C h i c a g o R o n .com | Metal detecting site
Returned Items and Press page

I am now offering a ring/ jewlery finder service.

If found I ask for a thank you letter or note. Any reward beyond that is strictly up to you. below are some of the items I have returned over the years.



Got a frantic call from the ring owner, he lost it in waist to chest deep water.

Drove 75 miles to the beach and the recovery only took 10 minutes. 1+ ounce of platinum and a 12 ct Blue sapphire.

Insured value $61,000

Link to video

I was with my family on vacation at the beach in Lakeside Michigan when I dropped my sapphire ring in Lake Michigan in about 3' of water.  I thought for sure it was gone and the water was choppy and the visibility was terrible but I did my best to remember the location where I dropped it.  For a two days, when we were on the beach we tried to find it ourselves with no luck.  A few local residents even told me that no one ever finds anything they lose in the water at this beach.  Then the night before we were to go home to Chicago, I found the TheRingFinders.com website and called Ron at 9pm on a Friday night and he agreed to drive up the next morning.  He arrived at 8am and we walked down to the beach and the water was even more rough than when I had lost the ring.  I put Ron in the spot where I thought I had lost the ring and sure enough, within 5 minutes time, Ron found it!  Thank you Ron!

Cheers, Mark



Got a call from a distressed Jennifer, She had lost her gold promise ring at North Ave. beach

I met her and Dan at 5pm and had her show where they were sitting and reinack what the remembered doing.

Started gridding the area and 3rd pass heard the low growel we all love to hear.

Scooped it up in the basket and held the basket out for her to remove the ring.

She burst into tears and hugged me! Love it, another happy return!

Hello Ron,
This is Jennifer, you recently helped me find my ring while I was in Chicago?
Words can not express how grateful I am to you. When I lost my ring on the beach I fell apart and my world just crumbled. My family and I spent hours digging through the sand in close proximity to where I left my bag but to no avail. I remember going up to the shops and rentals desperately hoping they would, by some miracle, have a metal detector we could borrow. I cried so much I didn't even want to leave the beach! My fiance lliterally had to drag me away. Everyone was telling me "it's no use", "the ring is gone, nothing you can do about it now", "there's no way you could find it at this rate". My vacation was ruined. I thought my ring was lost forever. After hours of moping I was determined there had to be some way and I refused to accept I would have to return home from vacation without it. So I googled everything that had to do with metal detectors or renting a metal detector and I stumbled upon theringfinders.com. I was exploring the site and it looked legit but everyone knows the internet can be sketchy. I really wanted to try and give someone a call but my boyfriend had his doubts, seeing how upset I was he agreed to it, so I made the call. There were several profiles but I am so glad I chose you. You're a lifesaver! I seriously don't know what I would've done if it weren't for you. It seemed as if all hope was lost but you brightened up my vacation by finding the ring in less than an hour! I honestly thought it would take longer so when you showed me my ring I was shocked into tears. The ring was worth so much to us both and it meant so much that you found it for us. So, thank you. I am a very happy girl. I wish you all the best. You have my highest recommendations. Thank you so much again. 



Gave a 1 hour presentation at Cabela's in Hoffman Estates

Had a nice turn out everyone was asking questions and enjoyed the display I had set up of some of my gold.

Top left: 8 of the 11 gold coins I have found in England,

Top center: Silver rings in tray surrounded by silver rings on a 30" chain

Top Right: 1.5 ounces of gold nuggets, 9 nuggets, largest is 3/4 Oz

Bottom: Gold rings chains and medalions.



Jackie came by to pick up the High School ring I found 10 days ago.

6K 2012 HS ring.



I got a call from Melissa, who had lost her ring in the grass near Montrose beach the previous night

I told her I was on Lake Shore Drive and could meet her in 20 minutes.

