Metal Detecting Old Farm Land for Lost Treasure

Bruce Lilienthal, hit the jackpot. He found a large, unusual rock on his Minnesota farmland.

Bruce Lilienthal, hit the jackpot. He found a large, unusual rock on his Minnesota farmland.

Metal detecting at pre-existing homesteads and old farmhouses is a GREAT tactic because old relics and coins lie here. What can you expect to find when you detect and dig an old farmland? Arrowheads, pottery shards, buttons, porcelain and metal thimbles, bits of colored glass and old ammunition or bullets. In 2013, amateur detectorist and producer, Bruce Lilienthal, hit the jackpot when he found a large, unusual rock on his Minnesota farmland. After testing and researching, he and his wife learned that it was a meteorite. They sold the rock for a modest $10.5 million!  It pays to search farmland, for MANY different reasons.

Scout Out Large Trees around a Homestead’s Foundation

Farm “markers” are indicators that a farm pre-existed; they often include large trees. These trees have grown very large because nobody has cut them  down. Always watch out for these markers because a favorable hunt site exists nearby. When you do find a “marker tree,” detect the area that immediately surrounds it. There are likely buried coins and relics hidden in the dirt! It was a common practice for people of past centuries to bury hoards of coins and valuables near marker trees. People intended to reclaim their possessions, but it often never happened. Now’s your chance to recover these precious items with your metal detector!

Sell Your Finds! Know the Value of Your Treasure

Sell Your Treasure Finds for Top Dollar! Learn How Now.

Sell Your Treasure Finds for Top Dollar! Learn How Now.

The amazing thing about metal detecting is that you can take this hobby into so many different directions. Whether you’re a land or water hunter, your treasure finds are all valuable. What you do with your treasure finds is entirely up to YOU. Some hobbyists drop all of their coins into a big jug to save for their next vacation. Others display collections of old coins, jewelry and relics in their home. Relic hunters are known to loan items to local museums. And lots of detectorists sell valuable finds for a profit! You can earn extra income—all while participating in a hobby you love! If you are looking to make some money on your finds, there’s a few things you need to know before you sell:

  1. Correctly identify your find
  2. Get an estimate of its value
  3. Decide where to sell the item

Identify What You have Found!

This can be the tricky part. Let’s say you’ve found an old belt buckle. Is it just an ordinary men’s buckle or is it from a Revelutionary or Civil War soldier’s uniform? And what condition is it in? These are big factors in determining the buckle’s value. Our suggestion is to research your object before getting an estimate to sell. For example, if you have uncovered a piece of silver with markings, try to identify the manufacturer. Then, you can determine its age and value. Contact a local appraiser to ballpark your object’s worth. You can also post a photo of your find in a metal detecting community forum. Members are happy to help you identify your find.

Get an Estimate of Your Treasures’ Value

With 14- and 18-karat jewelry, you will see markings on the pieces of jewelry. You can look up these markings on the internet to see what it’s worth. To determine a coin’s worth, check popular websites such as NGC from the American Numismatic Association.

Where to Sell Your Treasure  

It’s easy to find a buyer online. Research high-quality coin and relics dealers that operate on the internet. There are online dealers that have been buying and selling coins, gold and silver through the mail for decades. If you want to sell gold/platinum/silver for melt, it is best to do it locally in person. Tip: Take the same item to several different jewelers and see who offers the best price.

 

Related Articles:

What are the Best Metal Detectors for Finding Coins?

What are the Best Metal Detectors for Finding Relics?

Recent “My Finds” Stories at Metal Detector.com. Submit Your Own Story!

1857 US $1 gold coin found while metal detecting.

Sonya found this 1857 US gold coin. Read her story and others below.

