Amateur Hobbyists Really CAN Get Lucky… Start Detecting and Enjoy Beginner’s Luck!

Coin found metal detecting.

What a great coin Logan found with some luck and his uncles metal detector.

Recently, a Green Bay, Wisconsin teen found the treasure of a lifetime at a local beach. It was 13-year-old Logan Williams’ first ever treasure-hunting trip! He stumbled upon a Large Cent, wreath variety, minted in 1793. This was the first coin mass-produced by the U.S. Mint and its composition is pure copper.

According to Logan, “I borrowed my Uncle Mark’s metal detector and my friends and I took it down to ‘Fat Ladies Beach’ (Tourist Park). After searching for about 30 minutes, I got a good, strong signal. I dug down a few inches and found a coin. It looked pretty interesting. At first, I thought it was a token or something. I’d never seen a coin like it before, but I knew that it was old.”

The seventh grader, on spring break, never thought he would come across a rare 16th century copper coin. Curious about the coin, Logan and his mom took it to “Card and Coin-Packer City Antiques.” Owner Mike Worachek was amazed. He said in good condition, this coin lists at around $3,000. He recommended that the teen “send it in to get graded, especially for a coin of that value. The company will secure it in an air-tight, sealed holder.”

At first Logan thought about selling the coin to purchase video games, but instead decided to take Worachek’s advice. Logan said he’ll continue to hunt for treasure, but plans to buy his own metal detector. It just goes to show that there IS such thing as “beginner’s luck!” Get out and hunt, so you can tell your own exciting treasure-hunting story!

Find a Beginner’s Metal Detector at MetalDetector.com’s Summer Sale!

Freshwater Lake Treasure Hunting with a Metal Detector

Fresh water metal detecting at the shoreline.

Fresh water metal detecting at the shoreline.

Headed to a lakefront cottage or summer destination near a freshwater beach? Don’t forget your metal detector! Every vacationer walks the beach—but the SMART detectorist brings his or her metal detector. Many hobbyists say you’ll find MORE treasure along freshwater beaches than the ocean. They say you’ll get more good finds in one day here than any popular ocean beach! Here’s why: popular ocean beaches are hunted every day. But beaches and [boating & swimming areas] on a freshwater lake are rarely detected.

A roped-off swimming area is usually only 30-50 yards wide, so it’s easy to read where the most treasure will be found. Jackpot area: Search right near the shoreline where mothers often sit with kids in the water. Here, you’ll find jewelry– gold, silver and diamond rings.

Advice from Fellow Hobbyists (Friendly Metal Detecting Forum)

Jeff says:  “I detect Southeastern Virginia & Northeastern North Carolina and concentrate on the areas in the water where the people swim and play. I especially like working around piers and platforms that they dive from. Also check out the shallow areas where parents and kids frolick.”

Chris says:  “Most of the time in freshwater lakes, the goodies either sink into the sand where they were dropped or slowly get pushed up to the water’s edge. Concentrate on the swimming area first, but things find their way all over the place.”

Is Your Detector Waterproof?

Before you dip your machine into the water, be sure to check that it is a waterproof model. Some models are only waterproof up to the control box. The last thing you need is to ruin the electronics when you’re just trying to treasure hunt on vacation!

Equipment: All-purpose or Waterproof VLF metal detector:

Very Low Frequency (VLF) Metal Detectors are usually recommended for freshwater hunting. They will easily locate coins, relics, and jewelry. If you want to go shallow-water-hunting, make the sure the specs allow for it. Here is a list of our best-selling water proof freshwater metal detectors.

Short or long-handled sand scoop

Beach scoops are a tremendous help when sifting through sand for treasure. A water scoop is necessary for shallow water metal detecting, as it digs deeper into wet sand. Check out: Sand Scoops for the Beach.

Detect Private Property (With Permission) for Extraordinary Finds!

A Story Button from the 1800's to early 1900's

A Story Button from the 1800’s to early 1900’s

The reason why many detectorists seek out private property is because it is pristine land for treasure hunting. Beaches and parks are detected every day, but private property is virgin territory- never hunted before. This is a chance for you to find TRUE treasure and get your hooks into valuable finds!

Homesteads Dating Back to the 1700’s and 1800’s

If you check out YouTube videos posted by “Hooked on History,” you’ll see several detectorists unearthing amazing finds. They all talk about old private property and ask permission to hunt these areas. Typically, these are old homesteads in the rural Midwest dating back to the 1700’s and 1800’s. Most of the homes are no longer standing, but they have markers indicating where outhouses, dump sites and building foundations existed. In one video, “Treasure in the Ground Metal Detecting Private Property 2017,” father and son hobbyists were thrilled with their discoveries!

