By Joanne Rochman
In the woods, in the park, on the beach and in the field – oh the treasures you can find with a metal detector. There’s something about searching for lost treasure that never fails to evoke images of silver and gold and a trunk full of coins. While metal detecting has evolved to a near science with all of the high tech features now available on detectors, the thrill still comes down to the hunt for buried treasure. While many enjoy hunting by the sea, others swear that old cornfields are the best sites for discovering precious objects. Here are some accounts of the best places to go metal detecting.
Nor’Easters Metal Detecting Club
PO Box 2232
Stamford, CT 06906
Hours: Meetings held Second Wednesday of most months at 7:30 p.m.
Where you hunt depends on what you’re looking for. If you want jewelry and coins, beaches and sea- sides make good hunting grounds. However, if you’re looking for historic items, you just might want to move inland. Jessie Thompson is the President of the Nor’easters Metal Detecting Club based in Stamford, CT. A true history buff, he takes his metal detecting seriously and he does it for historical preservation. A high tech kind of guy who runs a data center for AT&T, he eagerly slips into the past when armed with his metal detector. “There’s an intrinsic value to what I find,” he said. “I prefer to go inland on old farms and old church picnic grounds. I’ve found tons of stuff there,” he said. Recently, he found a George Washington Presidential Campaign Button.
Another metal detector enthusiast found a President Lincoln button. When Thompson and other members of the club hunt the fields, they go where the slaves worked the grounds. “Old corn fields and areas where old homes were burned down during the flu epidemic of the 1800s are also good hunting sites,” he said with unmistakable enthusiasm. One of his most memorable moments was when he found a large Connecticut Copper, a monetary coin used during the time of King George. “When I held it, I knew the last person who held this coin was from the 1700’s. I was holding the coin of a colonial. It’s an instant connection to your roots,” he explained.
Those who prefer beaches often follow the schedule of the tides. Obviously low tide is the best time to walk out and detect what the sea might have hidden beneath the sand. There are also those who enjoy detecting at lakes and ponds. John Pawloski is a metal detector aficionado. He still tells the story of what he discovered some 15 years ago. I was up at Squantz Pond and saw this suede glove in the water and ran my detector over it. It signaled a find and I just thought it was probably a button or something. I saw some coins nearby too,” described the veteran detector hunter. Since his detector was still signaling like crazy, he picked up the glove and found it filled with coins. There were 357 coins in that glove. It had a cash value of $29, but Pawloski wrote a story about the find and sold the story for about a hundred dollars, so he made out all right.
Of course, not all metal detector enthusiasts belong to a club. Some just like to go out on their own and are often called rogue detectors. Whether in a club or not, there are so many stories about fascinating finds. One man who insists that St. Mary’s by the Sea, ahistoric Bridgeport seaport of Black Rock, is a perfect site for finding jewelry. He has found gorgeous rings for his wife and granddaughter. One ring was a rare opal. It was appraised at more than a $1,000 and another fellow found a ring there appraised at more than $3,000.
Best of all people who enjoy metal detecting come from all walks of life. They are plumbers, educators, lawyers, corporate executives, and retired veterans. They all have something in common. They love connecting with the past and the excitement of finding buried treasure.
One of the big advantages of joining a metal detecting club is that you know where it is legal or illegal to use a metal detector. Some towns are off limit. Another advantage is that at each meeting, members show off their finds. The Nor’Easters Metal Detecting Club meets in the Catacombs room of Saint Maurice Church in Stamford.
Joanne Rochman covers Art and Culture for CBS-CT blog and is the arts editor of “The Fairfield County Review.” A columnist, critic, feature story writer and English professor, her work has appeared in “The New York Times,” “The Republican-American” and Hersam-Acorn Publications. She can be reached at email@example.com