Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Digging In PA

I recently attended a large group hunt in Horsham, PA, called Digging In PA (DIPA). My friends Cody & Seth were also invited. Since it was only an hour away, we planned to drive back & forth each day.

Always great conversation in a car full of diggers on the way to a hunt.

You never know what to expect going into these events. I learned early on to simply go for the experience. The finds are just a bonus.

My favorite aspect of these hunts is to meet all the people I've interacted with on social media and to make new friends among fellow detectorists.


Depending on the theme of the hunt (this one was Colonial/Revolutionary War), people will travel from all over to participate. This one even drew out some of the southern relic huntin' boys.

It was nice to meet Beau Ouimette & Michael Bennett (finally). I met a bunch of other people that I've been following for a while.

I'd like to thank George Savino for organizing this event. He put it all together and really did a great job.


The site George lined up for us was a standing 1722 house with an overlapping home built in 1810. The surrounding fields were once known as an encampment for a few weeks during the Revolutionary War.

I told Cody & Seth on the ride down that I wasn't even looking for a Rev War relic, I wanted to find a half cent.

I did the best I could and hunted hard for two days. I did manage to get my coil over some good targets...

On Day 1, I started off within 100 yards of the house. I had to wait until about 25 people cleared out of the main section of the yard. That's the area I was REALLY interested in. 

It didn't take long before I got a faint, deep signal. I could hear the iron in there - it was everywhere, but there was still a faint high pitch, which was enough for me to investigate.

I dug the target 10" down and lo & behold, I saw a disc that could be my first half cent.

Cody was about 15 feet away and came over to check it out. 

We have this thing that whenever one of us finds something killer, the other does the ID & reveal. So I handed my find to Cody. It took him like two minutes but it seemed like an eternity. Then he told me I did it. I finally got one.

1806 Draped Bust Half Cent

What a feeling to dig something you've chased for so long. To finally have it in your hand is incredible.

I was psyched! My day was made and I'd only been there an hour.

Later on that day, I also managed to get my coil over a dropped musket ball that was definitely from the Revolutionary War.


I found a few other neat relics and before I knew it, the day was over. We packed up and hit the road.

The next morning came quickly, but we were ready to go at 5 AM. Seth, Cody & I were all packed and ready to hit the road.

This time we came up with a game plan since we knew the layout of the site. We decided to stick together and investigate a field that didn't see much action the day before.


We were there for probably 30 to 40 minutes. I dug a few pieces of lead. The targets seemed few and far between.

I got a real iffy signal on my MXT, but out in this field, I was digging everything anyway.

I couldn't believe it when I flipped over the plug and saw a thin, tiny silver disc.

I laugh to myself every time I think about it, but after not getting a solid target for so long, and then seeing this tiny coin which could be anything in the hole, my reaction was to shout, "COIN!!!"

About seven other diggers whipped their heads around and everyone swarmed over to my location. It was awesome.


My buddy Sean caught the moment on film...


  The coin turned out to be a gorgeous 1851 Trime.


These coins are amazing - I've always loved their design. The actual purpose back in their day was to purchase a postage stamp with one coin. But they were so tiny and thin, people tended to lose them.


Later that day, I also ended up finding an 1859 Indian Head penny, a lead bale seal, a top to a Colonial pewter spoon, part of an old change purse (empty, of course) and a few other odds & ends.



It's always a good time hunting with Jeff Fisher and Stan Shoemaker. I can't thank George enough.


This was one of the best events I've been to. It was organized, went smoothly, there was no drama or BS at all. We even had a pig roast! It was a great time.

White's Electronics was nice enough to donate an MX Sport and other items for a raffle that benefited the restoration of the Colonial homestead.

White's also made a video of the hunt,


and a short highlight video featuring myself.

   
Thanks for reading and keep on digging.



