Searching for “Coin Spreads”- How to Pinpoint and Dig Them

Whites Dig Master Digging Tool

Whites Dig Master Digging Tool for recovering your metal detecting treasure finds.

Searching for old coins is exciting, but searching for “coin spreads” is even MORE exciting! What is a “coin spread?” Well, back in the day, it was very common for people to bury small caches of coins and other valuables in the ground. Burying coins was easier than trying to keep them safe inside a home, so former farmland is a hot commodity for cache hunting. People often forgot where to dig and/or forgot to retrieve their treasures.

“As real treasure finds go, a coin spread is one of the most realistic for anyone with a metal detector to make.” – Daniel Bernzweig of

In the 1800’s and early 1900’s, farmers and homestead owners buried their valuables inconspicuously in socks, Mason type glass jars or small wooden boxes. These containers decay over  time, leaving metal valuables intact and in the ground. During plowing season, coin sacks are brought closer to the surface. And over time, coin sacks break and the coins are spread across a small area of land. Sometimes, handfuls of coins are found altogether. If you stumble upon a coin spread, adjust your metal detector’s sensitivity to easily pick up coins.

Pinpointing and Digging a Coin Spread

Once you’ve pinpointed a small area where a coin spread is present, it’s time to dig up your treasure! The depth of your digging area should be no less than ten inches. Each few inches of soil should be carefully removed from your target area and examined for the presence of coins. Move slowly and carefully! If your metal detector has multiple search coils, use the smaller search coil. Adjust the sensitivity of the metal detector and scan every scoop of dirt. When you’ve dug deeply enough, stop for a few minutes to examine the “walls” that you’ve created by digging. A large piece of tarp comes in handy; you can spread your dirt on the tarp to better spot coins.

Methods for Digging up Coins

Every detectorist has their favorite method of digging. Just remember: it’s important to maintain the integrity of coins when digging (no scratching) all the while doing your best at leaving the ground as you first found it. That’s why there are tried and true methods for digging up coins.

  • The Plug Method: Use a small search coil to determine the approximate location of your target. After locating the target, take note of the depth and cut a square block of soil. Lift under your target so you can recover it. A tool with a serrated edge, like the Lesche digging tool makes this work easy. After you’ve located it, replace your block of soil so it’s restored to its former appearance.
  • Alternate Plug: Dig up a half-circle, a “v”-shape, or cone-shaped hole.
  • Use a Handheld Pinpointer Probe: Experienced detectorists often use a pinpointer to locate their target. After determining your best search location, use a handheld probe to search the hole or continue digging until you find the target. You can also search the flap area for the coin if it is not visible.

Necessary Tools for Coin Retrieval

Here are a few of our favorite tools for pinpointing and digging up coin spreads:

Metal Detector Pinpointers and Probes

Makro Pointer Waterproof Pinpointer

Garrett Pro-Pointer II Pinpointing Metal Detector

Garrett Pro-Pointer AT Waterproof Pinpointer

Whites TRX Pinpointer

XP MI-6 Pinpointer

Metal Detecting Trowels and Digging Tools

Whites Dig Master Tool

Garrett Edge Digger with Sheath

Pro Digging Trowel

Saw Tooth Pro Digging Trowel

Fisher Teknetics Ultimate Recovery Tool

Digging Deep for Hidden Treasure- What are the Advantages?

Detech Chaser Metal Detector

The Detech Chaser Metal Detector, a great unit for deep coin hunting.

Using a metal detector is a science in itself—particularly, discerning  its individual beeps and tones. Once you have mastered your detector, you can focus on how deep you are finding targets. Some hobbyists only focus on targets that are buried 2-5″ deep. Others swear that their best targets are buried much deeper. Civil War relic hunters often talk about great finds buried 10″ and more underground. If you are looking to find better treasures, you may consider a detector that is built to find deeper targets, such as the Teknetics T2, Fisher F75. or Detech Chaser. One well-known treasure hunter who makes videos, “Aquachigger,” always digs deep holes while searching 1800’s homes- finding “Seated Liberty” quarters, Indianhead pennies, muskets, belt buckles and buttons.

