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My Best Metal-Detecting Finds (So Far)


Matt is a professional painter who enjoys fishing and metal detecting for old coins and relics.

Two Old Metal-Detecting Finds From My Yard

On the day I unboxed my new Garrett AT Pro metal detector, I spent a lot of time metal detecting my front and back yard to get a feel for the machine and its settings. My house was built after 1970, so I was surprised to find some older stuff in my yard the first time I used my new detector.

The first older find was a Great Seal military button, likely dating back to WWII but possibly from the WWI era. I've since found another one of these buttons in an old park, but the one from my yard still has the shank attached on the reverse side.

My second unexpected find was a silver standing liberty quarter that was badly tarnished but still readable. The date is worn off, indicating it's likely one of the older ones. I actually don't find many of this particular coin. I've gone metal detecting at many different locations and have only found maybe two or three of these coins.

The Oldest Coin Found With My Metal Detector

Some of my best metal detecting sites have been permissions at older homes, many of which I have returned to more than once. One of those properties is a house from the 1880s that I've gone treasure hunting at a few times. The last time I went metal detecting at this property, I found a 4 pfennig coin from 1795 about four inches underground, not far from an old well in the backyard. This is the oldest coin I've ever found as of this writing.

Here in the Midwest, most of the older coins I unearth are usually from the mid-1800s to the mid-1900s. Finding a European coin from 1795 was pretty cool. On that same property, I have also found other older coins, but most have been from the late 1800s.

Silver Coins and Rings I Found Metal Detecting

I have found many silver rings and coins while metal detecting old house sites, parks, and curb grass, but the grounds around old homes have produced the most silver for me. I also once found a gold class ring in the yard of an abandoned home.

I haven't found a diamond ring yet, but in time, I hope to. I found a ring that looked like it contained diamonds, but the stones turned out to be marcasite. Rings are by far the most exciting items to find metal detecting, and you can find them almost anywhere.

The best silver coin I've found so far is a Barber half-dollar from 1902. I found it about three inches underground in the front yard of a house built in 1895.

Antique IMCO Lighter

My coolest relic find is an antique lighter that I detected in the backyard of a historic office building that was once a schoolhouse in the 1800s. These lighters were first manufactured in 1920, but I'm not sure exactly how old this one is.

The lighter was in shallow ground, maybe three inches below the surface. I also found an indian head cent not far from the lighter.

IMCO lighter I found with my metal detector.

IMCO lighter I found with my metal detector.

My Metal-Detecting Gear

I don't use overly expensive metal detecting gear. I plan to eventually upgrade my gear, but for now, I currently use the Garrett AT Pro metal detector, along with the Garrett AT pinpointer, to locate my targets in the hole.

The AT Pro has worked great for me underwater and on land. This detector is good for anyone new to the hobby who wants a waterproof machine, but if the all-terrain advantage isn't important, the Garrett Ace 250 is a cheaper alternative that's great for coin hunting. The search coil on that detector can still be submerged, but the control box cannot.

© 2018 Matt G.

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