Dirt fishing

Metal Detecting Enthusiast

Tag: Chester County

Just a Bag o’ Leaves – Valley Forge Lost Wedding Ring

Unfortunately with all the telemarketers calling, I usually let my calls go directly to voicemail and if they leave a message, I know it’s usually not a salesperson. Well one of those calls was from David. He lost his wedding ring bagging up leaves; he was pretty sure it was in a compost collection bag with a bunch of leaves. Piece of cake, this is going to be an easy one! 

It’s always difficult to gauge the traffic around Philly, so I like to leave a tad sooner – better early than late I say. And this was the case here, I arrived about 15 minutes too early and received no answer at his door, fortunately David was right on time. After some quick introductions we got down to business. David told me the story of how he was bagging his leaves and when he was pretty sure that his ring when he lost his wedding ring, as it had slipped off like that before. We tried to retrace his steps the day he lost his ring and he showed me all the spots in his yard, where he work, but hopefully the lost ring was in one of six bags of leaves.

I saw the bags sitting in his garage and they were even numbered. David numbered them in order that he remembered bagging them. I was ready to get to work and find this ring; this should be done in a few minutes. I was thinking to myself that I wished they were all like this – nice dry conditions, not too cold, dry leaves in bags, this is great!

First I moved the bags out to a clean patch of grass, so that I had no metallic interference. I then started to scan all around the bags, tip them over and check the bottoms…which one contained the ring? Well, none of them did and that’s when that “easy peasy” feeling left me. I proceeded to empty one bag of leaves, as I had a hit, spread them out and detected them, but it was a false signal. So I had to regroup and start on Plan B, the yard. Things did not look so rosy anymore, but who ever said finding a lost item was easy. 
I grabbed my rucksack and headed over to the front yard, nothing left to do but execute the classic grid pattern and mark them with my little orange flags. I set my detector to discriminate out most other metals, except for gold. On my detector, the Garrett AT Pro, unfortunately this setting also includes bottle caps, pull tabs and those annoying little aluminum snippets from house siding. You really have to listen to the quality of the tone, someday I’ll get a fancy detector. I received a few hits, although some were good, they were too deep. I always want to dig them, but since I am here on a service I had to pass them by – you never know what else lies down below. 

The daylight was fading fast, so I had to pick up the pace. Then, right near where David said to look, I had a sweet sounding hit; even before I bent down I could see the glint of gold as I moved the blades of grass to one side with my coil! SUCCESS!!! It was a nice sized ring, still very clean and polished.

David was happy with the recovery and I was relieved that everything had worked out in the end. I am often just as  disappointed and frustrated as the people who hired me, when I cannot recover their lost item. I love to see the smiles on their faces when I can show them the recovery – which usually hold great sentimental and or monetary value.

We talked for a bit afterwards and I found out that David used to fly on the same helicopter I work on – the CH-47, aka the Chinook. He told me one particular exciting story of a Chinook ride during his tour in Vietnam; I enjoyed relaying his experience to my coworkers.

I am also very grateful for his generous finder’s fee, which came just in time for the holidays and ended my Ring Finder’s work for the year on a high note.

Ridley Creek State Park Posy Ring

What at first appeared to be just another annoying telemarketer call, actually turned out to be a lady in distress. Lady Alexia was the unfortunate soul who had lost a ring while attending a reenactment at the Ridley Creek State Park Colonial Plantation the weekend prior. Alexia had worn one of her favorite rings and to her dismay, had lost it on the last day while helping to pack the group’s camp site.

After she described the colvilarea and her confidence that it was lost there, I knew that the odds were in our favor for a recovery. We made an arrangement to meet that coming Saturday, as the sooner we look for it the better… plus I could tell that she was very anxious to find her ring. To my surprise, Alexia lived in Manhattan and would have to take off a day from work, in order to make this journey. She also asked if I could pick her up from the local train station, I obliged and was impressed with the trust she had in strangers.

