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?

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

More Than One Search Coil Will Help with Your Success!

Adding a larger or smaller search coil can lead to increased finds.

Adding a larger or smaller search coil can lead to increased finds.

As a beginner, your first metal detector comes with a “standard” sized search coil—and that seems perfect. It signals metal objects, and it’s very exciting to hear beeps while checking out your LCD display for depth and ID. But did you know that search coils are interchangeable for different detecting purposes? As you grow into the hobby, you will learn that one size search coil doesn’t “fit all”- they come in several shapes and sizes. The standard search coil is typically 7-11″ with a sufficient scanning width—sensitive to a wide range of targets. Great for beginners, these medium-sized search coils are usually the best for coin hunting and general purpose treasure hunting.

Benefits of Smaller & Larger Search Coils

If you hunt trashier areas, however, a smaller search coil will help you find valuables. Junk-filled areas are easier to work with a smaller coil, which will separate responses from undesirable targets. Smaller search coils usually range from 3-6″ in diameter. Larger search coils (12″ diameter and larger) are designed to detect deeper targets—including treasure caches. Offering much more ground coverage, you can hit targets more quickly and deeply than other search coils. Among the larger coils are “DD” coils, which cover more ground and detect less mineralization in one sweep.

In summary, most manufacturers allow you to attach search coils of different sizes and shapes to your detector. As you grow into the hobby, you may decide to equip your detector with a different sized search coil based on your hunting preference. To find interchangeable search coils for your detector, see the “Related Products” information for your detector model or check out MetalDetector.com’s Search Coil Options.

Detectorists’ Dreams DO Come True! Silver Coin Hoard Found with the Garrett AT Pro

One lucky detectorist is keeping the dream alive for all of us who hope to find a coin hoard! Known as “Aquachigger” in his videos and metal detecting forums, this avid treasure hunter often searches rivers and streams. He spotted a river where he believed war relics would turn up, and started his shallow-water hunt. Aquachigger quickly hit on several silver coins in one concentrated area. Because the river floor here is bedrock, metals cannot sink any lower. This is perfect for uncovering coins, relics and gold. In his You Tube video that you can watch below: “OMG! I Found A Huge Silver Treasure Hoard Metal Detecting!” Aquachigger credits his Garrett AT Pro detector and Garrett Pro-Pointer for quickly signaling the silver coins. There was so much fence wire and lots of nails, he figures another detector may have passed right over the silver.

178 Silver Coins Found with the Garrett AT Pro!

Aquachigger’s Garrett AT Pro emitted a high pitch—with target ID reads from 89-90’s for silver. The AT Pro displayed 30’s when it passed over iron, making it easy to pinpoint the silver coins. After 5 or 6 trips to this riverbed hot spot, his total haul was 178 silver coins! The video is a worthwhile watch, as Aquachigger lays out all of his coins and explains what they are. A majority of the silver coin hoard includes U.S. halves, with the remaining pieces being Spanish 8 Reales, 5 franc coins and foreign (Brazil and Peru coins). It’s also interesting to read the comments about where this detectorist searched, how to find coins and how much the coins are worth. You can be next in a successful treasure quest!

MetalDetector.com’s 2017 Winter Sale

Start your OWN treasure hunting adventures with a metal detector of your own! During MetalDetector.com’s 2017 Winter Sale, you’ll find the lowest prices of the year on the most popular metal detectors and accessories. This includes the Garrett AT Pro!

 

Coin Hunting – Get Started with Your NEW Metal Detector!

Fisher F22 Weatherproof Metal Detector

Fisher F22 Weatherproof Metal Detector

Excited to go out treasure hunting with your new metal detector? Hunting for coins is a GREAT way to get familiar with your new detector—and enjoy success! Coins are the perfect target for first-time detectorists of all ages. There are millions of coins waiting to be discovered all around us. According to the late, famous detectorist and author, Charles Garrett, “ An experienced coin hunter can find 5,000 coins per year. Anyone can search for coins and quickly discover the best places to find them.” Among these places are parks, fields, beaches, around buildings, in construction areas, rural areas and even in your own backyard. Old, valuable coins are as abundant as newer clad coins, so they are definitely worth searching for! And surprisingly, gold coins continue to be discovered.