Finds on Private Property

The treasure-hunting duo from “Treasure in the Ground” found exceptional treasures. They hunted a house formerly standing in the late 1700’s and another former homestead from the late 1800’s. Finds included: foreign coins, a pewter spoon, a clock face piece with Roman numerals, a 1941 Mercury silver dime, and a 1943- S silver Washington quarter. It pays to ask permission!

Interested in Coin-Hunting Metal Detectors? Here are Our Recommendations:

Entry-Level Coin Detectors:

Fisher F4

Garrett Ace 200

Tesoro Mojave

Whites CoinMaster

Mid-Level Coin Detectors:

Garrett AT Pro

Bounty Hunter Platinum

Fisher F70 with 11″ + 5″ DD Search Coils

High-End Coin Detectors

XP Deus

Whites Spectra VX3

10 Best Spots to Find Treasure at Your Local Park!

Marcus found this 1754 1/2 Reale coin near older trees while metal detecting in a local park.

Marcus found this 1754 1/2 Reale coin near older trees while metal detecting in a local park.

The local park is usually the FIRST place hobbyists start detecting, and parks can be very lucrative when it comes to metal detecting. Finding treasure in your own neighborhood—right down the street—is exciting because this is the history of your city. Amazingly, people have found some of their best treasures at the park—including YouTuber “Mark D.”, who hunts with his Garrett AT Pro, and found a diamond and ruby brooch in Denver, CO. He also got an “80” signal on his detector, which was a copper memorial, right next to a Mercury dime. Mark uses his Garrett Pro-Pointer to pinpoint targets, after getting a signal from his detector.

Some people say that popular area’s in parks are “hunted out” after years of metal detecting, but don’t be deterred. Experts say if you follow a few valuable tips, you will most certainly be successful hunting your favorite local park!

Hunt These Areas at Your Local Park

  1. Outer Edges of the Park: Older coins are often found at the outer edges of the park. Why? Grass is usually only mowed in the modern sections of the park. However, people also frequented the outer edges of the park many years ago. This is where lost coins and jewelry are lying.
  2. Under Large Trees: There are always treasures around park trees, especially where the shade is. Hunt the shady side of trees that are near volleyball courts, baseball diamonds and activity areas.
  3. Volleyball Courts: You will find lots of jewelry and coins in the sand of a volleyball court. Players use suntan lotion, which loosens rings; while other jewelry can simply fall off.
  4. Park Pools: It’s always a “given” that people lose jewelry and coins around the pool. They take off watches and necklaces and inadvertently leave them behind.
  5. Picnic Areas: Groups of people leave all sorts of things where they lay down blankets in the summertime. “Music in the Park” is a festive evening activity, where coins and valuables are later discovered.
  6. Ball Fields: Especially if they are old fields where games were played many years ago. Spectators dropped old coins, possibly from a century ago!
  7. Gazebos: This is the site of group photos, including wedding and graduation photos. Where there are people, there are lost valuables.
  8. Play Areas: Perhaps the most obvious search spots are the playgrounds, or tot lots at the park. It’s mostly the parents losing items here, such as rings and coins.
  9. Dirt Piles: Don’t pass up these areas where trail repair projects or construction is happening. Old dirt equals easy finds!
  10. Grass by the Parking Lot: Search the grassy area leading to the parking lot. This is where people are digging for their car keys, while other things (including coins) fall out of their pockets.

Related Article – Best Metal Detectors for Finding Coins and Jewelry.

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!

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!

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

Whites TM 808 Metal Detector- Find Coin Hoards & Treasure Caches!

Whites TM-808 Deep Seeking Two Box Metal Detector

Whites TM-808 Deep Seeking Two Box Metal Detector

Have you ever gotten a lead about a buried treasure cache’s whereabouts, but didn’t act on it? Perhaps it was hidden on several acres of farmland, and you figured it was an impossible mission. That’s when the Whites TM 808 Metal Detector, a deep-seeking two-box unit, is a priceless commodity! Coin and treasure cache burials were extremely popular in the past, and a large majority are still waiting to be discovered. These caches were buried during an emergency, for safe-keeping and even by outlaws.

Find Large Deeply Buried Treasure’s

Whites TM 808 is specially designed to detect larger objects and deeper metals—up to 20 feet deep! Professional features include: adjustable ground balance, powerful electronics, preset controls and easy tuning. Whites TM 808 is priced right and also detects septic tanks, pipes and relics.

 

See all models of Whites Metal Detectors

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.