Pensioner unearths long lost treasure
A metal detector might be just the secret weapon to boost your retirement savings.
For the past few years, Porirua resident David Sutcliffe, 65, has filled the X-Terra 305 given to him by his son with AA batteries and combed the land in search of hidden treasure.
His bounty has grown to about $3000 in coins, handfuls of rings, and a couple of rewards.
‘‘But anything really valuable, like diamonds, I’d hand it into the police,’’ Sutcliffe said.
He, and sometimes his wife Pauline, spent countless hours detecting in parks and on beaches, waiting for the instrument to make the right noise, then digging down.
‘‘We went to Lyall Bay, to the beach. I saw a sign on the lamppost: Lost. Substantial reward. And a picture of a bracelet.
‘‘So I did two hours from the northern end, right down to the southern end, but nothing.
‘‘I went to go back to the car, and saw the sign again, and go, ‘Another half an hour?’ And the wife wasn’t very happy, she wanted to go home.
‘‘I did another half an hour, and just at the end I was making my way back to the car and, just before I finished, it beeped.
‘‘It was the bracelet: 18 carat [gold] and some silver with a stone.’’
The owner handed over a $500 reward. ‘‘Pauline was going on a cruise,’’ Sutcliffe said. ‘‘Spending money.’’
Another time they stopped off in Shannon to buy some chips.
‘‘I saw a park there so I got the machine out, and thought I might get a few pennies, a few coins – picked up about four or five dollars. Then I saw a wallet just under a seat.’’
It turned out the owner was visiting from Australia, and he gave them a $500 reward for returning it.
‘‘Parks are better [than beaches]. More people congregate over a longer period of time.’’
There are plenty of keepsakes for which Sutcliffe has never found the owners, but he’s holding on to them in the hopes of reuniting them one day.
There is the engraved ring ‘‘Dave and Vera’’ from a park in Paraparaumu. Another from some restrooms in Huntly, and some sterling silver from Auck- land. There’s a coin from 1884, found at Ngatitoa Domain in Porirua.
A police spokeswoman said anyone finding property of value should take it to their local police station.
If the item remained unclaimed after a sufficient period of time, the finder could typically keep it.
David Sutcliffe with some of the coins he has found over the last few years, adding up to almost $3000.