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Using A Metal Detector To Find Old Coins (Beginner Tips)

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By Curtis

Grandpa and grandson are comparing their metal detectors and looking for old coins in the ground.

Whenever people rummage around in their pockets or bags for things, they sometimes drop loose change onto the ground.

Usually, these coins are never missed by the people who dropped them.

And soon the coins become trampled into the dirt or otherwise hidden just below the surface.

What if you were lucky enough to find some old long-lost coins that are now extremely rare?

Here’s a good overview… how to use a metal detector to find old coins.

Lost Treasures Are Out There

Just like the “gold in them thar hills,” only a very small percentage of lost coins have actually been found.

Fortunately, today we have the advantage of technology that can help us to zero in on lost treasures.

If you’re looking for lost coins, then a metal detector will become your new best friend!

With the help of a metal detector, you can check every square inch of public space — including popular gathering places from many years back (where some of the most valuable coins might be found).

This photo gives you an example of some old coins and treasures that can be found with a metal detector:

How Metal Detectors Work

First patented by Fisher in 1931, the metal detector was used during World War II to clear mine fields. As time has marched on, metal detectors have continued to improve.

Today’s metal detectors are more sensitive and discriminating than ever before. Not only do they indicate whenever a metal item is somewhere below, some of the better metal detectors can even distinguish between junk and valuable coins!

Some metal detectors can also give you a really good indication of how far down the item will be found and what you can expect to find there.

Before You Buy A Metal Detector

Purchasing a metal detector can be a confusing process.

Those who have achieved some success in the hobby of metal detecting will recommend that you buy your metal detector from a store that specializes in metal detecting.


Because they can give you some basic instruction that will be very helpful for newbies. Plus, there may be a local metal detector club they can steer you to! The help of someone who understands the finer points of the hobby will greatly increase your potential for success.

Where To Buy A Metal Detector

First, you’ll want to start researching metal detectors online a bit.

Once you find the one you like, you can then buy it online from one of these reputable metal detector dealers:

Here’s a list of metal detector dealers by state.

The Best Places To Go Metal Detecting

Following are some good places to go hunting for coins, with your metal detector in hand:

  • Public parks
  • Courthouse grounds
  • School yards
  • College campuses
  • Spectator areas at athletic fields
  • Parking lots
  • Public beaches
  • Boat launches
  • Fishing piers
  • Anywhere that people have gathered in groups

If you’re going coin hunting on private property, always get permission from the land owner first. It’s wise to settle up-front how any finds will be divided. Because even though you may be the lucky finder, the property owner has claim to anything that is found on their property.

Okay, now here’s my BEST tip…

Keep in mind, many old gathering places have disappeared over time. That’s why a trip to the local library might be in order. Researching local historical records may yield some good clues about gathering places of the past that could be worth exploring! For example, did the circus come to town in years past? It’s almost guaranteed that spectators dropped coins into the dirt while walking the midway.

In my opinion, succeeding in your quest for rare old coins will be determined by your willingness to find good spots that no one else has thought of.

It’s a proven fact that it isn’t the fanciest metal detector that finds the treasure, it’s finding the right location to hunt in the first place that will make the difference!

Metal Detector Reviews & Tips