Puget Sound Treasure Hunters Club

Member Stories



Western & Eastern Treasure

May 2010 edition

The POW Camp Project

In June, 2009 I wrote a story for Western & Eastern Treasure magazine after our club’s visit to Fort Lewis to look for WWII artifacts at a German POW camp near the post airfield. The magazine published the story in their May, 2010 issue. The name of the story is “The POW Camp Project” and it includes 10 photos. There are a large number of club members in the photos. 

Jim Ratcliff, Sr. Author



On August 8, 2009 the members of the Puget Sound Treasure Hunters Club (PSTHC) will enjoy a day of camaraderie at the Lion’s Club Community Play Field in Orting, WA attending the Annual Lenny Phay Memorial Hunt. Just who was Lenny Phay? Many club members neither knew, nor ever met these avid detectorists. Lennie, being his proper name, was born on 27 May, 1924 and worked most of his adult life in road construction, operating road paving machinery in Montana, Oregon and Washington State and later worked for many years as a foreman for J. D. Shotwell Company in Puyallup, WA. He was a veteran of the US military having served in WWII, making the D-day invasion.


For relaxation, Lenny spent his free-time doing what he enjoyed most, detecting and sluicing for gold with his family, friends, and/or club members in the greater Puget Sound area. Although, he was not a founding member of the PSTHC, Lenny was instrumental in the club’s formative years, which began in late 1971. Over the years, Lenny held a host of club positions, including treasurer for many years, and also serving in other board positions for quite some time, during his later years.  Several, present day club members, share fond memories of detecting with Lenny.


He not only loved detecting, but like most of us, he had a second hobby, and that was working with leather. Lenny crafted wallets, purses, holsters and other leather items when he was house bound, due to the rainy, snowy weather here in the Northwest, making for some very unpleasant detecting weather. He also enjoyed the sport of hunting with family and friends, for elk and deer, plus fishing for salmon.


To honor the memory of Lenny for his many years of fateful service and contributions to the PSTHC, a night hunt at Wapato Park was originally instituted shortly after his death by the club board, but was later changed, when the park’s department started closing the park at dusk. This annual tradition was later changed, and evolved into what it is today, the Annual Lenny Phay Memorial Hunt. Lennie passed away on 8 June, 1998.

 (PHOTO:  On their way to Monte Cristo to do a little gold dredging. From L to R in photo are: Unknown, Bob Carstensen, Don Lampson, Lenny Phay, and Larry Webb.)


Sources:  Teddi Phay (Spouse), Larry Webb and Bob Carstensen 


 (Story by Jim Ratcliff , Sr., Published August 2009 in PSTHC newsletter)



 Puget Sound Treasure Hunter Takes Treasure Hunting Seriously!


 In just three short years, Bob McSwain has amassed a small fortune in silver rings, silver coins and other US coins. The total number of coins alone, totals some 27,359 with a face value of $1,066.79, plus 11 silver US coins and 40 silver rings. This has all been accomplished since Bob joined the Puget Sound Treasure Hunters Club (PSTHC) in Lakewood, WA in May 2006.


Bob has been featured in the PSTHC Newsletter on two other occasions, in September 2008 (4000+ Coins Found at a Tacoma Pier) and in October 2008 (35 Years of Metal Detecting for Fun and Profit). His meticulous accounting of the items he has found over the years would make a CPA envious. Bob takes treasure hunting seriously, especially when it comes to keeping track of his finds.


During this same three year period he found 42 metal toy cars, 43 foreign coins, 262   Canadian coins, 112 tokens, 12 US dollar coins, 8 Kennedy halves, 51 Wheat cents, 148 keys, and an assortment of jewelry and other items. Bob sold 4 gold rings when gold was near $1000 an oz. He enjoys hunting the local parks and schools in Puyallup and the surrounding towns.

(Story by Jim Ratcliff, Sr., Published July 2009 in PSTHC newsletter)


Silver! Silver! Silver! Treasure Hunter Finds 100’s of Silver Coins


Some treasure hunters go their entire life without finding a single silver or Morgan dollar, Walking Liberty half or gold nugget, least one, and he’s a member of the Puget Sound Treasure Hunter’s Club (PSTHC). George S, has been metal detecting for over 35 years and doesn’t plan to stop anytime soon. His collection numbered in the thousands of coins and jewelry pieces found since he bought his first detector back in the early 1970s and he still has it, a White’s hip mount and three others as well.

