14 Veteran Metal Detectorists Reveal Secret Places to Find Coins

Everyone enjoys finding coins while metal detecting and some of us even have favorite spots that we return to periodically where we find the most coins.

Rarely will we share our coin honey holes with others, but today is your lucky day, but first you have to answer a question: “Where is your favorite place to find coins?”

That is the question Detecting365 recently asked 14 veteran metal detectorists. Here are their top secret answers…

Dry Sand on the Beach

“Certainly on the beach in dry sand. Particularly beaches where vendors hawk their trinkets to the towel line residents.” – Top-USMC

Read On for More Coin Hunting Tips…

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Metal Detecting Guide to Rare U.S. Coins

One of the cool things about finding very old coins with a metal detector is that you always have a chance to find a very rare coin.   After all, coins that were lost years ago have not been picked through by collectors.  Also, if you find a rare coin deep in the ground, you have a greatly diminished possibility that it is a fake vs finding the same coin at a flea market or coin show, for example.

Whether you collect or sell your coin finds, it is good to be aware of the rare and key coin dates, along with an estimate of their actual sale value in average condition.  This guide was built for detectorists.  The coins we find are in the Good-VF range with the occasional Almost Good and Extra Fine coin.  Showing uncirculated values to a detectorist is a waste of space!

This guide is by no means comprehensive.  Many coins not on this list have a collector’s value many times their melt values.  This list is intended to be a guide to help identify a rare and extremely valuable recovered coin and not let it slip through your fingers or sit in your collection because you were unaware of its immense value.   If in doubt, consult a coin value guide before letting any old coin get away from you.

Type and Date Rarity 2013 Est. Sell Value
    G-VG Condition
Indian Head Cent    
1877 Rare $750.00
1908-S Key $100.00
1909-S Rare $600.00
Lincoln Cent    
1909-S Key $100.00
1909 S VDB Very Rare $1,000.00
1914-D Key $175.00
1922 No D Rare $700.00
1931-S Key $125.00
1943 Copper Extremely Rare $100,000+
1944 Steel Extremely Rare $75,000+
1955 Double Die Very Rare $1,250.00
1972 Double Die Rare $200.00
Liberty “V” Nickel    
1885 Very Rare $800.00
1886 Rare $400.00
1912-S Rare $350.00
1913 Very Few Known Auction
Buffalo Nickel    
1913-S Type 2 Key $150.00
1914 4 over 3 Rare $250.00
1915 S Key $150.00
1916 Double Die Very Rare $5,000.00
1918 D Double Die    
1921 S Key $100.00
1924 S Key $75.00
1926 S Key $75.00
1937-D 3 Legged Very Rare $500.00
Jefferson Nickel    
1939-D Key $10.00
1943 P 3 over 2 Rare $100.00
1949 D over S Key $50.00
1950-D Key $10.00
Seated Dime    
1838-O No Stars Key $50.00
1839-O 1838 Reverse Rare $500.00
1844 Rare $300.00
1856-S Very Rare $600.00
1858-S Very Rare $600.00
1859-S Rare $450.00
1860-S Rare $300.00
1871-CC Extremely Rare $3,000.00
1873-CC Extremely Rare $4,000.00
Barber Dime    
1892-S Key $50.00
1894-O   $70.00
1894-S Very Few Known Auction
1895 Key $90.00
1895-O Rare $300.00
Mercury Dime    
1916-D Very Rare $1,200.00
1942 over 41 Rare $300.00
Seated Quarter    
1842-P Large Date Key $100.00
1842-O Small Date Rare $500.00
1849-O Rare $550.00
1851-O Rare $250.00
1852-O Rare $250.00
1853-P Recut Date Rare $350.00
1854-O Big O Very Rare $1,250.00
1857-S Key $100.00
1859-S Key $125.00
1861-S Key $100.00
1864-P Key $100.00
1864-S Rare $400.00
1865-S Key $100.00
1865-P Key $100.00
1866-1869 (Any) Rare $100-$400
1870-CC Extremely Rare $7,000.00
1871-CC Extremely Rare $3,500.00
1871-S Rare $350.00
1872-CC Rare $900.00
1873-CC Extremely Rare $3,000.00
1878-S Key $150.00
1879-1887 (Any) Rare $150-$300
1888-P Rare $250.00
1891-O Rare $150.00
Barber Quarters    
1896-S Very Rare $1,250.00
1897-S Key $100.00
1901-S Extremely Rare $9,000.00
1913-S Very Rare $2,000.00
Standing Liberty Quarter    
1916-P Extremely Rare $4,500.00
1918-S 18 over 17 Very Rare $2,000.00
1919-D Key $100.00
1919-S Key $100.00
1921-P Key $200.00
1923-S Rare $350.00
Washington Quarter    
1932-D Rare $175.00
1932-S Rare $175.00
1934-P Double Die Key $75.00
1937-P Double Die Rare $250.00
1942-D Double Die Rare $125.00
1943-P Double Die Rare $100.00
1943-S Double Die Key $75.00
1950-D D over S Key $50.00
1950-S S over D Key $50.00
Barber Half Dollar    
1892-O Rare $350.00
1892-O Tiny O Very Rare $3,000.00
1892-S Rare $300.00
1893-S Rare $200.00
1896-S Rare $150.00
1897-O Rare $200.00
1897-S Rare $200.00
1914-P Rare $150.00
1915-P Rare $150.00
Walking Liberty Half    
1916-S Rare $150.00
1921-P Rare $200.00
1921-D Rare $350.00
1938-D Rare $125.00
Morgan Dollars    
1879-CC Rare $200.00
1880-CC Overstrike Rare $150.00
1881-CC Rare $400.00
1882-1884 CC Key $100.00
1885-CC Rare $400.00
1888-S Key $175.00
1889-CC Very Rare $1,500.00
1890-1891 CC Key $100.00
1892-CC Rare $200.00
1893-P Key $200.00
1893-CC Rare $500.00
1893-O Rare $300.00
1893-S Extremely Rare $5,000.00
1894-P Very Rare $1,500.00
1895-P Extremely Rare $20,000.00
1895-O Rare $400.00
1895-S Rare $500.00
1899-P Key $100.00
1901-P Double Die Rare $225.00
1902-S Key $100.00
1903-O Rare $300.00
1903-S Key $150.00
Peace Dollars    
1921-P Key $100.00
1928-P Rare $400.00



