By: J.R. Hoff
In the past year, I have received quite a few emails concerning the subject of where to actually go coin shooting. Visitors to the web site have probably already gathered that schools, churches and parks are some pretty good places to go coin shooting as evidenced by my finds.
One has to keep in mind that you have to hunt the older places if you want to find quality coins. Coin shooting a school that was built in the 70's is typically not going to produce silver coins and wheat pennies. Look for the older schools. Some of these schools had corner stones with the date on them, others have a plaque in the entrance where you can usually see it if you peer through the front doors. It is not hard to distinguish an old school from the new modern types. The old schools are being torn down at an alarming rate and new schools are built right onto the old property. This is where research would pay off.
Churches are my favorite place to coin shoot because they hold the oldest coins. Why? Because churches are usually the oldest building in the community! They were probably the first building erected in a small town after the homes were built. Every Sunday all of the town folk would gather at the church and children would play on both sides, front, and in back of the church. Trees are great places to search under at an old church. It was a good place to get out of the sun on a hot day and children loved to climb and play in them. Remember, they didn't have jungle gyms back then.
Other places to search are gazebo's and bandshells. These places were usually center stage for a large crowd gathering back in the 1800-1900's. Gazebo's can be found on church grounds, parks and city courtyards. Bandshells can be found in the same places but they offer the additional bonus of a seating area to coin shoot around. They are excellent sources of quality coins and the older the better.
There is a host of other locations to coin shoot and the list is as long as your imagination. Coins are found where money exchanged hands or could fall out of pockets or purses. that means there are a lot of places to go coin shooting. Old drive-in movies are good sources. Sure, they are full of trash but there are ways to get around that. A smaller coil will allow the coin shooter to actually detect
between pieces of trash. Discrimination options can cut a lot of the trash out. Some detectors have a bell tone alert or TONE ID which really sounds off on coins but gives a low hum on trash. Most drive-ins had a playground in front of the screen which is an excellent source of coins.
The grassy areas between the sidewalks and the road are another good source of coins. Check with the homeowner before you start detecting. It may be public property but it is only common courtesy to ask first. Besides, they might give you some more clues on where to hunt. The grassy medians in the center of the road in some housing areas are another good source for finding coins. Children would use these areas as football and baseball fields. Don't forget to check around old parking meters if they are in the grassy area next to the sidewalks. If they still have grass around them you can bet you will find some silver!
Another area that is usually not hunted is under old bleachers. I have said it before on HDWT, these places are silver mines. Sure, they have a lot of trash but it is worth digging up a little trash if you are finding silver. Remember, the older fields pulled double duty as baseball fields as well as a football fields. Let's put the bleacher area in another perspective. Let's say the average "old" bleacher had 200 spectators per game once a week. If you are hunting under school bleachers, they were probably used at least 8 months out of the school year. That is 32 weeks where 200 spectators were gathered together and lost coins. If the school was built in the 40's that is 60 years of loosing coins in a confined area. See what I mean!
Always ask permission when hunting the places mentioned above. It is not hard to get permission to hunt at a church. Remember, it is open every Sunday. Go early and ask to hunt at another time when they are not so busy. Schools are the same way. Just go in to the main office and ask. Make sure you point out that you WILL be returning lost class rings and other identifiable items. For public parks it is best to inquire at city hall. Better yet, ask the local police. They are the ones that enforce the laws concerning coin shooting. Be sincere and let them know that you carry all trash items out and the only thing you are leaving behind are your footprints.