Metal Detecting- Treasure Hunting On A Budget.

Sometimes The Treasure Is Closer Than You Think

Recently I got the opportunity to take a break from my busy schedule and indulge in my favorite pastime.....metal detecting. We have been detecting for many years now and try to get out as much as our schedule will allow. It has been difficult, finding the time, this past year but now that spring is here I'm hoping to get more opportunities to go "treasure hunting"

I enjoy detecting beaches the most because digging in sand is a lot easier than "cutting plugs" in grass and hard earth. Beaches are also places where you have a lot of space used by a lot of people who lose a lot of items. . The beach we chose, this time, is on the Atlantic coast about an hour away from where we live and is a favorite with surfers almost year round. [Yes, people do surf on the east coast!] The beach is about 3 miles long and is a challenge for detectorists and surfers alike.

To properly "do" a beach, especially if you use a search pattern grid. can take several days. . On this , particular,day we were there to enjoy the location, the atmosphere, and the day off so I was not totally focused on detecting. The surf was pounding and the sun was bright and the air was warm. Very unusual conditions for so early in the spring. There were people jogging, walking, playing with their dogs on the ocean's edge and generally having a great time. To be honest, with all the activity surrounding me. it was a little difficult to fully concentrate on detecting....but I think "swinging" the detector, even if you are distracted, is almost an unconscious habit to the hobby enthusiasts.

Occasionally the detector would "beep" and quickly refocus my attention. I would pinpoint the target and dig for the hidden treasure! Sometimes a rusty old nail would come out of the hole and other times a pull tab would make it's usual appearance as pull tabs so often do during beach detecting. If things are going well you soon start finding coins and ,occasionally, artifacts. Each time I "dig" these type of targets it gets very exciting . You never really know what the detector has found, when that high pitched tone sounds, until you dig. Is it going to lead you to a common clad coin like a modern penny or will you uncover a rare collectible coin worth hundreds? Will you find a valuable rarity, like gold jewelry or is that glint at the bottom of the hole a worthless piece of foil or the ever present bottle cap? For me the "hunt" is almost as enjoyable as the find. It's the main reason why I love detecting so much.

We started getting into the coins very early. First a quarter then another followed by a couple of dimes and a penny. Nothing of great value but coins are coins and if nothing else I, usually,find enough to pay for my weeks coffee.

Within the first couple hours of searching we had managed to unearth a small pocket full of coins, including a Canadian "toonie", along with a few nails....the ever present pull tabs, an interesting fork, too many bottle caps, and several larger pieces of scrap iron. Nothing to get rich on but, at least, my next week's coffee habit was taken care of and, as a bonus, I was having a great time "at the beach" watching the surfers, metal detecting, and enjoying being near the ocean.

Usually my wife accompanies me on my metal detecting outings. We both enjoy the outdoors and detecting is something we enjoy doing together. In fact she does a lot of the actual sifting and recovery. She also loves to walk the beach so often times while I "detect", and do my own sifting, she is off walking the shoreline and getting her exercise.

On this particular day she had walked the nearly 3 miles of shoreline and had returned to find me happily swinging the detector and digging in the sand. I showed her the "treasures" I had found and she studied each piece closely to make sure our retirement "nest egg" wasn't hiding somewhere within the sandy and encrusted group of finds that I had placed in my pocket for safekeeping. It didn't take her long to realize that I hadn't found any gold bars or diamonds and that our "nest egg" was in no danger of revealing itself on this outing.

Metal detecting, by it's very nature, makes you focus on your senses of sight and hearing. You are listening for the detector's various "tones" that can indicate what the machine has found under the surface of the sand . At the same time your eyes are constantly sweeping the ground around you and often times you will "discover" things that most people would never notice as they walked the beach..

Over the years I have found a lot of things, just lying on the sand, that people have lost. From expensive fishing rods and reels to surfing equipment, clothing, and personal items. It is amazing what people leave behind at the beach. Some of my most interesting "finds", while metal detecting, have been found without the electronic aid of the detector. They were found because, while detecting, we were focused on the ground in front of us and around us. This day was one of those times where our "find of the day" came not from the detector itself but from the process.