When I arrived she pointed out a large area in the soccer field where she could have lost the ring. Thankfully she was only in a small portion of the area. The first spot she put me on, I hunted for about 10 minutes and she walked around to make sure it was the right area. She moved me to an area 100 feet away and 10 minutes later I had it. 14K white gold ring with 5 small diamonds


I found this 1950 Harrison High School ring on April 3rd.

After some internet searching I found a classmate from that class.

His daughter, Teppi helped to make the final connection.

The whole story, from Teppi's blog

Tonight Antionette and her son Scott came by and picked up her ring.

She said she had her ring for about 5 hours before she lost it at the beach. 

I love this hobby. 62 years in the lake!

Video of the find and return.

Part 2 of Teppi's blog. The return.

A blog, a ring and a return



I met up with Michael to return his Texas A&M class of 1994 ring tonight.

Heres the video of the return


Thames Treasure Hunters Premiered in England.

National Geographic HD.

Review by: Virginmedia.com

Who's in it?

When American tourists come to London, they tend to want to see landmarks like Buckingham Palace, Big Ben and the London Eye. But not Ron Guinazzo – he was all set to get muddy on the shores of the Thames, and he certainly achieved that ambition…

In a nutshell

Mudlarks have been around for ages. You may even have spotted them accidentally: the odd chaps trudging through the wet squidgy mud on the banks of the Thames, swaddled in warm clothes and scrupulously waving a metal detector over just about everything. The Johnny Vaughan series Mud Men has popularised their hobby, but this particular documentary had an interesting twist: it followed an American treasure hunter who was more used to the golden sands of the States than the bogs of Blighty. 

Fair play to the man – Ron Guinazzo was definitely up for adventure. Having already established himself as an ace beachcomber and finder of lost jewels in his native land, he flew into London and was shown the ropes by some seasoned mudlarks. After that it was time to, well, lark about in the mud, digging up lost trinkets which were almost impossibly ancient.

What's the verdict?

What made this interesting (apart from the promise of sudden finds) was Ron's view of Britain. You might think he'd have been a bit perturbed by the deeply unglamorous browns and greys of the Thames, but actually he was captivated by chance to unearth properly historical items – a far cry from the shiny modern stuff he digs up in the USA. Makes you proud to be British, so it does! 

Star rating



Treasure on the Thames the National Geographic Show I did last spring.

Has a webpage on Nat Geo AU website

Treasure on the Thames, Lucky Muckers

Lots of great still photos from the shoot. Airdate and preview not up yet but should be coming soon.

Tenative airdate is Tuesday March 20th 2012


Got an update from National Geographic today.

Tenative airdate is Tuesday March 20th 2012

I will be trying to put together a premier party/showing.

Minelab has offered to sponsor the showing. I will update as more information becomes available


I made British Archeology Magazine this month. Well a picture of my video cover and 2 of the guys that found Saxon gold coins on my spring hunt.

Bottom of the article. Can't tell if they are sayin we did it right or they are complaining about me putting it on you-tube.


I did a facebook search for the HS ring I found yesterday. Found the owner and get this, she has pictures on her facebook page. I found several pictures of her wearing the ring, and a picture of her and her boyfriend at the beach were I found the ring. I figured she lost the ring between Feb 2010 and April 2010. a year and a half in the lake and its going home tomorrow.
She contacted me tonight and confirmed where she lost it and said it was about 2 years ago.

Another happy camper!


While hunting this morning, a reporter for the Tribune asked if he could take a couple photos. I said yes and talked to him for a couple minutes.

He took a bunch of pictures and motioned me back over. He wanted an interview. How I started and what we did. Here is the video on the Tribune website

Tribune video



I got a voicemail message from Carlos who said he lost a silver chain with 2 charms. When I called him back he told me what day and what beach he lost it.
I found it last Thursday. He came to the firehouse on the 14th to pick it up.

Another return!


Got off from the firehouse and headed down for some sand shooting. The waves were a little too rough so I just hunted dry for 2 hours.

