By Frank Colletti
As a diehard coin shooter, I usually cannot wait for the spring thaw and the ground’s softening so that I am able to return to the schools and parks that I enjoy “working.” Although I like to work the beaches during the winter, when the ground is frozen, my favorite hunting areas are really the old parks and schools where I am able to retrieve old coins and especially silver for my collection. For me, the feeling of retrieving an old Barber dime or quarter is as great as the one that others get when they find a gold ring. This is not to say that I don’t want the gold, simply that I enjoy the soil more than the sand, even though the soil may be hard as rock.
Although this Spring had brought with it the usual moisture and depth that I love to work, I decided one day to try out a beach that my hunting buddy, Bob Michaleski, had suggested that I try. Since he had been successful there during the previous three weekends, he “talked up” the area and I was finally ready to give it a shot. His finds had included three gold rings, two silver ones, and two junk rings. In his usual display of optimism, Bob told me that he felt that the area was just great. He was hitting a ring with every trip, even if it was only junk, it was still a ring and the area was worth working. He also mentioned that someone had told him that they had hit two silver dollars while water hunting the area. This especially sounded good to me, the possibility of gold along with the chance of silver coins. The silver dollars were the ones that really got me listening. Old coins will always grab my attention.
We talked about the area, and he related a story that when he was a youngster his mother frequently took him to the same beach and he clearly remembered seeing kids climbing on their parents in the water. “Just think of all of the jewelry that they must have pulled off of their parents.” And think I did.
That morning I was in the mood to go hunting, but did not feel like hitting any of my usual locations. On a normal day, one of the sites will “call to me” and that is the area that I will work, although not always successfully. At any rate, I recalled my conversation with Bob and decided to give “his” beach a try.
Arriving at the site, I was less than enthused. The sand was the usual dirty sand associated with the detritus of old clams. I knew that this was not going to be easy. However, I went to work anyway. A half an hour later I realized that I was correct in my assumption. Although there were plenty of targets, I had only hit one coin, a zinc cent, and that had been on the surface. However, I had hit plenty of targets in the form of pull tabs.
The part that had irritated me the most was that many of the pull tabs were on or near softened sand, where it was obvious that some other TH’er had dug and simply tossed the trash back onto the sand. I have never understood why anyone would do that. Since I frequently re-work the same areas, I have no desire to continually re-dig the same trash. I looked into my pouch and realized that besides the one coin, I had about a pound of pull tabs, and nothing else. Someone had really worked this beach hard. They seemed to have pulled out all of the goodies and left behind all of their trash.
The tide had been going out during the hour that I had been there and I continued to work the waterline with my White’s Spectrum XLT. The unit was responding excellently to the wet sand and every target had read correctly. I had just retrieved several more pull tabs that had gone into my pouch, when I got another pull tab target at four inches. Disgusted and in the mood to leave, I nearly turned and left, but the idea of leaving the trash behind continued to bother me. So I dug and tossed the sand to the side. Finally, the target was out of the hole and I looked at the black sand with disgust.
Reaching into the sand, I pulled out the “pull tab” and realized that it was too heavy. Then I looked. A ring. A gold ring. When I cleaned the inside of the ring the 14 K stamp stood out clearly. I looked around the area and realized that I had just pulled four pull tabs from the top of the sand where I had just dug! Someone had dug the pull tabs and just dumped them. They had just dumped them on top of a beautiful gold wedding band. Because I had decided not to leave my trash behind I had retrieved a large man’s 14-karat gold wedding band.
I tossed the gold ring back onto the sand and rechecked the signal, and sure enough, it read squarely as a pull tab. Then I rechecked my pouch and saw about three pounds of pull tabs. Not a bad trade. Moments later I finally found another coin, a partly rusty nickel. So my haul for the day was a massive six cents, plus a great gold ring.
To those who visit our beaches and toss out trash I have nothing but disgust, why endanger our children because of your carelessness? An innocent child who just wants to go to the beach and have a good time doesn’t need to cut themselves on your trash. To the inconsiderate TH’er who re-tossed those pull tabs and trash, I can only say, “Thanks.”
Since that day I have revisited that beach three times, once with Bob. The first time Bob hit the gold with a beautiful 14-karat lady’s ring with two small diamonds and 12 emeralds while I was able to pull out two silver rings. The next day it was my turn, along with another three pounds of pull tabs, I was able to pull out a large man’s European 18-karat wedding band. My last trip I was skunked for the gold, but did manage to remove another few founds of trash, so I told Bob that if he hits another gold ring that he owes it to me, since I probably cleared the area of trash for him. He told me, “Thanks.”