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In the Corner with Dan Hughes

Jun 25, 2009

How far should a treasure hunter go to return lost property?   Listen to my story of how I found a class ring and located the now-distant owner.  And then, because the owner never got back with me to make arrangements to receive the ring, I lost the owner.  The ball is in her court now, right?  Or not? What, if anything, should I do now?  Please hit the COMMENTS link and post your thoughts here.  Your advice will help me decide.

And, as always, I invite you to read about my book, and, if you are sufficiently intrigued, to purchase a copy.


nine and a half years ago


I just read the first segment on the ring. KEEP IT. You did a lot more than some people I know. If the father lost you number, forgot or whatever, too bad. He needs to red the book \"A Message to Garcia\" as is required reading (or was) in the Marines about the importance of giving the proper message...Now to listen to the second segment...keep up the great work...

almost nine years ago

Dan, Nice find and persistence to try and return that ring.
Guessing Rock Island, Ill. because i grew up there.
I know every ring i find i`m hope there\'s no reference of an owner on it so i wont have to go through what you have.
I say melt it or keep it as a memento to the Rock Island Lines which is no longer in service.
Happy Hunting.

nine and a half years ago

IMHO... The ring is yours to do what ever you please. If it bothers you to use the ring put it in your ring case and use another one. I know you have more...
I know if I lost a ring I would look for it forever, well at least really hard. And if I was Contacted that some had my ring I would go and get it.
They were contacted and they contacted you. It\'s not your job to force them to take it back.
Enough time has passed.... Move on.

nine and a half years ago

I would feel better about the story if the father wasn\'t involved and you had spoken directly to the girl. Previous posters keep saying \"she or they never called back\" you never spoke to the owner so you don\'t know if she is even aware of you finding it. Keep trying till you talk to the OWNER not a third party, then if you get ignored it is yours cut and dry.

nine and a half years ago

Hi Dan,
With your effort given to find the owner and return the ring with no response from them. It becomes history and a great story for all, and if you still bad about your results put the ring in a special case and in to your collection and use a different gold ring for your classes, because your machine will still read pull tab on any gold ring, \"Have a Great Day and Year\"

the blob
nine and a half years ago

As far as the response in the first place, people forget things, forget to call, lose contact information, etc.

Obviously you are a pretty responsible person/detectorist, and agonize over this each day for 12 years or so.

Contact the school or school district again, and have them contact the owner or parents. Give it another try and them, another shot. Tell them you want $100 finders\' fee (when people have to pay out money, they\'re more likely to act or be motivated to follow through). While you don\'t really have to take the $100, you could also take it and make a donation to the school in her name, making it a 3-way win.

If, after all that, no bites, then the best next thing would be to sell it on Ebay or someplace and get rid of it and out of your life. Find some other nice ring to take its place when talking to detector students. that way you can share the detecting experience, and not feel guilty or remorse over not making a 3rd or more effort at returning something that the actual owner may not want back.

nine and a half years ago

Keep it and continue to use it in your classes. You did the right thing when you found it and the prior owner dropped the ball, not you. Just my 2 cents.

nine and a half years ago

I would write a letter to the school alumni association/ the XXX year reunion committee and the school again and give all the details to them. Add a photo of the ring. Ask the letter be forwarded to the parents address with return receipt. That\'s all you can do.
I will be watching to see how it plays out. I know that feeling too. That will be all you can do. No answer in 6 months? You did the best you can!

S near Boston

Mike C.
nine and a half years ago

Hi Dan. Here\\\'s another take on it. The ring has been put to a very good use in teaching detecting techniques. It has been put to a good unselfish use by you. It has a new life -- better than lying unused in her jewelry case. People seldom wear class rings decades later. Just keep it.

mark m
nine and a half years ago

Hey Dan , keep it i had same incendent happen to me. hunted a lake site 50 miles from my home. And came across a 1998 mens class ring. after $20.00 in long distance calls, and driving back to town to met the kid 3 times, first 2 never showed up. and 3rd time mother showed up to pick it up. all i asked for was a letter stating found and returned it. 300 miles driving and $20.00 later never got a thank you. MELT IT

S Jansen
nine and a half years ago

I guess I\'m a heel - I\'d probably keep the ring for myself. Great podcast: short, sweet, thought-provoking, discussion-starting...sounds good, too! Very nice, Dan! I have a friend at work who does some detecting, I\'ve forwarded this site to him, I\'m sure he\'ll enjoy it.

nine and a half years ago

I think you have done all you can must not be important to her or she would have got in touchand picked it up,so keep it and use it. Howard

Steve from Ohio
nine and a half years ago

Dan, It is now your ring. I have declared it to be so.