Got about 5 dollars in change. Then I went to the church my wife and I belong to, to do some demolition in their new space, when I was done at 2pm I checked my e-mail and had another lost ring ad on craigslist. It said platinum ring lost on or near the vollyball courts north of the bridge. I sent the person an e-mail asking for more info and got to the beach before he called back,

Not knowing what court he was on I looked over the 20+ courts and came up with a game plan. On the 4th court I got a very smooth low tone and there it was when I dumped the sifter. It only took 15 minutes. 950 Platinum ring with inscription. 9.3 grams over 500 dollars just in scrap.

When I returned to the car George had called twice. I called him back and he started to tell me where he was playing and I interupted him saying I had found it already. He came to the firehouse on Friday to pick up his ring.


Got an e-mail from the president of the chicago club about a craigs list ad for a lost ring. As I was heading to the beach anyway I decided to e-mail the guy to see where it was lost.

It took about 45 minuts to find.

I'll let Jason tell you how it happened!

Jason's thank you letter


A letter from Jason's Mom.

Thanks from a Mom‏

Hi Ron,

My son Jason just shared with me his experience with you and his lost ring.  I am beside myself with disbelief and joy at the same time.  Disbelief that there are still such honest people out there with integrity and the willingness to do the right thing even if it's not the most beneficial to ones self.  The fact that you found his ring and rather than selling it for a considerably better return on your investment, you are returning it to him.  Equally astounding is the way you found the ring.  I had zero hope that he would ever see that ring again when he told me he lost it at the beach.  It's not even possible for me to imagine.  When I heard how you contacted him, targeted the area where he lost it and then thought to go out a little deeper in the water because of the potential that he was a bit taller than you I was astounded!

The joy...now that comes from knowing how difficult of a time my family and my son have had of late.  We lost my husband after a long and shockingly violent illness.  My son was recently hospitalized with the same diagnosis only he got a warning shot and has time to turn around his health so he doesn't meet the same fate as his Dad.  That will require him to make some very difficult lifestyle changes which in and of themselves are a challenge.  He hasn't had a job in a while; being laid off after his employer packed up and moved to another city.  So he's been a little down, with good reason, but he's working hard at improving his health and to gain employment.  But all of that is not the reason that losing the ring was such a blow to him.  I didn't know until tonight that there was an underlying attachment to that ring for Jason. My husband died a month before Jason's wedding.  I didn't realize that when Jason bought the wedding rings he took them to the hospital to show his Dad.  It was the only involvement my husband had in his son's wedding.  Jason said that it always gave him some comfort that at least he had that moment.  That at least his Dad held the rings and nodded with pride.

So you see, what you do, returning valuables to those who thought they'd been lost forever, is important in and of its self.  But sometimes it's more than that.  Sometimes, you give someone back that one irreplaceable symbol of a memory that cannot be replaced.  Just a moment in time between a son and his Dad.  This is what you have done for my son and as his Mom I will never be able to thank you enough. So I'll just say, from the bottom of my heart, "thank you"

May God Bless you with happiness and success,

Jennifer (Jason's Mom)

Wall Street Journal article. Sat 7-30-11

Metal Detectors Hit the Jackpot

Sales are way up as gold prices soar; hauling a pound of jewelry off the beaches of Lake Michigan

In 1985, Ron Shore began selling metal detectors from his Chicago basement. The shop limped along for two decades, and five years ago, with the price of an ounce of gold at about $650, he nearly closed it. This year, gold has soared to more than $1,600 an ounce, and Mr. Shore, 66, is on track to rake in $1.2 million in sales. "It's been gangbusters," he said, noting that his retail business—which sells detectors priced from $150 to $25,000—has doubled every year for three years running. In December, he quit his day job with a graphic-arts firm. "I couldn't keep up with it anymore," he said. With the price of precious metals on the rise and the economy stuck in a weak recovery, the metal-detector business is booming.