Listening to Your Signals

The textbook coin signal is “round”. What this means is that for coins laying flat, the signal has the same characteristics no matter what angle you scan it. As you walk around the target while swinging the coil back and forth, a coin sound will be smooth and repeatable. If it beeps for half an inch one way, the “round” signal will beep for half an inch every other way. Oversized objects (like pop or beer cans), may give loud signals from one angle, but no signal from another.

Get the Most Depth Out of Your Detector

Here are expert tips to get the best depth out of your metal detector:

  1. Turn up the Sensitivity.  You can find the optimal setting for the particular conditions you’re using, but you’ll have to fine-tune it.
  2. Adjust the Ground Balance to be neutral or slightly negative. If your ground balance is positive, it’s easy to overlook a lot of stuff.

Related Articles:


Lesche All Purpose Shovel Review

Lesche All Purpose Shovel

The Lesche All Purpose Shovel is one of the best digging tools that will help you find buried treasures and relics.

When you’re out metal detecting, a large part of your adventure will involve treasure recovery. While any old shovel will technically do, digging up the treasure you find is infinitely easier when you have the right tools. One of the tools the pros never leave home without is the Lesche All Purpose Shovel.

Made in the USA, the Lesche All Purpose Shovel was designed by Walter Lesche and is part of his line of patented digging tools also known by the name “The King of Spades”; and rightly so. After all, like all Lesche tools, the Lesche All Purpose Shovel is made of aircraft quality steel which makes it durable, strong, and rust resistant. It’s also designed with a T-handle for good leverage as well as a long tapered cutting edge to make digging even in difficult soils a breeze. And, at just 26” and weighing in at only 2.3 lbs, the Lesche All Purpose Shovel is easy to carry when not in use as well. Don’t take our word for it though, let’s take a quick look at a few of the customer reviews we’ve received recently about the Lesche All Purpose Shovel.

Vince E. shares – “This isn’t a regular old garden shovel.”

Tara T. writes – “After reading a fair amount of reviews, and looking at what others bought, I decided on the Lesche. I wanted an all-around, sturdy shovel, not too big and not too small. So far, the Lesche has fit the bill. It’s relatively compact (for a nonfoldable), light weight, yet strong. The 4.5″ blade is a good size for plugs, and I use it for other jobs around the yard!”

Scott writes – “I have found that this is a very sturdy shovel. It cuts through tough clays and even cuts through decently-sized roots and the T-handle is great.”

Our resident experts here at agree as well; The Lesche All Purpose Shovel is an excellent metal detecting tool and will only serve to enhance this already exciting hobby even further. Plus, the company even stands behind it with their full 5 year warranty.

To learn even more about the Lesche All Purpose Shovel and decide if it’s the digging tool for you, visit our Lesche All Purpose Shovel product page.  This is where you’ll find all the information you need about this quality metal detecting tool including the instruction manual, product specifications and more.  Then, you can see just how much the Lesche All Purpose Shovel will add to your metal detecting experience and begin recovering your treasure with less work right away.

How to Recover Elusive Targets & the Garrett Pro Pointer Pinpointer

Metal Detecting 101 – The “Halo Effect”

Metal detecting and the Halo Effect. Learn what it is, why it occurs and how to successfully retrieve your targets.

Metal detecting and the Halo Effect. Learn what it is, why it occurs and how to successfully retrieve your targets.

There is a certain adrenaline rush when your detector finally emits a strong signal after hours of hunting. Now it’s time to recover your treasure. You dig up a plug of soil and start scanning the plug with your detector. If it responds to the plug, it is usually easy work to break the dirt apart until your target is located. If you do not get a response on the plug, then it is time to scan the hole. If your metal detector gives you a response on the hole, continue using your digging tool to remove small chunks of dirt from the hole. You can take individual handfuls of dirt and wave them in front of your search coil until you have located a piece of treasure. But what happens if your metal detector has signaled, but you can’t seem to find the target in your plug or in the hole? Don’t give up looking, whatever you do! A great find may still be within arm’s reach, however elusive it may be.

