Q & A – Suffolk Sifter – Detectorist

The Q & A this time travels across the pond and it’s Steve (The Suffolk), Sifter.  Thank you Steve for taking the time to do this and for sharing your story here on Stout Standards. I owe you a pint (or two).

Q. Steve, if you don’t mind tell us a little about yourself, i.e., where do you live, are you married, where you keep you keep your valuables, etc….

A. Hi Dick, my name is Steve and I have been married for 29 years and have two young girls, Evie 11yrs & Amy 9yrs, yes, we started late 😊 We live in the county of Suffolk, England. I have just taken early retirement (I know I don’t look old enough), so have more time to detect and create videos. I have a Youtube channel called Suffolk Sifter – Detectorist and make Metal Detecting videos and also have a regular Wednesday Metal Detecting based Youtube LIVE stream, 9pm UK time.

With my daughters Amy (left) and Evie


Q. Does anyone else in the family detect?

A. There is just me that detects in the family, I have tried to get the girls interested in detecting, but if they don’t find any ‘good stuff’ in the first 30 minutes, they get bored and give up 😊


Q. When exactly did you start detecting and what was your very first metal detector?

A. I started detecting exactly on 14th February 2012 to be precise as I have just looked up the invoice and the machine was a Garrett ACE 250 to which I added a NEL Tornado coil to take it to the next level.


Q. What was it that made you purchase or use that particular brand/model?

A. I did my research before buying a detector, looking at YouTube videos etc. I bought a Garrett ACE 250 as I wanted an entry machine as I did not know if I would stick with being a detectorist. I also watched a lot of Metal Detecting videos on YouTube and it was the YouTube channel “GoAndGarrett” got me into Metal detecting, so yeah, Stephen from GoAndGarrett got me into Metal Detecting.


Q. In the beginning where did you concentrate your time? What areas did you search?

A. I was lucky enough to have married into a farming family, so I detected on my fathers-in-law’s fields to start with.


Q. Steve what was your very first signal/find? Do you by chance remember?

A. Oh that is a tough question Dick. I could not honestly answer that, but what I do remember is that I found a Tudor keyhole horseshoe and a Cartwheel penny in the first few sessions out using the Garrett ACE 250.

Tudor keyhole horseshoe


Q. And what was your first good or decent find, as in keeper.

A. With the ACE 250 it would have to be that cartwheel penny. After I saw a friend using the XP Deus, I thought, I have got to have one of those. So, around 2016 I got a great deal from Nigel at Regton Ltd on a full Deus with WS4 backphones and sold the ACE 250. With the Deus I found a lovely sliver hammered groat which is still one of my favorite finds to date. BTW, I never did tell the wife how much the Deus cost 😉

Cartwheel penny (not mine)


Q. Another brain test Steve….how long did it take you to find your first silver coin and what was it?

A. That would have been with the Deus, hard to remember the exact date, but more than likely a silver hammered cut half or cut quarter on the neighboring farm which I had permission to go on. So, it must have been just after I got the Deus.


Q. How long did it take you to find your first ring and what type of ring was it?

A. I had found basic plain rings with both the ACE 250 and the Deus, but the first really good ring was found around 2019, I had been invited to detect with Xtreme Metal Detecting UK on their permission which has a lot of Roman history and apart from finding several Roman coins in various condition, I found a Roman military ring, what a find!

Roman military ring


Q. Steve did you spend a lot of time researching in the beginning and if so how did you go about it?

A. When you get the bug for something, you try and learn all you can, well I do. So I bought loads of books, watched Youtube videos and joined various Facebook groups. What information I could not find out using an internet search or in my books, I got from the Facebook groups. Usually I posted a picture of a find and within the hour I received a reply with an ID.


Q. What would you consider to be your very best find after all this time, and if it’s hard to choose just one feel free to tell us about the others?

A. Hard to decide, I could easily name three… 1) I found a 9th Century Anglo/Saxon strap end complete with the silver rivets. I thought it looked like an Owl, but after posting a picture of it on one of my Facebook groups was told I was holding it upside down and that it was a strap end which weighted the end of a leather strap. 2) A surface find, a Viking horse harness piece. 3) My first GOLD ring, it took me five years to find my first gold, it was a 1783 engraved mourning ring, with the deceased person’s name, date of death engraved on the outside.

On left -Viking horse harness piece, Right -Saxon strap end complete with the silver rivets

Engraved 1783 mourning ring


Q. Okay what is your weirdest find to date?

A. Weirdest find…? That has got to be a lead Pilgrims token with the face of Jesus on it.

Pilgrim’s token


Q. Love to ask Brits this – What is your “OLDEST” find to date?

A. It must be my Roman coins, ring and Thistle brooch ranging from AD 208 – 11. So holding a Roman coin that was lost around 1,800 years ago is a fantastic feeling!

