For all you old house hunters out there....

TrpnBils

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Jan 2, 2005
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So I've come to a conclusion over the past several months. I've been detecting for over 5 years and have never found a silver coin, only found maybe 20-30 wheats, and just recently found my first pre-modern coin (IH penny)....I'm coming to realize that even though I'm hunting old sites (most of the time), I'm not hunting the right kind of sites.

I'd like to try to make it a point to hunt more old houses this year (I have one or two vacant ones I hit fairly regularly, with permission, but they've been hunted to death over the years...although I did find that Indian at one of them). Getting permission is one thing, and I'll learn to get more comfortable with that, but my question is this:

Do you make it a point to only hunt vacant houses, or are you just as likely to hunt a house that's currently being lived in? If you hunt lived-in houses, do you make it a point to only hunt away from the house (which is what I've done on multiple occasions) or are you comfortable with just "getting right in there" and hunting, say, right in the front yard off of their porch while they watch you from the living room window?

Okay, so that's two questions, but I'm curious. My pinpointing technique is good, my plugging is good, I always use an old shirt or cloth to put dirt on when I'm in a yard somewhere so there's no mess when I'm done, but I still feel a little weird about it. I also know that's what's holding me back from finding some interesting stuff.
 
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Pointman

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Feb 18, 2013
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My actual year end for metal detecting ends in July. I have metal detected for a long time, but only a couple of times a year and I never actually took charge of my fortune so to speak until this year. I have been fairly successful and I average about 6 silver coins a month and about 30 wheat cents.

What I have learned now versus before is that I make it a point of finding old houses and places to hunt and I am always looking while I am driving. I have found silver in very random places and sometimes it surprises me when I find an 1800s coin at a newer house. The big difference is that I look for old houses and old spots, grid very well and about 1 out of 4 places I will find a silver coin or two. I have found a nice array of coins considering the newness of the areas I search and it only being my first year. I think that educated guesses at where I hunt (to better my odds) and persistence is what has helped me.

It does amaze me when someone finds 7 or more silver coins in one HUNT at ONE spot. The best I have done is 8 silver coins at one place over about 4 hunts. The best I have found at one hunt was 4 silver dimes. Usually I only average 1-2 silver in 5 hours of hunting and this is usually multiple sites. It is a rare day when I find two in one area on the same day. Usually, I will find all the silver at a yard over a few hunts. I mean, I will drive two hours and start hunting at 10 am and stop about 5 pm and may only average one silver coin.

There is someone on this site who is claiming something like 60+ for the year and last year found over 250 silver coins. It is possible, but almost sounds too good to be true.
 
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dirtscratcher

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Mar 18, 2009
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Columbia falls Montana
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My actual year end for metal detecting ends in July. I have metal detected for a long time, but only a couple of times a year and I never actually took charge of my fortune so to speak until this year. I have been fairly successful and I average about 6 silver coins a month and about 30 wheat cents.

What I have learned now versus before is that I make it a point of finding old houses and places to hunt and I am always looking while I am driving. I have found silver in very random places and sometimes it surprises me when I find an 1800s coin at a newer house. The big difference is that I look for old houses and old spots, grid very well and about 1 out of 4 places I will find a silver coin or two. I have found a nice array of coins considering the newness of the areas I search and it only being my first year. I think that educated guesses at where I hunt (to better my odds) and persistence is what has helped me.

It does amaze me when someone finds 7 or more silver coins in one HUNT at ONE spot. The best I have done is 8 silver coins at one place over about 4 hunts. The best I have found at one hunt was 4 silver dimes. Usually I only average 1-2 silver in 5 hours of hunting and this is usually multiple sites. It is a rare day when I find two in one area on the same day. Usually, I will find all the silver at a yard over a few hunts. I mean, I will drive two hours and start hunting at 10 am and stop about 5 pm and may only average one silver coin.

