The United States was and still is a country of adventure and fortune seekers. This once again confirms a curious fact: over the past three years, sales of metal detectors have increased by 70%, reaching a historical record. Every day, thousands of residents go to nature to try their luck in finding ancient coins and jewelry buried in the ground.
“The United States is experiencing a second gold rush,” says Heinrich Rauden, a member of The Federation of Metal Detector and Archaeological Clubs (FMDAC), with pride, “More treasures are stored in American soil than in all jewelry stores from California to New York. Objects worth millions of dollars are waiting patiently for their owners…”
A good metal detector costs around $150 – $200 today. Professional seekers claim that with this inexpensive device, it is quite easy to make a living. “There is a buyer for every antique,” says Jason Jordan, a Virginia-based seeker. “I put my finds on the Internet auction, where they quickly increase in price. For example, a massive keychain of the XVIII century went for $2,000. Collectors are very fond of such things…”
Many dreams come true, and finally, you have the first metal detector with which you are determined to find valuable coins, treasures, and jewelry. After successful assembly and configuration of the device, there is only one thing left – to find places to metal detect. In this article, you’ll find where and what you can find.
- 1. Best Places to Metal Detect for Old Coins
- 2. Best Places to Metal Detect Without Permission
- 3. Best Places to Find Gold
- 4. Best Places to Metal Detect for Jewelry
1. Best Places to Metal Detect for Old Coins
It seems, what can be found in the fields, no one lived there! Turn on the metal detector and check any field, even if it is remote from modern settlements, and you will find that there are many metal objects hidden in the ground, among which are silver and gold coins, jewelry, and other valuable things!
The fact is that any field in the old days could have a road, annual fieldwork was carried out, and people naturally lost coins.
The fields are perfect for mastering a metal detector since each target can be examined separately.
According to FMDAC, more than 73% of the American territory has not been examined using metal detectors. Fields and forests hold a lot of secrets. “Ghost towns are of particular interest,” Rauden continues. “You can find anything from bladed weapons and revolvers to chests with gold coins. As a rule, residents left such localities in a hurry. Fearing robbers, they hid valuables in the ground…”
An excellent choice in terms of developing search practice and getting an adrenaline rush thanks to unique and valuable finds! Remember that even one find can bring you a wonderful, valuable surprise. Because coins made of precious metals are in steady demand on the numismatic market and your costs for a coin metal detector will seem ridiculous compared to the values that you found in the ground with its help!
Roads attract searchers like a magnet, because many people drove by roads, and often with money. Drove on holidays, drove to trade, drove on business, and often drove to a tavern that existed once in a neighboring settlement. Drove, and of course, walked! Drove, walked and lose, lose, lose!
The chance of finding a good coin or a gold brooch on the road is much higher than in the field. Take this into account when choosing your route.
Driveway in or out from the settlement is where the metal detector is needed. The driveway out of the settlement is always attractive, but it is the driveway in the settlement that can conceal untold treasures. The gold coin here is just the usual thing.
Before the driveway in the settlement, there was always a special life. Here mill carts stopped, sacks of grain were loaded, small and even large-scale trade was conducted. Here people waited for each other, walked. In a word, a small piece of land accumulated a lot of exciting things, waiting for your arrival with a metal detector!
Territories of Indian reservations
One of the most common ancient finds is a one-cent coin with the image of an Indian, minted in the late XIX century. A resident of Massachusetts, Gabriel Thomson, found over a thousand “Indian pennies,” which he then gave to friends and acquaintances. “To be honest, sometimes I get the impression that this coin grows in the ground like a potato,” he jokes.
Thompson conducts his searches on the territories of Indian reservations, where the Indians themselves invite him. All things dug out of the ground are divided equally. “We make a route based on old maps and ancient legends,” the seeker admits. “Our most valuable find is small gold nuggets wrapped in cloth that were buried in the ground many years ago. Perhaps the previous owner decided to hide them from his master, boss, or competitor…”
The pier, where the masses of people of all kinds were always crowding in anticipation of the steamboat, has accumulated over the years of its existence simply countless treasures in the form of various lost items, among which the first place, of course, remains for coins.
In addition to gold coins, you will probably come across the silver and, of course, copper coins. In contrast to the arable field, you can very much hope for the perfect preservation of these numismatic materials.
