By Jim Vokes
One fine New York summer day, I was casually driving home from work. As I entered my village, my mind was entertaining thoughts of metal detecting an old country house site later that evening.
Much to my surprise, I became aware of the fact that the village had hired a contractor to replace a long section of sidewalk. This was the main sidewalk in front of several stores and various business establishments. To put things in the proper perspective, it is important to note that our village was established in 1806. You can just imagine the potential for older coins! My old heart was really beating!
Now when the local village crews are doing the job, due to manpower and equipment constraints, there is usually a lot of time to metal detect most of the project. However, when an outside crew is contracted, there is only a small window of opportunity. I mean timing is everything! Unfortunately, in the one day, the crew had removed and filled with gravel, 75% of the sidewalk.
Anyway, on with the hunt! I quickly pulled over and literally jumped out of my car. I had my "office" clothes on.. "white shirt and tie". I did not have the usual "pull on camo pants" that I carry for just such occasions. I strapped on my hipmounted soverign, grabbed my digger and quickly detected a slightly filled area at one end of the project!
After a half hour and finding nothing, I talked to one of the crew members. It was then that I learned that earlier in the day, one of the crew had eyeballed an "1800s silver dollar" in an area now covered in gravel! AGHHHHHHH!
I returned to the car to continue home and immediately realized that at the other end of the project, the entire sidewalk in front of an old hotel had been completely removed. It had NOT been replaced yet! WHOAAAAAA!
Here we go again. I pull over, jump out of the car and strapped on the sovereign again and began to hunt. Oh Oh, now it starts to sprinkle and then a little more than sprinkle. In the middle of the sidewalk, I get a solid coin signal. Wow, using my Sun Ray S1 Electronic Probe and digging very gently, I saw silver! It was an 1854 Quarter in great condition. Moving way too quickly, I completed the center area in record time. I managed to retrieve a couple of Indian Head Pennies with some of that green corrosion that we so dread to see.
Ok Ok! Time to slow down! Going over the area again and again, I poked along the sidewalk edges and into the dark, soft dirt remaining. Now the coins started appearing. It is amazing how they seem to appear when you SLOW down. What is nice about sidewalk construction is that the coins are usually no more than a few inches deep.
My final tally for the day was a couple of a nice "mercs," several Indian Head pennies, a few wheaties and finally the coup de Gras, a beautiful 1853 Seated Dime. All of the coins were in very good condition which is more normal for sidewalks as opposed to farm field sites.
What a day!With the rain falling harder and darkness setting in, I had to call it a day. So I packed it all in and headed for home.
When I entered the house, my wife took one look at my "office clothes" and said "What the "H" happened to you and where have you been?"
I said in my most manly voice: "But Honey!"
I proudly showed her my handful of muddy coins totaling about $.70.
SHE was definitely NOT impressed.
But ~~~ YOU could not get the smile off MY face for a week!