Diggin’ with AggieTreasures beneath your feet


Most people think of a metal detectorist as a retired man, wearing tube socks, scouring beaches looking for buried coins and jewelry hidden deep beneath the sand. While there is truth to this, the hobby has become more diversified, both in age and gender in recent years mainly due to television shows featuring the hobby.

A metal detector gives you the ability to become a modern day treasure hunter. Anything could be lying under your feet from rings, old coins and other valuables — but these are far and few between. You have to dig a lot of trash such as iron, nails and pop tabs to get the good stuff. Just about the time you want to give up from digging lots of junk, one good find negates all that frustration.

A metal detector is just that — it detects the presence of metal in the ground. An audible beep is emitted from the machine when the search coil passes over a metal target. A target could be anything. Digging a hole and finding it among the dirt is the only way to truly know what the object actually is.

The cost of a machine makes a big difference in the ease of target recovery. A basic detector bought at a big box store costs around $75. The less expensive the machine, the more you have to dig — one tone for all targets. An iron nail gives the exact same tone as a silver dime. You are digging every sound you hear.

The higher end machines ranging from $1,000 to $5000 can be purchased from a dealer and these discriminate out undesirable targets. These machines have multiple tones allowing you to predetermine what something is prior to digging. Iron gives off a “grunt” tone allowing one to skip over it. Silver coins give a very distinct high tone. The more expensive the machine, the less digging you’ll be doing which is desired as digging is a very physical activity.

Every state has such diverse relics and coins. In New England, one can find old Spanish coins called reales. They were the international currency in the colonial days. Individual state copper coins can also be found there, currency made prior to the formation of the United States. In the South, relics from the civil war can be found such as bullets, belt buckles and cannonballs.

Hunting in Ohio has its benefits as it is the melting pot of the U.S. Anything can be found. People settled from other states, bringing their valuables and utilitarian items with them.

In Plain City, I have recovered a number of very unique items. I hunt primarily old home yards as well as open farm fields that once had an old structure on it back in the late 1800s.

The rarest find I have recovered at a home site was a 1794 large cent — basically an older version of a penny. The size and weight are very similar to a modern half dollar. There were only 36,103 minted that year. It is very rare to recover an American coin of that age.

Other areas I hunt are old schools and parks. Those public locations have been hit pretty hard over the years so most old targets have already been dug. But in this hobby, you can’t assume anything.

A few weeks ago I was shocked when I recovered two very unique buttons from Pastime Park. The first button was seven inches down in the ground. It was rather large and at first glance I thought I saw flowers. But after getting off all the dirt, it revealed that it was a Union staff officers coat button from the American Civil War, specifically from the infantry division (designated by the “I” on the shield). The gold gilting indicates that the wearer of the coat was a officer of rank. General service buttons were plain in color.

About 15 feet away from that button, I dug what is called a “Golden Age” button dating back to the 1830s. This was a time that the U.S. was experiencing financial prosperity and innovation. Then basic utilitarian things were changing, including buttons. Buttons used to be flat and plain. Things started to become fancier due to the good economic times the country was experiencing.

If only these buttons could talk what stories they could tell. What was their journey over time, what did they see and most importantly how and when did it get lost only to be found in a Plain City park many years later?

Metal detecting is similar to opening presents on Christmas morning — you just never know what you’re going to get and this is what drives me to keep on digging and hunting for lost treasure.

.neFileBlock {
margin-bottom: 20px;
}
.neFileBlock p {
margin: 0px 0px 0px 0px;
}
.neFileBlock .neFile {
border-bottom: 1px dotted #aaa;
padding-bottom: 5px;
padding-top: 10px;
}
.neFileBlock .neCaption {
font-size: 85%;
}

This 1794 large cent was minted when President George Washington was still in office. While considered “environmentally damaged” by coin collectors, it still holds a monetary value of $250. It was found in the fall of 2016.
http://www.plaincity-advocate.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/31/2017/08/web1_1794largecentpiccol.jpgThis 1794 large cent was minted when President George Washington was still in office. While considered “environmentally damaged” by coin collectors, it still holds a monetary value of $250. It was found in the fall of 2016. Contributed photo | Aggie A. Hall

Today collectors search for unique buttons such as these. The value is based upon the rarity and condition of the button. Both buttons are valued at approximately $10 apiece.
http://www.plaincity-advocate.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/31/2017/08/web1_Uniquebuttonspic2col.jpgToday collectors search for unique buttons such as these. The value is based upon the rarity and condition of the button. Both buttons are valued at approximately $10 apiece. Contributed photo | Aggie A. Hall

Today collectors search for unique buttons such as these. The value is based upon the rarity and condition of the button. Both buttons are valued at approximately $10 apiece.
http://www.plaincity-advocate.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/31/2017/08/web1_Uniquebuttonspic4col.jpgToday collectors search for unique buttons such as these. The value is based upon the rarity and condition of the button. Both buttons are valued at approximately $10 apiece. Contributed photo | Aggie A. Hall

Both buttons were found in Pastime Park this past July. They were about 15 feet away from one another. A horseshoe shaped soil plug is cut in order to retrieve a target and the plug is then flipped back over when done. This type of precision digging prevents damage to the grass.
http://www.plaincity-advocate.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/31/2017/08/web1_Uniquebuttonspic1col.jpgBoth buttons were found in Pastime Park this past July. They were about 15 feet away from one another. A horseshoe shaped soil plug is cut in order to retrieve a target and the plug is then flipped back over when done. This type of precision digging prevents damage to the grass. Contributed photo | Aggie A. Hall

Both buttons were found in Pastime Park this past July. They were about 15 feet away from one another. A horseshoe shaped soil plug is cut in order to retrieve a target and the plug is then flipped back over when done. This type of precision digging prevents damage to the grass.
http://www.plaincity-advocate.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/31/2017/08/web1_Uniquebuttonspic3col.jpgBoth buttons were found in Pastime Park this past July. They were about 15 feet away from one another. A horseshoe shaped soil plug is cut in order to retrieve a target and the plug is then flipped back over when done. This type of precision digging prevents damage to the grass. Contributed photo | Aggie A. Hall

By Aggie A. Hall

For The Advocate

Aggie A. Hall lives in Plain City. She enjoys collecting postcards, Springer spaniel dogs and spending time with her family.