"It's the get-rich-quick mentality, or find some extra change to put in the gas tank," said Mike Scott, sales director for First Texas Products of El Paso, which last year sold $15 million worth of its gold-prospecting metal detectors, marking the third consecutive year that sales of the product have tripled.

With the economy in a slump and gold at record highs, more people are supplementing their income by hunting for treasure - with metal detectors. WSJ's Jack Nicas reports from Chicago.The top U.S. retailer, Kellyco Metal Detectors in Winter Springs, Fla., saw annual sales climb 63% from 2005 to 2010, to $24.8 million. The store projects sales of $26 million this year.

The phenomenon isn't limited to the United States. Minelab, an Australian company that sells high-end metal detectors for as much as $5,600, sold $118 million worth last year, more than double its sales of $46 million in 2009. Minelab partly attributes the jump in sales of the premium detectors to a gold rush in Sudan, where droves of modern-day prospectors with gold fever have traveled in search of fortune. The company projects continued growth this year.

Metal detectors began largely as military devices, said Stu Auerbach, who opened Kellyco in the early 1970s, when simpler, cheaper versions of the devices hit the commercial market. Sales remained steady for decades, he said, until they started to spike five years ago.

The hobby's rising fortunes have made a virtual celebrity of "Chicago Ron" Guinazzo, a Chicago firefighter whose weekly YouTube videos of detecting tips and treasures have drawn nearly 850 subscribers and 278,000 views. Mr. Guinazzo got his start with metal detectors in 1983 when he used one to look for his missing high-school class ring. He never found the ring, but since then has unearthed countless others, along with gold coins and dentures. For a dying woman, he once found an urn containing her late husband's ashes.

Mr. Guinazzo, 50, said that he and his partner Mark Slinkman, 40, hauled a pound of gold jewelry off Chicago beaches last year. They attribute their success to a mastery of the nuances of their detectors' beeps. (Different metals and depths elicit different tones and pitches from the machine.) The two use a Minelab Excalibur, a $1,300 device made for underwater detecting "We've built a rapport with our machines," Mr. Guinazzo said on a recent morning, smoking thin cigars with Mr. Slinkman as they leaned on their Excaliburs along the Lake Michigan shoreline.

Nearby, Lamont O'Laughlin, a 51-year-old electrician, swept his detector listlessly over the sand. "Just coins," he said of the day's haul. "Those guys find all the good stuff."

Concerned that national archeological treasures will be looted, many countries, including France and Italy, ban or restrict metal-detecting. But some have made peace with the amateur treasure hunters. More than a decade ago, the British Museum began recording artifacts found by the public, creating a registry of the finds for archeologists, said Michael Lewis, deputy head of the program. Detectorists, as they call themselves, have contributed most of the registry's 700,000 finds, he said, and archaeologists have since largely dropped their complaints.

Historians and detectorists have also teamed up in the Hamptons on New York's Long Island. Since November, detectorists have paid the Southampton Historical Society $100 apiece for a weekend of searching on the society's private land. Detectorists have brought home Colonial-era coins and musket balls, and the program has brought in nearly $10,000 to help the society restore old barns.

For most hunters, real treasure is elusive. Mr. O'Laughlin and his brother, Casey, 50, have been detecting for decades but usually find garbage or lost change. "You barely find enough to pay for the batteries," Casey O'Laughlin said.

Javier Castrejon said that he bought a $250 detector last year, thinking it would pay for itself, but quickly realized otherwise. "Mostly I find nails or buttons," he said. But the 33-year-old said that he enjoys the new hobby and, "being laid off, any extra change helps."

Mike Bach, an 80-year-old actor, bought his first detector last month and, after two days, bought another for his 72-year-old wife, Darlene. The Bachs say they fell for the hobby's adventure, not its returns. "I've racked up about $1.85 in quarters and pennies," Mr. Bach said after a recent day of detecting. "But it's addictive...like prospecting."



