Talking the Torc

My friend Dave, whose wife has recently become a convert to detecting, ruefully admitted that she was finding more interesting artefacts than him. He contemplated whether he had become complacent and should be re-examining his detecting technique, especially as she was using what could only be described as a ‘cheap beginners’ machine’. Was his swinging action too fast? Was he ignoring what could be positive signals? Or what? 

Beginner David Booth’s experience also amplifies the fact that it’s not the make of machine we are using and it’s not necessarily the type of land we have at our disposal, but it’s more likely to be our own fault that we don’t find anything. I hesitate – that’s a bold statement!  David found treasure in 2009. What follows is an extract from my scribblings at the time.

David Booth pictured with his find of Iron Age Treasure. Courtesy of JACKPHOTO

David Booth, safari park game warden, finder of the Scottish torcs and current ‘face’ of Garrett detectors – he’s the guy in the adverts – tells me that he is still using an Ace 250. He finds it a great little machine, easy to use for a novice and, although he may upgrade in the future, is more than happy with his choice of detector. And so he should.

In the months following the discovery of the torcs David has found the usual buttons, spindle whorls, musket balls and modern coins. He talks fondly of the mediaeval dagger pommel and harness mount he unearthed, but the find that gave him a ‘feeling he will never forget’ is his first hammered coin – Scottish, of course! His appetite had been whetted by coins he had seen on detecting forums so when he came across his first, he instantly knew what it was and couldn’t wait for a full identification. David has gone on to find even more.

For those wondering what has happened to those wonderful torcs, I can tell you they were on temporary exhibition at the National Museum of Edinburgh for a while but are now being valued before being allocated (presumably) to a museum. Archaeologists were hoping to return to the find spot during the Spring to carry out further excavations.

I think there is a very simple reason for the success of my friend’s wife, David and other beginners – the fact that they don’t necessarily understand what discrimination is all about or are simply unimpressed by the concept! To put it simply, my friend’s wife chooses to dig more signals than him. 

Although it is probably one of the greatest innovations of recent years, I think many detectorists over-use discrimination, including myself! We have become spoiled by the features available on ‘high-end’ detectors and choose not to dig what we think might be junk. Don’t misunderstand me, discrimination is a great tool, but I think that moderation of its use is the key to better targets. Remember – some signals require closer examination.

Mr Booth Says …

“I’ve been detecting for ten months now and think I’ve have been incredibly lucky to say the least! On my very first trip out I was fortunate to discover a hoard of Iron Age gold torcs. You may recollect seeing them on the front cover of the February Searcher magazine. Since then I’ve had several good finds including medieval hammered coins, including some good Scottish examples, and various medieval artefacts.

I upgraded detectors a few months ago from a Garrett Ace 250 to a Minelab E-Trac and although the learning curve has been very steep I think the change has made a positive difference in my find rate.”


Bucks Museum & Lenborough Hoard

In 2014 Weekend Wanderers organised a dig at Lenborough in Buckinghamshire. Detectorist Paul Coleman discovered over 5,250 Anglo-Saxon coins located in a lead container. They were subsequently valued at £1.35 million by the Treasure Valuation Committee. Bucks Museum wished to keep them in the county and Brett Thorn, Keeper of Archaeology, made an appeal for pledges from local people and organisations. The bulk of the money would come from national grant giving charities. Additionally the Museum raised over £50,000 locally to secure the coins for BucksT

The Lenborough hoard of over 5200 Anglo-Saxon silver pennies was found in 2014. After a major fundraising appeal, the hoard was saved for the public. In the video, Dr Gareth Williams, a Curator at the British Museum and Brett Thorn share information on this fantastic hoard.
READ MORE – but only if you think IT’S worth a gander

Can you detect old banknotes?

Yes you can, especially if they have been made into a charm . . .

The banknotes produced by the Bank of England will always be worth their face value. Even for banknotes that no longer have legal tender status. If you look closely at any Bank of England banknote, you will notice it contains the ‘promise to pay’ inscription – the bank’s promise to honour the stated face value of our banknotes for all time.

10-shilling or 10 bob note – equivalent to 50p today

If you were born in the late 1960’s you won’t remember the old ten-shilling note, which was withdrawn in 1970 after the introduction of the fifty pence coin in 1969. But you may be able to unearth one when metal detecting … and it was worth a lot more then than that 50p in your pocket today! That’s what happened to my mate Dave did when searching in a local park recently.

The note was folded and placed inside a silver pendent; evidently they were very popular and used as emergency money. I seem to recall my dear late Mother owning a gold charm bracelet with lots of similar charms … I think she had them all up to £100, plus many other charms from around the world. Wonder where it is now?

So, it IS possible to detect a 10 bob note like the one shown above

The ten-shilling note was the smallest denomination note ever issued by the Bank of England. The note was issued by the Bank of England for the first time in 1928 and continued to be printed until 1969. The note ceased to be legal tender in 1970 and was discontinued in favour of the fifty pence coin due to inflation.

Bob – The subject of great debate, as the origins of this nickname are unclear although we do know that usage of bob for shilling dates back to the late 1700s. Brewer’s 1870 Dictionary of Phrase and Fable states that ‘bob’ could be derived from ‘Bawbee’, which was 16-19th century slang for a half-penny.

End of an Era

The 10-shilling note disappeared in 1971. The first Bank of England Ten Shilling notes appeared in 1928 but in 1971 were eventually replaced with a 50 pence coin.


Minelab Advertising

Minelab have always been innovative and different when advertising new detectors. They can be proud of their heritage. There are almost 40 firms world wide counterfeiting their machines – I am not at all surprised!

I remember seeing the amazing and successful launch of the Equinox series of machines at Detectival 2017. The [new] Minelab EQUINOX literally came out of the sky. Superb advertising and unsurpassed.

The EQUINOX has Landed

“To the treasure hunter, the gold prospector, the protector: We know your quest.”

The EQUINOX arrives in style
Continue reading “Minelab Advertising”