Treasure Finds and Stories
Paid for My Detector
Last thing I said to my wife before leaving to hunt was (half-joking), “I’d just like to find enough to pay for my detector.” Little did I know I was about to do just that!
Flashback to the previous week. We went to our favorite park to enjoy some ice cream and to our surprise we found the park lake drained. There was only a small stream of water running through the center of a now dry lakebed. My wife, a lifelong resident of the area, remarked that she could not remember ever having seen the lake empty. Of course, my attention was immediately drawn to the freshly exposed beach area…I couldn’t stop thinking that there HAS to be something in all that sand and I wanted to be the one to find it.
Well, the weather here in southwest Germany isn’t always cooperative and, while I had a rain/dust cover for the E-TRAC, I’m not equally weatherproof. Fortunately all bad things come to an end and the first day of clear weather saw me on the beach. The first couple of hours yielded one 8k gold and two .925 silver rings, various German/US/Euro coins, and the usual collection of hairpins, small toys, etc typical of beach sites. Promising jewelry finds for sure but the day had grown short so further detecting would have to wait a few more days.
Now to the best detecting day I’ve had in 35 years of on-n-off treasure hunting. The sandy beach/swimming area totals about 400 square yards and is infested – I can think of no better word – with beer bottle caps. Since the previous hunt had yielded the rings, I felt sure there was more to be found. I put on the small butterfly “DD” coil, slowed my swings dramatically, and started digging the “iffy” signals.
I was detecting a sandy area that would have been 10-20 feet offshore and four feet under water had the lake still be full. Sure, I began digging unbelievable numbers of bottle caps but I also began putting more coins and other goodies into the collection bag. After about half an hour, I had dug two or three bottle caps from an area no bigger than 12 inches on a side when the E-TRAC rang out again…this time a nice, shiny 14k ladies ring was below my coil.
I was pretty pumped by this, but in the next few swings and not two feet away the E-TRAC rang out again. A few seconds later, I was staring down at a shiny necklace in the middle of my sand scoop. At first I figured it was costume jewelry as I couldn’t find a stamp or maker’s mark on it. Then I started thinking that all of the other metal I’d pulled out of the sand (other than the 14k ring) had been pretty corroded. Also, as I was shaking the sand off it, I started thinking, “This is kind of heavy, could it really be gold?"
With help from fellow detectorists, a bit of research, and a trip to a local jeweler, I now know this to be a solid 23k gold “3 Baht” Thai necklace worth over $2000.00 in melt value alone. I was astounded to say the least...my previous “best find” had been a gold ring that retails for about $250.00.
The first photo shows the 14k ring nestled in the coiled up 23k necklace and the 2nd shows the pile of bottle caps I pulled up in pursuit of the gold. Of course, the best part of this story is I was able to go home and tell my wife that I had, indeed, found enough to pay for my detector!