Metals

50 Brilliant Stories About The Coolest Things People Found While Using Metal Detectors

Going on an adventure is one of the most fun things you can do. Exploring the unknown and pushing past your limits really makes you feel alive! However, it’s a tough thing to balance that burning call to action with mundane responsibilities. You still need to pay rent, and someone needs to pick up the groceries, and do the dishes.

But waiting for your annual vacation can be dreadfully boring, so something that’s a good compromise is going on daily or weekly mini-adventures. You don’t have to go looking for gold in the jungle or discover lost ruins to have a great time. Sometimes, all you need is a metal detector and a heart full of passion.

Internet users who metal detect in their spare time shared some amazing and thoroughly enthralling stories in a r/AskReddit thread. Scroll down to read about the coolest things they found and to learn about the treasures they uncovered, Pandas! Upvote your fave stories, and let us know if you’re already feeling the desire to look up metal detector prices just like we are.

50 Brilliant Stories About The Coolest Things People Found While Using Metal Detectors Literally only did it once with a friend when I was a teenager at a beach with a friend (he and his dad were really into it). We found a $20k watch in 1995 dollars. Wasn’t a Rolex, but can’t remember the maker. We took it to a jeweler who made a few calls and found out it was in a registry and the owner was called. He was elated as it was a gift from his wife. He sent us each a check for $1,000. The jeweler gave us each a bitchin fake gold chain on the spot. Jean shorts and high tops need the perfect neck accessory and we got it!

DKmann , Steve Report

50 Brilliant Stories About The Coolest Things People Found While Using Metal Detectors My buddy and I set out to find an old gold mining camp. We followed the maps and were in the right place when we discovered that the town was actually on the other side of a canyon. We had to beat our way through some 12′ brush and then started finding things everywhere. He found a pocketwatch right by the side of the old wagon road. We realized that the entire dump was still there. Like the place had become forgotten and finally recorded on the wrong side of the creek years before. We actually stopped hunting and told the Forest Service. We met and took the archaeologist up there. He was floored because everything was still in context. Felt pretty good about finding a whole town.

dzastrus , Mike McBey Report

50 Brilliant Stories About The Coolest Things People Found While Using Metal Detectors I’ve found a meteorite in Kansas. There is an area outside of Greensburg that is known to have had a meteor explode in the air before hitting the earth and dozens of smaller fragments are scattered over many miles. They are very deep and a lot of work to dig up, but my dad and I dug a 7 foot hole and extracted a nearly 30 pound stony-iron pallasite meteorite, which is worth nearly $2,000 a pound.

crowemagnonman , Katexic Clippings Newsletter Report

At its core, metal detecting is all about adventure, being out in the great outdoors, an excuse to socialize with your buddies (or spend some time with your own thoughts), and about that burning desire to uncover some long-lost treasure.

Who here hasn’t daydreamed about finding a chest full of gold, an ancient sword, or the remains of a massive Viking ship? You don’t necessarily need a metal detector to do that if Fortune’s on your side, but hey, some good tools aren’t a bad idea to bring into the fray, are they?

50 Brilliant Stories About The Coolest Things People Found While Using Metal Detectors Some German metal detecting / WWII enthusiasts actually found pieces of my grandfather’s B-24 Liberator that he was shot down in. They were able to ID the plane by its serial numbers. Miraculously, my uncle was on the same forum they were posting their finds on and connected. They sent my grandfather the pieces of his plane.

Kommmbucha , Courtney Sargent Report

50 Brilliant Stories About The Coolest Things People Found While Using Metal Detectors Not my thing, but my brother was detecting just downstream from a popular swimming hole on the American River in California a couple of years ago, looking for dropped watches, phones, go pros, etc. Got a hit, flipped a rock, and found an 11.5-ounce gold nugget underneath. Miners tore the hell out of those rivers back in the 1849 Gold Rush, and amateurs have been panning it ever since, so it was pretty freaking incredible to find something that big.

codefyre , Dave Bezaire Report

50 Brilliant Stories About The Coolest Things People Found While Using Metal Detectors Work on a farm – a metal detector found a coin under a tree which was 600 years old and in almost perfect condition- as if it had fallen out of someone’s pocket as they sat and had lunch after planting the tree.

whiskey__throwaway , Toshiyuki IMAI Report

One recent story that really got us revved up for finding treasure was the discovery of a one-meter longsword, thought to be around 900 years old. The weapon, encrusted with various marine organisms, was found by an amateur diver off Israel’s northern coast after it resurfaced due to the shifting of the sands. Though no metal detectors were used in that particular case, as far as we know, that sense of wonder is something that many real-life adventurers share. Look, we really want to find a sword, whether with the help of technology or not.