Comments or Questions:   This list was compiled by hand.  Did I miss a rare coin you would like to see on this list?   Do you disagree with an estimated value here?   Anything to add?    Please include your comments below.

Photo Credits: iStockPhoto



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How Metal Detecting for Modern Coins Helped Me Find My First 1800s Coin

Ask just about any experienced detectorist if he enjoys digging modern coins aka “clad” and most will tell you that finding clad coins is more of an annoyance than anything.

That’s understandable, but I see finding clad differently.  I am primarily a woods hunter, but when the ticks are so bad that it’s just not worth the risks, I tend to metal detect at local parks.  The parks in my town aren’t very old, maybe the 1970’s, so finding old silver coins or any old coin for that matter is more than rare in my parks.  I don’t think I’ve ever pulled a silver coin out of a city park here but I have found silver and gold jewelry.

Even though finding old coins in my parks is a rare occurrence, there is no shortage of modern coins! As stated above, most guys don’t care to detect for modern coins, but I see it differently.

When I am detecting in parks I tend to find countless numbers of coins each outing.  I have detected parks where I had a choice of what coins to dig just because there was so many coin tones, everywhere! When I got tired of digging pennies, I only dug nickels, dimes, and quarters.  When I got tired of diggin nickels, I only dug dimes and quarters and so on.  Some say that I miss good targets in those instances, but c’mon let’s be real here, there’s no way a guy can feasibly “dig it all” or he would never make it out of a 20 foot square! So, there are times that I am selective, and many times that is when I am clad hunting.

That’s all fine and dandy, but why do I love metal detecting for modern coins?  Simple, a cool thing happened to me one day while metal detecting with a friend up in Kansas.

We were detecting at a home site where a Victorian house had once stood, and the area was littered with a 100 years worth of metal targets.  My friend was new to detecting so he didn’t know his machine very well and wasn’t very experienced in discriminating the tones in his head.  He was detecting near a couple of large trees with not much luck so he decided to try a different area.

I decided to work my way over where he had been detecting since he was finished detecting in that area.  I was swinging my AT Pro metal detector when I heard a somewhat familiar tone.  I say somewhat because the tone sounded like a coin to me, but there was also something down there interfering with me getting a good solid tone. Knowing that there was a coin tone mixed in I decided to dig the target.  About 5 inches down I saw it, a coin, and I first thought that it was a wheat penny due to the patina.

After a couple of minutes of excitement I realized that this coin was different than any coin I had ever dug.


It turned out to be a Shield nickel and I was super excited to find it.  My buddy Jerry that I was detecting with said “You dawg, I was just detecting there and here you come and pull out an old coin right where I was standing!”  I just said “There was something to the tone that told me there was a coin down there.”  He smiled and said “I probably wouldn’t have dug that target if it wasn’t a solid coin tone.” That’s when I replied “I wouldn’t have either a year ago, but my experience finding coins helped me decide if I should dig or not.”

At that time it didn’t dawn on me what chain of events had led me to find my oldest coin ever, and my first 1800’s coin.

I credit that old coin find to the hours and hours I had spent in parks metal detecting for modern coins.

