Let me start by telling you I was once a certified personal trainer and later worked in financial services. So, I have a pretty good knowledge of both value of a dollar and importance of staying in good shape. And, both have become more clear to me as I enter mid-life.
Financial Perspective of Treasure Hunting
Metal detectors are expensive. Even a more affordable one will cost you at about $200 (note I said affordable and not cheap…there is a distinct difference). But the beauty is this: If you take the hobby even somewhat serious, you can easily pay off a metal detector or two in a year or, sometimes, much, much less. What blew my mind when I began hunting for metal was how much of it there is under our feet, which can be attested by the bed of Scrap Iron’s pick up. Let me tell you something: Humans are junky creatures. We use things up and just throw it out where ever we are. I have pulled things out of the ground requiring heavy equipment to remove. I have also found things that make you go “Hmmmmm…. such as a really old aluminum condom container (I will post the picture later). Trust me, there is a LOT of scrap under us. What blew my mind even further is how much valuable material there was right in my own back yard. Money, jewelry, relics, it was all right there under my nose. This is when the cogs began to turn. Literally, having dreams of digging up coin caches, rare relics, and gold in pan were common. “How in the world has someone not dug up all of this stuff alread? It’s worth something!” I was dumbfounded. In local parks we would easily earn $5 bucks or so in clad coins and then occasionally run across a silver piece of some sort as an added bonus in a quick after work expedition. Although it may not pay the bills, if you consistently hunt for treasure, the coins and valuables will begin to stack up faster than you realize. Even scrap aluminum and copper can pile up quickly providing a trickle of income if you recycle. I am pretty sure I paid off my first metal detector in less than 6-months with my finds. So, there was the first step in financial fitness: Cash Flow…Check!
True treasure hunters know the value of treasure they dig with their own hands and rarely sell their finds. Even dirty clad coins hold their value…they are guaranteed by the U.S. Government in any condition at face value. Some rarer coins and purer metals can be very valuable. Silver and gold metals have obviously done relatively well lately and I suspect they will hold (or in silver’s case steadily climb) into the future. Even common metals such as aluminum, copper, and even steel are at exceptionally high prices right now…take advantage of it.
So, holding onto pre-1984 pennies, early 1960′s silver coins, jewelry and even scrap can really pay off. Doing a little internet research can quickly reveal a relic’s price. Additionally, the liquidity of the relic’s asset has been fostered by the growth of the internet and online sales sites like Amazon, Ebay, Itsy, Nextag and more. My collection has quickly become a nice little savings account available for use anytime in the future if needed. Are you going to get rich digging up your neighborhood’s back yards and parks? Probably not. But what is cool about metal detecting and prospecting for minerals and gems is it can not only defray the costs of something you really enjoy doing, but it is a lot like gambling…there is a chance you could strike it rich.
Treasure Hunting & Physical Fitness
I began treasure hunting not too awfully long after the final spinal epidural I had for a bulging disc. I periodically have had problems with my back for several years. Something small like tripping over the cat could trigger a bed ridden weekend. I took it easy when I first started detecting. I learned that the constant bending over, squatting, and swinging of a metal detector could take its toll. I had to limit my excursions to a couple hours until I got in condition. And, that is exactly what happened. I began working muscles that weren’t commonly used (which was the problem in the first place) and they got stronger as a result. Since I started detecting I have noticed my back has been giving me far less trouble and I have heard the same from many others. My reasoning behind this is simple: Common causes for back problems are often related to weak abdominal, back, and/or hamstring muscles. The act of bending over and squatting to dig up treasure was a fabulous workout for all three muscle groups. Just make sure you use good form.
I have always been pretty active. In about 2002 I went on a snowboarding trip to Breckenridge, Co. As a newbie I made the mistake of trying to keep up with my buddies who had been boarding for years. One particular fall occurred as I disobeyed the all-important “heels and toes” mantra most boarders abide by. My board shot out in front of me and I slammed back against the way-to-steep-for-a-newbie mountain. My shoulders were facing the downside of the mountain but my arm was pointing behind me. I destroyed my rotator cuff and who knows what else. I am often stubborn about running to the ER or doctor unless there is mortal danger involved. And, knowing several people who have had shoulder surgeries with little or even a negative result, I decided to fix the problem myself. Several years later the shoulder got better but still gave me trouble when tweaked wrong. Then, as a result of over use my right shoulder then began giving me trouble. When I began metal detecting I mostly did it right handed. Until that is, I noticed my right shoulder getting stronger and less painful. So, I started switching to my left frequently (which becomes necessary after a long day of detecting). It has progressively gotten better. The explanation quickly became clear. If you review the exercises a doctor suggests to strengthen a rotator cuff, it is very similar to the motion experienced when swinging a metal detector.
To shorten an already long story, treasure hunting is good for both your pocket book and your health. Metal detecting and prospecting for gold, gems, and precious metals provide a good source of fun and lucrative exercise.
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