Metal Detecting Old Kansas Ghost Town

Mn this video the fellas and I are out exploring another vanished ghost town. All that is left standing is one house and a few outbuildings. Right alongside a railroad, this little town once had a hotel, store, post office, a mill and several residences. It also hosted an old train depot.

The $50,000 Penny – You May Want to Go Back and Check all of Your Pennies!

The Rare 1943 Copper Penny

The Rare 1943 Copper Penny

What could be so special about a plain old copper penny from 1943?  Well, there weren’t supposed to be any.  In 1943 the U.S. Mint, in an effort to reduce consumption of metals used in the war effort, minted steel pennies coated with zinc.  The U.S. Mint states on it’s website:

“According to the American Numismatic Association, the 1943 copper-alloy cent is one of the most idealized and potentially one of the most sought-after items in American numismatics. Nearly all circulating pennies at that time were struck in zinc-coated steel because copper and nickel were needed for the Allied war effort.

40 1943 copper-alloy cents are known to remain in existence. Coin experts speculate that they were struck by accident when copper-alloy 1-cent blanks remained in the press hopper when production began on the new steel pennies.

A 1943 copper cent was first offered for sale in 1958, bringing more than $40,000. A subsequent piece sold for $10,000 at an ANA convention in 1981. The highest amount paid for a 1943 copper cent was $82,500 in 1996.

Because of its collector value, the 1943 copper cent has been counterfeited by coating steel cents with copper or by altering the dates of 1945, 1948, and 1949 pennies.

The easiest way to determine if a 1943 cent is made of steel, and not copper, is to use a magnet. If it sticks to the magnet, it is not copper. If it does not stick, the coin might be of copper and should be authenticated by an expert.

To find out about coin experts in your area, you may call the American Numismatic Association at (719) 632-2646.”

So, there are 40 KNOWN to exist, but how many blanks really remained in the hopper?  Could it be possible there were many more struck, sent into circulation, and are now  buried deep inside a change drawer on a bedside table? Better yet, it could be in your copper penny hoard from metal detecting….or right under your feet!  Only one way to find out!

Good luck and happy hunting!

Abandoned Outlaw Hideout & Ghost Town Silver Metal Detecting

Fn this hunt the fellas and I are out and about scouting for a lost outlaw hideout in Kansas. Additionally we hunt an old ghost town and find some silver! We are using a variety of metal detectors this trip including a Garrett AT Pro, XP Deus, Fisher F-19, and Minelab Safari.

Metal Detectors for the Deaf/Hard of Hearing – The Makro Racer – Vibrating Metal Detector

This new feature opens the exciting hobby of treasure hunting up to a previously overlooked group of people.

This new feature opens the exciting hobby of treasure hunting up to a previously overlooked group of people.

Not long ago, I received a call from a relay service for an individual who was deaf.  The person inquired about metal detectors or detector devices that catered to the Deaf/Hard of Hearing.   This particular person was looking for a metal detector that provided some sort of cue to the user that the metal detector was emitting a signal.  After which the user would know to look at the digital read out of the metal detector and use that information to “read” the target.  At that time, I had no solution for them.

This got me thinking about a device that would work with detectors, which led to a prototype.  I chased this idea around until Scrap Iron brought a bunch of information about a new metal detector brand we would be carrying.  Lo and behold, the brand, Makro Detectors, had a detector with a built in vibrator in the handle.

Metal detectors are largely created to detect metals beneath the surface of the ground.  In simple terms they emit a frequency, receive the frequency back along with any disturbance, and provide the user information via an audio tone and/or a digital reading via the user interface.  The consumer then has the job of interpreting the information to try to determine what lies beneath before they expend the efforts in trying to recover the object.

An attractive metal detector with a large readout screen and ergonomic handle.

An attractive metal detector with a large readout screen and ergonomic handle.

Some metal detectors provide only audio and some provide visual cues too.  However, the audio tone is present in ALL consumer metal detectors and it is an important part of their function. The audio tunes typically range from a low tone to a high tone and vary as to what those particular tones mean from device to device.  More often than not a high tone is a desirable object a low tone is typically a less desirable object.  In some detectors a louder object is shallow and a quieter object is deeper (this is not the rule and we will discuss that more later).

“You see, a person who is metal detecting cannot simply stare at the digital read out the entire time they are using a device.  They are constantly navigating terrain, vegetation, water, rocks, etc.  They must keep their eyes open or risk injury.  Safety aside, by not being able to “hear” the signal if they look away from the device, a deaf individual is at a disadvantage and will not find all potential targets.”

Makro Racher to the rescue!  Weighing in at only 3 lbs, this sharp looking little metal detector seems to have helped solve this problem.  Below are the specs for the Makro Racer:

Operating Principle VLF
Operating Frequency 14 kHz (+/- 100 Hz bandwidth)
Audio Frequencies 5
Search Modes 4 (All Metal / Two Tone / Three Tone / Beach)
Ground Balance Automatic / Manual / Tracking
Pinpoint Available
Frequency Shift Available
Vibration Available
Gain Setting 01-99
Target ID 01-99
Search Coil 29 cm x 18.5 cm (11″ x 7″) DD
Display Custom LCD
Weight 1.4 kg (3 lbs.) including search coil and batteries
Length 120 cm – 140 cm (47″ – 55″) adjustable
Battery 4 x AA Alkaline Battery
Warranty 2 years

At 13 kHz, the Racer packs a kilohertz punch that would be able to hang even with the heavyweights.  Multiple audio tones and a big bright LCD screen with all of the information, readouts, and buttons any techie would get excited over (see below).

