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Story: 10 Cents 1899O

Location Type Old Park
Detecting Time 3.0 hours
Detector Minelab E-Trac with 15x12 SEF and DX-1

With summer finally over and cooler temps prevailing three of my hunt buds (TXTim, Bazooka, SSEHunter) and I planned to meet at a Houston park around 8AM. Everyone was hunting already when I showed up so I got my gear on and fired up the E-Trac. We shot the shoot for a while - after all we had not hunted together for a few months.

1899O Barber Dime

From the Google Earth view I had decided to hunt a group of trees that I was hoping represented some older ground. This park is near the ship channel and is some of the oldest occupied land in Houston. The earth has been extensively disturbed in most places. When hunting parks like this, parks that have been hunted for years, I figure I have two choices:

  • Finesse: Hunt using all the skills and tools you can bring to bear in your search; basically hunt it better and more thoroughly than previous hunters. Gridding, different coils, searching slowly and methodically, concentration, digging everything within reasonable limits and a bit of luck define this search mode. I use this if I know I have a lot of time, or if it is shown that this time-intensive approach produces well in a specific area.
  • Brute Force (depth): Going for depth usually entails using larger coils which preclude the full implementation of a thorough search. You generally will have too many targets under the coil in trashy spots, but if you go slowly you can pick out some deepies that others may have missed. If you can go deeper than the previous generations of detectorists you are bound to pick up signals they could not. Going for depth has a lot of advantages - you can cover a lot of ground and I find it a bit more relaxing since you are not feeling your way through every signal but rather concentrating on just the deeper signals. You might dig fewer holes this way, especially if the site strata show that the good targets are at depth.
1899O Barber Dime

Typically I end up using a combination of these two methods, but on this hunt I was going for depth in areas that did not contain a lot of trash.

SSEHunter and I headed into the trees and started finding clad right away. I was hunting along a purposely planted row of pine trees and got one of my favorite sounds, 12-45 on the E-Trac. The purity of the signal generated by a silver coin is a wonderful thing. I saw the edge and telltale silver color in the dirt at about 5 or 6 inches. I called SSEHunter over and we got enough of the dirt off to see what it was. It came out of the ground pretty much exactly as it is shown...all I did was rinse it off.

The price guide from CoinValues.com says it is worth from $13 to $20,000, but it is probably at the $155 range (Thanks to TxTim for the heads-up on the value). Strike was 2,650,000.

The Complete Guide To Certified Barber Coinage by David and John Feigenbaum says "This year is similar to the 1898 issues. 1899-P comes well struck and is a common date. 1899-O however, is much scarcer than first realized, especially when one tries to find a decent strike."

Old park hunt

Happy Hunting!
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