According to the BBC, it’s thought that the sword belonged to a knight who was part of the Crusades. You might not be entitled to rule Albion after finding that particular sword, but Neptune and Poseidon might need to cede at least part of their watery kingdoms. The feeling we got reading that particular story is probably what metal detecting enthusiasts feel when they head out the door, into the unknown.

The UK-based National Council for Metal Detecting shares some basic rules for new enthusiasts. To start things off, you have to make sure that you actually have permission to detect on any land, including in parks, woods, public spaces, common land, and public footpaths.

50 Brilliant Stories About The Coolest Things People Found While Using Metal Detectors Bit of a cheat as was working a site on a uni course in Northern England. Discovered the end of a Roman Dagger and a relatively intact boot replete with nails. Also found a beautiful fragment of a glass bangle; beautiful turquoise blue glass with a bright yellow wave pattern painted on it. Fellow student found and urn full of silver coins. Jammy git.

theamberspyglasssees , cottonbro Report

I was detecting on a beach and a desperate South African man approached and told me he had lost his necklace his mother (now deceased) had given him when he was young.

His friend had wrapped it in a towel and gone swimming. Then upon returning, flicked the sand out of the towel with the necklace in it.

He had to go home for the day, but I searched where he told me he was sitting. 15 minutes later, my metal detector went absolutely nuts for this beautiful silver chain.

I said to him that had he not asked me to look for him, I would have definitely found it later that night long after he had left with no way of contacting him. Crazy how life works like that.

Draviddavid Report

I went with a friend who’s big into his detecting to see what he gets up to, we spend a solid 6 hours in this one field which he was adamant used to have a roman farmhouse. Just before we were going to give up for the day, and to be clear we had found the odd roman coin which was really cool in itself, we stumbled across what seemed to be really big. Anyway, long story short we dug down amd found a selection of roman agricultural tools set out in a relatively neat formation.

My friend has since gone back and found further tools as well as a huge haul of coins.

This will be really underwhelming for a lot of people but the historic tools were really cool

anon Report

“Permission must be from the land owner (and the tenant if the land is leased). Beaches are a good place to detect and Crown Estate and Scottish beaches are generally fine,” the NCMD explains, adding that detecting on protected and/or historical sites is absolutely forbidden. You might even be prosecuted.

When you’ve dug a hole, make sure you fill it in properly. Moreover, take care to dispose of all of your rubbish: either throw in a garbage can or bring it home with you. Leave the territory as it was before you found it. Be respectful to nature and wildlife.

According to the NCMD, if you happen across something unusual, like bombs, human bones, ammunition, treasure hoards, or archeological remains, you should stop digging immediately and get expert help. 

Keep in mind that your definition of treasure might not fit the official one. And that classification really does mean a lot. In the UK, treasure objects are the property of the Crown and belong neither to the finder, nor the landowner. In short, if you come across treasure, you’ll have to give it up.

Our son’s wedding ring. He lost it on a landscaping job. The home owners bought a case of beer and about halfway through the case we found it.

nuF-roF-redruM Report

50 Brilliant Stories About The Coolest Things People Found While Using Metal Detectors Found an old roman coin, they’re are a ton of them so not very valuable, but as someone who loves roman history its really cool

VenetianArsenale , Howard Lake Report

The NCMD states that in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, treasure is classified as metallic objects that are made at least from 10% precious metal, and are at least 300 years old. This also includes prehistoric objects, as well as far more recent objects, “made substantially of gold and silver” that have been “deliberately hidden with the intention of recovery and whose owners of heroes are unknown.” Scotland, meanwhile, has its separate law concerning what is and isn’t treasure.

If you do happen to stumble across a massive treasure hoard, the first thing to do is to savor the moment… and then try to calm down.

The NCMD states that you shouldn’t be tempted to “phone all of your friends and family to share the news.”