George found his first coin, a dime in Hermiston, Oregon in the early 70s and has been hooked on detecting ever since. Over the years, George has found hundreds of silver coins that included; silver dollars, halves, quarters and dimes. His overall collection of finds included thousands of other coins, rings, bracelets and necklaces. When asked what his greatest finds were, he pulled out a 1900 Barber half found at a private residence in Tacoma, WA in the mid 90s, a gold ring marked 999, found on a nearby playground at Stanley Elementary School in 2008, and a silver ring shaped into a lion’s head found at a Spanaway, WA lake in the summer of 1998.


In the mid-90s, George did some gold panning in Fairbanks, Alaska and on the Yukon River near Anchorage, Alaska. His gold panning never measured up to his detecting finds, although he did manage to pan some fine gold sand during his trip up to the 49th State.


One story George related was most intriguing. Prior to his father-in-law, who resided in Milton, WA, being put in a nursing home, George suspected that his father-in-law had stashed money throughout his house over the years, and had forgotten where he had hid it, so he went about the arduous task of searching the house from top to bottom. In no time at all, he had discovered 100s of silver dollars, silver halves, silver quarters and silver dimes. Coins were hidden all over the place, in wooden boxes, a Chester drawer, in shirt and coat pockets, and other non-conspicuous places in the house. Literally, thousands of dollars, not only in coin but paper money as well, were found. George suspected that more money was hidden in the house that was not found up until the time the place was sold. No coins or paper money were ever found in the yard, as George made a concerted effort to locate any that may have been buried there.


Over the years, George had carefully categorized his collection of silver coins, by date, that he had found, even buying a display case for showing the most prized of his collection, but that all changed when the price of gold and silver skyrocketed to their present highs. George sold off the majority of his collection and now his display case sets empty. He misses his collection, but the reward he received from the sale was most gratifying and useful.


He related how he fell at his home recently while going out on a hunt. Luckily, he wasn’t hurt in the fall, but his White’s Eagle Spectrum happened to cushion his fall and took a beating, as several of the major components were damaged and required repair work and replacement parts to put it back into an operational condition.


George is still active with the PSTHC, sets on the club board, and for the past several years has administered the monthly club raffles. Just visit a monthly club hunt and you will find George hustling about with his trusty White’s detector looking for that elusive silver coin.

(Story by Jim Ratcliff, Sr., Published June 2009 in PSTHC newsletter)


May 09  Myrtle Beach, South Carolina Silver Bash Treasure Hunt         


On 3 April, 2009 Jim Ratcliff, Jr. and myself departed for Myrtle Beach, South Carolina from Columbia, SC where we had been visiting with my oldest son and his wife, to attend the 2009 Federation of Metal Detector & Archeological Clubs (FMDAC) Treasure Expo & Trade Show which was scheduled for 4 & 5 April at the Springmaid Beach

Resort & Convention Center. After a two and a half hour drive from Columbia, we arrived at the hotel and checked in at 1:30 PM. Our room was near the convention center, so it was a short walk. A check-in table was set up to collect the entrance fee which was $10.00 per day, per person. Vendors were setting up, so we had a chance to talk with several about their products and their treasure finds. One of the vendors was Anita Holcombe, the Circulation & Marketing Director for the American Digger Magazine. Jim Jr. told her about our upcoming PSTHC Annual Lenny Phay Hunt and that we were seeking contributions to support our club. She offered a free one year subscription to the magazine as a donation. We thanked her for the magazine’s support, and that we would stay in contact with her. We met Jill McFedders, the FMDAC sponsor for the two big silver beach hunts that were scheduled for Saturday and Sunday. After making the rounds in the convention center to visit with the vendors that had arrived, Jim Jr. and I decided to hit the beach and do some serious detecting. Myrtle Beach extends some 18 miles to the north of the city so there is plenty of sand to search. We were not alone on the beach, as other detectorist had the same thoughts, and unpacked their detectors as well. The finds were few and far between for the two of us that day.


