If you’re a regular scrap metal collecting enthusiast, you’ll know the thrill of finding something of value which someone else has cast away as trash. Whilst scrap metal collecting is a quick and easy way to make a little extra cash, there are plenty of other ways to treasure hunt and one of the most thrilling and potentially lucrative is metal detection. Whilst the likelihood of turning up bottle caps and paperclips is high with metal detecting, occasionally, hunters come across something really extraordinary. Here are eight instances of metal detectors turning up incredible finds.
A Roman coin hoard in a field
In 2014, a metal detector enthusiast who had been hunting for seven years and found no more than metal drinking pulls and shotgun cartridges stumbled across a hoard of 22,000 Roman coins dating from between AD260 and AD348. Searching in a field near a previously excavated Roman villa site in East Devon, a builder called Laurence Egerton’s detector indicated there was iron in the ground, he found two small coins no bigger than and thumbnail sitting on top of the ground but was soon digging up shovelfuls of coins. Although the coins would not have represented more than a few months’ of soldier’s wages in Roman times, their antiquity means that today they are worth tends of thousands of pounds.
In In 1952, an American treasure hunter named Edward Rowe Snow somehow obtained a map supposedly made by 18th century New England pirate Captain Ned Low which pointed to treasure being buried on a small island off the coast of Nova Scotia. Armed with the map and a metal detector, Snow scoured the island and quickly found a skeleton as well as a cash of gold and silver coins dating from 1710 which are thought to be from a Spanish galleon captured by Low’s crew of pirates in 1725. Snow was allowed to keep the coins but the real wealth came from the subsequent books he wrote on his discovery.
The Mojave Nugget
In 1977, prospector Ty Paulsen was using his metal detector In California’s Stringer district when he uncovered a 4.9 kilogram nugget. Named the Mojave Nugget, it is the largest piece of gold ever found in California.
In 2008, Mike DeMar was diving off Key West in Florida when his metal detector picked up what he thought was a beer can. As the sediment cleared away, the vessel he had uncovered turned out to be a gold chalice from the Santa Margarita, a ship which had sunk in 1622. The find has been valued at $1million US dollars.
In 1946, postal inspectors decided to act on their long held suspicions about a deceased post office employee’s sticky fingers. Borrowing a U.S. Army metal detector, they searched the man’s backyard and came across a length of stovepipe buried 9 feet underground with jars and cans filled with cash totalling an impressive $153, 150.
In 1984, an archaeology volunteer working a metal detector at Little Bighorn uncovered a finger bone wearing a wedding ring. Little Bighorn is of course the site where Lt. Col. George Custer and his troops were defeated by the Sioux in 1876.
In 2007, a father and son team who had been treasure hunting with metal detectors for about five years were searching in North Yorkshire when they came across a stunning hoard of over 600 precious metal objects believed to have been buried by a wealthy Viking some time after AD928. The hoard included 617 silver coins from as far away as Afghanistan, a rare gold arm band and a gilt silver cup made in France or Germany in about AD900 and probably used for Christian ceremonies. Archaeologists believe the hoard was probably buried as the pagan Vikings were being pushed out of the Northern UK by the Christian English.
Mark Williams is an Adelaide based metal detector enthusiast who claimed to have found coins and artefacts worth over $18,000in 2013 alone. Favourite finds include $1800 in coins after a major music festival was held in a park, 19th century traders’ tokens used as legal tender and to promote a business, a cross belt plate from a Napoleonic-era uniform and numerous pennies dating from the early 19th century.
Metal Men Recycling specialise in metal recycling within the Melbourne area. Whilst we’re not equipped to manage Roman coin hoards or Viking swords, we do accept all types of metals as well as car batteries and vehicles which we can easily manage with our 90 tonne capacity public weigh bridge. To learn more about our capabilities, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us by calling 03 5941 6677.