Got a call from Kyle he lost his wedding band at a northern beach, told him I could meet him tonight. Took about an hour! 14K white gold wedding band 5-7 grams



I just wanted to send you a quick note the thank you for finding my wedding band in Lake Michigan.  I am still so amazed that you found my ring after it sat for 24 hours in 4 feet of lake water, sand and junk.  The moment you laughed out in the lake when you found my ring was seriously one of the happiest moments I’ve had in a long time.  I was pretty depressed when I lost it, but that changed after you searched the lake for about 45 minutes.  I think your video probably captured my reaction quite well. Everyone I tell is so amazed by the story, so needless to say, I have shared your website with a lot of people.  I think you may end up getting a few calls from these people as it sounds like people lose their jewelry in the lake all of the time.  Again, I am just floored by the fact that you found my ring.  I have learned my lesson about wearing my ring in the lake, but if I ever lose anything in the future, I know who to call!  Thanks again.

 Kyle Vasque



I met Ron Shore from Windy City Detectors at the beach to search for a lost ring. The woman had lost 4 rings from her pants pocket after changing. She found 2 of them right away and spent a week with a rented detector looking for the other two. I started just casually walking the beach as she had not arrived yet.

She showed up at about 9am and I had her reenact the entire process. Iron was present everywhere, I decided to use only the pinpointer as I had a fairly small search area. She had changed in a little alcove behind a rock pile and carried her pants to a spot along the parking lot wall, where she started to fold them and saw one of the rings drop. I checked near the wall with no luck and decided to try where she changed. 5 minutes later I had her ring in my hand. I set up my phone on the wall and caught the return on video.

Another Happy return!-------------14K white gold, 2.5ct emerald cut Diamond ring returned! Still looking for the matching anniversary band.


The ring was her engagement ring from her Fiance, given to her on July 4th 1988 he past away 2 weeks later, either the stone or the whole ring was his grandmothers. Lots of sentimental value!


1 PM return to the beach because I forgot my 120 dollar pro pinpointer, pinpointer was still there sitting on the wall right in front of the parking lot! LOL

I went back to the spot I found the engagement ring and after 5 minutes of moving rocks and finding bottle caps, I found the other ring!

14K white gold 2 carat total wt, 3,6g


Video up!

4.5 carat Diamond rind set Returned!


Had the Chicago detecting club Big beach hunt today. Got lots of silver and a Whites bullseyeII pinpointer. While we were on the beach a couple came up and said the wife had lost her wedding ring about 2 miles down the beach. I took a ride to try to find her Platinum and diamond ring. It took about 6 seconds to find! Upon exchanging names I realized their last name was Butkus, he is a relation to the famed football player! How Cool is that!




Found this 14K gold Lakeview high school Class of 2010 ring on the beach June 30 2010. It took more than 2 months to get together to return the ring.

July 22 2010

Found this 10K gold Rich South High School ring on July 19th. Class of 2010 so pretty easy to track down.

She and her father were very happy!

August 1 2007

Diamonds in the moonlight.

A return with an amazing end.


It was a warm August night. I decided to hit the lake with my detector for a couple hours. There was no wind so I figured the lake would be very calm. After about 45 minutes in the water with only a couple coins and the usual junk to show for my effort, I decided to try the dry sand for a while before leaving. As luck would have it I was finding lots of coins to keep me interested. About half way down the beach I got a solid hit on the Whites MXT, I was hunting at night with only the moon for light so I didn't check the VDI screen to ID the target. I dug down about 6" and saw a circle of shiny stones looking up from the bottom of the hole! I pulled the ring from its resting place and as soon as I felt the weight of it I thought " this has to be platinum" I flipped the ring over and the other side was covered with diamonds too! I hunted for about 20 more minutes until then I couldn’t take the suspense any more. When I got back to the car I carefully wiped the sand and checked the inscription inside of the ring. MICHAEL B. 04 PT 90%

My first thought was this is not someone’s name as it wasn't in cursive writing, It must be the designer. Once I got home I got on the computer and goggled MICHAEL B, turns out he is a prominent Jewelry designer in California. I looked for the retail price on a couple jewelry websites but they all said "call for price" After talking to several local jewelers it turned out the retail for the ring is 10,500.00. I showed the ring to my friends and wore it for a couple days.