The “Halo Effect”

Metal detecting hobbyists get stumped when they’ve done all this recovery work and still come up empty-handed. Interestingly, there is such a thing as the “halo effect,” which amplifies a target—but makes pinpointing difficult. The halo effect is a process that happens when a metal object is buried in the ground for a long period of time. Ions from the metal oxidize and seep into the surrounding dirt, making the target seem bigger. This can cause small targets to seem like large signals, but it is also the reason older targets can be easier to locate than new ones. Veteran treasure hunters report encountering coins that gave a signal MANY times—only to disappear when trying to retrieve them. Their advice is to dig down further until you find the coin or other item. There is a really good chance it is still in the hole!

Here’s Why Hobbyists Carry a Garrett Pro Pinpointer

Garrett Pro-Pointer II Pinpointer

Garrett Pro-Pointer II Pinpointer

There are other scenarios that can make it hard to find a target. You may have knocked the target on its side while digging; or in sand or soft soil, the target may be sinking each time you dig. If your metal detector has a pinpoint mode, try that, before you give up. Searching endlessly for a target is extremely frustrating. It’s times like this when you really need a pinpointer! You see, the halo effect has been broken when you cut a plug of soil. Therefore, your detector no longer sees the target. However, a small hand-held metal detector—such as the Garrett Pro Pinpointer may be your answer. This tool easily fits into any size hole and features side scanning capabilities. The Garrett Pro-Pointer alerts you to your target with an audio indicator and the handle vibrates. The audio sounds a series of beeps that get faster as the pinpointer gets closer to the coin or object. The same goes for the vibration feature, which increases as you get closer to your target. You’ll be glad you have a trusty pinpointer when the treasure is at hand.

Garrett ProPointer AT Pinpointer

Garrett Pro-Pointer AT Pinpointer

Garrett gives you choice with two pinpointers that include the weatherproof Garrett Pro-Pointer II and the orange waterproof Pro-Pointer AT. Simplicity is what you will notice on the Pro-Pointers and also, on all Garrett metal detectors that the company produces. Ease of operation, yet with features to grow into as you gain experience in the field.

Double and Triple-Check Your Hole When Retrieving a Target

Don’t forget that there are often multiple targets in one hole. Experts say this happens all the time—whether it’s a small cache or coins were in a container that spilled or disintegrated. You never know why, but one target can indicate more in the same vicinity. One detectorist reports finding $12 in quarters in the same hole!

Find Target Recovery Tools at

You will find just about every type of target recovery tool at Just click on the Browse Shop tab in the top navigation, and you can Shop Accessories. There are subheads for each accessory category, making it easy to find what you’re looking for.

To learn more about the safe recovery of coins and other valuables, be sure to read the following articles from our Learning Library:

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

What are the Best Metal Detector Pinpointers?


Pinpointers Related Content:

Video: Selecting the Best Metal Detector Pinpointer – How to Video Guide
Product: Makro Pointer Waterproof Pinpointer

Must Have Metal Detector Digging Tools

Picture of the Lesche All Purpose Shovel

Digging tools such as the Lesche All Purpose Shovel will help you retrieve targets faster and with less effort.

When you go metal detecting, you’ll need to have more with you than just your machine. Metal detector digging tools are just as important or you won’t be able to unearth what you find. Here is our list of the best metal detector digging tools so you can be sure you’re prepared for proper target retrieval.

Digging Trowel

A metal detector digging trowel is quite different than the trowel you have used in your garden. Stronger and made of hardened stainless steel, a metal detecting trowel is designed for a long life even when frequently used in harsh conditions.

