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Equal Value???


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I've been looking around the posts for a couple hours since they came back online. I've got a couple questions on the trinket exchange. Trading trinkets, what would be an equal value trade? For instance, I've seen notes of people leaving a golf ball, a smashed penny, and a photo of themselves. What's a newbie to do? If I decide on a "signature item" what monetary value should this be? I want to participate in all aspects of the game, and trading trinkets is part of the game. I don't want to get myself labeled as one of these guys that leave junk.


In the group of items above, to me a smashed penny is worthless, but I've read posts where people have gone out of their way for this. Now I know my perspective on this will change with time, but what would be a fair trade for this?


Also, what do some of you guys use as your signature item?



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Value is in the eye of the beholder. Signature items, in general, are rated pretty highly. The more homemade, the more their intrinsic value.


Trinkets in original packaging are worth more than used trinkets. Chew marks, particularly devalue the trade item :) Golfballs are kind of a standing joke around here (Pebble Beach area). Some cachers like to find them, but I'm kind of indifferent.


Smashed pennies are kind of a neutral thing to me. They kind of fall in the realm of baseball cards. I'm not too much of a collector of either, but if I see one, I'd probably grab it. However, a signature smashed penny (Kablooey, Marky), are pretty impressive to find, and well worth the trip to a cache to find.


I generally leave the trinkets (hot wheel cars, balls, bubbles) for the kids (like Jr. T when he comes along), and search for the signature items. I always try to leave the cache in better shape than I found it.

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I alway s try to trade up. A smashed penny may be more or less valuable depending on who finds it. Same thing with golf balls. I like golf, so a golf ball isn't such a bad thing if it's a nice or new ball. My sig item, if you can call it that, changes quite a bit. It depends on what I won on ebay in wholesale lots. right now it's either a carabiner/LED light or a compass/clock thing for your dashboard. I usually leave something in addition to a sig item, but it depends on the cache.

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I agree with this post, and have brought this up before. I have noticed, in the few caches I have found that people basically put junk in the cache (ie, broken toys, old tapes or cds that nobody listens to, used things that are very abused). When I find a cache, I replace the item with a NEW item (PEZ - new, glowsticks, pencils, lanyards, etc). I always try to "trade up", which is pretty easy considering that a lot of the items are basically "junk".

I have started to accept the fact that it is not the "recieving" of something in a cache, but exploring a new park, trail, etc. that I had not yet seen before. I have also found that as I cache more, I can use my GPS more efficiently, and find my way around better.

However, it is nice when you to find a nice trinket in a cache. As for me, I try to put back something that is new and that someone would/could enjoy. :)

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Signature items don't have to be that expensive. I've seen people use business cards, key rings, crayons, etc.... A sig item is just a person's way of saying "I was here" and often it's left in addition to any trade items. I don't have a signature item, but here is a partial list of stuff I've placed in caches:


Small US flags

flag pins

modeling clay


Energizer squeeze lights


bags of toy soldiers

Swiss Army tools (not knives, we don't call them knives)

water colors

mini screwdriver sets

allen wrench sets

gel pens

boxes of crayons or colored chalk

emergency rain ponchos

packs of AA batteries

collectable coins (buffalo nickels, indian head pennies, SBA or Sacagawea dollars)

music CD's

blank RW CD's

cassettes (blank and recorded)


clip on safety strobes

bungee cords

LED key lights

"euro" stickers & other decals

mini sewing kits

maps (hiking & road)


small packs of Wet Ones or Baby Wipes

Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars

key rings

bags of balloons

velcro fasteners

interesting buttons

foreign money

rolls of film


Leatherman type multi tools

movies on VHS & DVD

office supplies (packs of paper clips, thumb tacks, Post-Its, etc...)

Mylar emergency blankets

decks of cards

packs of Armor-All & Rain-X wipes

survival whistles

Wheresgeorge bills and stamps

Geocaching.com hats, pins, patches and compasses

Edited by briansnat
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There is some subjectivity to the value of cache items. I have a growing collection of small items I find at garage sales and discount bins etc. and I grab a few items when I set off on caching.


My criteria is simply if it makes me say "Hey, that's a neat little gadget, item, etc." and if I'd like to find it myself.


I've seen some caches with littlerally nothing but broken junk which can be a disappoinment mostly for the kids if they come with me. If I find that I sometimes add some nicer items to pep up the lagging entropy. Sometimes it's beyond hope and we'll just sign the log book.


If I want miscellaneous plastic parts and broken McToys I'll dig to the bottom of my kid's toy box.


I made a few homemade geo-coins as signiture items but haven't invested the time in making them lately.

Edited by cool_and_the_gang
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Signature item or not, it has to be of some sort of value. I don't accept it when just assume that their trash might be a "collector's item" to someone else. C'mon! If you want to leave an otherwise useless I-was-here statement, that's fine, but that's never a trade-up, and hardly ever a trade-even. If that's what you're going to leave, and if you're going to take something, at least leave something of real value as well.

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Thanks for all the responses. Obviously I hit a sensitive spot for some and I entirely understand the view. After all, if I'm participating in the sport and I'm following the unofficial rules and customs, I expect the other participants to play by the same rules and customs.


If nothing else, it's not fair to the folks that are putting something of value in there.


I also appreciate the lists of what people put into the caches. I never even thought of getting a "lot" of stuff on e-bay to use as signature items. I also like the idea of putting something of value that you made in there. Only problem with that is my other big time hobby is wine making. Not something that I can leave in a cache. :)


I'm glad to see that so many people have the same views on what is acceptable. A shame everyone that participates doesn't do the same.


Thanks again



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I consider junk to be a broken item, an empty plastic bag or a packet of McDonald's salt. I leave things like pins or keychains or 99 cent store items. However, I love signature items such as frogs or little dinosaurs and the like because it is a personal calling card of that visitor. Sometimes I just leave a trinket and take nothing. If I have nothing on me to trade, I'll leave money. I just go for the fun of it but having a nice trinket and trading are part of the fun too. :D

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I'm a newbie also, but as a FTF prize on my first hide, I left a home-made hiking staff, which the finder was thrilled to get. So iv'e decided to make this my sig item.While Old Man Winter has many caches in my area disabled, I'll be busy making these for next year. Each is numbered with a "Pease Frog" burned into them.

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I'm a newbie also, but as a FTF prize on my first hide, I left a home-made hiking staff, which the finder was thrilled to get. So iv'e decided to make this my sig item.While Old Man Winter has many caches in my area disabled, I'll be busy making these for next year. Each is numbered with a "Pease Frog" burned into them.

Wow! Looks like a great first cache. Makes me wish I lived in VT in spite of the cold winters [:D]


Hiking staff as a sig item ;) Man, there's no way I can keep up with that. Great job on the FTF prize.

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