12 years? I would not try again to try to get it back to them. If in 12 years they have not asked for it back, then it is yours.

You did your best. Sometimes the best is still not good enough.

nine and a half years ago

If it were me, I would give it another go with the family, certainly. After knowing MY father over the years, I am siding with the \"father may have lost the number, forgot to tell daughter, ring?what ring, was it your birthday again?\" camp.

Anthony M. Belli
nine and a half years ago

Hi Dan,

First of all I\'d say its clearly your ring now. You did the right thing and did your best. On the other hand it sounds as if you still have some desire to try returning it a second time. Perhaps its just your belief to do the proper thing. Perhaps its a new challenge for you to attempt to track her down again after such a long time????

Either way, do whatever you want to do. If its something that just keeps coming back round no matter how long its been and it keeps at you try finding her again. Otherwise keep it. It belongs to you now after all.


scott (wi)
nine and a half years ago

Given the information that it was lost by owner right away, and you were not contacted by the father or owner, it seems likely that the owner got a replacement class ring and didn\'t need another one, or maybe they had it insured and got payment for it and decided not to recontact you on that count.

If the owner didn\'t get a new ring, then perhaps it didn\'t mean enough to them to replace it. Maybe they went on to college and wear a college ring now instead.

In any case, it does not seem that they wanted it back. I think you have to factor that into your decision that they did not want it back, ten years ago. The weight of the evidence seems to be that would be the case.

That does not mean they may want it back now though, for different reasons. Cricumstances have changed. Gold is worth 3X what it was back then and that might be a reason to want it. This is a toughie, but to me that alone would not be a reason to return it.

If it was my decision, I would look at the ring like a dog. You found the \"dog\", offered to return it, and they did not love that \"dog\" enough to want it back. To attempt to return the \"dog\" again after a few years is awkward and somewhat strange. Case closed. It is now your dog to love.

James B.
nine and a half years ago

CONTINUE to keep the ring, after all, it has been with you 12years.
If remorse would have taken you, I believe you would have acted 11 years and some months before now.
They have their responsibility also for arranging not to lose your coordinates, they haven\\\'t, tough luck.

Don\\\'t concern yourself anymore with this, it is just an anecdotal ring in your treasure chest.

Now go and recite 12 Hale Mary and be on your way ;-)

Jeff H.
nine and a half years ago

You made the effort.
The owner may have had it replaced or possibly doesnt care anymore.

Krom (Joe A.)
nine and a half years ago

I\'d say that baby\'s yours, Dan. Now, I\'m only assuming that everything went well, and the father got hold of his daughter and let her know.
You tried your best (or I could say waaay better than some detectorists do... me, not included :-)), and the poor little rich kid on her perpetual European vacation dubbed it a trivial retrieval trinket.
That\'s a great scenario, to say the least. I, myself, have a solid gold ring (that has the wearer\'s full name on the OUTSIDE of the ring), that I\'ve been in the process of returning for over a couple years now, with no end in site (the name dates back to 1848), but I\'m gonna keep trying to find an appreciative decendent.
Your ring quest, however, I\'d probably give up on. To her, that ring\'s junk... now.
Nice, brian-scratching delemma, Dan. Thanks for the podcast.
Joe A. from Maine

Bill C.
nine and a half years ago

Dan...that you are asking the question at all means you have doubts yourself as to whether you did do all you could to get the ring returned. The father may have forgotten to or just enver told the daughter about it, or the girl may jsut not jsut don;t know. If it were me I;d try one more time to contact them and get it returned and then if you here nothing can in good faith and with a clear conscience, keep it.

Bob Leibold
nine and a half years ago

Hi Dan,....I think you really made an effort to locate the lady that lost the ring. But, I can tell that you have your doubts. Many things could have happened...the father forgot to tell his daughter, he got sick or worse and was unable to relay the message, he lost your number and maybe the school didn\'t have your number anymore. Something may have happened to the daughter or maybe she just doesn\'t care. Many scenarios. For your peace-of-mind, make one last effort and if nothing comes of it, it is yours and don\'t feel guilty. Either way, I think you made an effort in good conscience. Personally, I would keep it without any remorse. Good luck in whatever decision you make.....Bob