Metal Detecting Shovel

A proper metal detecting shovel is another one of the must have metal detector digging tools on our list. Unlike traditional shovels, a metal detecting shovel is compact, and lightweight so it’s easier to use and carry. Although not to be used in every application, if you’re metal detecting in previously disturbed ground or searching for deeply buried treasures, a metal detecting shovel is the digging tool you’ll need.

Pictured above is the Makro Pointer Waterproof Pinpointing Metal Detector

Pictured above is the Makro Pointer Waterproof Pinpointing Metal Detector


Although not technically a metal detector digging tool, a pinpointer helps with digging up treasures so much we had to list it here. A pinpointer helps you zero in on your target and as a result, reduces digging time and makes finding your target safer as well. Look below for our buying guide article on pinpointers or to see one of the most popular units now, check out the Garrett Pro-Pointer.

For more information on metal detecting digging tools, accessories, and proper target retrieval techniques, please review these related articles from our learning library:

Digging Etiquette and The Best Tools for Target Retrieval

What are The Best Metal Detector Pinpointers

What are The Best Digging Trowels and Shovels for Metal Detecting

Retrieving Your Metal Detecting Targets the Right Way

Having the best metal detector to find treasure isn’t enough, you’ve also got to have the proper digging tools and target retrieval skills as well. Without this, your treasures will remain underground, or worse, you’ll dig them up incorrectly and damage both the target and the ground permanently.

The type of soil you’ll be hunting in as well as the depth of your targets will help determine the digging tools you’ll need to do the job. Sand scoops, digging knives, and metal detector shovels are all possible options for different circumstances. Then you’ll also want to carry a pinpointer in order to help you dig up as little ground as possible to retrieve your metal detecting targets. A good example of having the correct digging tools for tough conditions would be the US 1835 Half Dime found in hard clay by Tommy Cranmore of Tennessee.

Digging as small and as few holes as possible, as well as refilling all the holes you do dig is an important responsibility for all metal detectorists when it comes to retrieving metal detecting targets. Take a look at the Treasure Hunter’s Code of Ethics all metal detectorists observe and promote for more. You’ll also enjoy these other articles related to the best metal detecting tools for proper target retrieval from our learning library.

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

What are The Best Metal Detector Pinpointers?

Metal Detecting Accessories and Necessities


I Just Got a New Metal Detector. Which Accessories do I Need to Get Started?

Metal Detecting Accessories for Beginners, Tips from

Was there a shiny new metal detector under your Christmas tree this year? If so, you’ve probably already powered it on and at least started hunting in your own backyard. Now, it’s time to hit the local parks and trails in search of buried treasure. In case you’re wondering what other metal detecting equipment you’ll need, we’ve put together a quick list of essentials. Most hobbyists categorize accessories as “must haves,” or “nice to have.” Example: if you have a probe and digging tool, a finds pouch is really helpful. They come with pockets for trash and treasure, a pocket for tools and either a belt hook or waist belt. When you’re hunting for longer periods of time, it’s important to lighten your load.

“Must Have” Metal Detecting Accessories

Digging Tools: You will need something to dig your finds up. A hand-held trowel and either a probe or screwdriver are necessities. For more information, see: Digging Trowels and Shovels for Metal Detecting. For a digging Kit with pouch & trowel, see: Garrett Treasure Digger Kit and Bounty Hunter Finds and Digger Kit

Tool Belt or Finds Pouch: It’s best to wear a tool belt with at least 3 pockets so you can keep coins in one pocket, tools in another and other items in the third pocket. You may want to consider a belt with a large pocket in the back to put things like towels and knee pads. Top-Selling Finds Pouches include the Pro Series Deluxe Finds and Tool Pouch Black Cordura and the Garrett Camo Diggers Pouch.

Gloves and Knee Pads: Gloves protect your hands from sharp objects buried near you treasure. Knee pads are necessary when digging for extended periods.

Compass or GPS: You never know when you’ll get lost in the woods. A compass or GPS should be part of any basic survival kit.

Towel for Dirt: There will be times when your target is buried deep and you need to put all of the dirt back neatly.