Exits to fields from the highway
The current paved highways are former dusty dirt roads-tracts, and the fields along the roads have been plowed and cultivated since time immemorial!
Try to explore the dirt exits from the highway to the fields. There is nothing difficult, and it is very easy to find them. Surprisingly, most of these exits are historical. That is, they existed even when there was no asphalt in sight, so it is on these small areas that various valuable finds are concentrated, the main of which, of course, are coins.
2. Best Places to Metal Detect Without Permission
Search with a metal detector in the United States is allowed without restrictions. You will need the owner’s permission to metal detect on private territories.
It is worth adding here that there is no “no man’s land” in the US. It belongs either to a particular person, company, or state. Therefore, walking with a metal detector without permission is against the law. The seeker can be arrested for trespassing on private property and even attempted robbery. Such cases are rare, but, unfortunately, they do happen.
Many people limit their search to urban beaches, where a huge number of vacationers gather. However, searching for treasure in the sand is almost useless. As one user of the online forum joked, “Before you find a gold earring, you first have to dig out ten thousand corks from beer bottles…”
The number of beach seekers has fallen sharply amid an increase in “forest” and “field” seekers. But a quarter of a century ago, the unofficial “Club of people walking with a metal detector on Brighton Beach and Coney Island” numbered eight hundred people. However, those adventurers were more interested in objects and jewelry thrown out by the ocean.
3. Best Places to Find Gold
To select a region and search area, you need to find out whether nuggets weighing more than 1.5-3.5 ounces (50-100 grams) have ever been found in this area. If in this area no one has found nuggets more than 50 g, then there is no point in searching for them. Most likely, in the area you selected, they simply do not exist.
Information about nuggets is easiest to get from geologists who have been working in your area for a long time or from old-timers. It is useful to talk to local geologists, visit the library of the territorial geological fund, study the reports on geological exploration and sieve analyses of gold. If you have access to geological information, you can make a more reliable forecast and choose a more proper place to search for nuggets.
The best places to search for gold are the slopes of mountains, hills, and rivers in gold-bearing areas. Gold on the slopes of mountains and hills has the peculiarity of being near its larger root source. It is easier to detect by a metal detector than alluvial gold, small particles of which are carried away by water far from the source. During the transfer, the gold is rolled and crushed.
A “nest” distribution characterizes gold. This is due to its high density, so it is concentrated in local traps of outcrops of bedrock on the surface, which has small sizes, fractions of a meter -up to a meter. The gold content in the nests is ten times higher than the average for placers.
To search for enriched gold nests by their degree of mineralization, you can use metal detectors (check out our list of the best gold metal detectors here https://metalpursuits.com/gold-detectors/). For this reason, they can be attributed to geophysical instruments for mineral exploration. They make it easy and almost cost-free to explore promising areas and identify rich nests and nuggets of gold.
If you intend to search for gold, first of all, you should decide on the place where you will work. Where there is no gold, you will not find it. You should study the relevant literature, collect materials on old and new mines, find out where the nuggets met, and where there was only fine gold (the metal detector does not respond to it).
Where is gold found?
When searching for gold with a metal detector, perhaps the most productive places are those places where gold was once extracted by eroding the rock with a hydraulic monitor.
Often the rock is washed away to the raft. This allows you to explore all the cracks and other traps of gold with the help of the device, which often gives remarkable results.
In the process of such searches, pay attention to the color of dirt, which is typical for areas with gold. Often it has a certain color, and then you can find such places only by the color of the soil and then check them with a metal detector.
For example, Tom Barton, nicknamed “Alaska,” found gold quartz unit with the metal detector “Gold Bug” in the state of Arizona, the weight of pure gold in which was 23.6 ounces.
The maximum weight of the nugget was 2270 g, the total cost, which was determined at auction – $75,000. Thus, the price of gold in the nugget was more than $30 per gram, while on the London precious metals exchange, one gram of gold was valued at $10. This is because there is less and less so-called native gold in the world. Due to the uniqueness and originality of each nugget, its price is determined at auctions.
4. Best Places to Metal Detect for Jewelry
Search in shallow water for ancient vessels
Surprisingly, the fact is that you don’t have to dive deep for ancient ships and the treasures that were carried on them! These ships avoided crossing the sea. They cruised along the coast, and in case of danger, tried to get as close to the shore as possible.
