MEET THE DETECTORIST: LEE
Editor's note: Recently I had the opportunity to talk (online) with Lee, one of our most active forum members and friends. I asked him several questions related to his past and present experiences with detecting, as well as about life in general. At my request, he allowed me to share his responses with all of you, and to summarize some of his comments. They are detailed in the article below.
My first question to Lee was how he initially became interested in the hobby.
"It was 1978 and I was walking to school with my mate John when all of a sudden he looked down and picked up a Roman Constantine I gold coin sticking out of the mud next to the sidewalk. It had rained heavily the night before and it must have washed away the topsoil where it had been hiding for the best part of 2 thousand years. Looking at the chunk of gold in his hand I exclaimed, "Just think what we would find if we had one of those metal detecting thingies!"
This marked Lee's introduction into the metal detecting hobby.He and his friend talked their mums into buying them Panasonic metal detectors, and off they went - living in England at the time, they immediately started finding Roman, Victorian, and Georgian coins.
Two years passed, and as kids will, they eventually became bored and moved on to other things - football, rugby, girls... and the metal detectors were tossed in the attic to be lost among the other "junk".
Fast-forward to Christmas 2011. "By this time, I'm a butcher for Whole Foods, married, and living in the good ol' USA, my early detecting years forgotten," Lee recalls.
"I happened to mention to my lovely American wife about my time hunting in England. and lo and behold, there I was Christmas morning opening up a White's Coinmaster detector."
"Looking at my wife with confusion on my face, I said 'Why did you buy me this?' 'You said you wanted to go metal detecting' was her reply. My response was, 'I did?'"
Well, the rest is history, and now Lee is totally hooked again.
Lee has been an active member of the American Detectorist forum since 2011. His several hundred posts on the forum share details of his detecting trips and are supportive of others on the forum in response to their questions and sharing of finds.
Lee lives in the Northeast United States and detects as much as possible. He enjoys detecting with several other members of the American Detectorist forum on a regular basis.
I asked Lee to tell me about his favorite finds. "Two or three memorable finds stick out in my head from the last year of hunting your fair country", Lee tells me. "One is my first old coin, a Vermont copper found at a park - and still the deepest coin I've ever found. I still have no idea how the Coinmaster picked it up as deep as it did."
"The next is my 1798/99 large cent found on the front lawn of one of the 10 adventurer's houses at only 2 inches deep."
"And last but not least - my day out with Angel. I found nothing but an old button, but to be there when he pulled out a Barber quarter and later a Spanish reale was one of the high points of my life, let alone my metal detecting career!"
Lee prefers to detect old parks and open fields, but also loves to detect old cellar holes although he claims to have never found "anything worth mentioning".
"I now go detecting a lot with my mates ChrisinCT, bama, and whoever else wants to come along and enjoy the madness which is 'Lee and Chris go hunting!!!'"
When I asked Lee what advice he would give newcomers to the hobby, Lee responded, "Although I've only been detecting over here for just over a year and feel woefully inadequate to give any of you advice on this hobby, a few things do stick out. The most important in my view is something Angel said to me: 'Work slow and try to disregard the shallow signals - try and tune them out.'"
"'Never walk away from a good signal' is another good one. Personally I love getting a good signal under a massive tree root and digging under it. If the root's that big the thing under it must be old!"
"And last but not least, make friends with a detectorist who has been doing it for few years. Their knowledge is invaluable. Go out with them, learn from them. I've had the pleasure of hunting with Angel and just recently Paul (CTDirtFisher), and what they told me will only make me a better detectorist."
Although Lee does want to upgrade from the Coinmaster, he says "I have no idea why? This thing is a coin magnet! And it paid for itself in the first 4 months of owning it. As ChrisinCT says 'Why - I've got a v3i and you find just as much as me if not more you crazy Brit!'"
"I can't 'big up' the White's Coinmaster enough. to anybody starting out this machine for 189 bucks is just amazing."
From my own observation, some of Lee's most interesting recent posts include his finds of a lead soldier and gold ring dug during the last couple of weeks.
Lee finishes with the following: "I would just like to thank Angel and Epi for running a fantastically addictive forum and giving me the chance to ramble on like some sort of nutcase British bloke... oh hold on... that's what I am!"
"Good luck to all and happy hunting."
I will add here, from my own perspective, one thing that I recall about Lee that - in my opinon - says much about his character. Not long after the Connecticut school shootings, during the time that it was weighing heavily on all our minds, there was a post on our "Off-Topic" forum from a member wondering why other members were not discussing this event. Lee's response, which struck a chord with me personally, was the following: "Sometimes silence speaks a thousand words, and in this case I think it shows by the lack of posts just how we all feel."
Thank you Lee for your friendship and contributions to American Detectorist!