A Beach Hunters Tale – 2014

I don’t often include other peoples articles in my blogs but I came across this one today and thought it would be a really great article to end off the year with.

It is written by a local South African metal detectorist (or treasure hunter as I prefer to call him) who has done exceptionally well this year and who truly inspires me. His name is Henry Clapton and he has kindly given me permission to post his article and pictures. Please enjoy!


It’s time to look back on 2014 and take stock, not just physical stock but mental as well. Having being detecting for 20 plus years and not taking things seriously; 2013 / 2014 saw a change in my lifestyle. Metal Detecting was one of them. I decided to set personal goals, the beaches being my challenge and finding gold my ultimate goal. Hunting means many things too many people and we all have our reasons for doing and enjoying this hobby. I made finding gold my challenge due to it being so difficult to locate, but also knowing it is there in large quantities. The key and challenge is how to get at it.

This story was not written for bragging rights, but to show you and what is possible. There are many hunters here in SA that have tally’s larger than mine in many many ways. So many factors come into play when we have to show figures and lay the cards on the table. Time and good equipment was number one on my list. Basic knowledge of your quarry, how it behaves and where it lives is a close second. I forced myself to play to a given set of rules and the results were astounding when one applies these rules.

My driving force was not personal enrichment as many would think. It was pitting my skills against the elements and the ever presence of the grinding competition this hobby commands.
It was a good year looking back. I have grown and still am. I had to draw knowledge from great local and international hunters to get to where I am today. The support and willingness to share info and techniques was invaluable and I thank you all. Being able to ask, listen and apply was crucial.

The finds:
In the past I would not record any items of value and had no system of keeping track of my finds. It was time I got organised. In the latter part of 2013 when the penny dropped, I kicked into top gear. Every find of value is recorded, especially gold. Gold and silver are weighed, bagged and tagged. I keep a meticulous photographic record of the days finds. Photos of the location and current conditions came into play on many occasions when returning to a site.

The ever presence of coins was a big speed bump in my book. Dig em out or leave them and cover more productive ground. In 2013 and the beginning of 2014 I was digging an average of R1000 in usable coins per month! I’m down to about R 200 per month now. Eventually I saw the coins as the beaches way of slowing me down. Very cleaver Neptune! I eventually got over my pre-programmed mindset of having to dig coins; it was difficult at first but no more. I’m not here to collect coins. My coin count is ridiculously low for 2014.

2014 Finds:
1 x Platinum ring, 76 x Gold rings, 18 x other gold items (283.2gr in total).
32 x Silver rings (76.8gr), 16 x Silver coins and 47 x other silver items (205.8gr), 2 x Titanium rings.
25KG’s of lead, 954 x pull tabs (yes, I kept them all) and 164 x junk rings.
It is actually quite amazing to look at all the items I kept over a 12 month period. Each item represents a signal and a hole……..that’s a lot of holes!


– Written by Henry Clapton, December 2014

Ralph - December 23, 2014 - 8:40 pm

Quite a lot of stuff. I enjoyed seeing the photos as well. Personally I cannot wait to empty my moonbag’s contents into the recycling bag.

Lindsey - January 5, 2015 - 11:00 pm

Hi – I am writing a bit of fiction for a Writer’s Circle I belong to. I am battling to find out what happens to found / buried objects worth quite a bit. My main character in my story is digging for jewellery that was buried by his jewel thief father. Someone told me that you can never trade this in as every jeweller has a record of the precious stones and metal he has in stock. All else has to be declared – so therefore there would be no point to finding buried treasure? Is this so? what happens with the stuff you find? Do you sell it to secondhand shops or jewellers or how does it work? Surely the value would decrease dramatically if it went to a secondhand shop? Thanking you, Lindsey

Marie - August 13, 2015 - 4:47 pm

Of course, it can be surprising as to the extent of what you can find beneath the sand when you decide to travel to the beach. However, if you would try to search underwater, the surprises can be endless.

Ben Scheepers - August 20, 2016 - 10:06 pm

Would love more tips and info on metal detecting regards Ben

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