We were up bright and early on Saturday morning, even though the beach hunt didn’t start until 11 AM. We had breakfast and then headed to the convention center to see how many new vendors had set up their operation.  The day before I had talked with Dave Toller, one of the event organizers, and he stated that there would be 99 vendors for the weekend event, and he was right, as all the tables were manned by a vendor. Most of the major brands of detectors were displayed as were a large number of displays of treasure finds from some of the top treasure hunters in the US. I was impressed with some of the gold and silver treasures that had been brought up from the depths of the Atlantic and some that were found on the East coast beaches.


At 10:45 AM Jim Jr. and I were waiting at the start point next to the beach for the silver bash hunt to start. I made a last minute check to insure my White’s DFX was “ground balanced” and my headphones were calibrated. The FMDAC hunt meister showed up to give us instructions on the silver bash hunt that was scheduled to start at 11:00 AM. He stated to the entrants that there were 60 hunters for the event and that 2000 silver dimes and 50 special metal prize tags had been “seeded” on the beach in an area staked off with red flags about the size of a football field. The hunt would last for 45 minutes. He also stated that the “Big Foot” coil and PI detectors were not to be used for either of the hunts as they would interfere with other detectors. I checked with Jill Mc Fedders in February on the use of a Big Foot coil and she stated that there was no hard rule on using one, but the FMDAC requested that they not be used in completion hunts so as not to override someone else’s detector. With this in mind, we bought our  White’s DD coils with us. It was good foresight, that I had thought to call Jill in advance to our departure for South Carolina.


At 11:00 AM we found ourselves a spot around the field of hunt and got ready for the signal to start the hunt. At the drop of the hunt meister’s hand, we were off on the hunt. We moved like crazy to find and scoop as many dimes and tags as we could find. The white sand was deep and sometimes it took two scoops to reach the find. Many of the hunters had bought themselves a competition basket that has a belt  and is hip mounted, has a 12” x 6” square opening at the top, was approximately 12” deep and made of chicken wire, so they could scoop up the find and dump it into the basket and the sand would go through the wire onto the beach. On the bottom of the basket was a metal deflector to keep the sand from falling onto your trouser leg or shoe. Within a 15 minute span most of the coins and tags were already found. We kept on hunting for another 15 minutes to find any leftovers, of which there were few. Those that found a tag headed to the convention center to exchange their tag for a prize. As, I had found none, I was content with counting the silver dimes that I had found. Jim Jr. found one tag so he exchanged it for two, US Mint issued 1977 Uncirculated Coin Sets. Together we found a total of 61 silver dimes the first day’s hunt. Later that afternoon, we detected on the beach and Jim Jr. found a silver toe ring and a few coins, and I found a pair of silver wire ear rings and 10 coins. The toe ring and ear rings were nice.


On Sunday morning we just slept in and was in no hurry to join the group for the second day of hunting on the beach. We got down to the start point for the hunt at 10:45 AM and waited for the hunt meister to give instructions for the day’s hunt. He stated that there were more hunters for the second day than the first so they had “seeded” more than 2000 silver coins and 60 metal prize tags. Again we found ourselves a “good” spot to start the hunt. At the hunt meister’s hand signal we were off on the hunt. Again, after 15 minutes, it was for all purposes over. Jim Jr. and I did hunt for another 20 minutes or so but each only found one or two silver dimes. This time each of us found a special tag. We headed to the FMDAC table to exchange our tags for a prize. Jim Jr. again scored good and got another two sets of 1969 US Mint Uncirculated coins. I won a ball cap. Our total finds for the two hunts was 125 silver dimes of which five were Mercury and one was a Barber dated 1910. The hunt meister stated that no one purposely put the Barber in with the others. It must have been in one of the sacks of dimes when they were bought.


Being that we had seen all the displays in the convention center, we decided to head for Columbia as it was a two and a half hour drive and we were tired as it was very hot that day on the beach. All in all, the FMDAC Silver Bash was a lot of fun. It was something new for us as this was our first national hunt, but won’t be our last. The FMDAC announced that the 2010 hunt will again be here at Myrtle Beach. Jim Jr. and I plan to attend.



1 - FMDAC members seeding the Silver Bash Hunt area at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina on 4 April 2009.