While I was swinging the detector my wife was standing nearby, and I heard her exclaim "look twenty dollars" and then quickly she exclaimed "no it's forty dollars". As I turned she was picking up two crisp twenty dollar bills. The bills had been sticking out of the sand edge first as if they had been placed there. Had they had been just lying on the surface they would have blown away in the breeze. These bills were on their edge sticking out of the sand about 2 inches. Of course we quickly dug where the bills had been found. Sometimes when you find an item like a coin another one can be close by....sometimes in the same hole. No such luck this time...the bills were alone.

I always get great satisfaction when I make a discovery with the detector. Some of the items I have found are very rare and have been buried in the ground for, in some cases, hundreds of years. To me it's like holding history in your hands.......I never tire of that feeling!. Today was not one of those days but we scored a pocket full of coins, an interesting and, possibly, silver fork and two crisp 20 dollar bills. I can honestly say that I have never found "paper" money, while metal detecting, before but those 20 dollar bills will cover the cost of lunch and our gas bill and to me that qualifies as a great day at the beach.

I would encourage anyone who has ever thought about getting a metal detector and going treasure hunting to go ahead and join the rest of us who have discovered a great hobby. You will, most certainly, have some wonderful new experiences and who knows maybe it will be you who discovers that next "treasure trove". of gold coins or that priceless artifact They could be waiting just under the surface of that sandy beach you have been going to for years!

For those of you who aren't ready to take the plunge and get into metal detecting you too could find treasure. Just remember to look "down and around" whenever you're on the beach.....you never know what might be waiting for you.





More by this Author


Comments 50 comments

teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago

Your adventure proved profitable for you and it must have been fun to discover the treasures. Too bad the twenty dollar bills didn't lead to a sunken treasure box. This sounds like a great way to spend a day on the beach.


point2make profile image

point2make 4 years ago Author

Thank-you for your comments "teach" I appreciate them. I have never had a bad day metal detecting. It is a great hobby and I have fun whether I find anything or not. Maybe someday that "treasure box" and I will meet but in the meantime I'll enjoy the search.


TravelAbout profile image

TravelAbout 4 years ago from United States

We live in Fenwick Island 2.5 miles off the ocean. I have wanted to get a metal detector just for fun while walking the beach but I can't talk hubby into it. I will have him read your article. Thanks.


point2make profile image

point2make 4 years ago Author

Thank-you for your comments TravelAbout they are appreciated. I believe Fenwick Island would be a great place to "swing" the detector. Lots of legends about Pirate gold around that part of Delaware. Even without the Pirate gold it would still be fun and even if you don't find your gold....it's great exercise and the fresh air and ocean setting can't be beat in my books. As for hubby....send him to me and I'll do my best to convince him for you.


Barbsbitsnpieces profile image

Barbsbitsnpieces 4 years ago from Napoleon, Henry County, Ohio, USA

@point2make...Neat information on a different type "sport"! I didn't know much about metal detecting before I read this. Thanks for sharing your passion.


TravelAbout profile image

TravelAbout 4 years ago from United States

point2make - hubby has agreed to perhaps getting one! You will be the first to know if we find some of that pirate gold!!!!


point2make profile image

point2make 4 years ago Author

Thanks for the comments Barbsbitsnpieces. Metal detecting is a great pastime. It's an entertaining and interesting hobby and I would recommend it to people of all ages. The hunt is as much fun as the find!


point2make profile image

point2make 4 years ago Author

That's great Travelabout. I hope you get the chance to "hunt" your area soon. You live in, what was, prime Pirate territory and who knows.......a great find might just be waiting for "you" to find it. Good luck and let me know how you are doing. If you need any tips or help don't hesitate to drop me a line..


barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 4 years ago from Hemet, Ca

Very cool hub and very cool hobby. I have always been interested in metal detecting. Thought it would be fun to unbury treasure, especially at the beach. Who knows what you really could find. I looked into detectors and they all seemed really pricey. Hopefully one day I can score one! :)


point2make profile image

point2make 4 years ago Author

Thanks for the comments barbergirl. I think it is a cool hobby. There are some very reasonably priced detectors out there to get started. Fisher, Garrett, and Bounty Hunter all make very good quality entry level detectors at a great price. You could also check out E-bay and do even better sometimes. As you say hopefully, one day, you will get yourself one and start "swinging" at the beach. Happy hunting.


