Merry Musings…

Still busy with a few things but I did see this and I’m not sure what to make of it.  I like the idea of a USA version of Detectival but who will run the show and will competition/greed ruin things?  Let’s hope not.


I want to wish you all a Merry Christmas and hope that you will take the time to relax, enjoy the moment and have one or two for me! Not sure who wrote the following but thanks to Regton Ltd. for passing it along….


Finally if your detecting is limited by the time of year, weather, etc., here’s a repeat from 2014 that just might help pass the time….


Okay the ole “spend time at the library” has to come first. I don’t care how long you sit in front of your computer and stare at the screen, your local library has material you will not  find online. So grab a pad and pencil or your laptop (almost all libraries have wi-fi), pick up a cup of coffee at Starbucks and head on down. Once you get there, find the research area, make yourself at home and don’t be afraid to ask for help. I am willing to bet the research person knows where the good stuff is kept.

So where do you start? Well I would go with community, county and state history, and no matter how much you hated history in school, this is different. No one is going to test you and remember you have a long cold winter to make sense of it all. It’s also okay to skim pages and look for the more enticing bits and pieces. Take notes of anything at all that you think might prove useful to you down the road. Somewhere in the garage I have a couple of the old traditional black & white splattered composition books filled with info that I spent many a night reading.

If you are lucky maybe your neck of the woods had a part in the Revolutionary or Civil War. If so there should be a great deal of material relating to battles, skirmishes, camp sites, forts and the like. Guessing too that there will be a few old maps pertaining to these events as well.

Next do make sure you check out the various community ‘celebration booklets’ that might be on the shelves. It was quite common years ago for communities to publish Centennial and/or Bi-Centennial souvenirs. They were almost always filled with old photos and offered “fond looks back” by seniors that often included:

  • Locations of schools and churches they attended
  • Where they gathered to play and have fun while growing up (sledding, swimming holes, lakes, etc.)
  • What social events (carnivals, fairs, picnics, church suppers) they enjoyed and where they took place
  • How and where the community celebrated the holidays
  • What sports they participated in and where the games were played

I also suspect that your local library has one or more “Arcadia” books on hand and they are extremely good for finding a new site or two.  I personally own ten of them…four from my old stomping grounds in New Jersey and six that relate to the Dallas area.  Go to their website and type in the names of towns and cities near you and see what pops up. I highly recommend these books.


Just a few of the Arcadia books I own…

Be sure to check out the library’s maps and plats. Here again there are a lot of these that are not online. If you find any you like, see if you can photocopy or use your phone.  While perusing these documents don’t be surprised if you see a few road names that are not familiar to you. Make note of them because there’s a possibility they are nothing more than overgrown lanes or paths today (IF progress hasn’t already taken its toll). The same for unfamiliar town names. Years ago a community might have been nothing more than ten or twenty buildings and as times got tough or when progress passed them by, those living there moved on, leaving only foundations and cellar holes today. If you doubt that, ask  Dave Wise or Todd Hiltz!

Next? Old high school yearbooks. Pay particular attention to photos of outdoor sporting events (football, baseball, soccer) and activities. Many athletic fields of yesteryear were a far cry from what you see today. Look for bleacher areas, refreshment stands and admission gates. I hunted an old football field in Frenchtown, New Jersey that continually yielded turn of the century coins for many, many years.

Next enquire about older newspapers (the older the better). They may be on microfiche although today I suspect they have been transferred to hard disk. This task is very time-consuming but here too you can skim and cherry pick. Look for any mention of outdoor activities and be sure to check those published a day or two after a major holiday. Celebrations, fireworks, picnics, parades, etc., all attracted crowds.



Okay you’re now home, a stiff drink in hand…. Turn on the ole PC, let your imagination run wild and get your treasure hunting juices flowing. Where to start? Go to Google, enter the name of your town or county then a few of the following….

  • Early
  • Centennial
  • Memoirs
  • Recollections
  • Outlaws
  • Abandoned
  • Bygone
  • Fairgrounds
  • Carnivals
  • Chronicles
  • Tales
  • Battles
  • Pioneers
  • Settlers
  • Parks
  • Education
  • Superstitions
  • Folklore
  • Picnic Groves
  • Church Suppers
  • Schools
  • Churches
  • Colonial
  • Amusement Parks
  • Early Maps
  • Forgotten
  • Robbers
  • Early Railroads
  • Beaches
  • Folklore
  • Drive-ins
  • Civil War
  • Revolutionary War
  • Mines
  • Ghost Towns
  • Airfields
  • Lodges
  • Military Bases
  • Indians
  • Founders
  • Settlements
  • Discoveries
  • Taverns
  • Stagecoach
  • Archaeology

A few other suggestions: Library of Congress (newspapers), Free Newspaper Archives Civil War Photos, and more More Civil War photos and USGS Maps.