2  - Hunters waiting for the FMDAC hunt meister to give instructions for the 5 April 2006  Silver Bash.

3 - FMDAC Silver Bash Hunt prizes (US Silver dimes & US mint sets)

4 - Jim Jr. at the FMDAC Silver Bash Hunt on 4 April 2009 at Myrtle Beach, SC.


 (Story by Jim Ratcliff, Sr., Published May 2009 in PSTHC newsletter)



Playground Yields Gold & Silver Rings!

Recently, Rick Wilson, a member of the Puget Sound Treasure Hunters Club in Tacoma, WA was on his way home from work and decided to stop by an elementary school and detect the playground. Realizing, that this school was near another club member’s home, and had probably been searched on a regular basis, Rick’s intuition got the best of him and he turned into the school.


Once out of the car, Rick headed toward the big toys, e.g. tether ball area, monkey bars and swing sets. His style is to work an area methodically with his Whites DFX  detector and Big Foot coil to ensure nothing is missed, overlapping at least 50% with each pass. 


As he worked the area near the swings, the meter on his detector registered a nickel/ring signal at two inches depth. The play area was covered with wood chips, several inches deep to cushion children’s falls. As usual in school playground areas, no digging is required to uncover a buried item. Rick pushed the chips away with his foot and the glitter of gold caught his eye. The sparkle of gold was exciting as he picked up a large, man’s gold ring, gave it a quick once over and put it in his pocket.


It was still early in the evening, so Rick, not wanting to stop now, and with adrenaline pumping on all cylinders, decided to continue detecting and headed to the nearby soccer fields. After making several passes, finding quarters, dimes and pennies, his detector registered a high quarter signal (86 on the White’s meter).


He probed for the coin but could not locate it, so he cut a plug, which is standard procedure for removing a buried item, such as a ring or coin, and cut the plug into quarters, carefully checking each quarter with his detector to locate the item.

 Finally, he located the item, which turned out to be a small tarnished silver ring. Once home, Rick cleaned and polished it up nicely. Upon closer examination, he found that the large gold ring was stamped .583, which is 14k gold. 


What a find!


Rick’s philosophy is to stay positive, and great finds will come your way.

  (Published March 2009 in PSTHC newsletter)


Tacoma Condemned 40s Era Housing Project Yield’s Treasures

Every city and town in America has an old section that was built sometime during WWII or in the 40s-50s era. There is one particular city in Washington State that has an early 40s era section of town that has yielded treasures from days gone by. A housing project in Tacoma, Washington called Salishan Housing Project that rose as part of the industrial miracle that won World War II for the Allies. On 1 May 1944, the first 10 families moved into Salishan. After the war, the project first served veterans and military families, then low-income families and immigrants. So how does this translate to treasure?

Robert Stack, a member of the Puget Sound Treasure Hunters Club (PSTHC) in Tacoma, WA is living proof that treasures are not found just in “them thar hills” but in “old abandoned housing areas” as well. Robert found out from his postman in late 2006, that nearly half the Salishan residents had moved, and the homes were being torn down in the future to replace existing homes with new homes. Shortly after that Robert packed up his reliable White’s DFX detector and made a bee line to Salishan. Boy was he in for a big surprise, for what he would find over the next two years of detecting in Salishan.   

 Robert met another detectorist in Salishan that day, which was a good friend of another PSTHC member, named Larry Webb that Robert also knew. The other detectorist had been detecting in the area for quite some time. It was evident to Robert that the far south end of the housing project had been vacant for some time. The houses were literally falling apart and grass was knee deep in the yards and driveways. Robert knew from past experience that this particular section of the vacated housing area would probably be a “bonanza” for detecting. He contacted two other PSTHC club members, Larry Trigg and Bob McSwain, and the three of them embarked on what stretched into a two year, yard-by-yard search, of the area with their trusty detectors.

Their “treasure” finds were more than one might expect from hunting front and backyards, drive ways and playgrounds. Robert and his detectorist companions carefully catalogued their finds for future reference. During one stretch of 17 days of one month, Robert’s catalogued finds were: 1,184 pennies; 40 nickels; 99 dimes (3 silver); 64 quarters (1 silver); 2 halves; and a 1 dollar coin; plus numerous other finds including 8 tax tokens; 17 other tokens; 26 keys; 33 toy cars and parts and 3 foreign coins.