“Or, even worse, post up information about your find on social media. You need to protect the details of your site as it will take time to get expert help. People talk and the last thing you want is to worry about is the security of the land.”

Someone in my (norwegian) family has actually found a viking sword + some other stuff from that period. They have it hanging in their living room.

RTC360 Report

50 Brilliant Stories About The Coolest Things People Found While Using Metal Detectors 15 years ago, me and my siblings found bomb from World War II in the Belgian Ardennes, using a $30 toy metal detector.

I remember walking off-road in the woods for hours until we found a spot that looked like nobody has been there in ages. We quickly found a couple of bullets and, while I was inspecting the bullets, my younger brother age 9 saw something sticking out of the dirt.

At first, we thought it was a rusty metal can, but when he pulled it out, it took us a moment to realize that he was holding a bomb. We didn’t know whether it was still intact so I instructed him to slowly put it down in way that it could not roll off the hill and hit something.

We didn’t have any mobile phones so we rushed to the nearest road which we followed to get to a village to get help. We marked the trees so we would remember where we had hidden the bomb.

When we arrived at the village, we explained what happened. Luckily, they believed our story and called the local police. When he arrived, we couldn’t understand a word he said (he was speaking French, we only spoke Dutch) — but eventually he would follow us deep into the woods.

When we arrived, the bomb was luckily still there, and after an inspection by the police officer we were instructed to leave as apparently it was too dangerous and had to be picked up by the bomb squad — but not before we snapped a picture for the local press, posing with the bomb next to us. I still have that picture. Here’s the pic:

https://ibb.co/MkQW5Zd (cheap metal detector also in the picture)

Securinti , Yaroslav Shuraev Report

50 Brilliant Stories About The Coolest Things People Found While Using Metal Detectors I took a metal detector to my grandparents’ garden when I was 10 and found some Civil War canister shot. Goddamned if it didn’t get lost in a move a few years later. Never found anything as cool as that since then.

To make up for that, I spent the next ten years poring over war-era battle maps showing the positions of each regiment and battery over the course of a particular major battle that basically crisscrossed the whole area, comparing with modern topo maps, doing serious deep dives into primary sources, etc. Eventually, I figured out the exact hill the grapeshot had likely been fired from, and the side that fired it.

I’m glad I got to experience finding it, at least, even though it got lost. It played a big role in my turning into a big history nerd early on.

InterludeRenewed , ArtHouse Studio Report

50 Brilliant Stories About The Coolest Things People Found While Using Metal Detectors My buddy and I bought metal detectors during lockdown and went to the local lake to hunt. I s**t you not he found a silver grill. Not a barbeque, a set of silver teeth in the sand of the local beach. We quit metal detecting right then and there lol

mocheesiest1234 , Joanna Bourne author Report

50 Brilliant Stories About The Coolest Things People Found While Using Metal Detectors I used to live near the railroad tracks near an airport and an old industrial area. They used to have a local station for the workers to shuttle into the area (late 1800’s, early 1900’s). They eventually tore down the station in the 30’s/40’s when the highways got built nearby.
My dad used to take me with metal detectors and we would find railroad spikes, pocket watches, wrist watches, old silver
​dollars and other coins. Best haul by far was a gold locket with a picture of someone’s wife/girlfriend ensribed “All My Love, Annie”. It wasn’t the prettiest locket, but you bet your bottom dollar someone was kicking themselves for losing that precious treasure.

TaxFreeTraveler , Lisa Report

50 Brilliant Stories About The Coolest Things People Found While Using Metal Detectors A few weeks ago I was driving on a country road near my house. There was a car pulled over to the side and a young couple was walking around obviously looking for something. I stopped and asked if they needed help. The girl told me, “We were arguing and I threw a ring out of the window.” Seeing the guy was beyond pissed, I told them good luck and I drove off. A few days later I got to thinking to borrow a metal detector from a friend who is into that. Went back and searched for about an hour, getting ready to call it quits when I found the ring. Sadly, I have no idea who the couple was and just hope they are OK now.

realrealityreally , cottonbro Report

50 Brilliant Stories About The Coolest Things People Found While Using Metal Detectors A couple of historians found some old journals about a battle in the Indian wars and started to theorize that it happened on the farm I grew up on. They have gone out on 4 wheelers with metal detectors on sleds and found canon shot and canon balls. At one point where the soldiers started euthanizing their horses they found a row a slug with four horse shoes. Somewhere there is a canon, 2 Gatling guns, and a bunch of rifles that nobody has found yet.