A great way to stay connected with the metal detecting community and get inspiration is by visiting “My Metal Detector Finds” at MetalDetector.com. It is under our “Community” tab where detectorists submit stories about their treasure finds with a metal detector. YOU can also submit your story about a personal find for a chance to win a prize! It’s exciting to see that hobbyists are unearthing Revolutionary-period relics, gold coins, ancient artifacts and all kinds of treasure every day. Submissions are usually just a quick paragraph or 2 with a photo. Some treasure magazines have yearly competitions, but the “My Finds” submission period is every three months with new prizes. Here are some recent exciting “My Finds” stories submitted by our site readers. Be sure to vote for your favorites!

  • Jan. 2017:  Sonya from Indiana Uncovered a Gold Coin!

Sonya was searching a farmer’s field that was once an old homestead when her detector signaled. It was music to her ears, as she had stumbled across an 1857 $1 gold coin! Read her story

  • Feb., 2017:  James from Louisiana Found a Pendant Stamped 1694!

What an incredible find! James was hunting in his own neighborhood field when he discovered a pendant stamped “1694” on both sides. It may have been dropped by French explorers as Robert de La Salle explored this river. Read about this intriguing find

  • Feb. 2017:  Big Time Beginner’s Luck in Rhode Island!

    Lost for 10 years, this gold Texas A&M ring was found and returned to owner.

    Gold Texas A&M ring, found and returned to owner.

This new Rhode Island hobbyist decided to give metal detecting a try after watching reality detecting shows. With an entry-level detector, “Indigo Digger” found silver coins, Civil War buttons, 1800’s Indian Head pennies and more! Check out Indigo Digger’s awesome story!

  • Feb., 2017:  Gold & Diamond Ring Found and Returned to Owner

Otis from Palestine, Texas is definitely a good Samaritan!  After purchasing a “DD” coil for his detector, Otis found a men’s gold ring with a big diamond. The owner’s name was engraved on it, so he was able to locate the owner in Houston, TX. Otis- you’re a great guy and this is inspirational! Read Otis’s story

 

“My Metal Detecting Finds”

Have an exciting discovery of your own to share? Be sure to share it and also vote for your favorite finds at MetalDetector.com!

How to Easily Recover Shallow-Water Treasure

How-to tips on recovering gold treasure while metal detecting at the beach.

How-to tips on recovering gold treasure while metal detecting at the beach.

We recently posted an article about shallow-water treasure hunting, because beach detecting season is here! Many hobbyists steer clear of the water, which leaves lots more treasure for YOU! Even if you’re just searching in the first few inches of water, you’re embarking upon area where other detectorists haven’t touched. This is where lost jewelry, coins and other treasures are hiding. The buzz about the coastline is true—amateur detectorists are stumbling upon lost shipwreck treasure and coins all the time!

Keep in mind, you will also need a sand scoop for underwater items. For hunting in less than knee-deep water, use a short- or medium-handled scoop for target recovery. For wading in deeper water, a long-handled scoop is a must. One thing we know for sure is a sand scoop of any length will help you sift out your treasure from the sand.

Find a wide variety of  beach scoops, (from hand-held to long-handled scoops) at MetalDetector.com. Also see our buying guide article Best Beach Sand Scoops for Metal Detecting.

How to Recover Shallow-Water Treasure

Detecting underwater is different than land hunting because your signal can come in strong and then get weak. Why does this happen? It could be the way your coil swings over the target. The more level you keep your coil to the seabed floor, the better your signal. If you swing too high, you’re farther from the target and the signal weakens.

Once you’ve pinpointed your signal, take your detector and position the coil on the ocean or lake floor directly on top of your target. Next, put your foot against the back edge of the coil, which is on top of your target. Then, place a long-handled water scoop where your big toe is. Use lots of pressure and dig downward until your scoop is definitely under the target.

With your detector at your side, use one hand to carefully feel through the sand that’s in your scoop. Be sure to keep the scoop underwater. You should be able to locate the hidden treasure pretty easily! Here’s a brilliant technique when wading for treasure: USE A FLOATING SCREEN. After locating a target, dump the scoop into your floating screen. When you sift the sand through your screen, your target should become visible. This is an expert tip!

