If you could find incredible treasure in your hometown or, even better, the comfort of your backyard, that would be amazing. For some people, that idea became a reality. In December of 2021, an English teenager found a hoard of 3000-year old bronze tools in a field in Royston, England.
Some of the best metal detecting finds started in the late 70s. In 1977, metal detectorist Paul Tysen found the Mojave nugget in California. To date, it is one of the largest nuggets ever found on American soil.
Currently, prospectors can find various treasures thanks to the tools at their disposal, a lot of science, skill, and a little bit of luck. So, I will be filling you in on some of the most incredible metal detecting finds. Not to mention, as a bonus, I’ll recommend a great metal detector to help you find your treasure.
But what about the most incredible metal detecting finds? What wonderful treasures have detectors located in the last couple of years since the metal detecting boom in the 70s? Let me help you with that.
The 17 Greatest Metal Detecting Finds
When it comes to the most incredible metal detecting finds, most of them occurred in the United Kingdom. The United States of America may have a massive following, but the best finds happened on the other side of the world.
So why isn’t metal detecting popular in the UK? Well, it all boils down to the Treasure Act of 1966. It’s an act by the UK Parliament that classifies objects considered as treasures. The act prevents the finder from retaining some treasures and instead sell them to museums.
This act is one of the reasons metal detecting is on a slow rise in the UK. However, there is a community, and it is thriving.
Regardless, I curated some fantastic finds from the USA and the UK just for you. So, be sure to keep reading to find out more facts on metal detecting.
1. The Staffordshire Hoard
In 2009, metal detectorist Terry Herbert found the most significant Anglo-Saxon gold and silver metalwork hoard. The hoard’s name is the Staffordshire Hoard. It consisted of 4600 items which contained 11 lbs. of gold, 5 lbs. of silver, and 3500 pieces of garnet cloisonné jewelry.
Where was this hoard found? Terry Herbert found the Staffordshire hoard in a field in Staffordshire, England. But how much is it worth? The Great British Museum values the Staffordshire Hoard at $4.3 million (£3.28 million).
It may be odd that a single penny is on this list. But this King Henry III penny is one of 8 coins in the entire world. The metal detectorist that found the penny wished to remain anonymous. However, the detectorist didn’t know what it was and its value until they posted it on Facebook (Meta) and received feedback from the auctioneer, Spick & Spon.
But where did the detectorist find this pretty penny? The detectorist found the Henry III penny in a field in Devon, England. So, how much is it worth? According to coin specialists, in January 2022, the Henry III penny sold for $880,904 (£648,000).
In November 2021, an anonymous detectorist found 131 coins and four golden objects. This bounty was the largest Anglo-Saxon treasure hoard ever found in England. According to the British Museum, two people found this hoard. The anonymous detectorist found most of it, while the second was a former police officer who tried to sell ten of the coins he found.
But what are their values? The majority of the coins contain 85%-95% gold. When writing this article, the UK Treasure Value Committee has yet to release a market value for this treasure hoard.
In 2013, in Sierra Nevada, California, a detectorist couple found a treasure hoard of 1,427 gold coins. This treasure trove is known as the Saddle Ridge Hoard, one of the most popular finds to date. Coin specialists consider the Saddle Ridge hoard one of the greatest real-life buried treasures found in the United States of America.
The coins are dated from 1874-to 1894. The exact location of the treasure trove is hidden. The detectorist couple that found the trove wished to keep its location a secret to discourage trespassers on their land. But how much is it worth? The Professional Coin Grading Service (PGCS) assessed the trove worth $10 million.
In 2019, metal detectorists Lisa Grace and Adam Staples found the largest hoard of Norman coins in Chew Valley, Somerset, England. The hoard contained 2,528 coins from the 11th century. This hoard is known as the Chew Valley Hoard.
So, what value are we looking at here? According to the Treasure Valuation Committee, the Chew Valley Hoard is worth $6.7million (£5 million). However, there is some debate on whether the Chew Valley Hoard falls under the Treasure Act of 1966.
Metal detectorists Mark Hambleton and Joe Kania found the Leekfrick Torcs in 2016. What’s a torc? A torc was an ornament worn around the neck by the ancient Gauls and Britons. This discovery yielded three neck torcs and a smaller bracelet. According to experts, they are the oldest Iron Age gold jewelry ever found in Britain.
But what is this finds’ value? Experts from the Treasure Value Committee valued the items in the Leekfrith torcs discovery at $441,811 (£325,000).
Metal detectorist Paul Ibbotson found the medieval ring lying under the soil’s surface at Fulford, England. Experts believe that the ring was a 15th-century love token. It may have belonged to a notable figure of society at the time.
But how much is the ring worth? The York Museum Trust acquired the Fulford Ring for £20,000.
