Finding King George

It’s good to learn about machines and accessories, tips and tricks. But let’s face it: Sometimes you just wanna read about a cool find, and when you’re just starting out as a detector, chances are you don’t have many of your own yet. So I’m sharing here the story of one of my cooler finds.

Starting Over With A New Permission

In July, 2014, I moved from my circa 1850 Pennsylvania stone farmhouse to an apartment building created from what I believe to be the original barn that belonged to the stone house I can see across the pond from my new porch. This property sits astride part of a farm that’s been in the area since the late 1700s in upper Bucks County. Soon after getting settled in, I asked my landlord’s permission to hunt the property and was rewarded with an immediate Yes

Woohoo! I was excited, because I hadn’t had much time for hunting most of the year, especially with the move, so my first time out was in early November! Proved to be worth the wait, because it turned up a memorable find for me!

I immediately went on to do some research, and saw that even in the 1930s, the two man-made ponds were on the property, but there were few trees, and there was a little creek I couldn’t see from ground level until I got right up on it.

I remembered all this, and when I got out in the late afternoon after work, I had been swinging my Garrett Ace 250 for about an hour beneath the clothesline, and had gotten some modern clad. Then found some more of that in the parking lot area. After I’d exhausted the easy pickin’s, I decided to see if I couldn’t find something older and more interesting.

Critical Analysis and Getting the Lay of the Land

I cast my eyes over the area and tried to envision what I’d seen on the aerial photos. Finally, I spied the little creek running along the back property line. That looked promising, as I figured back in the day when the area was a working farm, that creek would have been a prime spot for a farm boy to sit and take a rest or maybe even go fishing…and drop stuff. So I went over and swung my upgraded double-D search coil over the near bank.

It was just a few minutes before I got a strange, multi-tone signal. Usually that means a shotgun shell headstamp, or two close-together targets. Since one of the tones was high and solid, I decided it was worth digging.

Coin standing on edge
The KG gave a weird signal because it was standing on edge, about 3-4 inches down in the dry clay.

Well, hot diggety! Just four inches down, the brand new Deteknix Xpointer Land I was trying out locked onto a screamer. It was now sounding like a coin, so I stopped using my digger and started carefully scraping away earth with my fingers. Suddenly, I saw why the signal was so sketchy: There, standing on its edge, was a large copper!

From what I knew of the property’s age and history, I had high hopes that perhaps it was older than my oldest-to-date copper, a Virginia state halfpenny from 1773 that I’d found a few years earlier at another nearby farm.

Fresh-dug KGII coin
The farm-fresh KGII after I’d rinsed it off.

As I carefully rubbed away the thick, clay-like soil, I could tell the coin was pretty toasted. But I could definitely make out the words “GEORGIVS II” and the unmistakable image of Britannia on the back. My heart started racing—my first King George! And then, when I uncovered the date, I gave a loud whoop: 1739 — Officially my oldest coin find to date!

reverse KGII face
The reverse face of the freshly dug KGII

As I said, the condition wasn’t the greatest. I assumed that the reason it was only at the 4-inch depth—instead of the usual 7-8, where those kinds of coins typically are around here—was either that it had been the victim of the stream bank wearing away or maybe even frost heave.

Either way, it had seen a lot of friction with rocks and soil over the centuries since it had gone into the ground, and it wasn’t an environment friendly to the coin. But I was more than happy to have found it in any condition, especially one where I could still make out the type and year of coin it was.

It felt so appropriate, as a close to the tenth year of hunting for me. I had begun in 2004, after receiving a Garrett Ace 100 for Christmas. I quickly moved up to my 250, and managed to last three years before discovering the advantage available through the use of a pinpointer. Guess what I got for Christmas that year?

Since then, the number and quality of my finds increased exponentially, as I got to know my machine better and just became a more practiced detectorist. But I certainly didn’t find any cool targets like this when I first started. It was 3 years after starting detecting that I even found my first modern penny! So if you start slow, be patient with yourself.

A wise friend of mine once told me, “Don’t measure your everyday performance against someone else’s highlight reel.”

About Mary Shafer 12 Articles
Award-winning author Mary A. Shafer is a full-time freelance writer in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. She has four published books and contributed to two anthologies. She’s a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors, Nonfiction Authors Association, Pennwriters, Greater Lehigh Valley Writers Group and is the founder of the Twin Rivers Writers Group in upper Bucks County, PA.

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