Contest idea ("LordM's Epic Treasure Hunting Game") - see what you think

Discussion in 'Coin Chat' started by lordmarcovan, Dec 4, 2016.


What do you think of this contest idea?

  1. Sounds AWESOME! When do we begin?

    13 vote(s)
  2. Hm. Could be good. We'll see.

    2 vote(s)
  3. Sounds interesting, but needs tinkering. I will post suggestions.

    0 vote(s)
  4. Meh. Sounds half-baked. Might be good, might be lame.

    0 vote(s)
  5. This presents some issues/problems. I'll explain below.

    0 vote(s)
  6. Sounds OK for some folks, but not something I'd be interested in.

    3 vote(s)
  7. Sounds kind of dumb to me.

    0 vote(s)
  1. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & odd Moderator

    I had an idea for a contest that might be fun. It would, of course, involve a HUGE amount of work from me, above and beyond any prizes I'd give up.

    Here's how I'm thinking it could go...

    I have here in a couple of albums all of my metal detecting "keeper coins" found since 1992.

    Most of these, having been found before I had a camera or computer, do not have photographs, and have consequently never been shared online (never mind the fact that quite a lot of them are junk, despite being considered "keepers" by me). Now that I finally do have a satisfactory camera setup (albeit very little experience with it just yet), I've thought it would be nice to image my backlog of old finds... a little bit at a time. Perhaps ten or so per session. It will take months if not a year or more to work through the albums. (That's where the "epic" part comes in. It will be a huge task.)

    What I would do is shoot photographs of ten dug coins, say, in sequential order by the date they were found (I kept records at the time). Then I would announce that we were ready to play. Starting with the first coin, I would tell the story of how and where I found it, and any other details from the hunt that I remembered- but NOT what the coin is.

    At the end of my little story, I would then ask players to guess the coin (maybe the type first, then the date). When someone successfully guessed what it was, I would post the photograph of it and award points to the successful guesser(s). Then we would move on to the next find in the album.

    After every page in the "dug keepers" albums (the pages each hold 20 coin finds), I would offer an opportunity for players to redeem their points towards actual (non-dug) coin prizes. They could redeem their points then, or hold them until the next redemption period(s), to build up a bigger total towards a bigger prize. And at the end of the game, I would "buy out" any unredeemed points so those people would get something too (maybe just a modest PayPal gift of a penny or two per point).

    Needless to say, as per CT rules, nobody will be asked to pay a single cent to participate. The only thing the players would need to give up is a little attention and enthusiasm.

    Sound like fun?

    What would be in it for the players:
    • Treasure hunting stories to read and dug coins to look at
    • Chances to guess the finds and earn points
    • Chances to redeem points for real (non-dug) coin prizes
    • Fun, hopefully

    What would be in it for me:
    • A LOT of work, but long-needed work
    • Imaging of my detector finds
    • Practice with my new camera
    • Fun of sharing my stories and showing the finds
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2016
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  3. Mikey Zee

    Mikey Zee Delenda Est Carthago

    I voted and it sounds like a cool idea to me but one question: Are we allowed to 'cheat' and research or just guess? For me the fun would be guessing without the benefit of help and then researching later to discover the full story of the coin.
  4. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & odd Moderator

    Since these are detecting finds made in North Carolina and Georgia, for the most part, they're just going to be Mercury dimes and silver Roosies and War nickels and stuff like that. Despite one 2013 trip to England (which will be the very tail end of the albums- I think there are less than 400 finds total), I have not been a globetrotting treasure hunter who finds amazing stuff regularly. There have been a few very special finds, however (one or two nationally or internationally published). But even those are not terribly valuable in the monetary sense- only the historical sense.

    Let's try a practice round with the very first coin: DD-001 (my "DD" numbers stand for "Digger's Diary").

    It was found in my front yard in Swannanoa, North Carolina (affectionately called "Swannanowhere" by some locals).

    Here is my memory of the place. It had a tiny front yard, and was on a 1/10-acre lot. There was an old garage outbuilding in the back. I found a 1940 NC license plate and some other interesting old clutter in there. The house had been built in 1930, as worker housing for employees of the Beacon textile mill down the hill. To this day, the neighborhood is still called "Beacon Village", though Beacon is gone now.

    During WW2 when the Beacon workers went off to fight the Germans and Japanese, they brought in Mexican laborers to work in the mill. The houses were originally duplexes but ours had been converted into a single-family home. It must have at one time housed at least two families. My first wife and I bought the place for around $50K as a starter home in 1992. Seeing the current real estate values online just now surprised me.

