Note: In this series, we have selected 100 metal detecting finds that were extremely difficult to detect and recover, and provide details on the circumstances and techniques that contributed to their successful recovery.
KEEPER: Coal rake for a Steam Locomotive
SITE: Creek near a railroad
SITE EVALUATION: 5 of 10 This place was a bit snakey and reeked of toxic waste or something
PERMISSION: Public property
Everything Long and Iron is not a pipe: In yards I’m always afraid of breaking a water or other utility pipe, so it is highly probable that I’ve passed up some shells and rifle barrels. In the creek though, I was able to pull this one out and look at it. I first thought branding iron but it was too long and heavy, over six feet long.
Don’t Toss until You Know What it is: I have a couple of footlockers of whatsits in my garage. Occasionally I dive in looking for an item I’ve seen another detectorist dig and identify, or see in a book or eBay or elsewhere. I’ve learned the hard way over the year not to toss anything unless you are certain what it is. This thing was difficult to haul out and take home, and initial IDs did not sound promising. I’m fortunate to have saved this cool piece of RR memorabilia.
Ask the Experts: Fortunately help is readily available. I like to try to ID things myself, but tons of helpful experts and enthusiasts are available on the forums, and on Facebook groups like ID ME and WTF is This?
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