Silver hammered groat


Q. What detector are you using at the moment and why?

A. My main machine is still the XP Deus, I love it. I also have just bought the new Garrett ACE Apex, which I am still learning, but seems to be a killer machine for the beach.


Q. Can you offer a few tips or settings?

A. Top tip – When you get a new machine, take your time to learn the way it works, the settings, the tones etc. At the start dig everything to see what the tones mean. Far too many people get down hearted at not finding silver, gold, treasure or a hoard within the first few weeks, but in the real detecting world you will find trash, trash and more trash with the occasional nice find, that’s just how it is.

Click for my website


Q. Steve when you do go detecting what accessories do you carry with you?

A. I used to have two belts with pouches for all my ‘must haves’, I even bought an ex British Army utility vest with way too many pockets. Now I take my specially modified spade, this was modified and engraved by Ian of Optimist Spades, it is a cracking spade. On the spade I have a small digging trowel, then I now use one belt with my XP MI6 pin pointer, XP finds pouch, Suffolk Sifter – Detectorist finds box and spray water bottle. In my trouser pockets I have a drink and a snack. Of course, I also take my camera gear to film my adventures in the Suffolk fields.


Q. You surely have a bucket list. Care to share it?

A. Bucket list…? More gold, maybe a Gold Stater, Gold Guinea, an axe head or a hoard! Realistically, I am happy finding UK pre-decimal coins and silver hammered coins.


Q. Steve what other countries have you hunted?

A. I have always detected in the UK, Suffolk, Essex and at the Spring and Summer Detectivals.


Q. Do you belong to a club?

A. No I don’t belong to any club, I prefer my own company most of the time but quite often detect with the Xtreme Metal Detecting UK guys.


Q. What would your IDEAL detector look like?

A. My ideal detector would be light, with a long-lasting battery and only made a tone when there was a decent find to be dug up 😉


Q. Finally Steve if you could pass along one or two words of advice to other detectorists, what would they be?

A. Always take your time to learn your machine, in the field take it slow, half steps, there is no rush, the finds have been there for a long time. And…. you have to walk over it to find it. Above all enjoy this great hobby.


Hope you will check out my YouTube channel, Suffolk Sifter-Detectorist!




Filed under Metal Detecting

14 responses to “Q & A – Suffolk Sifter – Detectorist

  1. john taylor

    i can agree with attempting to get the offspring involved. i tried to get my daughter interested many years ago with varying degrees of success. i thought she would “bite hard” when she found a 1912 barber dime, but alas,it wasn’t to be as she found something else to pique her curiosity,..boys!. ehe! heh! he!..

    what “smashing” finds are those two rings (military, and mourning). must have prompted a trip to the pub to get buzzed on a pint, or two.with all those farm fields to hunt, i will say you should be occupied for quite some time. i’m just sayin’


  2. Thanks John for your comments. Yeah I thought that my eldest daughter would be more interested, but she starts off well then after 30 minutes if she he does not find anything ‘good’, she gives up. Every time I find anything Roman, I am in awe and that military ring was a buzz. With the mourning ring the initial buzz was because it was gold, but after I set out doing some research as I would have liked to return it to the family, but sadly I got as far as their three children, then I came to a full stop.

    Suffolk Sifter – Detectorist

  3. john taylor

    we “yankee” hunters here in new england would be totally enthralled with such a find!anything “colonial” gets the juices flowing with me. colonial largies, reales,and anything with the “king george” designation just absolutely “lights it up” over here .tons of farm fields to “get on”here. liability “issues” are fierce , however if one has the proper ”attitude” it can get done. congrats on both of those most exceptional finds…i’m just sayin’


  4. Nigel Ingram

    Steve, if Dick mentions anything about me owing him $5, I told him it was in the Christmas card last year.

  5. boys just wanna have fun! gone ’round the bend?
    i’m just sayin’


  6. dick john taylor

    john! you should know with xmas comin’ on,along with the “covid” scarcity of essential toilet products, your xmas wish of $20,00 will go unanswered….i’m just sayin’


  7. Nah, the Dallas Santa’s got a white beard. I’ll bet he’s out in the parks right now, digging silver coins to convert into folding money that he can put in my Xmas card. Oh yeah, Santa, that was an interesting article with some good tips for the newbies.

  8. john taylor

    perhaps,but just keep in mind,crap paper has seen an exorbitant rise in price in recent weeks, and last i heard, even santa’s got the runs, AND a limited budget.
    i’m just sayin’



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