Target Identification—Coins

Most new metal detectors (if not ALL), have an LCD display which indicates which type of coin is being signaled. For example, the Whites Coinmaster entry-level model shows you whether you’ve found a nickel, dime, quarter, silver dollar or a junk target (such as foil or a nail). Other models indicate silver, gold or iron, with specific Target ID numbers that tell you which type of coin is underfoot. For example, the Fisher F22 has a Target ID screen that ranges from Fe (iron) to 10. Nickels show up on the screen as a “3,” a penny registers as zinc “5,” dimes are “6,” quarters are “7,” and half dollars are “8.” Being able to read your targets ahead of time, then test the Target ID accuracy is a great way to get familiar with your metal detector. Your detector manual will also detail your display screen and Target Identification conductivity bar.

Here’s a helpful article about to get started coin hunting: “Tips for Finding Coins in your own Neighborhood. Happy New Year and we hope you love your new hobby!

Ready to Go Metal Detecting? What Other Equipment Do You Need?

Metal Detecting Accessories

Metal detecting accessories for added success in the field.

If you’re a beginner metal detectorist, you are probably asking, “What other equipment do I need?” You’ll want to get started using your new detector right away, so by all means—take your detector out in your own backyard or the local park – even without headphones or gloves. It’s also a good idea to read your detector’s user manual—and even a few field test reviews about your specific unit before you’re off to the races. The instruction manual will give you pointers and explain the detector tones and settings, so you’re not confused when you are out using your unit. As far as the other equipment you may need, the list below highlights “necessities” as well as “best case scenario” equipment.

Metal Detecting Necessities:

  • Headphones: A must. You are going to need a good headphone set. You can try a pair that you have at home to start with because they may very well be all you need.  However, a set of headphones designed to go with the machine are better.  Recommendation: do not use the “ear-bud” type.  Headphones will help cancel outside noises and help you distinguish the tones and signals given off by your detector. Do use a pair that has volume control.
  • Digging Tools: Obviously, you are going to have to have some way of digging in the ground to get your finds. Depending on the conditions of the soil in the area you are hunting, a larger digging tool would be handy.
  • Tool Belt: You will need. Get a tool belt with at least 3 pockets so that you can sort your finds in the field. It is recommended that you keep coins in one pocket, relics and other items in the other and tools in the third pocket. One of the best we’ve seen is the Pro Series Deluxe Cordura Finds and Tool Pouch.
  • GPS Device: Important. Getting  lost should not be part of metal detecting. When you’re ready to go back to your vehicle, your GPS tells you the straight-line direction you need to go and how far you are away from it.
  • Compass: Need. Even if you have a GPS, always carry a compass. You never know when the GPS might stop working or you accidentally lose it.  A compass will direct you where you need to go.
  • Towel or a Piece of Plastic: Smart diggers recommend placing the dirt you dig on a towel or plastic for two reasons:  1) you can sift through the dirt to make sure you are not leaving a treasure behind.  2) It makes it easier to replace the dirt/sod back in the hole in order to leave your site in the same condition you found it.

Best-Case Scenario Accessories:

  • Coil Cover/Rain Cover: This will help prevent scratches, holes and marks on your search coil. They are not expensive. A rain cover will protect your detector from unanticipated rain showers. It is a good idea to try to keep your electronics dry.  
  • Adding a larger or smaller search coil can lead to increased finds.

    Adding a larger or smaller search coil can lead to increased finds.

    Search Coils: After you have been detecting for a while, you may want to move into a larger coil.  They can search deeper for specific treasure you may be searching for. A smaller coil allows you to detector where standard and larger sized coils cannot reach. Some areas are closer to park benches, chain link fence and under large shrub bushes that while large today, 50 or 100 years ago would have been smaller.

  • Pin-Pointer: A metal detecting pinpointer will help you locate each item precisely instead of digging up a bunch of ground. Popular models include the Waterproof MakroPointer, Whites Bullseye TRX,  Garrett Pro Pointer II and the waterproof Pro-Pointer AT. See also: Pinpointers buyers guide article with a video.
  • Knee Pads: You can find knee pads specifically for metal detecting, or just get some made for all-purpose or soccer.
  • Back Pack: If you do not have a back pack, you may want to get one to store your other stuff in, so that it is all together and ready to carry in the field.
  • Magnifier: Most detectorists like to identify their findings right away.  Some type of hand-held magnifier or eye loupe will help identify these objects when you find them. A flashlight and a headlamp with a LED bulb are also handy.

