Baltimore is a great place to live.

It may have been in the news recently as a home for rodents and trash, but there’s a lot more than that… Indeed — one of the things I love most about Baltimore is our character. Our charm. Our quirky, fascinating elements.

Like my friend, Matt Bovie.

Bovie — as those who know him call him — is a mix of interests and talents you don’t normally see together.

One morning, he might be training warehouse workers how to drive a forklift…

The next he could be finishing a piece of art he spent all night working on (I’m sitting under a Bovie Oriole Bird, hanging above my desk, as I write this…)

A third morning, he could have woken up at 2:30 a.m. to drive three hours and fish…

Then he might finish out his week by pulling out his metal detector and treasure hunting.

It’s that last interest I want to talk about today.

You see — while we often talk about purchasing coins and precious metals on the market — the truth is there’s an awful lot just lying around out in the world under a few inches of dirt.

People lose valuable things all the time. And savvy searchers like Bovie find them.

When I sat down with Bovie at the closest watering hole recently, he showed me some of his treasures.

Walking Libery Coin

The Walking Liberty coin — fresh out of the ground, before the dirt had even been brushed off.

He had too many coins to count — mostly silver, but a few copper and gold. He had a Walking Liberty, a number of Mercury dimes and a coin from 1700s Virginia — among the earliest coins minted in the U.S.

And his favorite piece is an old iron cross with a bust of Kaiser Wilhelm on the front.

It’s hard to trace exact stories from found pieces… but he unearthed it on the grounds of a house that a Jewish family used to live in.

After World War II, many Jewish people “desecrated” family graves by removing any signs or totems related to Germany. There’s a very good chance that’s how this cross wound up in the ground.

Treasures

Figuring out the story behind found items is half the fun.

I spent the evening chatting with Bovie about his hobby — he’s been at it a long time.

About seven or eight years ago, Bovie blew out his knee. (If you’ve ever had a knee give out on you, you know it’s a long road to recovery.)

Prior to his injury, he’d bought a metal detector. Rather than collect dust until he was back on (both) his feet, Bovie ended up using it a lot when he started doing physical therapy. He’d go out, metal detect until his knee started hurting and then stop for the day.

It turned out it was actually helping with his physical therapy. You see, Bovie couldn’t bend his knee to get down on the ground at first, so he was bending over improperly and the stretching was helping to break up scar tissue.

Plus, he was highly motivated because he wanted to see what was in the ground. He kept saying to himself, “Oh, I’ll get over the pain, just one more hole.” That’s how addictive this pastime can be.

But just how lucrative can treasure hunting be?

Not so fast… We’ll reveal that tomorrow.

Unconventionally yours,

Ryan Cole

Ryan Cole
Editor-in-chief, Unconventional Wealth

P.S. Bovie and I talked about many other things — too many to fit in one issue… That’s why tomorrow we’re bringing you Part 2! When you’ll get to hear from the man himself.

In the meantime, if you want to see what some of Bovie’s treasures go for, you can find examples or ask around on the JustCollecting forums. They’re a wealth of knowledge… a perfect place to get your bearings… and maybe sell off anything good you happen to find.

Ryan Cole

Ryan Cole is the editor-in-chief of Unconventional Wealth. He’s been covering the alternative investment space for nearly a decade and writing about finance and investment for almost 20 years.

Ryan has walked the walk for years, living a very unconventional life. He’s led snowmobile tours through the mountains of Colorado, settled in Japan for five...

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