, headphones, carpenter’s apron and digger.

It’s a wonder we didn’t die in the woods or get eaten by dragons! 

And….miracle of miracles we were able to recover our treasures with a screwdriver, identify them with a little spit and store them in the “good” side of our aprons. What savages we were….

Not exactly adventures

I can remember the various places we detected and whether they were productive, but nothing stands out that would be worthy of a “did I ever tell you the one about” rerun. We just went detecting!  No big deal!  Sure we had our funny moments, like straddling electric fences, careless pratfalls and “wasn’t me” rock throws in the woods. We kidded each other and competed when it came to finds and took a break for lunch to BS and recharge. There were times we’d hunt all day and other times only an hour or two, depending on the availability of free vs. family time.

I’m amazed how many tekkies today seem to have unlimited time to get out in the field. Either they’re independently wealthy, unemployed or bullshitters.  

We also detected in the rain (but not in the snow as seems to be the “macho” thing to do today) and we were quick to the shore after nor’easters and hurricanes. We hunted a lake when it was drained and assisted local police a time or two. We gave of our time once or twice to help local archaeologists survey sites, we formed a club and eventually started the FMDAC.  Now you might call these adventures but to us they were just enjoyable, fun times in the out-of-doors.

Dan Hamilton, my Jersey detecting partner….early 80’s

Without the internet we learned about new detectors via the many treasure magazines. Upgrading however to a better detector was not like it is today. Most every detectorist I knew didn’t have a lot of spare change lying around and held on to the model they were using. If they did upgrade it was usually a big event, the highlight of the local club meeting. The promise of increased depth was the name of the game back then.

A typical day of detecting in the 70’s usually resulted in ten or more pieces of silver plus the usual assortment of odds and ends (currently referred to as relics). If this is hard to imagine remember that this wasn’t too long after the changeover from silver to clad. My most frequent detecting partners (the late Joe Attinello and Dan Hamilton) and were totally different. Joe was a beach aficionado (actually he loved bikini glad nubiles) and Dan was pretty much a school yard guy. Me? I loved hunting and looking for picnic groves and old homesites.

Later on in the 80’s and 90’s, with the advent of the FMDAC,  I was fortunate to do a little traveling and detected some in the UK and France. A few of my finds were quite old (even predating moi) but nothing that would put me on easy street. Likewise when I went to work for Garrett in ’88, outside of the traveling, there were no adventures to write home about. In fact it was a somewhat stressful time that I had I known about prior I would have never left New Jersey.

I suspect that our outings of yesteryear would look pretty good with the addition of music, credits and today’s technology but alas it’s not to be. It’s a different era and try as I might it’s one that’s foreign to me.


The real adventure was meeting and making friends with many of the treasure hunting pioneers, industry notables and especially the original group of delegates who worked so damn hard to get the FMDAC up and running. It was also the opportunity to travel overseas and learn about another country’s customs and way of life, making lasting friends in the process. None of this would have happened if I hadn’t seen that ad for metal detectors in “Coin World”.

I wish I could tell you about the huge hoard I found or about my search of Oak Island but they never happened.

Hell I don’t even have a photo of my detector leaning on a shovel!! 


PS: The more I think about this, after seven years and 775 blog posts there’s a damn good chance I’ve shared my adventures ten times over right here on SS.

Happy hunting….


Throwback Photo

With Bruce Hazleman, Black Diamond Hunt, early 80’s…


Just received this from Joe Patrick….

Good morning Dick,

I read your latest post… Pedestrian Adventures and I love it! But I just couldn’t resist taking a little “license” to upgrade and bring you into the 21st century of metal detecting. Oh, the good ole’ days. How well I too remember them. I haven’t changed much over the years but the hobby certainly has. Just bought my first pair of camo pants last year. I now have a handheld pinpointer, wireless headphones and soon to be, a digging shovel. I’ve gone over to the dark side!

Joe Patrick

Dick Stout 2019



Filed under Metal Detecting

19 responses to “Pedestrian Adventures…

  1. Tony from Bayonne

    Dick, the early days in 1970’s must have been terrific fun! I started in the early 1990’s and in my opinion folks still didn’t realize what we had. Nowadays it is totally different story, not just with videos but we need to make it fun – like you guys/girls did back then!
    Love that field at the Black Diamond hunt….must have been tough to hoe….it’s huge!

    • Tony those detecting today need to think about whether there will even be a pastime ten years down the road. The diminishing returns thing is going to bite them in a$$ sooner than later.

      The Black Diamond hunt used to be a great one. May still be…not sure.