Old topographical maps a treasure hunter's right arm...

Old maps offer new clues….

Finally you might also check out my previous exhortations at Research Links, Key Words and Winter Treasure Hunting



The winter months are also a good time to clean and catalog your finds from the year, and if you are so inclined, find a way to display them. Here are a few sites that might help if you decide to do so….

Coin Supply Express 

Fine Home Displays 

USA Display 

Civil War Trading Post



If you are still bored why not come up with a program that you can share with the various groups within your community….senior citizens (great source for new leads), scouting organizations, Lions club, Rotary, etc., just to name a few, and while you are at it why not promote the pastime at public events and celebrations? Set up a table with your detectors, finds, displays, manufacturer catalogs & promotional items, as well as information on treasure hunting clubs in the area.





Filed under Metal Detecting

28 responses to “Merry Musings…

  1. John Hooker

    A very merry Christmas to you and yours, Dick

  2. John Devereux

    Hi Dick,
    A very Merry Christmas to you too from a wet and miserable Eastbourne. 🙂

  3. James Wdzenczny

    A Double it is! Merry Christmas from Michigan

  4. Robert Kerr

    Very Merry Christmas to you and the better half, With many more. Plus a Happy New Year from Kansas..
    You know the old water wells that never went dry back in the days, the wells that every body went to get water in the dry times. 1920’s 30’s can be coin mine.

  5. john taylor

    addressed a very sincere letter to to the c.e.o. of the mogan david wine company. in it, i expressed my desire to be a marketing representative of their fine company. received a reply back that i needed to be “evaluated” not sure what that means, but in any event, want to wish any and all a wonderful xmas. our savior is coming! may the “spirit” of the season be with us all! ..


    • Mogen David? That’s a little rich for your blood J.T.. Better stick with the familiar screw top brands.

      Merry Christmas!

      • john taylor

        of which “mogen david” is one! sucks to be “poor” but i can still have fun! the “king of kings” is on the way! shout hooray!


  6. Paul D Sampson

    Hope you and yours have a Merry Christmas. I enjoy your musings please continue.

  7. Merry Christmas Dick and Fay from cold sunny Florida (went down to 45 degrees a few nights ago!) and Micky Mouse Capital of the World!

    • We are in the 40’s, 50’s here too Jim but Christmas week is supposed to be in the high 60’s and 70’s. That’s my kind of weather. Hope you and Patti are both feeling better. Merry Christmas!

      • Same here, supposed to be in the mid-70’s and sunny hereabouts on Christmas Day. We will be heading down to Lake Wales for the day, as we do every Christmas, to visit the “Singing Tower” at Bok Mountain Lake Sanctuary.. Built in 1927, it houses a huge bell tower that plays Christmas songs all day overlooking a vast orange grove.below. Have a good one Dick and a good 2020!

  8. Ed B.

    Excellent tips Dick. Newbies AND “old pros” can benefit from them. Merry Christmas to you…….

  9. Yo Ricardo:
    Wishing you and Fay a Very Merry Christmas. I shall raise a glass (or three) of Talisker to both of you on Christmas Day. Keep up the good work.

    • Can’t afford Talisker (too many people owe me money)….this is my new liquid of choice. $6.97 per bottle and it’s smooth. Cheers!


      Merry Christmas to you and Margaret!!

      • john taylor

        dick! off the shelf at “market basket” seen it just the other day! cock a doodle do! “still works!” just sayin’


      • Er…um, I don’t mean to be rude….but the label on that bottle suggests a ‘big cock’…or even a large chicken. Is there some kinda subliminal message here.

        i’m just sayin’

        Bamboozled Bubba

      • Never gave that a thought but since YOU brought it up maybe Margaret will buy it for you for Christmas….

    • john taylor

      ahhhhh! “talisker!” such a “refined” taste! you have reverend!.. best wishes on our saviors birthday!


  10. Brian Obitz

    Merry Christmas and a happy new year to you Dick and your family. If your ever up this way again will visit the martin guitar factory together and really spend some money.I visited there and somehow couldn’t leave without purchasing one.I don’t mind spending hard earned money on a good detector, guitar or single malt but taxes here in nj,now thats another story,is like having another mortgage. You end up paying to detect either way somehow.Anyway best of all to you and yours this coming year. Brian & Angie Obitz Kingwood twsp n.j.

    • Brian unfortunately I can no longer play guitar. Arthritis has taken its toll. Merry Christmas to you and Angie. Have one of those single malts for me…

  11. Tony

    Dick, that is one hell of a comprehensive “How to Find Old Coins” – thank you for that thought provoking material!
    Merry Christmas to you and your family! And Merry Christmas to all for visit your terrific informative site!

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