After a week I had decided to contact the designer to try and return it. On Thursday morning I made the call. I explained that I had found a ring on the beach in Chicago and was trying to see if I could find the owner. I was told by the woman that answered the phone that they didn't put identifying marks inside their rings and that it was probably not possible to find the owner. Ready for this answer I asked about resizing the ring so I could wear it as a wedding band. Already having my wife’s ok to wear a different band then my own! They said " I would have to see a jeweler in Chicago that they deal with, the jeweler would get my size and ship the ring to them and they would call me to let me know how much it would cost.

The following Thursday I took the ring in to the jeweler.

Two weeks later I got a call from the local jeweler. It seems that after I had sent the ring to the designer he returned from vacation heard the entire story and thought he knew who‘s ring it was. Turns out the his son Michael Jr. was going to collage here in Chicago. His father gave him the ring as a gift. He had lost his ring one night while at the beach.

Michael B decided since I had tried to return the ring that as a token of his appreciation he would make me an identical ring in platinum and diamonds.

After talking to the jeweler I was flabbergasted and had to call the designer to confirm his generosity. I talked to one of the designer’s two sons, the brother of the ring owner, and was told it would take about 4 weeks for the ring to be made. He said they would contact me when it was done because Michael Jr wanted to present the ring to me personally! The actual meeting was never to happen but on December 3rd I got a call from the local jeweler letting me know my ring was ready to pick up. I now wear my new wedding band as a symbol of the good that can happen in the world if you only make it possible.

Original ring found Size 10.5----------------------------Reward ring size 9, 15.5g PT90%


Chicago Tribune Article December 11 2005





By Chris Mcnamara. Chris McNamara is a Chicago-based freelance writer

December 11, 2005

WHILE SLEDDING WITH her girlfriends in Edgebrook Woods one wintry day in 1975, Jill Anderson accidentally dropped her ring into the snow. It wasn't just any ring; it was the Taft High School class ring she had received only a few days before. And it was nowhere to be found.
When the snow thawed and gave way to mud, the ring worked its way into the soil. And there it lay for 30 years, until one day last summer when Ron Guinazzo passed his metal detector over the ground above it and his headphones blipped.
A few scrapes by Guinazzo with a trowel unearthed some coins dated 1973 and 1974. And Jill Anderson's gold ring, bearing a cloudy blue stone and the faded initials "JA."
Weeks later, Guinazzo sat in the living room of Anderson's childhood home in Edison Park, across a coffee table from a 48-year old mother of two-now a married Arkansan named Jill Bloom-who giddily awaited the return of the jewelry she lost as a girl.
"It's a nice ring. It just spent 30 years in the dirt," said Guinazzo, as he presented the tiny time capsule to its owner, who squealed upon seeing it and slipped it onto her finger like a suburban Cinderella.
A one-in-a-million chance? Hardly. Moments like this are common for Guinazzo-he returned three items in September alone-and his fellow members of the Midwest Historical Research Society (MHRS), a club for metal-detector buffs.

"Seven guys started the club in 1968 and they didn't just want to sound like metal-detector enthusiasts; they wanted an official-sounding name," explains Guinazzo, a 44-year-old Chicago firefighter who is president of the 86-member MHRS. The club has a code of ethics as lofty as its title and members pride themselves on returning items to the rightful owners. Their logbook-the aptly (if comically) titled "Good Guys and Good Gals Book"-is stuffed with letters from appreciative recipients of personal items that they had long written off. The members refer to themselves as "treasure hunters" or "urban garbologists." They can be seen at all hours, scouring beaches, parks and forest preserves with wand-like devices.

