Rideout’s metal detector, an AT Pro International, makes different tones for different metals. Silver for example will produce a high tone like a bell whereas iron will be sound like a low grunting.
Once a target is detected, a small plug is dug and the sod carefully peeled back. Many items are often found less than 10 inches of earth.
“This hobby allows me to touch and hold pieces of a different time — it's an unexplainable feeling,” Rideout said. “I wonder sometimes what people were doing when they lost these items.”
One of the first targets rang in at 81-82 which meant we had probably found a penny — in fact it was a 1941 Newfoundland penny.
“Coins to me hold a significant historical value and very rarely have any monetary value,” Rideout said.
Coins are one of his favourite things to find and Rideout added the penny to his collection that also includes an 1826 British large cent, 1908 sliver Newfound five cent, 1886 Canadian large cent, 1896 Newfoundland large cent and an 1878 Spanish 10 centimos to name a few.
The second target we dug was a livery crest button from the 1700s. Digging the treasures isn’t the only interesting part for Rideout, he enjoys researching the history of the items. This button was worn by servants of wealthy households during that time period. Items found that can be identified as belonging to a person or family are especially important as Rideout will try and find their owners and return them.
One of many musket balls Jerry Rideout has found on Sandy Point in Laurenceton. He has also found shotgun shells from 1920.
Among his other finds are colonial boot buckles, spoons, old lighters, thimbles and belt buckles.
Those who enjoy the hobby of metal detecting always follow a code of ethics to ensure the hobby is respected and preserved for generations to come. Jerry Rideout provided the rundown on the code.
• Always ask permission before digging on private property.
• Keep the area clean.
• Take all trash that is dug out of the ground (not all finds are keepers).
• Refill any and all holes that are dug by retrieving an item without disrupting too much of the area.
• Respect the public.
• Report the discovery of any significant historical items to a local historian or museum.
When the metal detector rings out with a signal, Jerry Rideout never quite knows what will be under the surface. The beach at Sandy Point in Laurenceton has yielded some of Rideout’s most fascinating finds — it’s where we went detecting.