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 4 years ago from South Carolina

Great hub. I've never used a metal detector but this article really showed how fun and exciting it can be.

Voted up across the board.


point2make profile image

point2make 4 years ago Author

Detecting is a great hobby Happyboomernurse. If you ever get the chance give it a "swing" but be warned......detecting can become habit forming very quickly!


Stephanie Henkel profile image

Stephanie Henkel 4 years ago from USA

It must be thrilling to find something like a buried gold coin or something really old and/or valuable while treasure hunting with your metal detector. Sounds like a very fun hobby.

We owned a metal detector many years ago and actually discovered some interesting old sleigh bells buried in our backyard, but no other treasures. It would be fun to try this hobby again.


sgbrown profile image

sgbrown 4 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

We bought a metal detector a couple of years ago. Unfortunately we haven't been able to find time to use it much. No big finds yet, but it is fun! Now that spring is here we hope to get out with it more. Nice hub! Good luck with your treasure hunting! :)


point2make profile image

point2make 4 years ago Author

Thank-you for your comments sg. Detecting is a great hobby and, at least for me, the hunt is an enjoyable as the find. I hope you get to dig out the detector and give it a swing sometime but bewarned detecting can be habit forming.


point2make profile image

point2make 4 years ago Author

Thanks for stopping by Stephanie I really appreciate it. We have found lots of coins, no gold ones yet, and lots of relics. It's a fun hobby and if you detect regularly you could easily pay for your detector in a reasonably short time with your finds.


point2make profile image

point2make 4 years ago Author

Thank-you for your comments sgbrown...I appreciate them. Metal detecting is a great hobby. For me the hunt is almost as good as the "find". I hope you find the time to get that detector "swinging" soon but be warned Metal detecting can be habit forming.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

Hi, I would love to go metal detecting, I love history and just to find something that has been in the ground for hundreds if not thousands of years would fascinate me. I remember walking along a beach in Margate, England, once years ago, and the guy next to me had a detector, but I was the one that spotted and pocketed a gold ring! lol!


point2make profile image

point2make 4 years ago Author

Thank-you for your comments Nell....I appreciate them very much. Metal detecting is a passion of mine as is History and Archaeology. They all seem to go together quite nicely. Every time I dig a target the same feeling is there......what is it going to be this time and the real fun is you never really know what will come out of the sand. Last weekend I was detecting a local beach and discovered a Medic-Alert bracelet. We spent a couple of days tracking down the owner and we were able to return the bracelet to them today. That's another benefit of detecting. It feels great when you can return a lost item to it's owner. They never expected to see the item again and they are always very happy. If you get the chance Nell to go detecting go for it but remember.......detecting can be habit forming.


bdegiulio profile image

bdegiulio 4 years ago from Massachusetts

Really enjoyed reading this. I have metal detected on a few occasions and I can see how it can become a favorite past-time. I have a brother-in-law who has been doing this for years and has found some amazing artifacts. Thanks for sharing.


point2make profile image

point2make 4 years ago Author

Thanks for the comments bd. Metal detecting is indeed a great past-time. I would love to know where your brother-in-law searches and what machine he uses. Always interested in other's experiences. Always happy to receive comments from a fellow "swinger" bd.......hope you find the time to try detecting again.


bdegiulio profile image

bdegiulio 4 years ago from Massachusetts

Hi point2make. My brother-in-law lives in Norwell, Mass so he goes there quite a bit. There is a lot of colonial history there so he's found a number of really old coins, musket balls, etc. I'm sure he's done the beaches on the shore south of Boston out to Cape Cod also. I'm not sure of his detector but I'll find out.


point2make profile image

point2make 4 years ago Author

Thanks for the info bd. I am very familiar with Norwell.In fact I know Massachusetts very well. My mother was born in Framingham and our family spent many great summers on the Cape and the south shore as well. All that was before I became interested in metal detecting. I'll put colonial Mass and the Cape on my "list".....now if I could only get some extended time off!!!


