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Summer Guide 2015

How to Unearth $1,500 by a Lake in White Plains

Metal-detector-wielding New Yorkers reveal the best things they’ve found.

Find buried treasure  

“I found a very valuable copper coin in a park in Danbury, Connecticut. Most coppers aren’t rare, but it turns out there were under 65 in the world of this particular kind. I was offered $3,000 just based on a photo.”
Pro Tip: “Be creative: Find old cellar holes by stone walls in the woods, or try Rockaway Beach after a storm.”Allyson Cohen,, eight years detecting

“I was up on Hunter Island, where an old mansion used to be, when my signal went off. It was really loud, so I thought I had something good. We dug down three feet, and I found myself looking at the hood of what seemed to be a 1940s Chevy.”
Pro Tip: “Do it for the fun and the exercise, not for the million-dollar payoff.”Philip Ocasio, Bronx Explorer’s Treasure Hunting Club, 39 years detecting

“I once found $1,500 in a Mason jar. I showed it to a friend,and he knew the exact park, Silver Lake Preserve, by a lake in White Plains where I had found it. Turns out he had dug it up the year before and put it back! It was all wrapped in plastic, so he thought it was drugs and didn’t touch it. I gave him all the money in the end.”
Pro Tip: “When you dig up and cover holes, be as neat as if it was your front lawn. One sloppy digger can ruin it for the rest of us.”Russ Bergenson, Noreasters Metal Detecting Club, 21 years detecting

“I came upon a Revolutionary War pistol in the woods on Staten Island—I won’t tell you exactly where. I thought it was scrap metal at first, and it rolled around in my truck for a couple of weeks. By the time I cleared it out, some of the dirt had come off and you could sort of make out the shape of a gun. I took it to a guy who’s been hunting for 30 years, and sure enough, it was the barrel of a pistol with the handle rotted off.”
Pro Tip: “Get a Garrett Ace 250. It’s a simple turn-on-and-go machine, cheap enough to start with, but it’ll find you the good stuff.” Steve Ciriaco, East Coast Research and Discovery Association, eight years detecting

“I recently discovered a stash of locks on Tottenville Beach. I traced them back to a German manufacturer, and it turns out they were similar to the locks on luggage coming into Ellis Island. The mystery is, why were all those locks on this StatenIsland beach?”
Pro Tip: “Carry a garbage bag. Nails, needles—anything you pick up but don’t want, take it with you and throw it away.”Ed Fanuzzi, Staten Island History Hunters, 20 years detecting