Things You Find Metal Detecting

Metal has been widely used to forge many different products for years. Being a strong and durable material, metal is commonly found in jewelry, appliances, cookware, vehicles, toys, machinery, keys, coins, and clothing. The kind of metal used in different items can increase or decrease the monetary value.

Gold and silver are two of the more valuable metals, while iron and aluminum would be on the lower end, depending on the item’s value. Age, size, quality, production location, and current condition are also pieces of the puzzle used to determine the value and rarity of finds.

Since time never stops and landscapes constantly change, the excitement for potential discoveries is always there. Metal detectors are an excellent way to hunt for lost treasures and discover unexpected finds.

Items of historical importance lost personal property, items with sentimental value and the unfortunate piece of litter can all be found using a metal detector and the will to dig where there is a beep. It is recommended to research an area before metal detecting to ensure safety, granted access, and general knowledge of what may be found based on what the property was used for in the past or present time.

Coins And Jewelry

Luck plays a role in metal detecting. If you happen to be in the right place at the right time and dig for the right beep, there are unlimited possibilities of what you could find. Discoveries will vary day by day as well as by location. Some areas may be hot spots with endless finds of varying value, while others appear to be a gold mine but only have pop tabs and aluminum cans.

Coins are one of the most common things to find when metal detecting. Often, coins will fall out of pockets or bags and become lost in the grass, sand, or dirt at playgrounds and parks. Sometimes older coins can be found a few inches beneath the surface if they have been lost for more extended periods or soil was moved in and covered what had been previously above ground.

Coins will typically have a lower value than other more precious metals, but it is not uncommon to find a few dollars worth of change in a day when added together. If you are lucky, you can find older coins made during different eras containing higher levels of gold, bronze, copper, and silver from an antique position.

Coins have been used as currency for many years and were in circulation before printed paper money was introduced. The older the coin, the more value it may have. However, value is only a word used to describe worth; just because something is older doesn’t always make it worth what we assume. Some coins may be worth hundreds of dollars, others ten to twenty dollars, and most at face value of one to twenty-five cents.

In the past, coins were made from different varieties of metal depending on where they were produced. Unique markings on coins can help determine the value, properties, and where the coin was made. Other attributes can be deciphered to predict if a currency was used by royalty or common folk. There are coin specialists who know what to look for when examining uncommon findings. The specialists will be able to tell you if you have a rare find or just an interesting one.

Roman coins are popular among metal detecting groups, eBay sellers, and collectors. For a time, Rome was the most extensive empire and had large quantities of coins in production. Due to the time in history, it was not uncommon for thieves and beggars to steal from shopkeepers or anyone they suspected to have any currency on them.

Street fights, bar fights, battles, structure fires, and tax collectors were other occurrences where coins could have been easily taken, dropped, or hidden. Some families might have even buried their money to avoid having it forcefully removed from their possession.

Coins are, of course, not the only thing you can find while metal detecting. Jewelry is another item common to metal detectorists. Children and young adults often wear necklaces, rings, and bracelets that break, fall off, or get lost while swimming.

Wedding rings, class rings, and religious rings are other finds that happen more often than one would think. Any piece of jewelry that contains metal can be found with a metal detector. Plastic and some costume jewelry may be harder to find since they will not set off the coil of a metal detector.

Cans, Pull Tabs, Toys, And Marbles

Beaches, rivers, parks, and highly used public access points are known to be full of trash. Cans and pull tabs are found too often, but it is best to look at them as an opportunity to help keep the environment clean and safe after properly throwing away the discarded items. Using the discrimination settings on your metal detector can help reduce the number of false signals from unrecognized objects.

Anything recyclable can be collected and exchanged for cash to compensate for removing hazardous materials. If you or someone you know are creative and enjoy crafting, a decent amount of metal trash can be repurposed and sold as art pieces or used to decorate around the house or garden.

It is no secret that kids will often lose toys while playing at home, at the park, at school, at daycare, or on vacation. Toys can be found buried in dirt or sand, hidden in the grass, or at the bottom of a body of water. Metal toys will generally last longer under the weather and environmental conditions compared to plastic or fabric toys, making them easier to find with a metal detector or pinpointer.

Toys may not have a significant monetary value, but anything in good condition after being thoroughly cleaned can make almost any child happy. Some toys that are in bad shape and unable to be repurposed can be recycled similarly to cans and earn you a little bit of change or cash.

There are also toy collectors skilled at giving toys another chance, artists who know how to repurpose and reshape objects, and STEM donation centers that can use certain pieces for future projects in classes.

Most marbles appear to be glass, but some are metal-based or have metallic pieces fabricated inside the marble. With their round shape and small size, losing a marble outdoors, in a playground, or bouncing off a table is easy. Kids also like playing with marbles and carry dozens in bags or pockets when playing with friends. Schoolyards, summer camps, parks, and backyards are notorious for hidden marbles.


Finding a weapon with a metal detector is not unheard of, but it is also not too familiar. Most battlegrounds have been previewed, searched, and marked as safe to the public with certain restrictions. Still, there have been times a historical weapon was found and showcased at local museums after being turned in to the proper authorities.

Findings such as these are not as frequently discovered in the United States, but overseas may be another story as rules and laws vary by country. In America, it would be more likely to find a weapon in deep bodies of water, buried in the desert, or accidentally forgotten in the mountains. Used ammo is also a common sight for metal detectorists who venture into deserted areas often used for target practice.

In some situations, discovered weaponry may be one-of-a-kind or part of a collection that qualifies as an antique. These findings are rare but possible. Unique markings, details, and styles can help establish the timeframe a weapon was produced and where it was manufactured. The information gathered from a weapon can make it more or less valuable and potentially locate the proper owner or their family.

It is imperative to handle weapon finds with caution and care. Some weapons may be loaded, have a defect that results in a fatality, or be pressure triggered for exploding. It is vital to alert the authorities to any discovery that involves a weapon so the correct steps can be taken to retrieve, disarm, dismantle, and handle the item. Disposed weapons could also be part of an ongoing police investigation or offer clues to unsolved mysteries. Some officers have been trained for this situation and will know what to do.

Code of Conduct

Metal detecting is an exciting and rewarding activity. However, all detectorists must be aware of some important laws and regulations. There is no special requirement to purchase or use a metal detector, but it is crucial to know when and where it is allowed and forbidden to practice the hobby.

Without prior written consent, historical sites, national parks, and government-owned property are on the list of unallowed areas. Local parks, beaches, rivers, and public land is part of the allowed group.

Protecting the environment is essential to maintaining the hobby’s good reputation and allowing it to continue for generations to come. Metal detectorists are obligated to report any historically important or weapon finds to the proper authorities.

Remember to practice proper digging etiquette, do not leave any trash or personal items behind, and treasure hunt in a proactive behavior to be cautious of animal and plant species.

Jason Smith

I am a Marine who now works as a Web Developer. I have five US States left to visit. I like whiskey, wine, and coffee, soaking in hot springs or in my hot tub.

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