Tuesday, November 06, 2018

Round Pounds

The new 12-sided £1 coin became legal tender on 28 March 2017. The round £1 coin lost its legal tender status at midnight on 15 October 2017. There are still 169 million out there, which have not been returned to the mint. I am sure we will be finding them with our metal detectors for many years to come, but from what I have heard and read a lot of detectorists think they are now worthless. NOT TRUE!
Until further notice most UK High Street Banks will exchange round pounds for account holders at full face value. Some will exchange them over the counter; others will want them deposited into accounts. The Post Office has arrangements with most UK High Street Banks, as well as its own bank, and will also accept round pounds for deposit into a bank account.
There are currency exchange companies who will exchange withdrawn coins. One is currently paying 85% face for round pound coins and 75% face for withdrawn British decimal and pre-decimal coins. Bear in mind that pre-decimal copper (bronze) and brass coins are worth more than their face value in scrap. One old penny, weighing 9.45 grams, is now worth about 3p. In contrast the nickel-brass round pound weighs 8.75 gram and would be worth slightly less than 3p as scrap. Nevertheless that is an option if the coin is mutilated and not acceptable elsewhere.
Further details of profitably disposing of withdrawn and foreign coin finds will be found in Treasure Hunting for Profit.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Piggyback Cameras

Paul, from Australia, told me (and sent photos) of how he had mounted an Olympus D-360L camera onto the Canon 350d and can now take accurately pointed photos using the Olympus camera's view finder. This idea is working very well, also the Olympus is very useful being able to take a normal photo of the target area at the same time as the photo being taken by the Canon. You can actually see the area clearly that you were looking at which is rarely the case with the Cannon infrared image. Ideally you would hope to get the small orb auras, without a filter, on the Olympus to confirm the auras on the Canon although there is a small snag here in that the Canon seems to work best in the early afternoon while the Olympus seems to prefer low light conditions at dawn or dusk, like the Polaroid. Nevertheless it is a good idea worth pursuing and having a normal image in tandem with the IR image is useful, although that could be achieved with any compact, with a viewfinder, similarly mounted. Bear in mind that the lens on the Olympus is offset so the Olympus needs to be skewed slightly to capture the same view as the Canon. Stand mounting the set-up would be preferable.
Phot-R 1/4"-20 Aluminium Dual Nuts Tripod Mount Screw to Flash Digital Camera Hot Shoe Adapter

This is the adapter I used in the set up, they come with one or two nuts; although I prefer the two nut version as it holds everything more securely. The Canon’s pop-up flash is deactivated by fitting the mount, in case anyone was wondering.

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

Treasure Hunting for Profit: With and Without a Metal Detector

If your dreams of finding treasure result in next to nothing, then this book is for you. David Villanueva draws on his 40 plus years experience to show you how and where to find, and profit from, many types of lost or hidden valuables in Britain, all year round. Treasure hunting is one of the few hobbies that can actually cost you nothing to take part but potentially bring you a fortune. Terry Herbert, the finder of the Staffordshire Saxon hoard received over 1.5 million pounds for basically a few hours enjoyable work with an old metal detector he bought for pocket change. But money is not the only reward; this fascinating pursuit breathes life into history and archaeology and offers healthy exercise to boot.
This book shows you how and where in Britain you can profitably:
  • Use a metal detector
  • Beachcomb for lost valuables
  • Find Gold, Minerals, Gemstones & Meteorites
  • Search for Fossils
  • Hunt for treasure in innumerable places
If you dream of finding buried treasure, improving your finds rate or exploring new avenues for fun and profit… You can get the E-book and printed book from the SHOP at www.truetreasurebooks.net (Also available on Amazon, ebay, Smashwords and other online and offline retailers).
Please note: Most of the locations and contacts given in the book are based in the UK so if you live outside of the UK and are not planning a treasure hunting trip to Britain, then you will need to do some local research to get the best out of the book. Nevertheless I hope you all enjoy it and I always appreciate feedback– good bad or indifferent – it helps me be a better writer.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Finding Personal Losses