  2. Love the picture of Dan Hamilton with the old standing stone wall behind him, with the coil to the soil!! I was thinking the same thing about people who detect around the clock…being unemployed was never much fun as I recall when I was out of work. And engineers were out of work a lot…a military contract was fulfilled, and you were back out on the street the next day. You were expected to be pounding the pavement, filling out employment applications, mailing resumes and sitting nervously in the front office waiting for an interview…not tripping the light fantastic with your metal detector then ADVERTISING it publicly! Nowadays, apparently, not so much…I see relatively young (30’s to 40’s) guys spending all week detecting the beach and parks, plastering their “adventures” all over Facebook or YouTube. I don’t get it…really i don’t. I’m old and have a lot of free time and I get out maybe twice a month at best.Nothing to find even then.

    I notice lately my take on metal detecting has been getting a bit caustic of late…I have to continually reign myself in from saying what I really think.The hobby has done a complete 180 from what it was in the mid-1960’s thru the early 1980’s which I remember as the very best of times…to now which has turned the hobby into, literally, a public spectacle. Loved all the old photos here Dick…brings back fond memories of the pastime in it’s golden age!

  3. john taylor

    hey dick!
    you remember the 3 county fairground in northhampton mass?
    the fmdac had a huge hunt there in 1980! i remember meeting charlie garrett
    the club had ‘exclusive” permission to hunt the fairgrounds founded in 1845
    no one had hunted it before that grand hunt..all the “high rollers” were there!
    i didn’t know what you looked like back then so i cannot say if you was there or not!but i can tell ya,anybody who was anybody in the hobby was there!..really big show!
    ya oughta seen what was ‘pulled” out of those fairgrounds! unbelievable stuff! coins
    bust silver ..guys was findin’ some real “fine” bro and i found some ‘seated”
    that day! f**k the exhibition,we just kept hunting’! what a day! never to be repeated again!


    • John, wasn’t an FMDAC event. We weren’t in business until 1983. If I remember right it was a Garrett event. Charles had a few big ones back then.

      • john taylor

        yes! dick! you are correct! upon reflection,it WAS a “garrett” event! i stand corrected!
        you missed a good one! stated, this place had NOT been detected before they assembled that day back in ’ was founded in 1845…”outrageous” show…met your boss!..even though he was the main ‘honcho” he seemed just like a regular “shmuck”,like you and me! that’s the impression i came away with! ..bust silver everywhere,and a few ‘gold” as well! tons of barbers and seated..a regular “dream” hunt! ..large cents,flying eagles,you name it,it was there,and found…what a site!..never forget it! ..great time was had by all!


      • Scmuck? Speak for yourself!

  4. Joe Patrick emailed…

    Good morning Dick,
    I read your latest post… Pedestrian Adventures and I love it! But I just couldn’t resist taking a little “license” to upgrade and bring you into the 21st century of metal detecting. Oh, the good ole’ days. How well I too remember them. I haven’t changed much over the years but the hobby certainly has. Just bought my first pair of camo pants last year. I now have a handheld pinpointer, wireless headphones and soon to be, a digging shovel. I’ve gone over to the dark side!
    Joe Patrick

    • john taylor

      hot damn! a “shovel?”..maybe you might want to reconsider!
      whoever i see one of them afield,i get all “shaky,and nervous!”
      ohhh! noooo! not again!


  5. Les Johnson

    Good afternoon Dick,
    It’s great reading yours and other guys stories about how detecting was in the good old days.

    You guys on the other side of the pond are really lucky in some respects, in that you can detect more or less anywhere you want. We on this side of the pond are tied by rules and regulations from the Local Authorities, we can’t detect Parks, School Yards, Common Land, and in some areas on the Beach.

    I live 200 yards from a park that I would dearly love to detect, over the years there has been god knows how many festivals, Pop Concerts, Travelling Fair Ground to name but a few. There is not a cat in hells chance of detecting it and if hell froze over the buggers still wouldn’t let us detect it.

    We are governed by the rule that every bit of land is owned by someone, therefor permission is needed before you can even think about detecting.

    We may have the history, the hammered coins and artefacts that date back to when Adam & Eve were infants, but we don’t have freedom. Gaining permission to detect involves one hell of a lot of door knocking. I have spent too many days over the years, driving around this beautiful English countryside, knocking on doors and begging for permission to detect. Believe me when I tell you that there is no one more awkward, bad tempered and in some cases downright rude and ill mannered than a British farmer.

    They tend to think that you are going to pillage their land and they think that you hide finds from them, for hells sake I have one farmer that will creep up on me whilst I’m taking a coffee break, I’m convinced that he thinks that I may just be admiring a find that I don’t intend to share with him.