Jonathan Grimes profile image

Jonathan Grimes 4 years ago from Devon

I do a lot of metal detecting myself and always love beach metal detecting. Especially if you get the the beach early during the summer. You never know what will turn up and i have been lucky enough to find various gold rings etc. Great hub on a great subject.


point2make profile image

point2make 4 years ago Author

Thanks for the comments Jonathan I appreciate them. I love detecting and I love detecting beaches the best. You never know what the next "scoop" will turn up. Recently I was able to return a Medic Alert bracelet to it's owner who was very happy to get it back. That's the other side of detecting that can be so gratifying..finding lost items where you can identify the owner and returning them. As for me my favorite time to detect is the same as yours ....early in the morning when the beach is empty. In fact I will be headed out early Sunday morning this weekend.


alocsin profile image

alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA

This is something I've always wanted to try here in Southern California because the thousands that visit the beaches every day must leave something behind. Voting this Up and Interesting.


point2make profile image

point2make 4 years ago Author

Thanks for the comments alocsin. You are in a great location to get into metal detecting. The east coast beaches are good but I would love to hit the west coast beaches with my detectors. I might never get back to the "east" again. If you ever get the chance alocsin....take it but be warned "detecting" can be habit forming.


Brett.Tesol profile image

Brett.Tesol 4 years ago from Somewhere in Asia

Something that I have considered, but have not got around to yet. It seems like a fun hobby though, kinda relaxing in a meditative way I would imagine, with the prospect of making a bit of money too.

Shared, up and interesting.


moonlake profile image

moonlake 4 years ago from America

I have always wanted to metal detect but it's hard to do way up north. I don't where I would go. I like watching Meteorite Men on tv with their detectors. Interesting hub enjoyed reading. Voted Up


point2make profile image

point2make 4 years ago Author

Thank-you for your comments moonlake. I can see were it would be a bit difficult detecting up north but there are always possibilities. Depending on where you live the coastlines are always prime spots especially in or near communities. Places that hold or held hunting, fishing or logging camps might prove interesting. Today with all the oil exploration and pipelines being built there are, potentially, many places for a "swing". One thing that would be interesting to search for, in the north, is meteorites. You never know what is underfoot until you look.....good luck and enjoy the hunt.


point2make profile image

point2make 4 years ago Author

Hi Brett...appreciate the comments. It is a fun hobby but , like any other, there can be unintended consequences. A few weeks ago I detected two beaches in two days and was then asked to search a private property for a lost ring on day three. The consequence was that I pulled a muscle in my back and have been unable to get the detector out for " a swing" for nearly three weeks now . My back is still tender but my mind is out on that field searching for that lost ring.

When people ask me how I hurt my back I am tempted to say..."I was sliding into home plate trying to score the winning run" or that "I twisted it while competing in the local triathlon " ! I am tempted to say those things but then I tell them the truth....."I hurt my back while treasure hunting"........I finally beat the jocks!!!


IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 4 years ago from UK

I just bought my first metal detector a couple of weeks ago. I got a White's Coinmaster Pro and I am loving it! It gets me out and about everyday when I would otherwise be stuck indoors. So far, I have found a grand total of 23p in spendable money, and loads of old pre-decimal coins from the last century. In the UK coinage changed in 1972 so anything from before then is unspendable and worthless unless they are in mint condition. It doesn't matter to me, as I am having so much fun. I have only been the the beach twice and not found anything yet, although I did find coins on the walkway down to the beach. If I do ever find treasure, I know that here in Scotland it belongs to the Crown, and not to the finder although a reward may be offered. Jewellery should be handed into the police, but if unclaimed after 3 months, it is returned to the finder. I'd be so lucky to ever find any of course, but have a much better chance with a metal detector than without!