    Here is a 2012 Google street view of the place. The landscaping has changed. There were no rock paths in 1992. In my day, it was much more open. The trees have grown. Marked is the approximate findspot of the first coin I dug with my new detector.


    My recordkeeping began in 1992 with that coin, after I bought my first modern VLF detector, a Garrett GTA-500. (I'd had detectors as a kid in the 1970s and '80s and even found one or two pieces of silver, but nothing except the memory of those finds remain.) Initially I kept every Wheat cent, even- anything the slightest bit old or interesting- but after several dozen of those piled up (now about a quart jar's worth), Wheaties don't make the "cut" for inclusion in the Digger's Diary "keepers" album- they go in the jar. Unless of course I find a key date one of these days. Best I've found for Wheaties datewise was a 1911-D, I think. I do put the best of each Wheat cent date I've dug into a Whitman folder. But only silver or other more interesting obsolete types usually make it into the DD album. Modern foreign coins go in the Wheatie jar, while older ones do make the DD album. I roll up and spend the modern change found.

    So... for a practice round...

    What is DD-001, my first detector find to go into the "keeper coins" album?

    Hint #1: surprisingly, it was NOT a US coin!

    Using the clues above, what country is it from? (10 points)

    What year was it struck? (10 points)

    Hint #2: once the country is determined, the date on the coin should be easier to guess, within a four-year span, again with the clues provided above.

    See how this might play out?

    Go ahead. Give it a try, and I'll post the answer after I photograph it.

    Heck, I'll even let our practice round winners keep their points if we start the game for real.
  5. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & odd Moderator

    As for the points, I'm thinking they'll only carry a 1- or 2-cent actual cash value for each point (payable via PayPal gift from me if any are left outstanding at the end of the game), but they will count for more towards coin prizes, when those are listed at the end of each 20-item page in the album and we do the redemptions.
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2016
  6. Mikey Zee

    Mikey Zee Delenda Est Carthago

    Well, you mention Mexican laborers during the WWII era so that's my guess---Mexico and dated in the early '40's
  7. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & odd Moderator

    @Mikey Zee - you have nailed the correct country (You get 10 points!) and are barking up the right tree as far as the coin's date goes- you just need to be more specific!
  8. Mikey Zee

    Mikey Zee Delenda Est Carthago

    OK, I'll pick 1942 :)
  9. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & odd Moderator

    @Mikey Zee has nailed the correct country of the first coin I found in 1992, and gotten 10 points.

    He is very close on the date, but not quite there.

    We'll let somebody else try to nail the date, for 10 more points.

    If nobody gets it after three more guesses, Mikey Zee, you may have another guess.
  10. Coinlover67

    Coinlover67 Well-Known Member

    Sounds like a good idea. How about 1943

    Sent from my A463BG using Tapatalk
  11. Coinlover67

    Coinlover67 Well-Known Member

    Another idea to consider is how you want to the answers posted. Either by PM or open forum.

    Sent from my A463BG using Tapatalk
  12. Stork

    Stork I deliver Supporter

    I'll bite. 1941.
  13. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & odd Moderator

    We'll post the answers in the open. Thanks for bringing up that point. This way people can see when we're getting closer to the answer. Speaking of which...

    @Coinlover67 - you were very, very close in your date guess. No cigar this time, but if nobody nails it after one more guess, you and @Mikey Zee may give it another try, for ten points.

    Since I'm letting the points count even though this is a "practice" round to work out any potential bugs, @Mikey Zee has now earned ten cents in the real world, based on the declared cash value. But I am thinking that when the prize redemption rounds come up every twenty finds or so, each point will count for five cents in trade value, meaning Mikey Zee has hypothetically earned himself a fifty-cent-value prize coin already, with those ten points.

    And of course he could save up these points. If I didn't put out any prizes he liked at the end of the first twenty finds, he could save the points up. Let's say, hypothetically, at the end of the game, somebody had built up, oh, 500 points. That would qualify them for a $25.00 prize (based on the "trade-in" redemption value of 1 point = 5 cents) , or, if they didn't like any of the prizes offered, a PayPal gift of $5.00 (based on the 1 point = 1 cent "cash" value).