DarrenEdwards , Monika Report

50 Brilliant Stories About The Coolest Things People Found While Using Metal Detectors We found a buried heart shaped cement pond with some fixtures in the middle of the backyard a few inches down. Mom wasn’t thrilled at our excavation!

Threnodyrose , Riccardo Falconi Report

50 Brilliant Stories About The Coolest Things People Found While Using Metal Detectors I found a blacksmith’s shop in the middle of a farmers field. I was detecting for a historical society and their local expert told me to detect a certain spot that he calculated where the blacksmith shop would be. I did a 10×10 foot area with only finding small pieces of slag. I wasn’t convinced that the shop was there, but the expert wouldn’t have it. While everyone took a break at noon. I started a spiral pattern going farther and farther from his calculations. About 30 minutes later and 100 feet away, I got good strong signals and large slag pieces. I even found a single clay brick. One of the society members started an excavation at my spot. They eventually hit the corner of the shops foundation. They found a hammer and tools for the anvil and the rest of the blacksmith shop.

6854wiggles , Simon Law Report

Using a Schonstedt metal detector to determine the absence or presence of an underground heating oil storage tank in Morristown, New Jersey I found a subsurface object corresponding in size to a 550 gallon tank (4’x6’).

I obtained a municipal permit for removal, subsurface utility mark outs and when I excavated I discovered the object was not a tank but a cache of revolutionary war era cannonballs.

anon Report

I don’t but my father did. He found a confederate Medal of Honor from a guy named John S. Heard. In Georgia we have a Heard County, so this guy’s family must have been really influential.

That’s a once-in-a-lifetime find. Another time he found a rock that didn’t look like much, but turned out to be a prehistoric Native American rubbing stone (used on hides).

ugagradlady Report

50 Brilliant Stories About The Coolest Things People Found While Using Metal Detectors Been at it since 1999.

I’ve found a lot of stuff so what would be the coolest find would be subjective.

I’ve found a few gold rings , silver jewelry, silver coins, civil war bullets including a couple of possible “bite” bullets and one union cavalry button.

Top finds would be… several silver half dollars (Walking liberties from the 1940s and ben franklins from the 1950s). my oldest coin find (an 1853 seated liberty dime) , my only seated liberty quarter (1877), my three gold rings (one that has 25 small diamonds, another that is a wide band wedding ring with three initials carved into the outside with inlaid silver metal, and an old Herf jones graduation/school ring that is basically a blank… nothing carved into it), an uncrushed 1930s silver thimble (most found thimbles are crushed).

I’ve never found a gold coin or a silver silver dollar or a pocket watch, or a two cent coin, or a three cent coin. 🙁

I live in Missouri so finds for the area will not be as old as say in the New England states. I DO know one guy who found an 1801 large cent in Kansas. I’ve found nearly every kind of coin from the 1850s to present day (barbers, wheaties, seateds, indianheads, standing liberties, etc. etc..). Only exceptions would be gold coins and silver dollars and some half dollars.
I’ve posted some pics in my past AMAs and other posts so if you search my name and metal detecting or metal detector on reddit you will find them.

dirtymoney , Ashley Van Haeften Report

50 Brilliant Stories About The Coolest Things People Found While Using Metal Detectors Usually just found lose change people lost at the beach. However, I did have to go find a diamond ring once. Wife of a friend who was currently deployed CLAIMS she lost it while at the beach with her GIRLFRIENDS. It took me a day, but I was able to find it. She was appreciative. It wasn’t until he got back that I found out that she lost it because she was taking it off while dating other men. I hated her ever since for playing me like that.