Robert’s finds totaled 17,645 coins with a value of $1,035.80 for the two year period. A breakdown showed a staggering 11,050 pennies; 1,428 nickels; 3,028 dimes; 2,120 quarters; 13 halves and 6-1 dollar coins. He placed the 17,645 coins in a 5 gallon jug with another 1,503 coins that he had previously found and placed it in his living room for all to see. All told, the jug now has 19,148 coins worth approximately $1,156.53.

Between Robert and his hunting companions, he estimates they have found 25,000-30,000 coins and 100s of toy cars, jewelry, pins, silverware and extraneous items in the vacated housing project over the past two years. Yes, there are uncovered “treasures” out there, just waiting to be found. Just ask Robert!


(Published February 2009 in PSTHC newsletter)


      Treasure Found in Old Homestead Contains Hundreds of       

Old Silver Coins Dollars-Halves-Quarters-Dimes & Nickels

 You think finding treasures in your own back yard is just a folk lore, well, finding treasures hidden in the walls, cellar and attic of an old house might be just as unbelievable, just ask Tim and Matthew Connor about the treasure that they found in Tim’s father-in-law’s old homestead (circa 1910) in Turner, Oregon during their two trips in November 2008. Tim's father-in-law, Samuel Galvin, who is a young 80+ years of age, is moving across the road and plans to rent out the house and was concerned that there might be hidden money there. We had a suspicion that there might be hidden treasures in the house, when after the death of Tim's mother-in-law, Dorothy Galvin, several silver dollars were discovered in an ice tray in the refrigerator.

The 200 acre homestead is located between the country towns of Turner Jefferson, some miles East of Oregon. Tim and Matthew had attempted to search the surrounding old farm sites but found too much scrap iron the cast offs from old farming equipment.


Tim and Matthew made their first treasure hunting trip the first part of November. They used their reliable White’s MXT Detectors & Bulls-Eye to search the walls, crawl spaces, and nooks and crannies of the old house.


During their first trip in early November 08, they were searching in the attic open wall area (exposed studs), when Tim got a solid hit on his MXT. He first thought it was the old cloth covered wires running in the walls, but after some climbing, he pulled out a sack, hidden behind a curtain on an overhead horizontal 2” x 4” of the wall over an window. Tim and Matthew were speechless, when they discovered the sack was stuffed with 20 old Silver Dollars. 

Later in November, during their Thanksgiving trip to the homestead, proved to be a bonanza in terms of treasures found. Tim and Matthew combed the old house from the attic to the cellar, looking in every crack and crevice for additional hidden caches. Their persistence paid off big this time, as they uncovered a staggering additional 20 more old Silver Dollars, 240 Silver Halves, 13 Silver Quarters and several hundred Nickels, Dimes and Quarters. They even found a $10 Silver Certificate stashed away in one of the many hiding places. The 240 Silver Halves were found on the top shelf of the back kitchen pantry, stuffed in an old  jar, wrapped with newspaper. Coins were found in old canning jars, china containers, and in an antique upright desk in an unlit narrow hallway next to the stairs.



Tim figures that they have pretty well found all of the hidden treasures in the old house. The house is to be rented in the near future. Tim’s father-in- law, Samuel, gave them several Silver Dollars and Silver Halves for finding the forgotten treasure. Around Christmas, Tim plans to sit down with his father-in-law and inventory all the coins, and make him a ledger to keep track of his newly found treasure.

(Published January 2009 in PSTHC newsletter)


Silver & Gold Rings, Euro Coins and Jewellery Found at  

German Swimming Areas

For the second year in a row, we (Jim Sr., Jim Jr. and Jim Sr's. spouse, Centa) travelled to Germany to visit relatives and finish detecting the swimming areas that we detected in 2007, and then travel to Italy to once again try the beach that we had detected last year. We arrived in Germany on 17 Sep and started detecting on 19 Sep at one of the swimming areas that we had detected at last year. We brought our White’s DFXs equipped with the Big Foot search coil, which enabled us to cover more area in a short time period, in other words to finish off the areas and move on to fertile ground (never been touched with a detector).