The sea brings small items to the shore, so if you find a few ancient coins on the coast, you can safely explore the underwater site in this place and be happy that the ancient ship can lie at a depth of one and a half meters, so you do not need any scuba gear!
It is believed that the waters of Florida store underwater treasures worth more than $200 million: for five centuries, these waters have been swallowing the ships with untold wealth.
These shores were once the haunt of pirates, who, as we know, rarely kept their loot in bank vaults, preferring all sorts of hiding places. Hurricanes, regularly breaking Spanish ships here, also made an equal contribution. The search will require preparation — both legal (the treasure hunter needs to know his rights, see our guide to Florida metal detecting) and skipper (the ships sank here not by chance).
A dried-up streambed or riverbed
The economic activity of modern man has led to the fact that many of the rivers and streams used by our ancestors for their needs and even for movement, now crushed and even completely dried up. It is worth taking advantage of this opportunity to search for antiquities and very valuable finds.
Study old maps and find places where settlements used to be, it is near the passage of a riverbed or stream that you can count on amazing finds, starting from separately lying gold coins and ending with real treasures!
Note that the treasures and coins in such places may be very ancient, but time can not cause significant damage to the precious metal, and the value of such finds only increases!
The battlefields of the war of independence and the Civil war are also ideal places to explore. There are high chances to find weapons, soldiers’ medallions, as well as items made of silver and gold.
Of particular interest to the seekers are massive cannons that have to be dug out for several days. Such rarities immediately sell on auctions and become the property of collectors and private museums.
“You have no idea what extraordinary things a metal detector can pick up,” says Thompson. “In the late 90s, my friend and I came across a strange metal plate that was lying twenty inches underground. Do you know what it turned out to be in the end? The roof of a 1955 Ford Crown Victoria car. Some weirdo buried a car in a desert area of Kansas…”
Beach metal detecting is always fraught with some difficulties, but it brings excellent results, perhaps even one successful search is enough to justify all the costs that you have made to purchase your metal detector! A season of beach searches will allow you to survive the remaining off-season comfortably.
At the height of the season on the beaches of New York, you will not see these people: dressed in overalls with two dozen pockets and armed with best metal detectors for beaches, they occasionally pass somewhere far from the edge of the surf. But then, the evening comes. It becomes empty on the shore, and dozens of treasure seekers rush to the shallows.
In the US, this type of recreation has reached a large scale and turned into a kind of business, besides highly profitable. So, the family of Dick and Nancy Waters (USA) with the help of metal detectors on the beaches of California found several hundred jewelry items, watches and expensive lighters worth more than $100,000.
The peak of the season is considered to be the period from September to October. Especially if there are storms, hurricanes.
The best “sponsors” are considered to be elderly Russian ladies vacationing on Brighton Beach. They constantly lose rings and earrings with real, pure diamonds. You can only find such stones in America’s most prestigious stores.
On the neighboring beaches – Manhattan Beach and Coney Island, mostly young people have fun. Here you can always find a lot of jewelry, but cheaper – gold bracelets, fashionable products of modern designers. Massive chains and rings are left, respectively, on Orchard Beach and in Sigate by Cubans and Italians.
There are also finds that have to be handed over to the police. This is a weapon. Not the first winchesters used by the participants in the civil war, but the most modern pistols, clearly abandoned at sea by criminals covering their tracks.
The New York Treasure Hunter League was formed in 1971. Beaches were already “searched” by a good dozen of excellent seekers. Sooner or later, they had to unite. At least to know what area has already been “processed” and where a colleague is currently fishing.
Search by old books and maps
Heinrich Rauden is sure that you can find an excellent place to search using old books and official maps: “Spend a few weeks in the library and carefully study the old sights of your locality. Based on my experience, I will say that it is best to arrange searches where private mansions, churches, and schools used to be.”
In this article, I have gathered the most important information that will help in finding the best place for metal detecting. As you can see from the article, there are quite a lot of places to search, and first of all, you need to decide what exactly you want to find and whether your metal detector is suitable for this type of search.
In conclusion, it remains to wish all advanced and novice seekers good luck. Metal detecting is an exciting and unpredictable entertainment.