Entry-Level Metal Detectors for Shallow-Water Hunting

Metal Detectors for Wading and Deeper Water

Father’s Day Gifts are HERE: at MetalDetector.com!

metal detectors for dad on Father's Day

Give your husband, son, grandfather or any dad on your list a metal detector for Father’s Day.

Father’s Day 2017 is coming! Do you need a GREAT gift for Dad or Grandpa to show them how much they’re appreciated? MetalDetector.com has you covered—on any budget, large or small. A new metal detector is a gift ANY Dad would love (and brag about!) Decent entry-level models start at around $150; and mid-range units start at around $400. If Dad (or Grandpa) already has a metal detector, accessories are ALWAYS appreciated! We have listed popular metal detecting accessories below. Gift certificates are also among Dad’s favorites! MetalDetector.com gift cards range from $25–$1,000, so Dad can pick out what he really wants, and YOU can spend the amount you’re comfortable with.

Metal Detecting Accessory Gifts

Pinpointers and digging tools are probably the best-selling detecting accessories, followed by beach scoops and “finds” pouches. If Dad needs a pinpointer, this is an affordable Father’s Day gift he’ll love.

  • Check out our best-selling Pinpointers.  *100% Best Price Guarantee!
  • MetalDetector.com Gift Certificates are a GREAT last-minute gift idea because they are emailed to your recipient with a gift message or emailed to you, for in person gift giving!

Best-Selling Entry- and Mid-Level Metal Detectors:

Celebrate Father’s Day in style and wish him the best from all of us at MetalDetector.com!

Old Coins are Hiding, and YOU Can Find Them!

1921 Silver Dollar found with a metal detector.

1921 Silver Dollar found with a metal detector.

Detectorists who focus on hunting coins (“coin shooters”) are on a quest for older, more valuable coins. Some hobbyists display their own collection and others sell coins for a profit. What distinguishes an “old” coin from a newer clad coin? It’s their silver content. According to the American Rare Coin website, “Roosevelt and Mercury Dimes, Washington Quarters, and Walking Liberty Franklin and Kennedy Half-Dollars minted in 1964 and earlier are 90% silver.”  All dimes and quarters minted after 1964 are not made with silver. Newer coins are made of an alloy, or a mixture of metals.

Experts say that success in finding older coins depends on your creativity in finding the right hunting spots. Scouting out a unique location is very significant. For example, parks, beaches and music venues will often yield new coins, but if you are searching for Mercury dimes, Morgan silver dollars or centuries-old $5 gold pieces, you’ll need a great spot! Researching historical records will give you clues about past locations that are worth exploring.

Experienced Coin Hunters Weigh in on Where to Find Old Coins

Avid coin hunters love to share their success stories. And in detecting forums, they give advice to new hobbyists and coin hunters!

Bob from Illinois offers this BRILLIANT tip:

  • “Talk to anyone over 60 years old. Ask them where they played when they were kids. They were growing up before 1964. Ask where the swimming hole was, the shortcuts to school, and if that school that was torn down? Inquire about older parks and fair grounds. Do they know areas that are overgrown now that were homes in the past? I have gained many silvers this way!”

Marty from Georgia says:

  • “All my old coins have come from private property. When I’m searching, I think of where people would chill scores of years ago. A/C wasn’t affordable “back in the day.” Shade trees and the Southern edges of property lines with trees are the best. Try thinking like a 130 year old!

‘Coin Guy’ has this advice:

  • “Old houses. I knock on the door and ask. 7 out of 10 property owners say yes. Be friendly and you can have old silver coins in your pocket. At one old house that was already searched, I found a 1904 dime and 5 Indian-  plus several Wheaties.”

Interested in a metal detector that will find old coins? Please read our Learning Library article, “What are the Best Metal Detectors for Finding Coins?” to help you make the best selection!

Warmer Weather is Here! Consider Shallow Water Treasure Hunting

Shallow water metal detecting.

Shallow water metal detecting with the Garrett AT Pro waterproof metal detector.