Prior to my search, Alexia contacted the Park and secured permission for me to search the area with a metal detector. Since this is a historical site, I made sure to enforce the fact that I would not be digging any holes during my search. Since the ring was lost very recently, it would be a surface recovery and no need for any penetrations. The State Park management granted us permission, with the understanding that if any other items/artifact were found during my search that I would give them to the Park.

I met Alexia at the local train station that Saturday around noon. The weather had taken a turn for the worse; it reminded me of an Islay scotch. It was overcast, with patches of light rain, cooler and windy! I could smell the damp peat and taste the salty sea. Ok, maybe the peat and the salt was the Talisker still lingering on my palate, but it was a typical Scottish day (from what I hear).  🙂  As we drove to the park I learned that Alexia is in the jewelry business, she is a gemologist. The lost ring was part of her jewelry collection; it was a 15th century English posy ring with the inscription “NUL AUTRE” on the inside. It was originally found by a metal detectorist in England and then sold under the Treasure Act of 1996.

When we arrived at the field, I recognized that the area was large than estimated. I would take me the rest of the day to search, but fortunately, it was all low grass, so that was a pleasure to work with. We had a brief chat about what occurred in the different parts of the field and then I was ready to start the search.

I use little orange flags to mark my search grid and spots of interest, this way I make sure that there are no overlaps or missed spots and I can come back later to investigate the “good hits.” I did have two great sounding hits, with a high likelihood of them being older silver coins; it was so hard not to check them. Yet since they were a few inches down, I could not dig a plug, a promise is a promise… but it was so tempting.

I was a few hours into my search and hope was fading fast. I had searched the most probably areas with two more smaller spots to check, the archery area and where Alexia had dropped some swords. The archery area search did not produce anything. With failure on my mind, I told her that I could come back with a friend to try one more time the following week. I was really impressed with her attitude, as she said that it is ok, because she tried her best to find her ring. This made me feel better, because I gave it my best also.

The last small 10′ x 10′ area is where Alexia first noticed that her ring was missing. She said that she had alexia-posy-ringput down some swords by the vehicles when – to her horror – her prized possession was missing. And at this very spot I had a clear hit, it was perfect, genuine, complete, crystalline, pure. As I squatted down and moved the grass to the side I saw the yellowish glint of gold that every treasure hunter dreams of. I immediately knew by the beautiful diagonal design that this was Alexia’s. I was so happy, that I couldn’t contain myself and had to exclaim our find! I was amazed at the beauty and sheer weight of this ring – it is an exquisite piece of jewelry! This is definitely the nicest and most valuable – monetarily speaking – ring that I had found so far.

She was VERY happy – it made my day. On the alexiaway back to the car, she made the comment that the ring, which was originally found by a metal detectorist in England, was found again by a metal detectorist.

Not only did Alexia give a very generous reward, but she also bought lunch as we waited at the local pub for her train to arrive. The reward came in handy, because on that day I had to replace my washing machine.

 

15 years gone – wedding ring found at Brandywine!

A friend of mine had given me permission to search on his parent’s property along the Brandywine – the area holds great potential for Revolutionary War relics and is a chance of a lifetime for a detectorist as far as I am concerned. I just want to find a round ball! 🙂

It just happens that this area is also the site of an old campground his family sas been using for the past 30 some years, I’ve actually visited there during one of the festivities many years ago. Well, Brian mentioned to me that one of his friends, Janna, had lost her wedding ring there over some fifteen years ago during a weekend of camping – this of course sparked my interest.

When I arrived there on my first hunt, I wanted to search for the ring first – since hey, how cool would it be to find that ring and return it as a favor for a favor! Brian gave me the rough layout of where Janna’s tent was set up and the rough layout of the campground. I set up my quadrants and started searching.

