Is There a Safe Way to Hunt for Precious Metals in Old Wells?

There are many legends about people who decided to hide their treasures in wells. One of the most common tales is that at the end of the Civil War, wealthy southern families tossed their silverware down their wells to prevent roaming Yankees from finding it.

Good story, right? It all fits together. Most houses in those days had wells. And if you were evacuating your home and needed a place to hide your valuables quickly, a well would make sense. The problem is that to the best of our knowledge, nobody has ever found a large cache of silverware or other valuables in a well.

So, what precious metals usually end up at the bottom of a well? According to our research and experience, the most common finds are an old coin or two. After all, some old wells were used as “wishing wells,” where people tossed in a coin and made a wish.

But If You Are Determined to Look . . .

Your safest strategies are to either attach a good-quality metal detector to a rope and lower it into the well or to lower down a video camera that will send images back to you above ground. Resist the temptation to go down there yourself, for several reasons:

  • Some old wells are very deep – on the order of 30’ or more. That’s too deep for most ladders, and you don’t want to slide down there on a rope either. You might never get out of there. Plus, there is no guarantee that the walls won’t fall in on you. Many old wells are lined with stones that were stacked there many years ago – they are just waiting to fall in.

  • You don’t know how deep that well really is. You can look down and see the “bottom” is only eight or 10’ deep. The problem is, that “bottom” might be only the top of a pool of mud that runs far deeper. (You will lower down a ladder, but when you get onto it, it will suddenly sink a lot deeper.) So again, stay out of that well.

How Can You Extract Metals If You Find Some?

The first question to ask is, what can you logically expect to pull up? If your video camera or metal detector shows that there is a lot of metal down there, it could be worth doing. If your indications show only a small amount of metal, why bother? Do you really want to spend days and dollars to haul up a few old nickels?

The safest way to extract metals is to lower down a strainer bucket and pull it up repeatedly, preferably using a rented winch. Bear in mind, however, that it will probably take hundreds of bucket loads to empty out most of the goo that is at the bottom of an old well. Plus, there is a pretty good chance that the sides of the well will collapse inwards after you have removed, say, half that goo.

Is it really worth the effort?

The Safer, More Reliable Way to Get Money by Recycling Precious Metals

When you stop to consider all the places that gold, silver, platinum can be found above ground, why go prospecting in wells? Specialty Metals Smelters and Refiners can safely extract precious metals from catalytic converters, thermocouples, industrial waste, welding supplies, medical and lab scrap, and many other sources. And you won’t have to attach yourself to a rope to get your hands on them.

Why not call us at 800-426-2344 to learn more?

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