Are you an ambitious treasure hunter? If so, you’re probably not afraid to get your feet wet. It’s almost time to hit the beach, and shallow-water metal detecting can pay dividends!  One of the major bonuses of shallow-water hunting is that the treasures are usually in good shape on the ocean or lake floor. Also, underwater treasures are known to be found right where they’re dropped. (That’s not always true because of the tide.) Regardless, there are coins, trinkets and gold jewelry beneath the wet sand.

How Deep is Shallow Water?

This is subjective, as some detectorists only want to search from the high water mark to a few inches deep. If you know you’re staying in water that is only a few inches deep, a detector with a waterproof search coil will work fine. Here some VERY affordable models with a waterproof search coil (not housing):

Wading and Snorkeling

If you plan on wading in knee-deep water up to ten-feet deep, then you’ll need a completely waterproof detector. Submersible metal detectors can be used for snorkeling and scuba detecting, too. So, once you become expert at shallow-water detecting, you can graduate to the next levels. Many water detectors are equally proficient at land detecting, so they are the perfect investment for the enthusiastic hobbyist. Listed below are some popular waterproof metal detectors.

(Note: some are waterproof to much further depths than others):

Whether you are shallow-water hunting in the ocean, lake or the river, there is a wealth of treasure to be found! Some detectors are better suited for the saltwater beach than others. However, newer models often have a “beach mode” setting that will cancel the effects of most to all saltwater mineralization. For more information about the best beach and shallow-water metal detectors, be sure to read our Learning Library article: “What are the Best Metal Detectors for Metal Detecting on the Beach?”

Look for an upcoming blog post about underwater treasure-hunting techniques.

Relic Hunting: Tips for Detecting at Old Homesteads, Farms and Historical Homes

"The Marshall House" which was used by the British as a field hospital.

“The Marshall House” which was used by the British as a field hospital.

With warmer weather here (and better ground conditions), the thrill of treasure hunting beckons! If you’ve already hunted local parks, beaches and public venues in your neighborhood, it’s probably time for more advanced metal detecting. Over time, many detectorists start to realize that detecting on older private properties is where the REAL ACTION is! More old coins and excellent relics are found in private yards than anywhere else.  This is largely due to the fact that few people (if any) have ever swung a metal detector on this territory. It’s important to know the history of your area before deciding where to hunt and what you’re searching for. Do you live in a region where the Civil War was fought or where the first colonies once were? If so, you’re in ideal relic hunting territory.

Politely Ask Permission to Hunt Someone’s Private Property

There are some favorable tactics for gaining permission to hunt on private property. And in an upcoming article, we will fill you in on some of these “best practices.” But in a nutshell, it helps to explain to the home or landowner something on the order of: “I live here in town and I’m a  history buff. I appreciate older neighborhoods and properties such as this. My hobby is metal detecting, so I search for old relics in fields and old  properties. If something is interesting, I’ll be sure to show you; then offer it to a local historical society.” When you DO obtain permission to hunt, here are some tips for relic hunting success:  

  • Make sure you are good at plug cutting. You don’t want to tear up someone’s yard, field or farm!
  • Front yards were generally used a lot more than backyards. It’s best to detect the front before the backyard—specifically the  paths to and from the doors of the house.
  • Look for locations of the old out buildings. This includes sheds, barns, outhouses and wells. The paths to those areas where high traffic, with great old coin potential.
  • Get under the front porch, if possible. Lots of coins, old toys and other objects have likely slipped through the cracks. This was also a popular place for burying treasure.
  • If there are sidewalks, check along the grass edges. Coins and small objects land next to sidewalks and in the cracks.
  • Search under old trees on the property. People congregated in shady spots, also stashing items near roots.
  • Pay attention to clusters of trees, especially if they are in a row. These were usually intentionally planted years ago; it’s a good hint to check that area.
  • When you are done with the property, be sure to thank the landowner. If you had lots of luck there, consider giving the property owner a token of your appreciation.

