Matt is a professional painter who enjoys fishing and metal detecting on the weekend for old coins and rings.
Where to Find Old Coins and Rings When Metal Detecting
If you want to find old coins and rings with a metal detector, you have to do some research and visit places with history behind them. Unless you want to find jewelry at the beach and modern coins, historical research is key for finding the old stuff in this hobby. Don't randomly visit a location without researching it first.
I enjoy researching old maps and finding hidden spots that produce amazing finds. I've found everything from silver coins to valuable jewelry at the places I recommend in this article.
The best places to metal detect are spots where people have congregated for a long time. Living in the mid-west, I don't have the opportunity to find civil war relics, but I find old coins on a regular basis treasure-hunting historical sites from the 1800's using my Garrett AT Pro metal detector. The AT Pro is a coin magnet.
Here are the places that produce the best finds for me:
I've gone treasure hunting at several different places, but one of the best metal detecting sites for me has always been permissions at old homes, preferably those built before 1900. If you happen to live in a historical area with homes dating back to the 1800's or earlier, there's a good chance a number of those homes have never been metal detected because most people are too scared to knock on the door and ask for permission.
My best metal detecting finds have come from the grounds around old homes. I found a 4 pfennig from 1795 found near a well in the back yard of a home built in 1880. I have also found lots of silver coins and rings by metal detecting around old properties.
Getting permission is easier than you think. Some people say yes and some say no, but I get permission more often than not. If you want to find your first silver coin, old homes are your best bet, not a public park. The grass along a front walkway can be a hot spot too. I've found a lot of silver coins metal detecting curb strips.
Old House Sites (Torn Down)
Abandoned sites where old houses once stood are good places to make interesting finds, and these places are often overlooked by others. After researching local spots, I hunted an old house site minutes from my house and found a silver Barber dime and two relics. I had driven past the place hundreds of times not knowing a house once stood there—until I did a little research.
There are several spots in my area that you wouldn't know were once house sites without looking at an old map. There are likely spots like this in your area too, including sites of old school houses, or even former fairgrounds. Many old school houses once stood in corn fields. These are some of the best places to go metal detecting if they haven't yet been treasure hunted.
Old Swimming Holes
I definitely recommend buying a water-proof metal detector if you plan on going into the water. This gives you the opportunity to metal detect swimming holes, which are some of the best places to find jewelry and lost coins. In the 1800's, before the creation of public pools and air conditioning, people spent their summer days swimming in their local creek, or river, dropping coins and jewelry.
Old swimming holes from a long time ago have often never been treasure hunted before because they're harder to find than a well documented house, or a park. The best way to find swimming holes to metal detect is through research and finding old postcards and articles referencing it. You need a good sand scoop and metal detector go to treasure hunting in deeper water.
Not many churches have been treasure hunted because they typically require permission to hunt them, and most people aren't confident enough to ask. Go inside the church, or call, and ask for permission. I would ask for permission in person though over a phone call. I've never been denied permission when I visited two different churches. Old church grounds can be gold mines for silver coins and rings.
The best churches to metal detect are the ones built before 1900 that haven't been landscaped. Dirt displacement makes it a lot harder to find anything, and you don't want to damage well kept grass. I found lots of coins and one silver ring in the backyard of my local church. Most of the stuff I found was close to a walkway.
Old neighborhood parks are hit or miss, but if you're lucky to find one that hasn't been metal detected to death you can find some amazing stuff. Try to find old parks in rural areas. These are less likely to be hunted out. Old parks can be loaded with coins and rings (along with plenty of trash), but you usually don't have to ask permission to treasure hunt them.
While it's true many old parks have already been hunted out, that's not always the case, and there's almost always something in the ground that someone else passed up. In my town, there's a really old park that's been treasure hunted for many years, but I was able to find a small hot spot in a wooded area that produced several old coins, a rare token, and an old military button. On another visit I was able to find a silver standing liberty quarter.
Researching Metal Detecting Sites
Using a good metal detector with a deep search coil is important, but researching local history is also key for finding cool stuff in this hobby. I love history, so the researching part for me is very interesting, but it might be boring for others.
You can research old spots in your town using sites that sell old maps. Some of these sites offer free versions of old maps that you can save to your phone, or print out. I use these maps all the time to find new places of interest.
Sites like Historic Aerials are good resources for topographical maps, some of which date back to the mid-1800s and older. Using the satellite and street view setting on Google Maps in combination with old plat maps is key to finding where old buildings once stood and what is there now. Try to find fields where buildings once stood. Your local library and historical society are also excellent resources for local history.
© 2018 Matt G.
Matt G. (author) from United States on October 31, 2019:
Thank you. I enjoyed writing it.
Gary Baker on October 31, 2019:
Thank you I enjoyed reading you’re article