Headphones like the DepthMaster Audiophone pictured above will help you to hear the faint deeper signals of the older items better.

Headphones: Most detectorists use a good headphone set. They help cancel outside noises and distinguish the tones and signals given off by your detector. A headphone should be the very next item you grab after the metal detector itself. There headphones made just for metal detecting such as the DepthMaster Audiophone II Metal Detector Headphones.

Metal Detecting Accessories that are “Nice to Have”

Support Strap: Heavier metal detectors get hard to carry; support straps take off some of the extra weight such as the DetectorPro Detecting Pal Bungee Harnesses.

Metal Detector Carry Bag or Case: Good for protecting your detector as well as offering added storage space. There are soft-cover and some hard-cover cases for travel. See: Pro Series Metal Detector Carry Bag.

Coil Cover and Display Cover: Protect your search coil from getting all scratched up. It is always a good idea to try to keep your electronics dry.

Pinpointer: Hand-held units are often more accurate than a detector’s “pinpoint mode.” Learn more: What are the Best Metal Detector Pinpointers

Many days of excitement and adventure await you with your brand new metal detector. As you get more acclimated to the hobby, you will see for yourself which tools and accessories you will need for the type of metal detecting you are embarking upon.

Metal Detectors as Christmas Gifts for Her

Yesterday we posted, “Metal Detectors as Christmas Gifts for Him.” But how about the ladies in your life? Many women are discovering the hobby of metal detecting, so today’s post is all about Christmas gifts for women – detector style!

The Perfect Gift for Women from your Holiday Gift List

Ready to start your Holiday shopping?  The perfect gift idea for all the ladies on your list may just be a metal detector.  Often thought of as a hobby for the guys, more and more women are getting into metal detecting – and for good reason.  Metal detecting is a fun and exciting pastime that gets you up and outside for exercise, helps you learn more about your area as well as history in general, and, makes it possible to find priceless treasure.  With all this to offer, why not introduce your wife, girlfriend, mother, daughter, or granddaughter to metal detecting this Holiday season by giving her a metal detector or accessory!

If the woman you’re shopping for hasn’t been metal detecting before, there are a variety of metal detectors that are ideal for new users.  These machines feature easy to use, “turn on and go” technology; which means you can begin using the machine right out of the box without knowing much if anything about metal detecting.

Some metal detectors we like to recommend for new users include:

Bounty Hunter Legacy 2500
Bounty Hunter Platinum with 8″ Search Coil
Fisher F-2 Go for either the Pinpointer combo or Search Coil combo kit
Garrett Ace 250
Teknetics Delta 4000
Tesoro Silver uMax

If you’re Holiday shopping list includes a woman who is already into metal detecting, there have been a lot of interesting developments recently and she might appreciate a new machine.  Most newer metal detectors have incorporated recent advances in technology to provide users with an enhanced experience.  For example, companies like Bounty Hunter, Garrett, and many others are including large LCD displays on their newer models to show users a variety of information about the target that’s under that ground, including it’s depth, and shape.  You’ll also find new metal detectors weight less than previous models, and, they’re easier to use as well even when sporting an advanced feature set.

Some of our favorite metal detectors for more advanced detectorists include:

Bounty Hunter Platinum Pro with 11″ DD Search Coil
DetectorPro Headhunter Underwater
Fisher F-19 in Pink Camo or Green Camo Colors
Fisher F70
Garrett AT Pro for all-around unit or Garrett AT Gold for Gold Nugget Prospecting
Tesoro Vaquero
XP DEUS Top-end, Lightweight and Completely Wireless

Don’t forget metal detecting tools and accessories either.

Whether she’s new to metal detecting or an experienced pro, the ladies on your Holiday shopping list are sure to appreciate a new digging tool, carrying case, headphones, sand scoop, or other metal detecting accessory.  Be sure to look for high quality brands like Lesche, Treasure Products and Garrett to name a few so your Holiday gift is sure to give her many memories as she uses it over the years.