There is someone on this site who is claiming something like 60+ for the year and last year found over 250 silver coins. It is possible, but almost sounds too good to be true.
I wonder how many are hitting yards that have been hit already. I used to be jealous of everyone back east with the history there. But I also think we are maybe hitting places here that have never been hit. Maybe with all those people there are that many more that detect. I guess if you are driving down the road and a place looks good it has looked good to every other guy who has driven by also.
 

nleet22

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Jan 5, 2014
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lancaster pa
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I seriously doubt many of the self reported finds that I read about on the internet, As far as hunting someone else's property most people will feel violated to have stranger detecting in their yard,,,,, Those that allow it usually want everything you find,

Im telling you, I've hunted the crap out of old homes for over two years. Many of them as a landlord.....
Its really rare to find silver......I mean really rare.... Clad all night lond, day and night, for that matter....
So many people post about 7 silver in a day..... , unless they are coming out of one hole, I just don't see it......

I do know of very valuable watches or jewelry that occasionally is found.....
These items are never posted or shown off.
Very often they can easily be traced back to their owners, and as of just a few years ago, basically anything that you find anywhere still belongs to whomever lost it.....

who pissed in your raisin bran!?
 

GranvilleATPro

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Apr 4, 2014
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Lafayette Indiana
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I haven't detected as long as some folks here but here is my advice when asking for permission. Dress decent, leave detector in car, take your kid if you can, I take my 10 yr old daughter who detects and it works wonders, if your shy or have a fear about knocking on doors, my best advice is this....live in the moment, don't think about whether the answer may be yes or no, get out of your head and force yourself to knock on the door, it is easier than you think. Worst thing happens is they say no.

Sent from my RM-820_nam_att_100 using Tapatalk
 

Man o' War

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Mar 15, 2014
201
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N.E. Oklahoma
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This is so true. I live on property that has history dating back to 1700's and I haven't found anything older than a 1930's quarter.
I look at it like this.. How often to we drop dollar bills, 5's, 10's, 20's.... Not very often ever. Their coins were our 5's n 10's... You'd be keeping them in a pouch in a safe pocket .

When I "chat" with the older people around here they laugh when I tell them I metal detect. They tell stories about old timers spending hours looking for a penny they lost. Wheats are good days, silver is "banner" for me. I get to to hunt many old farm houses, some are long gone not even a foundation, just rocks that they sat on. The coins are slim pickings to say the least. And the iron is thick.
 

TORRERO

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Nov 17, 2004
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NC
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Actually one of the vacant houses I hunt belongs to the grandmother of one of my students. It was built in 1799 and is still in good shape. I found that IH penny there and a few civil war bullets, but I figure there have to be more coins there than that (although it's been hit hard by detectors over the years).

I think I would like the CW bullets better than a silver dime...

If its silver coins that you rather have, a better approach is to hunt places that had a lot of people and that the land is still
old, like old school yards, old church yards (with permission) old fair grounds, even well hunted sites turn silver on a regular basis...

But I'm also with these guys, if you have permission, and your careful, you should be able to hunt anywhere in the yard.
Remember, the homeowner knows what your doing and has given you permission to do it...
Some yards produce lots of silver, some produce none...
you never know until you hunt it ...
 

TORRERO

Bronze Member
Nov 17, 2004
1,045
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NC
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My actual year end for metal detecting ends in July. I have metal detected for a long time, but only a couple of times a year and I never actually took charge of my fortune so to speak until this year. I have been fairly successful and I average about 6 silver coins a month and about 30 wheat cents.

What I have learned now versus before is that I make it a point of finding old houses and places to hunt and I am always looking while I am driving. I have found silver in very random places and sometimes it surprises me when I find an 1800s coin at a newer house. The big difference is that I look for old houses and old spots, grid very well and about 1 out of 4 places I will find a silver coin or two. I have found a nice array of coins considering the newness of the areas I search and it only being my first year. I think that educated guesses at where I hunt (to better my odds) and persistence is what has helped me.

It does amaze me when someone finds 7 or more silver coins in one HUNT at ONE spot. The best I have done is 8 silver coins at one place over about 4 hunts. The best I have found at one hunt was 4 silver dimes. Usually I only average 1-2 silver in 5 hours of hunting and this is usually multiple sites. It is a rare day when I find two in one area on the same day. Usually, I will find all the silver at a yard over a few hunts. I mean, I will drive two hours and start hunting at 10 am and stop about 5 pm and may only average one silver coin.

