Coin Collecting is a Dirty Business: Making the Most of Your Metal Detector

Coin Collecting is a Dirty Business: Making the Most of Your Metal Detector

Did you know that coin values are always changing?  In fact, coin values change quite frequently; often for the better!  This makes coin collecting not only fun, but also quite a lucrative hobby.  That’s not so if you have to buy all of your prized coins for full price though.

If, however, you find the coins yourself, you can build quite a valuable collection.  But how?  One of the best ways to find your own coins is by unearthing them yourself with a metal detector.  Metal detecting for coins gets you up and moving, outside, and, best of all, you’re the first one to find the coin since it was lost thereby gaining the ability to enjoy its full value.

Not only that, hunting for coins with a metal detector is exciting. You never know what you may find out there in the dirt.  If you’re lucky, it may just be that rare Bust Half Dollar, or 3 Cent Piece!  With that in mind, here’s some information tol fill you in on what equipment you’ll need to get started and how to protect the coins once you find them.

First and foremost, finding rare and valuable coins requires the right metal detector.  The best metal detector features for coin shooting include a built in pinpointer to help you zero in on smaller targets like coins, a medium search coil which will allow you to find the smallest items at the deepest depths possible, and a manual ground balance control to aid in filtering out trash signals.  From here you’ll want to consider features like audio and/or visual target identification, the weight and configuration of the machine, along with other more personal preferences like these.  Be sure to read the article entitled “What are the best metal detectors for finding coins?” for some great advice on equipment selection.

In addition to your metal detector, you’ll also want to invest in a few accessories.  Having the right tools along helps prevent damage to your finds as well as the land you’re digging in.  When out metal detecting, it’s important to keep the land you’re searching in the way you found it.  Part of this is filling in the holes you make and replacing the sod; which is easier done when it’s dug up with the proper tools.  Moreover, if you start digging up your targets with large tools you could damage them.  We all know condition is everything when it comes to antiques, coins included, so using smaller, more precise metal detector digging tools like a serrated digging knife, trowel, and compact T handle shovel are recommended.

Last, but definitely not least, you’ll want some protective cases to keep your treasures safe until you can get them home and are able to clean them properly.  Although it’s hard, and you’ll want to rub that dirt off at least just to see the date, don’t!  Instead, place the item in a bag or bottle, then into your protective carrying case to avoid scratching or any other damage.

If you’re not sure how to properly clean your coins and you think they’re valuable, take them to a professional.  Otherwise, a soak in warm water is generally the best advice.  A soft toothbrush, Q-tips, and some gentle dish soap will remove the rest. Then, once all that dirt is off, you can learn more about your finds, investigate coin values, and see just how your metal detecting adventure paid off.  

So, get out there and get into the dirty business that is coin collecting so you can find those rare coins and other unique treasures with your metal detector that have been lost to us all for way too long.



Michael Bernzweig manages and writes on behalf of

There are 3 comments for this article
  1. ken ward at 2:35 am

    I enjoy reading the stories. Please keep them coming. I am laid up right now and I sit and read.. Thank you very much… KEN

  2. Coin Collector at 5:52 am

    I have had a heap of luck finding coins ever since I moved to using my new Garrett AT Pro. Previously I was using the Ace 350 and had moderate success, so I am glad I made the change.

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