Well, we were disappointed with the 1st day’s finds, only some Euro coins and a few older German DMs, after 2-3 hours of detecting. The following day we set out for a swimming area that we had partially covered last year due to it’s size, and had some great finds. We had been detecting only 20-30 minutes when Jim Jr. signalled that he had made a good find so I could take an action shot. To my surprise Jim Jr. had found a nice silver man’s ring. Did it shine in the black soil. At that point, I was only finding Euro and DM coins. After some 20 minutes, Jim Jr. again signalled that a good find had been made, this time it was a gold man’s ring and it lit up like a burst of light, it just sparkled as Jim Jr. turned it in the hole so I could get a good shot of it. We both found quite a few Euro and DM coins. Rings were just not on the menu for me that day.

On 22 Sep, we departed for Camp Darby in Tirrenia, Italy, a military installation where we stayed for six days. Camp Darby is some 750 km’s (450 miles) from Germany. The route takes you through Austria, Switzerland and the small country of Lichtenstein. It is autobahn (freeway) all the way. The only drawback to travelling on the freeway is you have to pay a road toll in all the countries that you travel through, so it can be quite expensive with the dollar at the low exchange rate as it is.


The next day after arriving at Camp Darby, we set out to detect the beach in Tirrenia, some 5 minutes from Camp Darby. Well, the finds we had hoped for were just not on the beach. I did find a piece of costume jewellery. The following day we started detecting in a camp ground located across the street from our hotel and to our surprise we found coins in large quantities, in all some 300 (US, British, and Italian), during our stay. We tried the beach again the following day and I found a small silver ring, a Catholic pendant and we both found a few Euro and older Italian coins. The five days of detecting was fun and the visit to southern Italy was nice. As last year, the beach finds were just not there and one could surmise that the sand just swallowed up any coins or jewellery a few days after being lost. The sand is over 15-20 inches deep in places and small jewellery was not detectable at those depths.


Once back in Germany, on 28 Sep, Jim Jr. and I headed for a new swimming area that we had located in 2007. It was ripe for the taking. We had not been hunting more than 45 minutes when Jim Jr. signalled that a good find had been made and sure enough it was a large silver man’s ring, sparkling in the hole. A photo was taken for authenticity. That was the big thrill for the day as we found a number of Euro and DM coins to go with the ring. The Euro coins add up fast when you consider they cost $1.33 each at the current exchange rate. The Euro’s come in denominations of: .01 cent, .02 cent, .05 cent, .10 cent, .20 cent, .50 cent, 1 Euro, and 2 Euro. Last year we found around 88 Euro’s.

Upon our return home last year, Jim Jr. bought a rock tumbler to clean the Euro coins. German merchants are fickle about taking soiled coins. It worked out just fine, as the coins found last year were spent during this trip. On 3 Oct, Jim Jr. had to return home and back to work, but I stayed on to continue detecting.

On 5 Oct, I finished off one of the swimming areas and only found a few DMs, Pfennings, Euros and a key. On 8 Oct, I detected a swimming area that we had detected last year and had some luck. I found a silver ring, a heart shaped necklace charm, several Euro's and DM's. The following day, I made my final visit to the same area and had very little luck, as the area had been pretty well worked out by the two of us. I only found a few Euro and DM coins. Overall the trip was a success in terms of jewelry and coins found. We look forward to next year to visit the fertile beaches in Northern Germany on an island called Insel Rugen.                                               


(Published November 2008 in PSTHC newsletter)


4000+ Coins Found at a Tacoma Pier 

When Bob McSwain goes treasure hunting, he doesn’t fool around. After carefully researching a pier area in Tacoma, Bob waited for a super low tide (minus 3 ft), which started on 5 June 2008, and with scoop in hand, made his way down to the sandy area beneath the pier and started to work. Well, this went on for three days during this particular low tide period. During those three days, Bob scooped up over 4,000 pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters and many Canadian coins as well. A breakdown of the coins found, yielded the following: 4,446 pennies, 122 nickels, 150 dimes, 72 quarters, and 85 Canadian coins. He also found one 1974 Eisenhower Dollar coin. This brought his total to $84.56.