Need Metal Detecting Accessories?

Now that you have a new metal detector, you may need to equip yourself with metal detecting accessories. Headphones are definitely a necessity, so if you didn’t get them with your metal detector, pick up a pair for more accurate detecting. They block out background noise and allow you to hear specific signals. A metal detecting pinpointer will help you locate each item precisely instead of digging up a bunch of ground. Digging tools designed for metal detecting will help tremendously in rough turf and when dealing with branches and tree roots. Find metal detectors and all of the accessories you need here at MetalDetector.com!

Halloween 2016: Compassionate Detectorist Helps Widow Find Husband’s Lost Ring

Tom Shively and Catherine Tucker show the metal detecting equipment that helped find a lost wedding band. Catherine Tucker said she could not stop crying after finding her late husband's ring.

Tom Shively and Catherine Tucker show metal detecting equipment that helped find a lost wedding band. Catherine said she could not stop crying after finding her late husband’s ring.

Metal detectorists love their hobby for many reasons. First of all, there’s the thrill of the hunt. Secondly, there is the possibility of uncovering extremely valuable treasure: coins, jewelry, relics and even gold. Yet another passion of detectorists is helping out other people. Kind-hearted and compassionate, many detectorists use their expertise to help others locate sentimental lost items. This was the case recently when a seasoned hobbyist helped a distraught woman who lost her late husband’s ring while handing out Halloween candy.

Lost Ring Passing Out Halloween Candy

Catherine Tucker, a mother of two from mid-Michigan, became a widow three years ago when her husband died in a motorcycle accident. A former Air Force Lieutenant, husband Chris left the military to stay home with his daughters. Chris’s tragic motorcycle crash occurred on the day of his daughter’s birthday. Catherine had to sell her own wedding ring after the accident; and all she had left was her husband’s wedding band. After passing out Halloween candy, she realized the ring was missing and put out a plea on social media to look for the ring.

“Treasure Tom” to the Rescue!

Thankfully, Tom Shively (a.k.a. “Treasure Tom,” of Holt, MI.) read the story and offered his detectorist experience. Shively spent 80 minutes methodically searching Tucker’s yard with his metal detector. Tucker thanked him and told him to give up, but Shively asked for a few more minutes. Ten minutes later, he heard a faint, high-pitched tone. Sure enough, he found the ring! It had fallen upright in the grass and someone had stepped on it. Tucker was eternally grateful and emotional—and in the end, Shively would not accept a reward.

If you are inspired to take up metal detecting (whether to help others or make a profit), now is the time to get started. Technological advancements have made even entry-level units VERY efficient. Any hobbyist can easily locate lost valuables and treasures with a newer metal detector!

Here are some of the most affordable and popular entry-level detectors available today:

Entry-Level Metal Detectors:

MetalDetector.com’s Big Holiday Sale

Don’t miss MetalDetector.com’s 2016 Big Holiday Sale– going on now through December 20, 2016. Take advantage of the best prices of the year on the most popular detectors and accessories!

Whites TREASUREpro—an Amazing Metal Detector!

The Whites TreasurePro metal detector in action.

The Whites TreasurePro metal detector in action.

Even seasoned detectorists are blown away by the advanced technology and overall features of Whites TREASUREpro Metal Detector. For starters, this model was built with true ‘Automatic Ground Balance,’ meaning it adapts to the ground conditions as you’re hunting. With no constant adjustment to maximize depth and sensitivity, owners love this technology. Another beloved feature of the TREASUREpro is its large backlit display, set up in a speedometer style with important data off to the side.

Features of the Whites TreasurePro

This unit includes a 10″ DD waterproof search coil, 8 Target ID segments and 5 search modes including: Coins & Jewelry, Beach, All Metal, Pinpoint and High Trash. In the $300 – $400 price range, it would be hard to find a better machine!

Did you know? We stock all models of Whites Metal Detectors here at MetalDetector.com including accessories for all current Whites detectors.