Metal detecting for old coins is fun and exciting. Nothing beets the feeling of pulling an historic silver or gold coin from the ground. It’s a feeling that cannot be described, but must be felt to fully appreciate.
These quick tips will sharpen your coin hunting skills and hopefully help you put more coins in your pocket on your next metal detecting trip
Coin or can?
Soda and beer cans can be a pain! If the can is deep enough it will sound off like a good coin hit. Even at shallow depths a can or a piece of one can sound very convincing to the untrained ear. One area that I hunt is littered with these things and they all seem to be deep, usually two plus feet! Any large piece of non-ferrous metal at these depths can sound just like a coin hit.
If you run into a similar situation try this. Once you pick up a signal with your metal detector that sounds like a solid coin hit, pin point it. Now slowly lift the coil of your metal detector up off the ground. If the signal fades after lifting the coil a short distance, Dig. If you are still picking the signal up after lifting the coil of your metal detector off the ground a few inches, its probably a can or some sort of other deep, large trash item.
This technique works well when you are trying to maximize your time. By passing junk is rule #1 when trying to maximize your time. If you have allot of time to metal detect I would recommend digging these signals, you never know when your going to come across a small cache.
When metal detecting always be prepared to safely store any valuable coins you might find. I find that a pill bottle and some cotton balls work well for storing coins until you get home.
Metal detecting previously hunted areas
Metal detecting areas that have been hit hard by other hunters can prove very challenging, I am one of those that believe that no site is totally hunted out. Finds may be few and far between, but there is always something good left behind. Here are a few tips on approaching sites like this.
Before you turn your metal detector on, take a step back and take in the area you are about to use your metal detector in. Come up with a plan for metal detecting the site. Take notes of some of the un-obvious areas of this site. Most people when metal detecting head right for the easy obvious areas ” ball fields, picnic areas and other wide open easy areas. Look for bushes, shrubs, over growth you know the stuff most people avoid when metal detecting. Cover these areas, they have most likely seen less metal detecting traffic. Fence lines and side walk strips are some other areas that have most likely been over looked by allot of hobbyists.
Digging deep ones in areas like this is also very important. By deep ones, I mean those iffy signals that offer just a whisper or a hint of something being there. I hear people say yeah I dig iffy’s all the time, but from my experience of metal detecting with other people this is rarely the case. If the signal isn’t clear and strong most opt to move on. Some of the best coins I have found metal detecting did not sound like coins at all and offered only a hint of being there.
One technique I use to find hot spots in large parks and fields is to metal detect fast and in no specific pattern covering as much ground as possible until my metal detector passes over some ground that starts giving some signals. Once you’ve located a spot that is giving you good signals slow way down start griding this area. It seems like there are pockets of goodies scattered throughout most previously metal detected sites. I use this technique when I am short on metal detecting time and want to locate some goodies quick.
Locating deep coins with your metal detector is much different than metal detecting for surface coins. Surface coins or coins that are in the one to 5 inch range, generally give strong solid signals. They are repeatable and are usually pretty obvious. Deep coins on the other hand, 5 to 10 inch range, will act much different when sweeping the coil of your metal detector over them. Deep coins rarely sound solid and repeatable. Deep coins will offer anything from a whisper to a jumpy signal that will in allot of cases sound similar to trash.
The easiest way to train your ears and become accustomed to detecting these deep coins is by digging everything deep. Dig any signal you pick up that is deep and iffy. I practiced this technique in a large park in my area that has seen allot of metal detecting. Good surface finds are few and far between, so I would go out and dig nothing but deep iffy targets. I may have passed up a few good surface finds while metal detecting this way, but that doesn’t bother me. The deep coins that I did find more than made up for it.
Recovering deep coins
Recovering deep coins requires the right tools and techniques, going about this process the wrong way can ruin a valuable coin. Some of the tools you should have for recovering deep coins are
a good probe, trowel and drop cloth. I recommend a trowel of at least 12″.
After you have located a potential target with your metal detector its time to dig. You do not want to make to small of a plug for a deep one. I generally cut a circular plug about 8″ in diameter, always following proper digging techniques, to ensure the area that I am digging in will not be visible after I’ve recovered an object. Chances are you will have to go a bit deeper than the initial plug. Use your pin pointer to locate the exact location of the object and continue digging in a circular pattern. do not dig straight down or into the center of the hole. Always angle your trowel slightly outwards, so that you do not touch the object with your digging tool. Do not make full scoops with each plunge of the trowel loosen the soil up a bit and scoop it out with your hand placing all soil on a drop cloth. Check the drop cloth with your metal detector or probe to see if it has been recovered. Repeat this process until you have successfully recovered the object. Always checking the hole with a probe after soil has been removed. Once you recover the object, hopefully a nice coin, replace any soil you have on your drop cloth, replace the plug and its off to the next target.