Metal detecting is a fun outdoor activity that is right for people of very young years, the very old & all ages in between. In fact, it is the child within that wants to go treasure hunting & we just unconsciously obey. So….where to start?
There are a number of pathways in. Some people know somebody who is already treasure hunting, others utilize the internet, especially Youtube to watch what others do. Others remember experiences from their childhood with their family members or others just see someone else using a metal detector in a park or at the beach. They are usually the one surrounded by children waiting to see what’s in the hole. But regardless of the source of the inspiration the next step is to research appropriate detectors.
There is basically 2 types of hobby detecting. The first is gold prospecting using a metal detector. This topic will be explored at another time. The second type is treasure hunting, which includes coins & relics. This type of detecting is generally less expensive, usually closer to one’s home & there is a renewable source of stuff to find year after year. Most treasure hunting is done in areas of human habitation in places where people congregate. That is what makes parks, beaches, reserves, playgrounds, sporting ovals, Sunday market sites, outdoor concerts venues, festival venues & agricultural shows ideal sites to explore. For those interested in a bit of historical relic hunting then old house sites or historically significant local sites may produce something of value. Australia has a very short history when compared to Europe & North America. In these regions, collecting war relics & now meteorites is big business. Here in Australia most of the population live around the coastline. All capital cities except Canberra are on the coast & that is what makes treasure hunting ideal for these areas.
Our climate means we remove our clothing & we swim more than inhabitants in the northern hemisphere. We also lose more items because sand just gobbles up the items we strategically hide. Watching girls swimming at the beach is a wonderful study in human behaviour. They nearly all enter the water the same way. They walk out to waist deep, then plunge their hands into the cold water & wet their upper body. Right there, in waist deep water is where the rings come off. Boys put coins in their board shorts pockets & the coins just float out as they swim & horse about. Ocean baths is a coin trap. Rings are also lost in rock pools. As hands enter the cold water, the fingers shrink & the rings come off.
So, in the real world what do people do with their finds? Some collect & separate decimal coins, pre-decimals, foreign coins etc into jars. They bank the decimals & sell the pre-decimal & foreign coins to coin collectors. They keep or resell rings in good condition. Those rings damaged by wear & tear can be dismantled, the stones & scrap gold sold separately. Silver rings can be sold as scrap silver or cleaned up & resold. Some people will find lost items for others for a fee. There are gold buyers [not the ones in the mall that give you almost nothing for your old gold]. These people buy scrap & native gold nuggets. They tend to pay current gold price. One needs to remember that 9ct & 18ct gold is not pure. These are alloys that contain gold. Gold is too soft a metal to use as a wearable jewellery item in its pure form, but it still has value & can be recycled.
Knowing the coin market values will take a little research & reselling takes time but the rewards can be fruitful. What a wonderful way to get the kids off the couch. It provides activity, exercise, its’ fun & they can learn the values of entrepreneurship. They can turn their dollars earned into something they value. For older Australians on fixed incomes the exercise provides health benefits, something worthwhile to do to fill the huge void of time each day & there is a financial reward as well. This could mean a holiday or something they value. For people with families it is an activity to engage the family unit together & the rewards may help pay for a family holiday. For others, stressed by their jobs, it is a release back to the wild & carefree days of childhood. Spending some time alone with your mind having fun & detached from life’s burdens.
So what does one need to get started? A metal detector & some kind of digging tool or sand scoop [depending on where you are]. Which detector? There are many brands & at many price points. Generally speaking price equates to the level of technology built into the detector. Very cheap detectors will struggle to get a drink can. That is very disappointing so these are not good value. Detectors under $1000AUD are generally not waterproof. The coils may be but the control boxes are not. This is why it is important to have an idea of what you intend to do with the detector first, then consider price point second. User friendliness is the third consideration. Some treasure machines have far more technology built into them than some people will use. A good dealer will help work out which detector will suit you the best so you are not paying for tech you will never use. If the beach & the surf are both terrains you intend to explore then waterproofness becomes a priority. For some people the weight of the detector & its adjustability are important [especially for kids]. As a general guide most decent detectors will range from $200 to $2700. There will be something for everyone that fits the purpose, the price & the usability.
For those considering a treasure hunting experience we have a great offer. Here at Goanna Gold Detectors we will give away a free carry bag for any purchaser of any of our brands of treasure hunting detectors. Just mention you saw our article in Outer Edge magazine & the free carry bag will come with your purchase.