    Obviously, nobody is going to get rich playing this game. But with this point system, everybody will get something, even if it's pretty piddly and minor. And therein lies a perfect metaphor for metal detecting. Big payouts are rare indeed, but lots of little payouts and fun can result.

    Worst case scenario, y'all get to read some little treasure hunting stories and see some coins, right? And get paid for it. (Even if it's just chump change).

    Everybody with me so far?
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2016
    Mikey Zee likes this.
  14. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & odd Moderator

    @Stork- again, very close, but not as close as CoinLover67 was. You've gotten colder, though you're still in that limited time window mentioned.

    Anybody else, including Mikey Zee or CoinLover67, may give it another guess.

    I'm thinking we'll have the answer in one or two more posts.
  15. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & odd Moderator

    So far we've established that it is a Mexican coin.

    The very close guesses we've had for the date are 1941, 1942, and 1943.

    Being there are only two years left that were part of the US involvement in WW2, when Mexican laborers would've kept the factory running while the boys were fighting overseas, there are only two years left to guess.
  16. Mikey Zee

    Mikey Zee Delenda Est Carthago

    As my last try, I'll throw in 1944 and let someone else try 1945.... Football beckons;)
  17. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & odd Moderator

    @Mikey Zee nailed the date and scored again! (10 points)!

    It was a 1944 Mexican coin. Stand by, and I shall post the new photo of it momentarily.

    You now have 20 points, Mikey Zee! That means 20 cents' PayPal gift credit, or a prize coin worth about one whole dollar! Woohoo! Don't go on any crazy spending sprees! LOL.

    And that's before we even get started. You may keep these points for when the game starts, if it does. And of course you can save them up over time, since if we start the game, it's going to be running a while.

    I want to see how the ratio of "AWESOME" votes stacks up first. For the record, I myself voted the "Hm. Could be good. We'll see." option.

    Thanks for being my guinea pig for the "beta testing". We'll do one more "practice" coin with DD-002 in a little while.
    Mikey Zee likes this.
  18. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & odd Moderator


    MEXICO: 5 CENTAVOS, 1944-Mo

    Mexico City mint. This type is called a "Josefa", after Josefa Ortiz de Dominguez, whose portrait is featured on the coin. She was a patriot in the Mexican War of Independence in the early 1800s.
    Found: Fall, 1992, my front yard, Dennis Street, Swannanoa, NC.
    Approx. depth: 3".
    Detector: Garrett GTA-500.
    • First coin found!

    Here is the NGC/Krause/Numismaster listing. As you can see, even a non-dug UNC example of this coin is only worth a dollar. With VF-ish details and environmental damage, as a dug example? Pfff! I'd be lucky if it was worth five or ten cents, monetarily.

    However, it was a thrilling find. And it was a tangible link to the story about the Mexican laborers who occupied the house during the war. This is what makes dug relic coins cool in the historical appeal category, even when they have little monetary value in the numismatic sense.

    Ready to try one more? DD-002, my next dug "keeper", is nicer. These 1992 finds were the very beginning of my "serious" detecting. After I found the next one, I went through a long, frustrating finds-drought and almost gave up. I put the detector in the closet for nine months or so before I took it out again. I was then literally minutes from giving up for good when DD-003 presented itself, broke the jinx, and hooked me into the hobby for life, but we'll discuss that one later, when the game goes live, if it does.
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2016
    Mikey Zee likes this.
  19. willieboyd2

    willieboyd2 First Class Poster

    Good luck!

    Last edited: Dec 4, 2016
  20. H8_modern

    H8_modern Attracted to small round-ish art

    I would guess 1945 20 centavos based on what are most common Mexican coins of that period. At least from what I've seen.

    Wrong guess and late by about a minute
  21. lordmarcovan

    lordmarcovan Eclectic & odd Moderator

    @willieboyd2 - this contest is about MY past detecting finds. Players will read the stories and clues and guess what the find was before I post a picture of it. (Yes, a few of these were "eyeball" finds like your "gold penny", but not many.)

    Read the ongoing conversation. It may get a little confusing in places, but this is why we are presently in the "beta testing" version of the contest, before I actually launch it. This is a shakedown to see how it might play out, and this is a thread for people to make suggestions and vote on whether they'd like to actually see this posted on the Contests forum or not.

    @H8_modern - That's OK. There will be plenty more coins to guess at. I'll post DD-002 shortly, for one more test play, and then sit back and watch the poll and maybe try to snap some coin photos for if and when I launch the contest. (If I do, play will begin with DD-003.)
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