THE RISING SUN STRUGGLES to penetrate the clouds hanging over the water at North Avenue Beach. A few sand-cleaning trucks lumber up and down the lakefront like warm-weather Zambonis. Chest-deep in the water, two figures stoop over their detectors. They sway back and forth amid the waves as they wait for a blip, the noise that signals the presence of metal. "Somebody must have been out here yesterday," quips Guinazzo. A few yards away is MHRS member Marianne Sabino, seeking a more appealing treasure than the dentures she recently pulled from the lake. They wear aprons with two pouches. One is for treasure (rings, bracelets, coins) and the other is for trash (foil gum wrappers, paper clips, screws). This morning only one pouch gets filled. "I dig up 10 times more trash than anything good," moans Guinazzo, who estimates that he collects 10,000 pull-tabs each year.

But when the group finds something worthy, it is grist for the "Good Guys and Good Gals Book." Last summer Guinazzo returned a platinum wedding band to a stranger who'd asked him to search the North Avenue Beach volleyball courts. For his efforts he received $100 and, more importantly, a letter of thanks to be included in the book.
MHRS members have a network of contacts. They hear from lifeguards who have been approached about lost items. They receive pleas from individuals who just know their necklace is in the woods somewhere, or their ring is buried in their garden along with their tulip bulbs. And like heroes with electronic superpowers, they answer the calls.
But today the beach is miserly. Sabino unearths $1.27. Guinazzo leaves with about 50 cents and a phony gold earring that he tosses into the bucket of junk jewelry in the bed of his pickup truck.

EACH MONTH IN A SMOKY ROOM at the Moose Lodge in Berwyn, members of the MHRS convene to renew friendships, discuss fluctuations in the price of silver and gold, and-the biggest draw-show off their finds from the previous 30 days of treasure hunting.
A long table holds metallic bric-a-brac unearthed from Chicago-area soil or during treasure-hunting treks out of town: musket rounds and switchblades, drug paraphernalia and old buttons, ancient coins and a worn medallion engraved with an image of two girls hugging beneath the words, "FRIENDS FOREVER."

A recent meeting begins with a holler from Guinazzo, who is wearing a tank top with a gold chain-found during one of his quests-and a barbed-wire tattoo around his left bicep. The guy loves metal. About 40 treasure hunters are in attendance, mostly white-haired men who sip coffee, chew doughnuts and blow cigarette smoke into the stale air as the president reads announcements and discusses the progress of the organization's Penny Project, a charitable endeavor that devotes the thousands of pennies members find each month to sending young burn victims to a special summer camp. Then, with official business out of the way, the ribbing begins. Members discuss their treasures while their peers interject jokes, calling to mind the fractious proceedings of the British Parliament. When one man describes what he believes to be a rare coin, a peer shouts, "Even a Radio Shack [detector] could find that!" (Fighting words in this equipment-conscious crowd.) They're eager to talk about their finds, but coy about where they exhumed them, lest they reveal primo spots to their fiercest competitors. When pressed about where he discovered a lead toy soldier, for example, a member deadpanned, "on a parkway . . . under a tree."

IT'S A BRIGHT, LATE-SUMMER afternoon at the beach in Wilmette's Gillson Park. As bikinied sun worshippers lounge at the water's edge, nearly 50 treasure hunters wearing jeans and oxfords stagger around the sand, headphones atop their sweating heads, cigars plugged into their mouths, and metal detectors strapped to their arms like strange prosthetic devices. The lure of the beach isn't the sun or the water. It's buried a few inches under their feet-400 coins secreted in a corner of the beach by Howard Bins, "treasuremaster" for this competitive hunt. His duties include burying the coins and hosting the raffle. Bins announces the start through a megaphone and the contest is under way. Sunbathers crane their necks to peer at this odd spectacle of flying sand, shuffling feet and detectors blipping in a random chorus, sounding like a fax machine struggling to make a connection. Howie Roma, 69, wearing a T-shirt proclaiming "I (tm) T.H.-ING" (spelling out "treasure hunting" evidently took up too much room), has an edge today. Gillson Park Beach is his regular haunt, where he loves to scan the ground amid what he calls "the sandy-bottomed beach bunnies."
Brenda Gunzy, one of the group's few women, is among the first to quit. The Oak Forest resident has found only one coin, and beads of sweat have begun to mat down her graying blond hair. "It is a male-oriented hobby," she says. "Playing with gadgets and digging in the dirt-what every boy likes to do."

