Tips for retrieving coins from the earth without damaging them?
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  1. #1
    Jul 2016
    AT Pro
    37 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting

    Tips for retrieving coins from the earth without damaging them?

    I have recently started metal detecting an old farm site that has been in the family for 200 years. I've had some insane luck finding coins from 1850s-1950s. The soil is very compact and the coins are coming out with incredible detail. Unfortunately I scratched an indian head penny and barber dime digging them out. I've been using the T Lesch shovel to dig. Not sure if it was the shovel or rocks in the compact soil that caused the scratches. Anyone have tips or a process they follow when digging to ensure they don't cause damage to the coins?

    Hillbilly Prince likes this.

  2. #2
    Charter Member
    Mar 2013
    SW, VA - Bull Mountain
    CTX, Excal II, EQ800, Fisher 1260X, Tesoro Royal Sabre, Tejon, Garrett ADSIII, Carrot, Stealth 920iX, Keene A52
    20093 times
    Digging in the dirt & scooping in the water!
    Pin pointing is very important. I've cut flaps as much as 12" wide when pin pointing isn't all that "comforting". A lot of times the target is "tilted" in the ground and will project the signal considerably away from the actual location.
    Republic of Vietnam 10/69 - 3/71, Cambodia April 27, 1970 on a mountain top with HUGE scorpions

    "'He jests at scars who never felt a wound'" c.s.lewis - 1940

    The Ten Commandments:

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  3. #3
    Charter Member
    Mar 2011
    San Diego
    Equinox 800, Fisher Impulse AQ, E-Trac, 3 Excal 1000's, White's GM3 V-sat. White's TM808, VibraProbe, 15" NEL Attack, 5X10 Joey, Steath 920ix and 720i, TRX, etc....
    9049 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Honorable Mentions (3)
    It will happen to the best of us at times. Getting experience in pin pointing will eventually reduce the number of damaged targets. In the mean time, cut bigger plugs (if you can) will usually help. If the area is one where you want to keep them small or if it's a well manicured area, start with a hand held pin pointer on the shallow targets, and if you need to excavate, cut a three sided trap door plug. The grass will recover faster and more completely that way.
    ​Avitech Associate

  4. #4
    Sep 2013
    Sutter Creek, Ca.
    Whites 6000di pro plus Whites id beach hunter Got rid of the Minelab pointer, Then got a Garrett. Much better pointer. Minelab Xterra 705 Ibuprofen
    272 times
    Metal Detecting
    I'm not one to give advice on this subject because when the meter hits a nice silver tone/ reading, my mind slips into a type of frenzy to get it out. Not that it would make a difference because of the fact it has been buryed for a long time & retrieving it 5 seconds sooner would not make a differance.
    With that said some coins are worth a tidy amount if a key date or error but with a scratch on it from your tool pretty much looses value.
    Digging coins from a family owned piece of property would be for me mountable in a frame to have bragging rights.

  5. #5
    May 2011
    tujunga ca
    xlt mxt gmz and now a gmt whites
    1627 times
    slow down

  6. #6
    Charter Member
    Nov 2018
    6327 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Banner Finds (1)
    Honorable Mentions (1)
    Cut the plug the same size as your coil after pinpointing with your metal detector, I do this with silver signals...
    I'll sleep when I'm dead

  7. #7
    Sep 2013
    Sutter Creek, Ca.
    Whites 6000di pro plus Whites id beach hunter Got rid of the Minelab pointer, Then got a Garrett. Much better pointer. Minelab Xterra 705 Ibuprofen
    272 times
    Metal Detecting
    Good advice.

  8. #8
    Sep 2011
    Denver, Colorado
    Garrett AT Pro, AT Gold, ATX, MH7 (oldie!) Minelab Explorer SE Pro, EQ800
    4594 times
    A pinpointer will help a bunch and it will speed up recovery time meaning more targets dug in an outing. Practice practice. I try to cut my plug in front of the target and hinge it back. I stick my pinpointer down in the hole and usually the taget is ahead of me under the hinge. I then use a screw driver to loosen dirt to the side of the target and retrieve.
    Never field clean. Wait til you get home and soak in soapy water and use running water and soft bristle tooth brush to gently remove caked on soil.

    My first two barber dimes found back in the 80's I scratched as well. My first franklin halve, scratched the heck out of the back. My first SLQ, I scratched the hell outta the back of it as well! I could go on.....
    This was before the handheld pinpointers were available. I have MUCH better luck not scratching coins now.

    Slow down and good luck!

  9. #9
    Charter Member

    Mar 2017
    XP Deus, Minelab Equinox
    2629 times
    Metal Detecting
    I use toecutters technique as well. Also, be sure to get yourself a handheld pin pointer. Pinpointers will increase recovery speed and reduce frustration.

  10. #10

    Sep 2019
    United State
    4 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Thanks for sharing tips is so helpful.
    RustyGold likes this.

  11. #11
    May 2019
    Garrett AT Pro, Bounty Hunter Tracker IV
    2938 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    I cut a big plug most every dig. Properly replaced, the sod will do ok as long as you're careful on replacing it. I hate messing up something that survived OK until I found it. I'm lucky to have easy digging in our dirt locally but roots are always a problem.
    3cylbill likes this.

  12. #12

    Feb 2016
    macro racer 2, whites mx5, trx pinpointer
    1165 times
    Metal Detecting
    With your detector pinpointed activated start several inches to left or right of your target slowly moving toward it both watching your depth meter and listening for the increase in volume. When you get to the shallowest depth and loudest volume go just a tad further until ther both begin to change just a tad than creep back. Now sidestep 90 degrees, again moving your coil to the side several inches, again creeping to the target till meter shallowest and volume highest through headphones your target will be directly under the center circle of your coil if you're using a concentric coil. If you're using a double D than about under the shaft to coil mounting ear bolt.

    Often with a double D you may be off a bit with a small 3-4 inch plug, but with a concentric spider coil it will be under that center circle 90% guarantee if you listened and watched the depth indicator carefully!
    Last edited by ecmo; Sep 13, 2019 at 11:24 AM.

  13. #13
    Feb 2019
    Garrett AT Pro
    637 times
    Metal Detecting
    I was in the same situation as you and I know how terrible it feels to damage a coin but you have to realize it is part of the game.
    When cutting a plug or digging a hole ALWAYS dig at least 5 inches away from where your target is pinpointed.
    Also invest in a quality pinpointer to speed up recovery and decrease your chance of damaging your target. I use the Garrett pro pointer AT.

  14. #14

    Jan 2012
    17442 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Banner Finds (1)
    Honorable Mentions (5)
    dig larger holes and use a pinpointer
    Motto = "I try to hit where others cant or others wont "

  15. #15
    May 2018
    A state of Resistance
    White's MXT Tesoro Cibola Tesoro Golden Sabre Plus Garrett ADS Master Hunter 7
    3597 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Agree with the others about the larger plugs and pin-pointers. Sometimes the plug is only the sod and the coin is much deeper. Once you lift away that flap or trapdoor, put the shovel or metal trowel down and use the pin-pointer and your fingers or a plastic grubbing tool. If the soil is still too hard, maybe you should quit for the day and return after a long soaking rain.
    "Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence." - John Adams


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