There is someone on this site who is claiming something like 60+ for the year and last year found over 250 silver coins. It is possible, but almost sounds too good to be true.

you sound like me, and I've been hunting for 30 years... and some of those years, hunting hard every day...
and the averages just are not 250 silvers in a year... always has been more like what you describe...
After my years of experience, and I've hunted local lawns to CW sites to Roman sites in Spain, to Churches to Schools,
I may have 250 for the 30 years I hunted.. probably less.. and Ive dug a lot of silver..
and I am very skeptical of those types of claims as well.
keep at it, your doing well.
 
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TrpnBils

TrpnBils

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Jan 2, 2005
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  • Thread Starter
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I think I would like the CW bullets better than a silver dime...

If its silver coins that you rather have, a better approach is to hunt places that had a lot of people and that the land is still
old, like old school yards, old church yards (with permission) old fair grounds, even well hunted sites turn silver on a regular basis...

But I'm also with these guys, if you have permission, and your careful, you should be able to hunt anywhere in the yard.
Remember, the homeowner knows what your doing and has given you permission to do it...
Some yards produce lots of silver, some produce none...
you never know until you hunt it ...

yeah don't get me wrong, the CW stuff is very cool, but my metal detecting history has gone something like this: Started in 2004 with the intention on finding coins new or old because I thought that's the only thing you did with a metal detector. Never found anything even remotely old even though I lived in one of the oldest areas of the country and eventually got bored with digging pull tabs and zinc pennies so I stopped detecting. We moved a couple of years ago to an area of the country that is LOADED with CW history, which was never an option for me to find before. When I got back into detecting last year, I fell back to my old stand by when people asked what I was looking for - "old coins". At some point, it began to seem absurd that I considered myself an "old coin hunter" when I had still yet to find one....you don't call yourself an "artist" when you can't paint, draw, or otherwise produce any form of art....

Eventually I found my first CW bullet, a couple of musket balls, and a few buttons (can still count the grand total of all three of those things I've ever found COMBINED on two hands I think). Hell, I even found a cannonball last year. It's cool, but I'm still bothered by the missing "piece" to my detecting puzzle, especially when I see so much of it posted on here every day...so yes, I would like to still find old silver (or old copper, for that matter) over most of the CW stuff. I used to be heavy into coin collecting. I still have my collection, but haven't actively added to it in years, but that stuff still means something to me moreso than something like an old horseshoe or some other artifact that 99% of people would see and assume it was junk unless they knew exactly what they were looking for.
 

dirtscratcher

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Mar 18, 2009
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Columbia falls Montana
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My first couple of years I found very little silver like 4 or 5. I was using a detector that was being hyped at that time, lets just say I would never recommend it to anyone. After switching to a newer detector things started happening. I also started detecting different type places. I guess what I'm trying to say is if what you are doing is not working you need to change what you are doing. I detect with guys that whine about never finding anything that use detectors that have limited capabilities and expect results that are not realistic. I hunt with with one guy that use a small 5 by 8 all the time because on the internet it says that is all you need, then can't hit a coin past 5 or 6 inches which will not touch a silver coin around here. As far as a site being hunted out, maybe in a park you can squeeze one out every now and then, but a yard can be for all purposes hunted out for old coins.
 

shufflr

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Mar 8, 2014
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Central Indiana
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I've heard some suggest that silver is found at about a ten wheat penny for each silver coin ratio. That makes sense to me
. I have found one silver dime and four wheat pennies this year. I have found twenty two pennies total vs nine clad silver coins. With the money being worth more back then it would make sense that far more pennies would have been lost versus silver. In my times detecting, in almost every location where I found a "quantity" of wheat pennies I also found silver.
 

Carolina Tom

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I just got started about 3 months ago. I have about 60 hours on my AT Pro. We hit old houses or house sites around town. I found my first wheaties last week, and this weekend, I found a Merc and an 03 Barber dime. The silver came from a large (read: not poor) house built around 1910. If you are finding wheaties, you are in the right area, just go slow an keep at it. When you least expect it, that silver rascal will come popping out of the hole. Good luck.
 

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