A TRIP TO ALWAYS REMEMBER. DAD AND SON HIT AN OLD CASTLE IN FRANCE

basque-man

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Sep 26, 2014
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Well hello all!! :hello:

The family and I made it back stateside on Monday and what a trip it was. We traveled to Southern France and Northern Spain. We spent most of our time in the Basque region to meet up with family. First things first though...............

While searching the best places to search in Northern France, I reached out to a gentleman who owns a castle which has been in his family for the past 300 years. You can rent an old house which sits in the forest area of the grounds. So after sending him an e-mail that we were interested in staying for a week and perhaps do some "metal detecting" in the area; he responded back with a big "YES"! Knowing it was better to search in France and with Spain being kinda touchy with the metal detecting laws, we voted on France not wanting to chance it in Spain.

Now i'm thinking this was to easy; and perhaps this place has already been hit in the past. We fly in to Paris and make the nine (9) hour drive south...:censored:

So day one was a waist since we didn't arrive until 2 in the morning. The next morning the son and I are already awake before the girls and the owner who actually lives in the castle meets us outside. After a quick hello, he tells us once were settled in, come to the castle and he will show us the areas we can metal detect. We didn't even have to ask and now i'm sure someone has beat us to this palace which is HUGE!!!

After getting the wife and daughter up, grocery shopping done in the town near by; we meet up with the owner. We have to walk about a half mile down the private road from the house to the castle. Overall it looked like he had a lot of ground. Some was farm land which had already been planted; some with weeds to tall to detect and then about 500 acres of "prime" Robin Hood looking forest! He show's us around and tell's us we cannot do the grounds surrounding the castle which we knew already and weren't even going to ask. Then he said, "But outside the large bushes which surround the castle is all yours!!!!" :hello2::hello2::hello2::hello2:

So off we go! The girls leave for a couple days since we were not near any big populated cities for site seeing, and the son and I are like, "See YA". What more is there to see than a castle and a couple of metal detectors with no living person walking around for miles!!!!! This was heaven!!!!

We get our machines and its on. A few minutes of hitting the old barn area and the old "village" as described by the owner, we start finding coin after coin. Of course they were mainly dated in the early 1900's up till around 1940. I was happy thinking at least we are finding coins. Then it starts!! A few swings in some tall weeks and I find the first old big coin. At least to us it was old living out here on the west coast! It was a great looking 1856 Napoleon with a dark green color. Then the son finds another; and then another......We are are cloud 9 thinking how cool this was going to be, finding 1800's coins.

We start rethinking our process knowing the castle has been around since the middle 1500's and the owner had told us everything was open except right next to the castle. We start walking towards the castle through the trees and work around the older looking roads. The first day we started swinging around noon and didn't finish until around 2 in the morning. All I can say is WOW.

Around day 3, my son is kicking my but in finding the old big coppers dated in the late 1700's as well as some that are so old and big, they are slick. I am doing my best with the small coppers and after finding one with a readable date, we were amazed to see the date "1637"! :hello2:

The son finds a 3 coin spill of large coppers and as i'm walking away from him in disgust because I cant find my first 1 yet, I get a great signal. I dig it out and boom! 1791 Silver!! I figured I couldn't do any better then this and made sure he knew it! :laughing7:

Day 4 and he is upset he only has a large 5 Francs coin from the early 1800's (as well as breaking his shovel) I keep telling him to stop whining. He had 1800's silver. He gets a whisper of a signal and calls me over. We both were using the smaller Deus coils with the exact same programs. He could hear it swinging one way only and not the other. I try and only heard a little "blip" once and couldn't do it again. No numbers were popping up. I remind him we were digging everything and it was a nice high tone on his machine so away he go's to work.....After about 15 minutes he yells at me and says' "I think I have the oldest coin now". I ask him what he found and he said he thinks its a cut coin and its silver. This of course sparked my interest but knowing I already had a nice 1637 copper, there is no way this kid beat me for oldest coin.

I make my way over to him and he hands me this little piece of silver. As soon as I see it, I say, "YOU SUCK". Not knowing anything about ancient coins, I did know from reading and watching the guys threads here from England, and based on the design on his, this baby was old.....One problem. We have no cell service and no internet where we were staying and so it wasn't for a few days he was able to find any info about it. He thinks it belongs to a clan in the area known as the Gaul's. As far as we could tell, this thing dates to around 121-51 BC: notworthy::censored: If one of you guys who knows' anything about these could give us a better idea, please don't hesitate to tell us.

Now really thinking my 17 year old kid is going to rub it in for the next week, I started grid searching areas which he had already walked around finding the big stuff. A few hours later I was happy with a beautiful 1694 silver soon followed by a 1594 hammered!!!

All in all we gave the owner of the property about half of our finds as well as most of the buttons, bottles and early 1900's coins we could find. We also spoke to a couple of farmers in the area who gave us permission to hunt their areas which were near the castle. We gave these gentleman a coin every time they drove back by on their tractors. Us not speaking French and they couldn't speak English, we were able to communicate enough and had a wonderful time sharing our finds with them. At times they didn't want them but when we showed them the dates, they would only smile and shake their heads with a big smile. :icon_thumleft:

All in all, the son did find more than the old man. He ended up with the oldest coin for sure, but dad was happy with the silver from 1500, 1600 and 1700. We are busy cleaning our finds as best we can. A lot of them have been smooth with very little detail on the coppers. A lot of silver religious medallions, buttons and little things we brought back will take a back seat until the coins are done. The son did have a nice little silver religious medal with a date of 1858 on it. That was cool. All in all, I Think we ended up bringing home over 80 coins that were pre-1900. Not including the other 20 or so we gave to the owner and farmers!