There’s no reason to drag yourself all over town trying to give her yet another pair of earrings or that mug or pair of slippers you give her every Holiday.  Instead, give her a metal detector and you’ll give her a gift that will offer years of excitement, activity, and maybe even treasure!  If you have any further questions about which metal detector to go with, please contact us or review the buying guide articles found in the Learning Library.

Metal Detecting Resources for Women:

Dirt Girl Unleashed Blog: Whit & Her Metal Detector
Detecting Diva Blog: Because women detect too!
Join a Metal Detecting Club

Metal Detectors as Christmas Gifts for Him

Give Metal Detectors as Gifts for Guys at any Skill Level

Finding the right gift for him can be challenging – but it doesn’t have to be!  This Holiday season, you can get all the guys on your list into metal detecting.  Whether they’re new to the hobby or seasoned experts, metal detectors and accessories can make the absolute perfect gift for him; and one that will keep on giving for many, many years to come!

If your husband, father, son, grandson, or any other guy on your list is new to metal detecting, look for a “turn on and go” model.  This means the machine will require little if any fine tuning and should be able to be used almost immediately.

Some metal detectors that we find work well for beginners include:

Bounty Hunter Legacy 1500
Bounty Hunter Platinum with 8″ Search Coil
Fisher F-2
Garrett Ace 150
Garrett Ace 350
Teknetics Alpha 2000
Tesoro Compadre

If the guy on your Holiday shopping list has been metal detecting for some time, consider getting him a new metal detector.  As any detectorist will tell you, having more than one machine can be ideal.  If, for example, he currently has a model that will only work on land, pick up an underwater metal detector for him.  You may also consider giving him a more advanced model than the one he currently uses.

Our favorite metal detectors for more advanced enthusiasts include:

Bounty Hunter Platinum Pro with 11″ DD Search Coil
Fisher F- 19 in Green Camo
Garrett ATX
Garrett AT Pro
Tesoro Tiger Shark

Metal Detecting Tools Make Gifts He’s Sure to Like

Whether you need some stocking stuffers, or you just know the guy(s) on your list need some metal detecting accessories he’s sure to have fun with any of these unique, high quality metal detecting tools.

Pinpointers are tops on Many Holiday Shopping Lists: Garrett Pro-Pointer and the Makro Waterproof Pointer
Lesche Digging Tools
Gold Panning Kits and Equipment
Headphones for Metal Detecting: DepthMaster Audiophone II

If you have any further questions about which metal detector or tool to get him, please visit our Learning Library.  You can find a great deal of information here to help you find the best metal detector for every guy on your list.  If you still have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.   All of us here at want to help you give the best gifts this Holiday season and are happy to help you find the right metal detector or accessory for anyone on your list.

So don’t waste time running from store to store never finding a gift he’ll actually use.  Instead, get him a metal detector and you’ll give him a Holiday gift that will last a lifetime!

Check out tomorrow, our blog post on “Metal Detectors as Christmas Gifts for Her.”

Special Thanksgiving Thursday Metal Detectors Sale

Garrett Ace 250 Metal Detector

The Garrett Ace 250 is one of the featured units this year on the Thanksgiving Thursday Metal Detectors Sale from

There’s no need to wait for Black Friday to get all the metal detecting equipment on your Holiday shopping list.  Our special Thanksgiving Thursday Metal Detectors sale will offer all your favorite metal detectors, digging tools, headphones, and more at unheard of low prices.

You can also take advantage of our Daily Deals and Special Buys during our Thanksgiving Thursday metal detectors sale.  These extra low prices are available for just a limited amount of time though; which means you’ll want to be sure to stop in Thursday, and every day after that to see what new deals are being offered so you don’t miss anything.

Thanksgiving isn’t just for turkey anymore!  Now it’s for metal detectors too.  Be sure to join in the new tradition and take part in our Thanksgiving Thursday metal detectors sale to get the lowest prices possible on all the best metal detecting tools and equipment around.


Buy your metal detector today and take up to 6 months to pay, interest free with Bill Me Later.