After a few hours, all I had found, along with a few modern coins, were bottle caps and what might have been an old horse bridal ring. Since this area is on a flood plane, all the bottle caps were down at about three inches, that’s pretty deep for modern items. My hopes for finding old revolutionary war round balls diminished, as they would be too deep for my detector to locate … at least in this area. If items from thirty years ago were down around three inches, I could only imagine how deep items from two hundred and fifty years ago would be. 🙁

After a few hours I covered most of the camping area when Brian was about to call it a day and rang the lunch bell; ready to roll up to house for beer and brats – plus the Michigan game was starting soon. I was a little disappointed as I really wanted to find that ring for him.

I told him that I just wanted to do one more lane and then I’d call it quits. I was justjanna-ring finishing my lane, with about ten feet to go, when I had a rough, yet viable signal. I thought, “Hey, I might as well dig it.” The signal was about three inches down, I neatly cut a plug and as I lifted it, down in the hole I saw the gleam of gold baby! That deep yellow glow just stood out among the surrounding rich brownish-black soil. At first I couldn’t believe it, but there she was, still as shiny as if it was just lost yesterday. It was a thin gold ring, with small diamonds. The engraving of initials and year left no doubt as to who the owner was.

I was elated and Brian couldn’t believe that I had found Janna’s ring after it had been lost for over fifteen years. He voiced his disbelieve at the recovery for the rest of the afternoon. It made me happy and I was glad to provide a service for his gracious offer to allow me to detect his property.

BrainAs we left the campground area for a well deserved lunch, Brian mentioned that he had also lost HIS wedding ring in the same area while building a campfire. The campfire was just over from where I conducted my first quadrant search! So when I return again, I will try to find his lost wedding ring – how cool would it be to find both! 😉

This has not been the first time where persistence has paid off. Not giving up and searching just one more area was again rewarded with success! I cannot describe the feeling of finding what was lost forever, I feel as happy as the reunited owners.

The next weekend Brian drove down to Baltimore to return the ring to its rightful owner. I wish I could have been there to witness the surprise, as Janna had no idea that her lost ring had been found. The owner’s smile really is the best reward.Janna

Wedding Ring found in West Chester, PA!

Meg contacted me via email and explained that her husband had lost his wedding ring some time on their 28th wedding anniversary. They both thought that it might have been lost shopping at a store parking lot. They did a search and also came back early in the morning when the lot was empty. I knew that the chances of a recovery in a parking lot – with so much foot traffic – are extremely low. During the email exchanges, there was a point where Meg was not sure if it was worth the bother to have me look, but I really wanted to give it a shot.

photo2editWe made arrangements and I met them the next day after my day job. Dan showed me around the yard and mentioned where he had worked setting up for the outdoor gathering. As we walked around the backyard, the search area proceeded to get larger and larger, I knew in the back of my mind that I will have to come back to finish the search, as it was going to be dark in two hours.

Dan also explained that he ALWAYS wears this ring. He mentioned that he might have taken it off a total of 3 minutes in the past 28 years. He also stated that it was always a little loose and that he had lost some weight recently. That, along with the cooler weather, is a recipe for a call to the ring finders.  🙂

I started my grid pattern closest to the house and hit the area where I thought Dan was working the most and had the most foot traffic. Near the end of my first lane Dan had stacked was a small pile of firewood for their fire pit. I stepped over the logs and was in a hurry to finish my lane and start a new one back, when something made me stop and take a step back and re-scan the area I hurried over. And I again moved on in a hurry, but heard a very faint, yet good tone. I went back and found my signal … it was nothing special, but I checked it with my pro pointer anyways and low and behold, wedged underneath a patch of grass was a gold ring. I was in total disbelief and a little shocked at the quick recovery.

I really had low expectations for this search; I was photo3editmentally prepared for hours of searching and a return trip the following day. And then BAM – success! I was so happy to see Meg and Dan happy, as they might have also written it off as lost in the back of their minds. I think that Meg was as surprised at the find as I was, as she ran out in jubilation and gave me a big hug! It really is moments like these that are the true rewards for me as a member of the Ring Finders Network! Thanks for the generous reward Meg and Dan. (and get that ring resized)

dirtfishing © 2013 Frontier Theme