Anyway, sorry for such a long winded post but it was a trip a father and son will never forget. Happy to be back home, and i'm sure the first coin we find being back will the normal "wheat" penny....:BangHead: It just won't be the same! Your guys across the lake certainly do have much history and cool things to find; we will certainly be going back again some day!!!

Enjoy the pictures. ---Mike
 

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Upvote 0

Oddjob

Silver Member
Aug 23, 2012
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Banner; great story and some amazing finds.

Thank you for sharing all that.
 

bill from lachine

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Oct 30, 2011
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basque-man,

Thanks for taking us along for the adventure great finds and story.

Regards + HH

Bill
 
Last edited:

Loco-Digger

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Jun 16, 2014
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I'm with Oddjob, that was a banner story, a banner hunt, with a hand full of banner finds. Wow what a detecting adventure you 2 had. I voted Banner!!!
 

Tom_in_CA

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Mar 23, 2007
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Awesome play-by-play . Great story. Great pix. Thanx for posting !
 

Z.K.

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Jun 16, 2015
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This was just a plain old joy to read. A detectorist's dream with all the elements: a castle(!!), time with family, great finds, and friendly connections created through the process. And I have to say, you did it all the right way. Look at all that history you recovered!! Well done, and thanks for posting! Since I'm checking this on a work break, I'll look forward to looking again for the id process on some of those coins.

Incidentally, just this week I learned about a potential 2018 trip with my wife and kids, where she will teach for three months at a 13th century castle in the Alps...and the coordinator is interested in giving me full detecting access to the grounds in order to help build their on-site museum. We have a VERY cool hobby. : )
 
OP
basque-man

basque-man

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Sep 26, 2014
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  • #8
This was just a plain old joy to read. A detectorist's dream with all the elements: a castle(!!), time with family, great finds, and friendly connections created through the process. And I have to say, you did it all the right way. Look at all that history you recovered!! Well done, and thanks for posting! Since I'm checking this on a work break, I'll look forward to looking again for the id process on some of those coins.

Incidentally, just this week I learned about a potential 2018 trip with my wife and kids, where she will teach for three months at a 13th century castle in the Alps...and the coordinator is interested in giving me full detecting access to the grounds in order to help build their on-site museum. We have a VERY cool hobby. : )

If you get the go ahead to swing.....You will never want to leave. I know we didn't. :laughing7: Hope you get the green light~~
 

Z.K.

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Jun 16, 2015
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If you get the go ahead to swing.....You will never want to leave. I know we didn't. :laughing7: Hope you get the green light~~

Thanks man...I had been doing well trying not to get my hopes up until seeing your post! I've only been on here two years but I don't recall anyone else getting free reign at a castle before.

If you get a chance to post more of the buttons and any relics I look forward to that. Great stuff.
 

HessianHunter

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Jul 24, 2016
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That Louis XIV silver coin has me jealous! I really wish I had my detector right now in Italy.
 

CASPER-2

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Jan 3, 2012
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Bisquitlips

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Feb 22, 2013
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Great story. I felt like I made the trip with you.

Thanks for taking the time to share with us!!!
 

ARC

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Aug 19, 2014
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Wow... great post and stellar finds.

"Well done" doesn't quite cut it... SO... howz bout... BAR NONE...

AND...

BANNER(S)> !
 

WannaDig3687

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Super hunt and you did a spectacular job of telling the story! Gave me goosebumps! Did you ever get a positive ID on the silver? Definitely a hunt you’ll cherish forever. I hope you have a chance to go back! Congratulations! And I’m glad I asked you for the link.
 
OP
basque-man

basque-man

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Sep 26, 2014
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XP Deus; Minelab E-Trac; Son (Wyatt) uses XP Deus!
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Super hunt and you did a spectacular job of telling the story! Gave me goosebumps! Did you ever get a positive ID on the silver? Definitely a hunt you’ll cherish forever. I hope you have a chance to go back! Congratulations! And I’m glad I asked you for the link.

Not really. My son thinks he had found it but without someone knowledgeable about that time era silver, we can only guess!! Thanks !
 

WIDirtFishing

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Apr 29, 2010
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Wow, that is a mind blowing trip! I am extremely jealous.
I do have a legality question though. Did you have any trouble or issues bringing them back to the states? Customs or security at the airport or anything? I am not familiar with France’s antiquities laws or if they did not apply because it was private property?

What a great read.
 
OP
basque-man

basque-man

Silver Member
Sep 26, 2014
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🥇 Banner finds
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XP Deus; Minelab E-Trac; Son (Wyatt) uses XP Deus!
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Wow, that is a mind blowing trip! I am extremely jealous.
I do have a legality question though. Did you have any trouble or issues bringing them back to the states? Customs or security at the airport or anything? I am not familiar with France’s antiquities laws or if they did not apply because it was private property?

What a great read.

No one said anything at all.......which I thought was odd. We had them all mixed in with our loose change just in case so I guess when they went through the metal detector at the airport, no one thought much of it. If and when we go again though, i'll take 2x2 flips and if anyone ask, we bought them at a coin shop!!:laughing7:
 

WIDirtFishing

Sr. Member
Apr 29, 2010
322
129
Twin Cities, MN
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Minelab Equinox 800

Past:
Tesoro Tiger Shark
Tesoro Silver uMax
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No one said anything at all.......which I thought was odd. We had them all mixed in with our loose change just in case so I guess when they went through the metal detector at the airport, no one thought much of it. If and when we go again though, i'll take 2x2 flips and if anyone ask, we bought them at a coin shop!!:laughing7:

Oh that was a brilliant idea! I never would’ve thought mixing them in haha
Yea the coin shop is a good idea too. What a great story.
 

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