Efficient relic hunting requires tools for careful digging and target retrieval. Many relic hunters swear by Lesche digging tools, as well as specialty shovels.

Related Articles:

What are the Best Digging Trowels and Shovels for Metal Detecting?

What are the Best Metal Detectors for Finding Relics?

Expert Tip: Under-Searched Sites Will Yield Relics

Silver Navajo Indian Bracelet with Coral Inlay found in New Mexico with a metal detector.

Silver Navajo Indian Bracelet with Coral Inlay found in New Mexico with a metal detector.

The BEST places to find relics and old coins are at pre-existing homesteads, old farmhouses and former soldiers’ camps or battle sites. Obviously, there are many more locations that will yield valuables and artifacts, but these are a few good examples. Metal detectorists always face the challenge of choosing sites that are already picked over. Don’t shy away from these locations, because it’s impossible that every relic and coin has already been recovered. However, if you really want to increase your chances of treasure hunting success, it’s a great idea to find virgin sites or those that are under-searched!

How to Scout Out an Untouched Metal Detecting Site

Detecting enthusiast and relic hunter, Brian Palmer, has a clever tip for interested hobbyists. Investigate for signs of old home sites. In colder months (in some states), it’s almost impossible to treasure hunt. But you can do online research and scan old maps. It’s much easier to scout out sites when the grass isn’t high—and you can also see further into the woods. Palmer and his wife scouted around in the winter and found a fallen tree along a stone wall where there were stones in the outline of a home’s foundation. When they came back to search the area, their detectors hit on a jackpot of treasure!

Popular Relic Finds with a Metal Detector

The Palmers’ finds at this former homestead in New York included five Civil War “Eagle buttons,” flat buttons, a knapsack hook and two 1863 Civil War tokens. These tokens were issued because coins were scarce during the Civil War, but they only circulated for one year. They are great pieces of history! On another hunt they scouted ahead of time, the Palmers’ uncovered a World War I German buckle from 1839, an 1840’s Federal Navy cuff button and an Indian Wars 1874 Pattern belt plate. These are all examples of items you can find when relic hunting. Keep looking for new places to search and/or ask for permission if necessary. You, too, will come across some amazing relics!

Recommended Relic Hunting Metal Detectors:

Entry Level Relic Metal Detectors:

Mid Level Relic Metal Detectors:

Premium Relic Metal Detectors:

Resource:   “Western & Eastern Treasures” Magazine

Want the Best Metal Detecting Locations? Check with a Real Estate Agent!

Local experts are able to point you to new sites to go metal detecting.

Local experts are able to point you to new sites to go metal detecting.

We always talk about doing site research before setting out with a metal detector. This is because you will be more informed about the area you’re searching and what you’re searching for. Before devoting time aimlessly swinging your detector, why not check the local library for historical information about your city? The librarian can direct you to the “town room,” or section of the library with historical maps, surveys and deeds. Then you can pinpoint the sites of old homesteads and municipal buildings. Detecting these locations gives you a better chance of finding relics and other treasure.

Get Leads & Detailed Information by Asking Real Estate Agents & Contractors!

Want to get really creative about finding great treasure spots?  Detectorist and author, Phil Goodson, Sr. suggests finding real estate agents in your area. Maybe you know of an agent. If  not, ask your friends and acquaintances for their real estate contacts. They have unlimited access to property information—both past and present—which is why they’re so knowledgeable about neighborhoods. Agents can tell you how old homes are in your area and even a homeowner’s name and address. This will be extremely helpful if you need to get permission to search the property. There’s a TON of detailed information that is open to the public, but most people don’t know how to get it.

Don’t forget contractors for “insider” information. Contractors know when and where digging and construction is happening. They can tell you when businesses and homes were built. And possibly most important, they know if the dirt was brought in from another location. If it’s dirt from an old homestead of farm, there’s your next search location!

MetalDetector.com Spring Sale on Metal Detectors 2017

Interested in getting a metal detector or upgrading to a newer model? Check out our exclusive 2017 Metal Detector Sale Offers!