Photo by Thomas Quine (Lady's Rolex) [CC BY 2.0  (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The Swale Search and Recovery Metal Detecting Club I chair, offers a free search and recovery service for personal items, tractor parts, buried drain covers and the like. The most unlikely item I have been asked to find was a cricket pitch! I did suggest at the time it was a big green area with wickets but the groundsman explained they had spent a large amount of money having the pitch excavated, refilled with special bedding and laid with Cumberland turf. As grass only comes in one colour, the groundsman had marked each corner with a large bolt driven vertically into the ground, with the head visible at ground level to distinguish the pitch from the surrounding grass. Of course, with the passage of time the bolts had sunk and were no longer visible. The groundsman had a good idea where one corner of the pitch was and I located the marker bolt within a few minutes searching; after that it was very easy to measure to the next corner, locate the bolt and so on.

But I digress. A few weeks ago I had a call from a young lady who had lost her gold Rolex watch; a 21st birthday present from her mother. She was convinced that she had lost it at a barbeque she attended the previous evening, so I met her there to make a search. The grassed areas were short and the gravel areas had no real depth to them so it didn’t look as if it could have been buried and was nowhere to be seen on the surface. I spent an hour detecting and looking around in every nook and cranny, in bushes and under features all to no avail. I asked her when and where she was when she realised the watch was missing and was told it was back at her home after the barbecue. I suggested she had a good look round at home. Start at the point where it was discovered missing and try and retrace steps from there back to the point when you were sure you had the watch. Where were you and what were you doing immediately before you found the watch missing? And before that? And before that? The lady later found her watch at home by the dishwasher!

I had a similar experience with my partner, Helen, a few weeks earlier. We were shopping and had just left B&Q, a hardware store, when Helen announced that she had lost one of her gold earrings. (Why do women wear expensive jewelry when they go shopping?) I must have lost it getting out of the car, she said. We went back to the car and it wasn’t there. “It must be at home then.” She said. If it turned out not to be at home, we would have lost all opportunity to find it so I said: “Let’s go back into B&Q.”

“No, no, it’ll be at home and we’ve got to get the groceries.” “OK, you start on the groceries and I’ll go and look in B&Q.” I said. I had only just walked through the door of B&Q and I could see gold glinting at me on the floor in front of me, fortunately it hadn’t been stood on or run over by a cart, so Helen got her earring back. As I said before, start where you realise the item is missing and work back from there.

Saturday, March 03, 2018

Airplane Hunting

 Bristol Beaufighter firing rockets
As Chairman of The Swale Search and Recovery (metal detecting) Club I was approached recently by an up-and-coming air museum to help look for wreckage of a WWII Bristol Beaufighter that had crashed on a local muddy foreshore during a training exercise. It was believed, or hoped, that there was a substantial amount of wreckage remaining although little had been seen above ground for some considerable time.
For the initial search I organised a party of half a dozen metal detectorists to search the area, at low tide, around where the plane was thought to have crashed, which the museum assistant marked with a clump of stakes. While plenty of spent ammunition was found, not one single piece related to the plane emerged, although the tide had not been as low as we would have liked.
For the second search, at a predicted lower tide, I took my aura camera and long lens instead of a metal detector and let the others carry on metal detecting while I stood at the marker stakes and proceeded to photograph the exposed foreshore piece by piece in a one hundred and eighty degree arc around the stakes. On dry land I could have linked the camera to a laptop and analysed the photos on the spot, but out on a tidal foreshore, it would not be a good idea so I just used the camera and would analyse the photos at home later. Although there were a few permanent seamarks to help frame the photos, it was mainly guesswork where I was pointing the camera as featureless foreshore and open sea all looks the same. With the benefit of hindsight I could have used a compass and obtained a bearing for each photo. An assistant to use the compass to line me up for the photo and to note the readings would be a great help. Again the detectorists found only spent ammunition and nothing that could be specifically related to the plane.
I downloaded the photos at home and enhanced them with Arcsoft Photostudio. I was pleased to see that there were areas showing an orange aura (top photo) as well as areas showing no aura (bottom photo). I assumed I had taken photos fairly evenly around the arc and nominally assigned compass points to the aura photos. That gave me one search area approx North to Nor’-Nor’-East and another due South.