Lots of data, lots of options, the Makro Racer.

Lots of data, lots of options, the Makro Racer.

And to top it all off, the Makro Racer has a built in LED that shines on the coil!  Don’t let your treasure hunting be limited by daylight hours!

A Metal Detector Headlight!

A Metal Detector Headlight!

Although we haven’t had a chance to try out the Racer, you can be certain that once we get a chance we will get a review out as soon as possible.  Stay tuned!

What is a Good Gold Prospecting Metal Detector for Under $500?

Most gold nuggets measure in millimeters and grams not inches and ounces!

Most gold nuggets measure in millimeters and grams not inches and ounces!

“I want to get into prospecting for gold with a metal detector but I am on a budget.  What metal detectors would you recommend?”

Typically to get a really good gold prospecting metal detector, you should be prepared to pay $600 or more whereas a good coin shooting metal detector can be purchased for around $250.  Most of the people who are looking to buy a gold prospecting metal detector understand this is a tool of the trade and not something you want to skimp on.  Finding gold when metal detecting takes a lot of time and energy.  Time is valuable when gold prospecting with a metal detector.  Having the right tools will help you have more success in the field and waste less time and energy.

What makes a gold prospecting metal detector so much more costly than a standard metal detector?

Simply put it is all in the technology.  There are two things your detector will most likely need when metal detecting for gold.  They are:

  1. The ability to tune out heavily mineralized soil (Ground Balance).
  2. Higher kHz to find smaller gold pieces.

Ground Balancing - Ground balancing is a term used to describe the act of tuning your metal detector in so it will ignore the surrounding mineralized soil. Basically it is a form of discrimination.  How this is done on a metal detector varies from detector to detector.  Some use a knob and some use a button tuning.  In essence you are discriminating out all of the mineralized soil while still being able to detect any anomalies in that soil.  Over adjustment can result in a severe loss of depth and sensitivity.  This is why a detector with an actual ground balance is better than trying to use the detectors discrimination feature.  It is more of a fine tuning mechanism. Finding Fine Gold - Just about any detector will find a huge honking nugget.  But as we all know, most nuggets are not huge.  They are small, often measuring in millimeters and grams not inches and ounces.  For example, if you use a cheap metal detector and do an air test using a small stud earring, you will quickly find that you have to be virtually on top of the detector to get a signal.  This is because most VLF detectors operate in a lower frequency (somewhere between 6-9 kHz).  Most gold prospecting detectors are 12 kHz or more. When it comes to finding small gold, the higher the better. The Fisher Gold Bug II is one of the most popular small nugget finders weighing in at 71 kHz!

Okay, so, what is a good gold prospecting metal detector option on a limited budget?

The technology needed to find small flakes of gold while at the same time ignoring the mineral laden soil around it comes at a cost.  This gives the average hobby prospector only a few options when choosing a gold prospecting metal detector…especially to find one under $500.   Fortunately there are is at least one company that has realized this dilemma and come up with a good, cost effective option for the budget minded prospector. There are plenty of good detectors out there.  But our factors were only Cost (under $500), kHz (over 12 kHz), and Ability to Ground Balance (manual preferably).  After looking at all of the metal detectors we offer, only one emerged victorious:

Tesoro Vaquero $446 – At 14. 7 kHz 

Vaquero Metal Detector

During the design phase of the Vaquero (pronounced va-care-oh), Tesoro knew that it was going to be a very hard working detector. It is designed as an all-around detector, able to do just about everything that any detectorist could want to do. Vaquero is the Spanish word for cowboy. When we think of hard work and the ability to take on any kind of tough job, we think of the cowboys of the old west.

The main part of the Vaquero’s versatility is its three and three-quarters manually adjusted ground balance. This will give the detectorist the power to set up his machine to best suit the mineralization conditions that he is working in and his personal treasure hunting style. The Vaquero adds an ED180 discrimination feature to filter the trash from the treasure and a Push Button Pinpoint that makes digging up the goodies that much easier. The discriminate knob is also used to switch into a threshold-based All Metal Mode.
  • MicroMAX Design
  • VLF 14 kHz Frequency
  • One Drop-in 9V Battery
  • Variable Threshold
  • 3 3/4 Turn External Ground Balance
  • Ultra-lightweight Design
  • 9×8 Monolithic Coil
  • 3-Piece Knockdown Pole
  • Lifetime Warranty
Operating Frequency 14.3 kHz, 14.5 kHz, 14.7 kHz
Searchcoil Type Monolithic (Carbon Fiber)
Searchcoil Size 9 x 8
Cable Length Approx. 3′
Audio Frequency Approx. 293 Hz or VCO
Audio Output 1 1/2″ speaker and headphone jack
Headphone Compatibility 1/4″ stereo plug
Weight (may vary slightly) 2.2 lbs
Battery Requirement One 9 Volt DC (alkaline)
Battery Life (typical) 10 to 20 hours
Optimum Temp. Range 30 degrees to 100 degrees F
Optimum Humidity 0 to 75% R.H.
Operating Modes Threshold-based All Metal
Silent Search Discriminate
Pinpoint Mode All Metal Fast Auto-Tune