JQuest7575 , Jessica Report

Obligatory not me but my great uncle (or some such nonsense idk the guy) found a dime that was worth $250K I’m told. He died with 4mil in the bank and according to my grandma never even sold the coin after it was appreciated, or whatever the right word is lol

PretendThisIsMyName Report

50 Brilliant Stories About The Coolest Things People Found While Using Metal Detectors My sister found a full on garden set in her new home. Metallic chairs and table. They stopped digging at some point, because they wanted to get done with their backyard but we’re assuming that there is much more in it, she also found shoes and tools.

ramcen , Michael Coghlan Report

Probably only interesting to my fellow Seattlites, but an original elephant car wash token. Makes me happy.

rebeccaademarest Report

Never found a anything valuable. Once found a darts trophy medal on top of a mountain, for some reason. Coolest thing I’ve found was a bunch of various sized old nails from the 1700s. They looked like small railway spikes and ranged from 2 inches long to 6 inches long. After some research I discovered that they were used to build large wooden frames and as hooks to treat and stretch out wool by sheep farmers in the mountains (this is South Wales). Not worth anything, but a fascinating glimpse into a life, people and history of my local area.

Welshguy78 Report

Found a pre 1800s vertical Spanish double musket in the ring of a dead tree. Had a bayonet. Apparently the local (Florida Indians) had no idea how to operate these things so would just hide them in holes of oak trees ect. So this gun hung out in that tree until the swamp overtook the land and brought it to ground level.

Pepper_wood Report

Haven’t metal detected in years, but 1. A liberty silver dollar from 1941, and a silver cub scout ring. Both at an elementary school during summer, near the baseball bleachers. The cub scout ring’s band was broken, which is probably why it was lost.

UncleSquiqqy Report

I’ve found a [Roman coin](https://imgur.com/gallery/7aqCCAR) a Georgian [toy gun](https://imgur.com/gallery/vuDocTm) that would actually be loaded with gunpowder for shooting your sister with, a rather cool old [poor man’s ring](https://imgur.com/gallery/FGfMgNE) I’m not actually sure how old it is, a gold wedding ring in my own garden and more spoons than I feel I really should have!

There’s loads of cool stuff under the ground!

cochlearist Report

A unexploded ordnance, bomb squad had to be called. Most dangerous but also most coolest

AskReddit1sSh1t Report

I do it for work and we find all sorts of weird stuff looking for property and section corners. I think the coolest so far was an old as hell spent rifle bullet.

PoorPDOP86 Report

When I was in college I went on an archeological dig at a revolutionary war site in NJ. I found a brass button with a flag on it. My professor said it was one of the earliest depictions of an American flag he’d ever seen.

Zealousideal-Can8389 Report

Found a musket, the wood had composted and dissolved, but it was pretty cool near the Red River. We also found spears that we had dated at the university that were 10,000 years old near that musket. Yes, different timelines, but likely a high traffic animal area.

LJRGUserName Report

I’ve only ever done this for a while but a while ago I found a solid silver pendant (year unknown). But recently my best would be a pair of Polarized Ray-Bans Aviators ($213) and a silver earring both on the Maine beaches on June 28 2022.

Tombstone40556 Report

I live near the river Piave, WW1 was mad around here between italians and austrians, since there are bombs and artillery shells still being found to this day it’s really dangerous but the amount of bullets and stuff you can find is massive

SurplusBus1996 Report

I went magnet fishing over the burned down midsummer bonfire today. Picked up 14,7 kg of nails and screws.

kbbajer Report

All the rusty nails in my backyard. It doesn’t sound cool, but they’re much cooler in the trash than in my kids’ feet

LoginForMyPorn Report

I am not some super active detectorist but, I’ve found loads of pull tabs, slag, bits of chain link fencing. The coolest thing I found was an old medicine bottle with a glass marble and small hairpin in it. I found this about 3 inches under the surface of a bay bed in knee deep water.

Complete_Hold_6575 Report

When I was a kid (mid 70’s) my dad was stationed in Germany and I used to metal detect in the NATO training area off the post. I once found 110 live M16 blanks (5.56-mm). I took them all home and used a nail to open them one-by-one, pouring the powder into a plastic vial.

I buried the tube in dirt in the woods with the opening exposed and lit it with a burning piece of paper. It made a yard long trumpet of fire for several seconds and went out. I thought it was really cool.

I found a ton of other brass, smoke canisters, magazines, etc.

aecarol1 Report

I found beer cans buried by the masons we hired to build our house 25 years ago.

varikonniemi Report

I found some matchbox trucks on the beach, those were pretty cool.

Mythradites Report


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