    Believe me when I say that it is bloody hard work detecting over here. I belong to a Facebook group called: Detecting For Veterans, I recently asked if anybody would like to join up with me as a new detecting buddy, my old buddy is losing interest and I like to be out with somebody else because of my health problems.

    I was inundated with replies from Guys who live in London and who don’t have their own permissions. I chose a Veteran who lives in London and only a one hour drive from me in Essex, now before you guys start laughing at a one hour drive which is nothing to you, we have to take into consideration the traffic in and around London, we have the M25 Motorway which is better know as the largest Car Park in Europe because of the nose to tail traffic.

    So I started taking this guy Ian, to my permissions and he has turned out to be a really good guy and he enjoys every minute of it. Prior to me taking him out, he was detecting the beaches north of London on the River Thames Estuary, this proved to be absolutely useless due to the amount of World War 2 shrapnel in the Thames and on the beaches as well as the pull tabs and everything else that folk deem to leave buried in the sands.

    We have in fact one of your ships still visible on most tides, the SS Richard Montgomery an American Liberty Ship, wrecked in 1944 and is still loaded with munitions. If I take a ten minuet walk from my house to the beach I can see her in her final resting place. If she ever blows, then there will be one hell of a lot more shrapnel on the beach.

    Keep on blogging Dick, I really enjoy reading your stories and tales of yesteryear. I also enjoy reading all of the replies from the guys who have been there done it and bought the Tee shirt. (Vest)

    Anyway enough of the ramblings of an old git.

    Greeting from across the Pond.
    Best regards

    • Hi Les,thanks for taking the time to comment, always good to hear from you…

      I can imagine how frustrating it must be not being able to detect that park…we’re slowly but surely getting there too. Our problem is too many detectorists and a lot of unfilled holes. As a result many communities are posting no detecting signs. Happened to a small park close to me a few months ago.

      You wrote “I tell you that there is no one more awkward, bad tempered and in some cases downright rude and ill mannered than a British farmer”. Have you thought about renting a kid? A little girl with dimples, or even an attractive young gal? The attractive thing only works when the wife doesn’t answer the door.

      I just now joined the vet page…they let me in as a vet from the colonies. Have a great day Les and have one for me please… Cheers!

  6. Don

    After reading some of the comments I’m reminded of the many coin hunting trips to school yards courthouse lawns and old country churches. One trip in particular I remember very well was an old courthouse in central Arkansas.

    At the time (1986) i was using a Garrett ADS 3. This particular detector had a very useful ability to determine what it thought was the correct coin depth. And yes I had the discriminator cranked up to get rid of the dreaded pull tabs I was sure to find. This day in particular I was hunting courthouse yard with a good friend that had a Garrett ADS 2.

    I was digging the usual modern coins and every now and then i would get a signal that showed 3 inches. Every coin I dug that day that showed to be 3 inches or more was silver such as mercury dimes and Washington quarters and absolutely no pull tabs or bottle caps. Noticing that I decided to turn the discriminator down nearly to the off position and only dig targets at 3 inches or more. At 5 to 6 inches I started getting standing liberty quarters and barber quarters and barber dimes along with a bunch of Indian head pennies.

    I explained to my friend what I was doing. His Garrett ADS 2 didn’t have depth reading ability so he had be a little more “inventive” and pay attention to the signal strength meter. But he also started to dig the older coins too using the meter for reference. Between the two of us that day we dug almost 200 silver coins.

    Those were the definitely the “good old days” of coin hunting but those days are gone and will never be back!!

    • Don those were indeed the good ole days and I hate to say it but I think you’re right about them never coming back. Instead of coinshooters we’re all now relic hunters, as in “dat’s all der is”…Not sure what the answer is and unfortunately no one, including the manufacturers, seem to care.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment and share your experience. Your welcome here any time…

      • john taylor

        it ain’t never coming’ back dick because MOST everything that’s worth a ‘tinker’s damn”
        has been found.private property is where it’s at,however,with so much “litigation” around
        may prove difficult to stay out of jail.very few want you on their property.the world has changed,and NOT for the better.dick,the possibility exists that if you “change your sex”,and (look convincingly female) along with a “sparkling personality”,well,then there’s no end to the stuff you could find,and you will be ‘sitting in the lap of luxury!” if ya decide to give it a try,let me know how you make out!


  7. john taylor

    hi dick!
    i meant you and me! not mr garrett!
    after all,i could never “measure up” to what
    charlie garrett has meant to the hobby,hell’s a fire dick!
    you worked for the man,and i will bet you felt ‘honored”
    just to be in his illustrious yeah,that would characterize you as a “schmuck”
    same as me! don’t get all “flustered” and mad!..dick! it’s perfectly allright to be a
    “normal” human being. i’m just sayin”


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