Advanced Metal Detecting:  The End of the Bucket List

Advanced Metal Detecting: The End of the Bucket List

“If I could make a wish, I think I’d pass
Can’t think of anything I need.” – The Hollies, Air That I Breathe

A year or so ago, I got hung up on digging a gold coin.  I’ve been coinshooting for over 30 years, and the novelty of digging a gold coin has escaped me.  It was at the very top of my bucket list.

I still haven’t dug one.  I imagine I probably will.  My best chance is probably in a Civil War camp, and I have a large area on my list that has produced some very old and very rare coins in the past that could produce on as well.  Or I might randomly dig one on my next hunt wherever.

If there is one thing I’ve learned from relic hunting, it is the axiom that the relics in the ground are unaware that they are rare.  Rarity is a subjective thing, as is value.   Think about some of the ultra-rare, once in a lifetime things that you have dug, that few or anyone else will probably ever dig, that wouldn’t bring ten bucks on eBay.      

Wherever that gold coin I will probably dig is lying now, it is just there.  It is free from demand and greed and the other things that cause it to be rare.  They were commonly carried in circulation after all, some probably well-off person,  just dropped it.   Or some soldier lost it.   The difficulty of digging a gold coin lies in at least four of their unusual characteristics:

Rarity:  Not as many gold coins in circulation

Value:  If someone lost a gold coin, unlike a wheat, they were going to kill to find it.

Size:  The $1 (15.5mm), $5(16.5mm) and $10 (16.5mm) US gold coins are smaller than a dime (17mm).

Conductivity:  The smaller gold coins show up in the pull tab / shotgun shell range.   I bet I have run my coil over one more than once over the last 30 years, but I wasn’t in the right situation to dig it, like a hunted out yard that had produced enough killer targets to warrant digging everything.

So anyway, since I set the goal of digging a gold coin, I dug 8 Civil War belt buckles including several rare pieces, a key date 1895-0 Barber dime, several rare Confederate buttons, and a George Washington inaugural button, which is something that I never thought I’d dig in my wildest dreams.  And I’ve dug several finds that aren’t worth much but have similarly blown my mind, like a love token dated 1894 made from a Seated Quarter, a hook made from a nail and a fishing sinker made from a bullet from Confederate soldiers, and personal items traceable directly to some of the specific amazing historical people I’ve researched.

So I came to a realization.

Sure I’d like to dig a gold coin.  I’d also like to dig a Civil War state plate, and a Confederate state button, as they are unicorn-rare as well.  But would I have rather dug a gold coin than the items above.

The answer, at least for me, is “No.”  Why?   Because the truth is, the greatest thing you can possibly dig is something that so historic, so rare, and/or so wonderful that you probably could have never put it on your bucket list without relegating your bucket list to a “Wish list”.

 I’ve been fortunate to dig many incredible historic relics beyond my wildest dreams.  And I feel that the incredulous, jaw-dropping awe of digging something you never expected to dig is the greatest feeling in metal detecting, IMHO.   And you just can’t write that down on a bucket list.

So I’ll continue to hunt the types of sites that have produced, or can produce monster finds of epic proportions.  I’ll roll the dice and wait for what pops out of the ground next. 

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