 

Monday, May 30, 2016

Long Live the President

A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to unearth a piece of history that gave me such emotional feeling, I was virtually speechless. I was overwhelmed. My muscles went weak and my breathing got heavy. I started to feel a little lightheaded.

I FOUND A GEORGE WASHINGTON INAUGURAL BUTTON!


This was most likely a once-in-a-lifetime find for me.

Now here's the funny part: I was hunting with my buddies Mary Shafer & Cody Zimmerman. We were detecting one of my old sites that I've been hitting for over 5 years now. 


I started off in the yard and surprisingly, I dug a beautiful silver thimble. 


It's not marked but to me it looks Colonial period. It was 10" deep and I was using my MXT All-Pro with the Ultimate 13 coil. (There was a large iron nail in the same hole, I think that's why I probably passed it over so many times before.)

Cody went down to hit a different section of the field that we haven't spent much time in before. Moments after I dug my thimble, he dug a large copper down in the field. So after a few more minutes in the yard, I decided to go down and hunt with Cody.

I went a little further out and then made my way closer to where he was digging, swinging my coil all the way. I got within 25 feet of Cody and I got a great signal. The VDI was coming in at a solid 40 on my MXT.

I dug the target out of the ground and my eyes instantly lit up. I thought I'd found a big 'ole dandy button. I didn't know what I actually had.

Cody heard my reaction and asked what I'd found. I was JOKING, honestly, when I glanced at the dirt covered button and said, "Check it out, it's a GW."

I handed the button to Cody and he wiped it off. I saw his eyes almost bulge out of his head. He said, "DJ, it is."

Now Cody and I joke around a LOT when we hunt together, but when I saw the look on his face and heard the tone of his voice, I knew he was serious.

So many things were going through my head, but all I could get out of my mouth was, "Wait. What?"

Again, Cody said, "No really. It is. I can see the GW plain as day in the middle." 


Now is when that overwhelming emotional feeling hit me hard. I could imagine the history and had so many questions. Who wore it? How did it get here?

At this point, I hadn't really even looked at it closely. I'd been pacing in circles trying not to pass out. I had to see this thing and I had to hold it.


Once it was in my hand, I just still couldn't believe it. I never would have thought I'd find something as significant as this. I was so glad to be able to share the experience with my closest friends, Cody & Mary.



To my knowledge, I'd never heard of another one coming out of the Lehigh Valley.
I'm honored to have found this piece. I have a great respect for its history and it will become a treasured part of my collection.

Like I said, I'd hunted this site for over 5 years. But that's another thing I love about this hobby. No site is ever truly "hunted out." That one signal could be the missing target with an incredible find. You just never know.

These were my total finds from the day.

Now here's the really crazy coincidence...

Earlier that day, I saw that someone had found a gorgeous GW button in Connecticut. I didn't think much more about it and went on with my day. 

After the excitement of finding my own button, on the way home I noticed a friend from NJ had called and I missed it. By the time I got home, he'd texted me pictures. He had found a GW button just after I did! His too was a different style than the one I found and the one that was found earlier in the day.

So we connected on social media. The button found in Woodstock, Connecticut was found by Brian Bari. He's only two years into the hobby - this find is gorgeous! He was running a White's MXT with the 10" D2 coil. He dug his GW button at a virgin Colonial cabin site. It was about 5 inches down.

 Brian Bari with his GW button - photo credits Brian Bari

The button found in NJ was found by my friend John DeRosa. John's been detecting since 2003. He was using the DFX 300 with the 12" stock coil. It was only about 2" deep - in a field in Warren County.

John's story is the same as mine! He didn't know what he had - he thought it was a dandy button. He saw I posted my GW on facebook. When he got home and cleaned up his button, he couldn't believe his eyes! 


GW button found by John DeRosa - photo credits John DeRosa

What are the odds? That is unbelievable to me. 3 different George Washington buttons, different styles, found on the same day, hours apart.

You probably know how much I love White's Electronics and I'm very proud to say all three of us were using White's machines. 