point2make profile image

point2make 4 years ago Author

Good for your IzzyM. You now have the tool to enjoyment, possible riches, exercise, and a lifelong obsession.....and that's a good thing. A White's Coinmaster Pro is an excellent detector. You will do well with that and it also has the depth and sensitivity to be a very serious treasure machine. One word of warning though........After detecting two beaches and a large private field in a three day period I have found myself with serious back pain. It has been four weeks now since I have been able to "swing" the detector and I'm getting antsy. Be careful while digging up all those coins.....your back will thank-you for it.


IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 4 years ago from UK

I am very happy with the detector I bought, so thanks for confirming it's a good machine. I know its not the dearest out there, but it seems to do what I need it to do. I was at the beach this evening. Found lots of beer cans hidden in the sand, and nothing else. Still, got to watch a beautiful sunset and found some cowries shells :)

I am enjoying the bending over and back strain because I sat on my backside for 3 years working in an office, and my back was getting stiffer and stiffer through lack of use! I am making the muscles work, and as I have three metal vertebrae following a serious accident a few years ago, it was like waiting for arthritis to set in without exercise. So this is a boon for me. I always wanted a metal detector and I can't wait to find a place worth detecting in as the beaches here seem to be pretty poor (not many visitors and even fewer swimmers). Thanks for writing this hub, I have thoroughly enjoyed reading it!


point2make profile image

point2make 4 years ago Author

Metal detecting will certainly give you a workout Izzy. Beaches can be difficult but don't give up on them. Your machine has the "ground balance" preset and is not adjustable. One of the problems you will encounter when detecting beaches is that "salt", in the water and the sand, will play havoc with your detector and will give off false signals. While you can't easily overcome this problem you can still detect salt beaches by sticking to the dry sand above the waterline. Also don't forget fresh water beaches and riverbanks. Remember anywhere people are or were is a great place to detect and the long history of Scotland makes the possibilities....endless. Good luck and enjoy "swinging"


girishpuri profile image

girishpuri 4 years ago from NCR , INDIA

What a great way to spent day at beach and it's a real treasure, voted up.


point2make profile image

point2make 4 years ago Author

Thanks for the comment girishpuri...It's appreciated. For me Metal detecting and the beach are a perfect fit. It is a great way to spend a day and when I want a break from detecting I can do some old fashion beach combing as well.


hawaiianodysseus profile image

hawaiianodysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

Wow! Sounds like great fun! And I'm game for anything that challenges my mind, sharpens the senses, and harbors the potential for finding treasure.

Thank you for sharing this interesting information with the rest of us.

Tell me, is there a metal detector you can recommend? I may just get into a new hobby at this time in my life. Aloha!


point2make profile image

point2make 4 years ago Author

Thank-you for your comments hawaiianodysseus I'm glad you enjoyed the hub. Metal detecting is a great hobby. I love the hunt almost as much as the find. As for metal detectors there are many good quality detectors in the marketplace. Personally I use a Fisher F-4 and a Garrett Ace 250. They are both good detectors. In Hawaii you would have some great beaches to detect and I would suggest a detector that can handle the "salt" in the sand. The Fisher F-4 is a great beach detector as is the Garrett AT Pro. If you stay in the dry sand, and away from the water, then a Fisher F-2 or any of the Garrett Ace lines would be excellent detectors to start out with. There are lots of choices for your to check out. Also go on YouTube and type in "metal detecting in Hawaii". You will get some great videos of people detecting the beaches of Hawaii ...and finding some great items. Good luck and if you decide to get into detecting let me know how you make out.


hawaiianodysseus profile image

hawaiianodysseus 4 years ago from Southeast Washington state

Thank you so much, point2make! Actually, I'm presently residing in Washington state, but my wife and I do travel every now and then to the islands. I am appreciative of the metal detector recommendations and will definitely check out the YouTube videos.