Armed with this information I organised another search, although the detecting party had now reduced to three only. Two of us went searching to the North and one to the South. We did not know how far away the targets were but guessed they would be less than 200 yards (or metres) as that was the optimum range I had been able to pick up a large target in the past. It would be possible to walk in the direction of the auras with the camera, particularly if there were compass bearings, and to re-photograph them at say ten-yard or metre intervals, which could be measured by pacing or a surveyors tape. Of course this would require another at-home analysis session to determine at which point the aura image is lost and determine that the target would lie between there and the previous ten-yard point where the image was captured. A further session on the site would be required to make the final location and recovery. Nevertheless we had some results. The South searching detectorist recovered a part of the plane’s ammunition box, meanwhile the two of us searching northwards discovered a 60lb rocket each, part of the plane’s arsenal. I also recovered a small piece of aircraft battery. So by using aura photography, we had actually started finding what we were looking for as well as defining where to look on future searches.
Part of ammunition box

One of the rockets recovered in two parts (dummy warhead at bottom) and minus fins
A Beaufighter being armed with rockets

Sunday, January 07, 2018

In Search of King John’s Treasure (Part 2)

The only field that produced a good aura was the same field that had given the curious orbs with the camera on the AV setting. While not the recommended setting, it does indicate that other camera settings work – perhaps as good or better. We had photographed the field from different points on adjacent sides of the field and obtained auras in the same place from both points and with both lenses, so there is definitely a substantial quantity of metal buried here, which may be silver from the colours obtained in the photographs. I should perhaps mention that this is not the field that Garry Brooker indicated but it is close by.

We now needed to contact the landowner to discuss the possibility of undertaking a survey to try and establish what is buried there and at what depth. It has now become quite easy to use the Land Registry online: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/land-registry to establish ownership and in this case it only took a few minutes. Writing a letter to the landowner took somewhat longer and as yet we have received no reply. Still no news is good news, they say! Meanwhile Aquila is seeking Yamashita’s gold in the Philippines so I am awaiting his return before chasing this project up…

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Olympus Digital Cameras

We have found three early Olympus digital cameras that are capable of photographing auras. The earliest is the D-360L, which will produce tiny orb auras and does not even need a filter. My friend Kybob has made a video of this camera in action: https://youtu.be/USOH2GnspHg

Note that there is a vehicle in the background in some of the shots, which will produce auras in its own right, being a substantial chunk of metal. This is the second video in a two part series. Part 1 covers the Canon camera: https://youtu.be/-4u9F3qOrmcThe other two cameras: D-490 Zoom and C-460 Zoom del Sol both need a filter. I am using 850nm, 90% pass filter material successfully in the Cokin Compact Camera holder: Amazon link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Cokin-Digi-Holder-Cat-BAD700/dp/B0000AQ4N1/ref=as_sl_pc_as_ss_li_til?tag=trutreboo-21&linkCode=w00&linkId=4fb7b0a2b30130c6c5dd74146690004b&creativeASIN=B0000AQ4N1

However, when I used a round filter on the D-490, attached to the front of the lens with poster putty, I found I needed a 950nm filter.The orb auras become larger as the megapixels increase, the C-460 ZdS at 4.0MP produces the largest orbs of the three.
I haven’t tested all the early Olympus cameras and many can be bought so cheaply now, they may be worth buying just to test. Ideally look for one of the above models, which we know work. If you want to try another model, get one which has a viewfinder or viewing port as it is impossible to use the backscreen with an IR filter in front of the lens. I can tell you that I have tried the C-460 and D-545, which did not produce auras on my test site.