Apparently, visitors to the pier, toss coins at a wooden beam some three feet away to see if they can lodge the coin on the pier top, but the majority of the coins fall to the base of the pillar and that’s where Bob was having a field day scooping them up. According to Bob, no detector was needed to find them, just his trusty sand scoop.

Well, the next time you  want to try your luck at  pitching coins at a certain Tacoma pier area, look closely under the pier before you toss your coins at the top of that wooden beam. Just hope they lodge, otherwise, you will probably hit Bob trying to find another thousand or so coins. Bob is a dedicated detectorist and has been a PSTHC member for over 2 1/2 years.

(Published September 2008 in PSTHC newsletter)


RARE Key Date Found1889 Canadian 10 Cents 

Rich Loveless  found a 1889 Canadian 10 Cents coin at Spanaway Park in an area next to the ball parks that had been dug up and refilled by park official.

The first coins of the Dominion of Canada, issued in 1870, were silver .5, .10, .25 and .50 cent pieces. All coins bore on the obverse the head of Queen Victoria. Silver coins bore the value and date in a crowned maple wreath on the reverse;  These coins were variously issued until 1901. In 1902 the crowned bust of Edward VII replaced the head of Queen Victoria. In 1911 the crowned bust of George V replaced that of Edward VII.

Two sold on EBAY for $12,853 in BU and $1189 in VG.

  (Published August 2008 in PSTHC newsletter)


 Father/Son Detecting Team Turns Up Treasures


A recent treasure-hunting trip to Germany and Italy proved to be an awesome, dream come true for the Ratcliff father and son detecting team. Jim Sr. and Jim Jr. say their research on Google Earth really paid off. After carefully checking out swimming areas close to their relatives’ home in Southern Bavaria (Germany), they made plans to hunt the local swimming areas. Armed with their White’s DFX detector and Bigfoot Coil, they made their way to a nudist unbathing/swimming area approximately two acres in size. They found out that not only do the nudists take off their clothes, but their jewelry comes off as well. After only three hours of hunting, the duo found a whopping nine silver rings, a silver cross pendant, two earrings and numerous coins, both new Euro coins and older DM (Deutsches Marks). The following morning they returned to the swimming area and found four more rings and a number of Euro coins.

The next few days of detecting at two other swimming areas they had researched turned up seven more silver rings, a pocket knife necklace ornament shaped like a shrimp, a silver earring, a silver chain and medal, pendant, token and several others items of jewelry. The swimming areas were ideal for detecting. The soil was soft, thus digging out a plug was easy and re-plugging left no signs of digging. During the summer months, these swimming areas are crowded with sunbathers and swimmers. “What makes Google Earth great is you can actually see where the blankets were laid out among the trees, making it easy to identify exactly where the sunbathers lay.” This research method proved invaluable prior to their departing for Europe.

On the Ratcliff’s trip to a beach near Pisa, Italy, they were surprised to find that the hotels along the beaches had exclusive rights to the property (beach fronts). The hotel staff set up beach chairs and umbrellas and either rented them out or provided them to their guests. This precluded the Ratcliffs from doing much detecting except for areas close to the shoreline The hotels also have an electric beach cleaner-type machine that rakes the beach and picks up small items such as pull-tabs, gum wrappers, bottle caps, etc. It was suspected that many rings and other jewelry were picked up along with the trash. The dry sand on this beach was very deep, approximately 16-18.” A substantial number of Euro coins and some small jewelry were found during the three days of detecting, but no rings.


All total, for a period of less than two weeks in the combined areas of Germany and Italy, the Ratcliffs found 20 silver rings, three bracelets, one silver necklace, one silver cross pendant, one pocket knife pendant, four silver earrings, two tokens, a silver pendant, several other pieces of jewelry, and 320 coins (Euro/DM) which equated to $136 U.S.

The father/son detecting team is already planning their next European trip to Insel Rugen in Northern Germany where the beaches are beautiful, white sand, 12-15” deep, and hopefully virgin territory for detecting. They have already researched some new swimming areas close to their relatives’ home that should prove to be a detector hunter’s paradise.    

(Trip taken and story written 2007)

Published in Lost Treasure Online NewsLetter September 16, 2008