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Last Sunday afternoon, December 27, Eric Olson and his wife Takako, each armed with a metal detector, scoured the sands of Mission Beach.

"We’ve been doin’ this for about a year and a half now,” said Mr. Olson. “We’ve found about 83 rings so far...most of 'em silver.” In addition to rings, the Olsons said they have found coins, necklaces, and cell phones. When I asked Mr. Olson what they did with the valuables, he said, “We keep ‘em…unless they’re traceable, then we try to find their owners.”

Although the two were searching dry sand, they both agreed that searching wet, compact sand is better. “You’ll find more stuff in the dry sand...but better stuff in the wet sand,” said Mr. Olson, pointing toward the water.

The Olsons are members of a club called the Coinshooters of San Diego. One of the club’s members (and a friend of the Olsons) is Frank Trutta, who has made a business out of searching for treasure on the beach and is available for hire to help those who have lost valuables.

How did the Olsons choose treasure-hunting as a pastime? Mrs. Olson said, “I was getting ready to retire and saw one of these [metal detectors] on TV. It looked like fun...and good exercise. Now we do it every weekend, three to four hours at a time.”

“O’ course,” said Mr. Olson, “summer’s always better...more people...more stuff.”

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