On The Road: Treasure Hunters
It lies just under the surface of the dirt and most people walk right over it ever day. What is it? Buried treasure! Today I went On the Road with the Lone Star Treasure Hunters club as they search an East Dallas lot for what hides beneath the ground.
Armed with metal detectors and a fervent hope of finding something great they search a lot of a home that has recently been demolished.
Veteran treasure hunter Mike Skinner shows beginner Randall Carmen how to sweep the ground and know when the beeping of the metal detector is telling him there is something worth looking at. “Thrill of the hunt! I guess that’s it right there” says Skinner as picks up a clod of dirt to examine what’s inside. “It’s fun! See what you can find. Maybe find a little piece of history.” The ball of that he unearths reveals a pull tab this time. It’s what I thought a pull tab!” When asked how many of those he has found he replies this makes “eight million-nine hundred and sixty four” Most treasure hunter hate to find bottle caps and pull tabs but pick them up and dispose of them properly.
Carmen has a little more luck as he wipes mud off of a 1938 Mercury Dime. It’s his first find and one that will probably have him hooked on the hobby. “It was pretty exciting, just the possibility of finding something valuable” says Carmen.
Coins are mostly what they find around the Dallas/Fort Worth area. It’s hard to find something older than 150 years old because that;s about how long Texas has been here. Member do go other places to hunt for relics from the civil war. Skinner shows off his collection of things found near civil war camps. He has a number of mini balls and uniform buttons.
The Lone Star Treasure Hunter meet once a month at the Garden and Arts Center in Irving to show off all the cool stuff they have found in the past month, they call it the “find of the month” Everything from gold and silver jewelry, to old coins and tokens, to old relics from the past. “This is a toy soldier found in a dirt lot over here in Irving” says one of the members as he shows off a lead machine gunner toy soldier that dates back to the 1940’s.
It’s like a competition to see who can find the best stuff. Things that would other wise be lost forever. “It’s totally amazing what people walk over every day and really don’t realize what’s under your feet” says member Mike Lacy, “If you knew and you found one, you’d be hooked.”
The treasure hunter are quick to point out they only hunt on property where they have permission to hunt. Almost all of them say they don’t sell what they find. It is either donated for historical purposes or in their private collections. One member does keep track of the loose change he has found over the years and says he is over four thousand dollars in change alone. That’s more than enough to pay for his hobby and keep him hunting for more.