Dave Wise’s Cellar Hole Redemption

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Dave Wise with his exceptional find

It was 3 a.m. this past Saturday morning, and the coffee was brewing as in my sleepy-went-to bed-at-11:30 p.m. stupor I was making final preparations for the day, re-checking my gear for a third time.

A quick check of the weather; in the 80’s today & humid.  I decided to nix the camo gear for some baggy cotton trail pants, and made sure to pack extra water.

I was exhausted, but on the road by 3:30 a.m. to meet Todd Hiltz & Dave Wise for a day of detecting.  Exhausted or not, Todd’s invitation had been on the table for a while, and this was an opportunity to get out in the woods and hunt some of those cellar hole sites Todd & Dave are always posting about on their Facebook pages.  I was happy to finally be able to join them.

I met up with the guys and the first thing I noticed was how awake and alert Todd was.  The visions of large cents dancing in my head were quickly replaced by visions of me getting separated from the pack, only to be found in the middle of the woods, sleeping soundly behind a fallen log after a day long search by authorities.

I don’t think Dave had gotten much sleep either, but I had to give him props, because after hurting his knee pretty badly the previous week while escaping from and encounter with a nest of angry hornets, he was willing to trapse through the woods again a week later.

We got under way, and reached our destination shortly after sunrise.  We did a quick, low profile, –yeah we’re allowed to be here, but we don’t want any questions– entrance, and after successfully dousing ourselves with Deet, we headed into the forest to find that first cellar hole.

It’s lucky for me that Dave & Todd are good at reading a GPS, and carry hand drawn maps with them.  If left up to me, I think I would still be wandering aimlessly looking for a pile of rocks.  It’s also helpful to have a scout like Todd lead the way, unless you like spiders for lunch—Thanks Todd!

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One of the cellar holes

We reached the first site shortly and began our search.  The site was heavily laden with iron, and the signals were a hard read. I was swearing as my E-trac read 12/43, but only produced an old faucet handle.  I decided to try another area, and pulled out my usual oxen shoe. I began to get discouraged, and thought we might be heading out soon if the guys weren’t finding anything, so I tried the area over near where we left our gear. Suddenly, I got a sweet, loud signal.  Happy to hear it, I dug down about 4 inches, and out popped a coin.  It was hard to make out, but by its size I knew it was either a large cent or a CT Copper (after cleaning it turned out to be an 1818 large cent).  I silently thanked the universe, and went to take a break.  My day was now complete.

Dave and Todd returned, and I happily displayed my coin. Dave had found some cool recyclable barn door latches, and Todd found some old tent grommets. We decided the site had been hit pretty hard, and moved on to site two.

The second site looked promising.  A large old foundation with a lot of stone walls, it was obvious it had once been a busy place.

We went our separate ways, and after a quick search of the perimeter, I went back toward the cellar hole.  I had dug a few miscellaneous items, and as soon as I got near the area where we left our gear at this site, I got an awesome signal.  It was very shallow, and even though there was not a lot of garbage, I expected an old soda can to appear.  I put my pinpointer to the ground, and using it as a shovel, about an inch down was another large cent. Two in one day….awesome!

We detected that site for a couple of hours, and it turned up a bunch of buttons for Dave, a complete horse rosette, some buttons, a baby spoon bowl, and an 1859 Indian Head Penny for Todd.  I managed a couple of buttons and perhaps a drawer pull or ornament of some kind.

Todd and I had both found coins, and Dave was discouraged saying he was looking for a shot at redemption, so we packed up and headed for a new site, hoping Dave would find a coin, so the day would be a success for all.

We got to the site which was quite overgrown, the guys headed in one direction, and I in another.  When I met up with them, they had found some buttons and a horse stirrup, and I had nothing to show for my efforts.  We again went in separate directions, and as I came back towards Dave, he yelled and motioned for me to come over.  Excited, I hurried to where him and Todd now were.  As I neared them I could see by the look on Dave’s face that he had fulfilled his dream of redemption.

imageI looked at the hole he dug, and I was astonished.  Although covered by dirt, I could see the silver shining through, and thought for sure it was a reale.  As they brushed the dirt off of it, it became apparent it wasn’t a reale, but what was it?  It turns out Dave had found a 1721 Pistareen.  I had seen pictures before, but never seen one in person, and I was blown away by the detail and condition of the coin.  I have never seen a coin that old come out of the ground in such beautiful condition.  I grabbed my camera, because this was truly one of those finds of a lifetime that needed to be shared.

image (1)The day ended in a celebratory mood, and I’d like to say no one got skunked, but I think Dave skunked us all in the end.

Here are pics of the coin after cleaning. Congratulations to you Dave-that was one hell of a find!



7 thoughts on “Dave Wise’s Cellar Hole Redemption

  1. Wow that was a great outing….Nice finds Diva. I am envious.

    Todd and Dave continue to amaze me and piss me off at the same time….somebody needs to cut their coil wires.

  2. Yes, Todd and Dave are an amazing team. A lot of fun to hunt with too.
    Cutting their coil wires…that seems a little severe, but I can see your point. LOL.

  3. Allyson, I hope you had fun bush whacking with us. Most detectorist are not cut out for what Dave and I put ourselves through in order to find some 18th and 19th century relics. You did awesome and had some great finds.
    Yes, Dave and I have an ongoing competition on who will find more coppers by the end of the year, – I have a good lead on Dave my count is 40 coppers and he’s at 29 or 30, but you have nothing to prove to me or anyone else. Your reputation as a ” Detecting Diva ” precedes itself.
    BTW , Your welcome about the spiders, I will gladly eat them for lunch to protect a ” detectorista ” that has the same passion for the hobby as I do.

    1. what a great day! nice to finally hunt with Allyson! Todd on the other hand is like my siamese twin.we get along well and hunt well together as a team.
      For the record Todd, the day you top 92 in one year I promise I will fork over my crown to you lol.
      I just love this aspect of metal detecting.some are park hunters,others love the beach & then there’s our type who love nothing more than being in the woods at colonial foundations uncovering relics & coins from the birth of our nation era..Look forward to the next hunt! Hey Dick..I still love ya man!

      1. Dave-

        Likewise on finally getting out to hunt together.

        I’ve always loved hunting in the woods. A lot of DEET never hurt anyone…..or not?

        A little friendly competition between friends keeps things interesting. Maybe I can up the ante by earning the title “Copper Queen” by the end of the year?

        In any case, I don’t think many can top that beautiful Pistareen, unless they find a bunch of GW buttons, hey wait–that’s you–I’d say you are officially your own competition now 🙂
        Happy Hunting! ~~Allyson

    2. Todd, (aka “Scout”)–
      Wow, what a great day. There is nothing I enjoy more than hunting from sun up until sun down with others that are as passionate (or obsessive) about the hobby as myself.
      Yours and Dave’s copper count is impressive, and considering the research you put into the sites you hunt, very well deserved. I think you both deserve crowns.

      And as a man who detects AND protects me from spiders, you deserve a special crown for that alone!

      Oh, and I’m sorry Dave and I sent you into the scary underbrush to scout out possibles, but Dave was dealing with that handicap, and someone had to stay near him should he need help.~~Allyson

  4. A 1721 Pistareen. Wow, crazy good!

    It sounds like Allyson is not only a good detectorist but brings you good luck as well. You may want to invite her on more hunts.

    Allyson: Congrats on making the magazine cover.

    — Daniel

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