Finding those modern coins in the park taught me what the various coins sound like. Unknown to me at the time, detecting those modern coins had prepared me for that day when I was detecting in an area full of all types of metal targets.  That experience was the difference in me finding that shield nickel and my buddy finding it.  We were using the exact same metal detector, but the difference maker came down to experience in the field where I had trained my ears to coin tones.

Those thousands of modern coin finds had prepared me for that type of environment where coins were few and far between the junk targets. When I swung my coil over a coin, I was able to recognize the coin tone or at least have a very good idea that a coin was down there before I dug it.

I didn’t know it at the time, but all of those frustrating modern coins I had found on my searches for silver coins was preparing me for harsher detecting environments! It reminds me of a NFL Football team.  We watch them play, and one team wins as we are watching, but you know what?  That game was won before that team ever took the field! Why? Because games are won on the practice field the week before, sure luck plays a role, but more often than not it is the team that prepared the most, worked the hardest on the practice field, and then took that experience out onto the field ultimately winning the game for them.  The same goes for just about any sport where the athlete wins due to prior preparation.

Metal detecting is no different. If you put in the time practicing and learning your metal detector your chances of success in the field are greatly increased!


Practice makes us better at everything we do, especially metal detecting.  If you haven’t read our article “Why You are Sabotaging Your Detecting by Not Practicing?” then you probably should if you want to take your metal detecting to the next level.

Hopefully after reading this article you too will have a different outlook on detecting for modern coins because any amount of practice is going to better prepare you for success on your future hunts.


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100 FINDS IN 100 DAYS: #74 Clad Kennedy Half

Note:   In this series, we have selected 100 metal detecting finds that were extremely difficult to detect and recover, and provide details on the circumstances and techniques that contributed to their successful recovery.

KEEPER:  This was the first Kennedy Half I ever dug.  Although it is just clad, I love finding the big coins, and marvel at how someone could possibly lose one.  Errant coin flip?

SITE:  Construction tearout in a bad part of town

SITE EVALUATION: 5 of 10 Me and my hunting partner were too late and they had already laid footers for a new house, so we didn’t have a lot of space to detect.

PERMISSION:  Workers at the site were glad to have us around, as the neighborhood was dicey.


Curb Strips:  This was found in the curb strip in front of the house between their sidewalk and the street.  I fail to hunt those all the time, and only hunted this one because space to hunt was at a premium here.

Be Objective:  When hitting a lot with a torn down house, it is important to not assume every target is going to be trash.  Try to evaluate each signal separately, and assume there are keepers in the debris, which there almost always are.


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100 FINDS IN 100 DAYS: #98: Monster Pocket Spill

Note:   In this series, we have selected 100 metal detecting finds that were extremely difficult to detect and recover, and provide details on the circumstances and techniques that contributed to their successful recovery.

KEEPER:  Large Pocket Spill included 4 silver quarters, 2 silver dimes, a Buffalo Nickel, and only a single wheat!

SITE:  Backyard of a home in an older neighborhood

SITE EVALUATION:  8 of 10.    This yard had tons of old trash and iron in it, and low hanging power lines that wreaked havoc on both my detectors on any channel/frequency.  It was tough to hunt.  I should still give it a nine or ten, because that was probably the reason there was so much stuff still here.

PERMISSION:   Super cool property owner that was totally happy with me digging a lot more holes than I was comfortable with due to the large number of finds and trash and iron I had to remove to get them.

Hunt the Difficult Sites:   This was one of those nightmare sites.  Way too trashy, too much iron, and too much electrical interference.  I love these sites because though I have to work extremely hard, I know the good are there.    Do the work to get in the trash and get the great stuff out.

Don’t Leave a Spill Until You Are Sure You Have the Whole Thing:   I dug the Buffalo, the Wheat, and the Mercury – all at about six inches – and then guess what I did?  I actually left the spot.    Yeah I know right.  I should know better.  I came back about an hour later and thought “Hmmm wonder if there is any more there?”    Got a deep iffy signal that didn’t exactly scream “silver quarter”.  Dug not one, but all four quarters at about 11 or 12 inches.  Deep.   Two were stuck together but, perhaps due to the proximity to some deep iron? they sounded like nails at first until I got them to “speak” to me after isolating the targets.   I used my pinpointer and dug a little deeper to try and make sure I got it all, but to tell the truth, I think I got it all but can’t say for 100% certain even now.

Dig Any Signal Rule:  My dig any signal rule is pretty simple.  Any time you dig a great find, clear the ground around this.  The distance I clear out varies based on the amount of iron and trash, but I’ve dug countless “bonus” finds by digging everything in proximity to the great find.   Sometimes one of the “deep nails” turns out to be something completely great altogether.  Sometimes clearing certain junk or iron un-masks another great find.   It makes sense that great stuff is often lost or dropped in groups and not just as single items.   It’s not crazy if it works, right?

DGY! "Darn Good Yard!"

DGY! “Darn Good Yard!”


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