I'm glad I'm following you because I like your style of going the extra mile to provide help and information. You're definitely a "cut above" in my book.


point2make profile image

point2make 4 years ago Author

Thank-you for the kind words hawaiianodysseus. Washington has some great beaches too and don't forget all the parks, playgrounds and lots of other places to search. I will be heading out myself, this weekend, to the Atlantic coast and a few of my favorite beaches. I can't wait to hear that sweet sound that only a metal detector can make when it finds "treasure"!


LauraVerderber profile image

LauraVerderber 4 years ago from Mobile, AL

Fun hub! I've always wanted to do metal detecting. I live 40 min. away from the beach and I have found abandoned boats, wrench sets, and a huge thick metal door. I'd love to be able to find more things with a metal detector. I hope you don't mind, if I could make some suggestions? I was thinking that the photos you included were nice but a bit repetitive. It would have been interesting to see the pile of treasure you found that day, and perhaps anther picture of a closeup of you digging or the metal detector.


point2make profile image

point2make 4 years ago Author

Thanks for the comments and suggestions Laura. I appreciate them. I will include photos of my "finds" in an upcoming hub. Yesterday, for example, I "found" a silver ring probably dating to 1880's. I also found a very unusual key in excellent condition from the 1920s. I agree with your suggestion that photos of my finds would be better than just scenery. Thanks for the tip.


ryanraff profile image

ryanraff 3 years ago

I spend a week at the beach every year on vacation and I surf quite frequently (on the east coast!) and I never even thought about metal detecting. Maybe I should give it a shot one of these days, very nice hub!


point2make profile image

point2make 3 years ago Author

Thanks for the comments ryanraff. You should combine a surfing trip with a little detecting. Maybe you'll get lucky and find that piece of jewellery that will help pay for the trip. In any event it would be something to enjoy between the big waves.


ryanraff profile image

ryanraff 3 years ago

A little detecting as the tides change and the sets start to die down and get a bit flatter would be an awesome way to utilize my time at the beach rather than taking my usual nap and getting sunburn!


point2make profile image

point2make 3 years ago Author

Now that's the ticket Ryan.....surfing and metal detecting sounds like a winning combination ....good luck swinging and swaying!


Zaira 2 years ago

Wow, for ur 5th time out your doing really well.ive just got a gaerrtt250 and I'm after some advice please,, what setting´╗┐ and sensitivity do u have it on and what is the difference between a weak and strong signal ?do you dig every signal?i seem to get a bleep when I sweep one direction but not the other,is this a weak signal..cheers and HH


point2make profile image

point2make 21 months ago Author

Sorry for the long delay in responding Zaira. I have been away from Hubpages for more than a year and I am just getting back into my hubs. As to your questions when I am on a beach I set my sensitivity low so as to counter act the "salt" interference. Also if you set your sensitivity too high your detector will "chatter" in a trashy area. When this happens reduce your sensitivity and slow down your swinging. Usually a strong signal is near the surface where a weak signal is deeper down. Using headphones can help identify your signals a little better. When you sweep your detector in one direction and get a signal that same signal should be there when you swing back. Are you using your pinpointing feature?.


point2make profile image

point2make 12 months ago Author

A good question Moneymaker1965. It really does depend on what type of detecting you do and also your budget. For entry level I would go with a

Garrett 250, Technetics Delta or a Fisher F2. Mid range

Fisher F5, Garrett AT Pro or Any of the Tesoro Line-up. There are many more including White's line of detectors that are very good but I will leave the higher end for another time. In my opinion the best detector for the dollar is the Garrett AT Pro or the Fisher F5. They are both very versatile, well made and affordable.

Personally I use a Technetics Delta and a Minelab Explorer. Two totally different machines. I love the turn on and go simplicity of the Delta and I have found much of my "treasures" with this detector. The Minelab is teaching me how to be a better detectorist. A very fine machine that goes "deep"!

I have just received permission to hunt an historic site that dates to 1758. It is an area where several "battles" were fought. I am looking forward to my search with both my detectors.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working