Distinctive Markings: A spade to dig up buried treasure, and pockets bulging with finds.
Natural Enemies: The dog walkers who get to the lost pound coins first.
Mating Call: ?Would you like to see my collection of pre-war pennies??
Ken doesn?t like to call himself ?Metal Detector Man?, or his hobby?s proper name: a detectorist. In his mind he?s a treasure hunter, savouring the adrenalin rush that comes from not knowing what buried hoards he?ll find beneath the beaches of Jersey.
He would have loved to have been a deep-sea diver, discovering lost wrecks and unearthing hidden treasure, but even snorkeling gets him a bit panicky, so he decided to stay on the shore instead. No doubloons or pirate cutlasses for Ken, instead his trusty MineLab metal detector turns up lost car keys buried in the sand, mobiles, spare change ? and even the odd gold tooth.
Out first thing and last thing at night, slowly scouring the beach with slow sweeps of his metal detector, the locals have him pegged as a bit odd. A loner. Ken just smiles to himself. How could they understand the thrill of the single high-pitched beep that signals a find, the way your heart beats faster as you dig through the sand, and then that delicious ?clink? as your spade hits metal? Of course, Ken always hopes he?s going to discover the find of the decade, a hidden Viking hoard perhaps, or a mediaeval gold ring. But he?d probably be happy with a well-preserved Victorian penny and perhaps ?Coin of the Month? at the Channel Islands Metal Detecting Club, Ken thinks to himself as he digs down through the sand – only to unearth yet another Heineken ring pull.
It all started when he inherited an old metal detector from his pub quiz mate Stan. He started practice sweeps of his garden ? it was a bit like hoovering – and within minutes he?d turned up the spare car keys he?d lost back in 1992. Sue next door called him over to find her lost eternity ring, and it wasn?t long before he was heading out to the beach every evening, metal detector in one hand, spade in the other, on the trail of buried treasure. He finds plenty of it as well ? rings, brooches and coins ? but they?re more likely to have been dropped by someone from Rochdale rather than ancient Rome.
He targets the beach hotspots; around the ice-cream van, picnic sites, and that strip of soft sand just above the high-water mark where everyone leaves their towels. Ken can?t believe how many people tuck their jewellery under the corner of a towel to go swimming, then forget it?s there when they return dripping wet. By the time they?ve wiped the salt water out of their eyes, their precious signet ring has slipped out of sight under the sand. The dunes at St Ouen?s normally turn up some interesting finds. He used to wonder why he found so many wedding rings lost in secluded spots, until he put two and two together. An illicit liaison, you slip your wedding ring off, put it in your pocket ? ?and it?s amazing what falls out of your pockets when, let?s just say, your mind?s on other things?, chuckles Ken.
All those wedding rings add up ? and with the price of gold sky-rocketing, Ken?s onto a winner. He puts it all on Ebay – anything sold by JerseyBoy42 has normally come from under Jersey?s golden sands. Along with all the loose change he finds, Ken?s taking home a quite a bounty from his beachcombing. ?Not so daft now, am I? mutters Ken as he slowly sweeps the beach again.