We talked afterward on social media. It was truly an amazing experience and I know the same feelings were shared by Brian and John. 

That day was one for the books for sure. Great finds, shared excitement, and detecting with friends both in person and via social media - it just doesn't get any better.


 

Sunday, March 13, 2016

White's Electronics Easter Egg Hunt 2016 - Complete



White's Electronics sent 100 eggs across the country for a unique Easter Egg hunt this Spring.

   
I was lucky enough to be chosen to hide 10 of those eggs here in my hometown. I hid most of them in a place where you can play baseball, go swimming, play volleyball or go skateboarding all in one place - yes, the Nazareth Park.


Here are the guidelines/rules:

  • I hid 10 eggs in the Lehigh Valley and released clues from 3/14 - 3/19/16
  • Each egg had a stamped coin inside that would ring up as a quarter on a VDI.


  • Each person who found an egg will receive a prize from White's Electronics including T-shirts, pinpointers, books, a Digmaster, and a Treasure Pro! However, prizes are limited to one per person.
  • Hunters must show that you replaced your plug/covered up your hole. *Proper detecting etiquette is first and foremost. Leave no trace!


  • To redeem your prize, you must take a picture of the stamped number on the White's Coin in "selfie" form and share that picture with me on facebook or instagram. I shared your photo to White's and your prizes are on the way.
 A couple things:
  • I've decided to release the clues at different times each day to give those of us who work the day shift a fighting chance.
  • Please try to remember that this is a fun contest in its first year. Obviously there are going to be some glitches, but I think it's a neat idea that can only get better next year if they make it an annual thing.
  • I would hate to think that someone from my area would sneak out to the park and try to dig up all the eggs before the clues are released. That's just mean spirited sabotage and will ruin the fun for everyone else...
  • Please, follow the rules, wait for the clues, and post the selfie and plug pics to my facebook or instagram account to redeem your prizes!

MONDAY, MARCH 14 - CLUE #1

Sometimes when I'm bored I like to pretend that I'm detecting the beach and I hit the sand. "Normal" people play volleyball here. A good place to start looking might be where the person serves the ball...


 
Update:  Egg #1 has been found. 

Thanks to Tim Ganley for using great technique - can't even tell you were there, buddy!


Update: ANOTHER EGG was also found on day 1 of the Egg Hunt...

John was swinging his way over to find the restroom and he happened to find one. Congrats John!


TUESDAY, MARCH 15 - CLUE #2

Somewhere at this same park is a concrete marker with the date the park was established. It says WPA 1939... A little bunny might've dropped an egg right around there.
 

Update: Egg #2 was found

  
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 16 - CLUE #3

Who's winning the game? Take a closer look and it could be you!

 
 Egg #3 has been found!


Clue #4 - Thursday, March 17

Ever dreamed about being a center stage act? Here's your chance!


  
Egg 4 has been found! 
 

Clue #5 - Friday, March 18
Who has cabin fever? Take a look around and maybe you'll be cured.



Egg 5 has been found!


Clue #6 - Friday, March 18
Some say that the best seats are in the front row, but I prefer the view from the top.  


Egg 6 has been found!
 

Saturday, March 19
Clue 7:
Different park, different town. Look familiar? 10 paces off the bridge would be a good place to start.



Egg 7 has been found!


Clue 8:
The tree without a top would be a good place to stop. Look around here - a White's Egg may appear.


Egg 8 has been found!


Clue 9:
Different park in the "Lower" section of town...
Grass, sand, or mulch - just don't leave the place a "Rec"



Last egg has been found!


*******


 THE WINNERS!
 
Thanks to all who participated! And thanks to White's Electronics for sponsoring this fun contest. I really enjoyed seeing all the participants' enthusiasm and efforts. Sorry for those of you who felt left out. Think of this as a test run and if all goes smoothly this event could only become bigger and better!