Strange stares and cutting comments from passersby are as familiar to the treasure hunters as chewing-gum foil. "People look at you weird. Sometimes you feel weird," admits Guinazzo. So what's the motivation? It certainly isn't the prospect of riches, as most enthusiasts barely dredge up enough loot to cover the batteries for their devices. Guinazzo believes that most of his ilk are history fans who use the $500 machines to excavate the past from beneath their feet. "I just like the idea of finding things that haven't been touched by human hands for a long time," he says. "To find the story behind [the items]."

Case in point: the Edgebrook Woods ring. The Taft High School name engraved on the band, along with the year of graduation, was pivotal to Guinazzo's detective work. He contacted the Northwest Side school, which directed him to the online alumni newsletter, where he posted a notice with details of his discovery. He was soon contacted by another J. Anderson from the class of 1975. But her description of the ring didn't match. No luck. Only minutes later he received an e-mail from the rightful owner, and the meeting to return the ring was arranged. "It's nice to make the connections," says Guinazzo, whose smile while returning the item was even broader than that of Jill Anderson Bloom.

It's been nearly 20 years since Guinazzo bought his first metal detector, in an attempt to find his lost 1979 Roberto Clemente High ring. It's still out there, somewhere, buried in the earth amid pennies and pull-tabs. And every time he retrieves one of those billions of pieces of metal from the soil, the odds of finding his treasure increase, if undetectably so.

October 2 2005

Platinum wedding band found and returned

I was hunting the dry sand near the vollyball courts at North ave beach, when I noticed a man who looked like he was searching for something.

I approached and asked if he had lost something. He said he had lost his Platinum wedding ring. I searched the whole court without sucess.

He had to leave for work and left his number just incase I found it. It was about 10 feet off the court and I called him before he even got to work.

Aug 18 2005

Found a mens classring at Ohio st Beach, Only need a little research to return this one!


July 21 2005

Found a 10K gold Narinx High class of 2006 ring today. Had to ship it as she was from out of town.

Another happy return!


July 10 2005

Was hunting North Ave. Beach when a teenage girl approached me and asked if I could help find her silver ring.

About 10 minutes is all it took

Feb 2004

While on vacation in Mexico I was in chest deep water, when a woman came up to me and asked if I could find Jewlery with my detector. When I confirmed that I could she said her husband had lost his wedding band 2 days prior. She described the ring and I told her I would give it a shot. As I walked away to start hunting I had a look at the 2 gold rings I had already found that morning, Neither really fit her description. 10 minutes later as I was doing a grid pattern a man swam up and said he was the one who lost the ring. He described the ring, (differently than his wife, and I now realize it may be one of the rings I have already found). I quickly reach into my pouch found the correct ring and raised it above the water level asking " is this your ring?" I thought he was goung hug me right there, needless to say he was elated!

We got of of the water and he asked if I would like a drink or lunch, we sat at one of the umbrellaed tables outside his hotel. He offered a cash reward and I told him it was not nessasery, but I would like a thank you letter for my records. He said " I'm a writer I'll write you a great letter. I asked if he had written anything I may have read. " I'm Clifford Irving " he said. He is a #1 best selling author. A movie was made 3 or 4 years ago about him starring Richard Gere titled " The Hoax" The Howad Hughes story

I received a very nice letter, a check and an invitation to come back to possably find a ring he had lost a couple years earlier.