Sometime in the late 90s, I decided to follow my dream of metal detecting and treasure hunting. I lived in a city that didn’t seem to have any detector stores, but I had read so many detecting magazines, and they made it look so easy. They always showed some guy in the Midwest with his huge treasure stash of silver rings, or the guy in the Deep South who just found Jesse James’ missing loot. Apparently all you had to do was buy a metal detector, fresh batteries, and just swing it until you found that big treasure. I figured it really didn’t matter which detector you bought, so long as it was a name brand in decent shape.
So I got on eBay and proceeded to purchase 2 metal detectors, sight unseen. They looked to be in good condition and the action pictures the people posted made them seem like they were just what I needed to start out. I bought a Garrett underwater detector, and what turned out to be a pretty old Whites blue box detector that was very uncomfortable and used C batteries, which added to the weight. It was good for about 7 inches depth, and a real pain to use. The Garrett was even worse. Since it was a water machine, the guy I purchased it from had a very short 18 inch shaft for diving. This meant that for me to use it on land, I would be constantly bending over like a human pretzel, and that was no fun at all. After a few excursions with these detectors, I decided I had had enough, and I put them in the closet. So there they stayed, collecting dust. Metal detecting just didn’t seem that fun at all. This certainly was not how to start metal detecting.
Finally a practical detector I could use
Those two detectors stayed in the closet for years and so did my dreams of becoming a big time treasure hunter. I had almost given up on the whole thing, but somewhere deep inside, it was always gnawing at me. My big break happened when I walked into a local Goodwill Store, and there in the corner, hidden behind ski poles and a water ski, was a Garrett Ace 250 metal detector. It was just the right size, it looked in great condition, and best of all, it was only $32. I couldn’t lose. It was the perfect beginners detector for that time. I took it home and put 4 brand new AA batteries in it, and turned it on. It worked! I quickly ran outside and swung it around the front lawn, and I actually found about 48 cents in quarters, dimes and pennies. I was hooked. The next day I went to the local park and found a few bottle caps, some tin foil, and two buffalo nickels. This was amazing. All this stuff hidden in the ground and people walked over it everyday, not having a clue what was under their feet. Over time I found more coins, much more junk, and a few relics as well. I new that my detector was for beginners, so I started looking for a better one.
The new kid in town
I watched craigslist for weeks, and finally found a better detector. A Garrett AT Pro. This baby detected much deeper than my Ace, and I could ground balance it. That allowed me tune out the mineralized soil I was detecting in.
Here’s a little warning: unless you know what you are doing, buying a used detector can be risky from eBay or Craigslist, You don’t know what you are getting for your money. Why are they selling it? Did the person outgrow it, or does it have hidden problems that they aren’t telling you about. Is the warranty expired? Is it a counterfeit? You won’t know until you use it awhile.
I kept that detector for many years and acquired several more along the way. At some point I got wise and purchased demo detectors and trade ins from a reputable dealer. Not only do you get a detector that you know works, but they will also walk you through using it, and answer any questions you might have.
So here is really how to start metal detecting
I realized how important it is to have a dealer who supports you in this hobby. Someone who has been where you are and can answer your questions. That is why we make ourselves available to our customers here at Dogtown Trading Company. Let us help you find a detector that will fit your needs and budget. We carry the Garrett Ace 300 and the Nokta Simplex+ for beginners, the AT Pro series and the Nokta Legend for intermediate coin hunters, Gold machines like the Goldmaster 24K and the new Garrett Axiom for prospectors. We even have the Garrett ATX Deep Seeker and Nokta Deephunter 3D for the advanced detectorist. There are also pinpointers, shovels, sand scoops, and pouches.
Browse through our shop, and if you have any questions, please contact us. We want to make sure you get the right detector for you and succeed at this hobby. Selling you the wrong detector won’t make either one of us happy.
Dogtown Trading Company
P.O. Box 413
Magalia, CA 95954
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