When’s the last time you spotted a coin on the ground and picked it up? It’s one of life’s little victories. You’re overcome by a brief fleeting sense of elation as you realize that you didn’t have to work for this coin and …its tax free to boot! Take that experience and multiply it by 200,000 and you’ll know how Jim Mack of Central Point, Oregon feels.
Jim is what you could call a “blue collar” treasure hunter. The tools of his trade include a metal detector, a probe for exploring the ground and a pouch for his goodies.
Most detectorists have a specialty or hopeful objective such as old coins, jewelry, gold nuggets or in Jim’s case modern American coins. In Jim’s own words he is searching for “MONEY” and he is very good at it. A retired math teacher, Jim has meticulously kept records of his finds. He is at over 207,000 coins, since getting hooked on the hobby in 1982. The total increases almost every day.
Somewhat of a living legend among fellow treasure hunters in southern Oregon, Jim is vice president of the Rogue Valley Coinshooters out of Grants Pass. This club is a member of the National Federation of Metal Detector and Archaeological Clubs (FMDAC). Most of the over 175 clubs that belong to the federation are family centered groups whose members get together to share the excitement of their finds, plan club outings and socialize. To find a local metal detecting club check out the federation’s website at www.fmdac.org.
Jim has utilized a number of detectors over the years from different manufacturers such as Fisher, Garrett and Tesoro. His favorite detectors are made by White’s Electronics of Sweet Home, Oregon. So much so that he owns eight detectors … all White’s detectors!
White’s Electronics is a family owned business with over 200 employees, has shown steady growth for almost 60 years. With over 50% of the market share for detectors, White’s is proud that each detector is made in America. According to Steve Howard, a White’s home office marketing representative, “the demand for medal detectors goes up when the economy is slumping. The high price of gold, silver and copper hasn’t hurt either.”
Jim spends a lot of his hunting time at school yards and parks where lost coins are plentiful. He has found some interesting items such as WW2 Nazi medals, silver dollars and loads of lost jewelry. Aluminum, the bane of most hunters, is just another treasure to Jim. One year he made over $300 by cashing in aluminum cans that he picked up during his adventures. How about those lead wheel weights? These have been carefully molded into hundreds of pounds of fishing sinkers. He has over 250 lbs of sinkers in his garage today. Jim is what’s called a “wide scan” treasure hunter. According to Jim, “if it has value it’s worth picking up”.
At 73 years of age, Jim is thankful for the hobby and finds it rewarding in many ways. In addition to the coins, jewelry and non-ferrous metals he gets plenty of fresh air and exercise. He highly recommends the pastime to young and old alike.