In 2015, metal detectorist James Mather rediscovered the Watlington Hoard. The hoard consisted of Viking silver coins, ingots, and jewelry from the 9th century. James Mather found the hoard in Watlington, Oxfordshire, England.
But how much are they worth? In 2017, the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford acquired the hoard for $1.83 million (£1.35m).
The Lenborough hoard contained over 5000 late Anglo-Saxon silver coins. The coins date back to the 11th century. Metal detectorist Paul Coleman found the hoard in 2014 in Lenborough Buckigshire.
What about its value? The UK Treasure Valuation Committee valued the hoard at $1.8 million (£1.35 million). In 2015, the British Museum displayed the 11th century find to the public.
In 2014 in western Scotland, metal detectorist Derek McLennan discovered the Galloway Hoard. The hoard contained 100 gold, silver, glass, crystal, stone, and earthen objects from the 9th or 10th century, aka the Viking age. Experts consider the Galloway Hoard to have the wealthiest elements from the Viking age in Britain or Ireland.
So, how much is the Galloway Hoard worth with all this in mind? The National Museum of Scotland acquired the hoard for (£1.98 million).
A teenage metal detectorist David Hall discovered the Dairsie Hoard in 2014. He found it in Dairsie, Fife, Scotland, and it contained 300 pieces of silver and fragments of four vessels. You can find samples of this 3rd-century hoard in the National Museum of Scotland.
So, how much is it worth? According to reports, the metal detectorist David Hall received an undisclosed fee for this find. Unfortunately, without this information, we cannot report the value of the Dairsie Hoard.
Metal detectorist Laurence Egerton found a hoard of 22888 Roman coins. This hoard turned out to be what we know as the Seaton Down Hoard. Laurence Egerton found this hoard in Seaton Down, Devon, England.
What is the value of the Seaton Down Hoard? Reports showed that experts are yet to value the hoard fully, but some experts assume that the hoard is less than $136,000.
A group of metal detectorists found a hoard of Bronze-age jewelry next to the River Wylye in the south of England. The detectorists found the hoard in 2012.
So, how much is the Wylye Hoard worth? Unfortunately, the UK Treasure Value Committee did not release a value for the Wylye Hoard. With that in mind, you can find pieces of the Wylye Hoard in The Salisbury Museum for public display.
In 2010, in Cumbria, England, an unnamed metal detectorist found the Crosby Garrett Helmet. Experts believe that Trojans used the copper-made helmet for ceremonial occasions. Many people regarded it as an antique during its time.
So how much is the Crosby Garrett Helmet worth? In 2010, an undisclosed buyer bought the Crosby Garrett Helmet for (£2.3 million) US$3.6 million. Currently, the helmet is in private possession.
Another fascinating hoard is the Vale of York Hoard. In 2007, metal detectorist David Whelan and his son found the hoard in North Yorkshire, England. The hoard consisted of 617 silver coins and 65 other items.
But what’s its value? The Independent Treasure Value Committee valued the Vale of York Hoard at $1,470,892 (£1,082,000). Yes, this value includes all 617 coins and the additional items the detectorists found alongside the hoard.
This treasure has to be one of the unique items on this list. In Kingower, Australia, in 1980, a metal detectorist Kevin Hillier found a gold nugget shaped like a hand. It is the largest gold nugget found by a metal detector globally.
But how much is the Hand of Faith worth? The Las Vegas-based Golden Nugget Casinos purchased this nugget for $1 million. You can find it on display at the Golden Nugget Las Vegas and replicas of the nugget in the adjacent casinos.
Ireland, 1980, metal detectorist Michael Webb and his son found the Derrynaflan Chalice. They found the chalice in the Derrynaflan pastures in Tipperary County, Ireland. The chalice is now on display in the National Museum of Ireland.
How much is the chalice worth? The metal detectorist that found it tried to get back the chalice in court. Why? Well, the chalice is worth $6,794,375 (£5,000,000).
All the treasures I’ve mentioned are treasures that offer historical significance. Of course, detectorists found some of these treasures in the late 90s, but that doesn’t diminish their importance. There are other finds, such as these honorable mentions:
- The Ringlemere Cup
- The Mojave Nugget
- The Thetford Hoard
- The Middleham Jewel
- The Hoxne Hoard
They are hundreds of other treasures around the world. The honorable mentions don’t even grasp the entirety of the most incredible metal detecting finds. For the treasures I’ve listed, I tried to integrate massively-sized finds all over the globe while also retaining their enormous value.
Now, how did these metal detectorists find these fantastic treasures? Metal detectors have been in the business longer than you can imagine. The metal detector boom in the 70s was just a catalyst.
With innovation and an evolving market, manufacturers had to step up their game and offer one of the best units in the market. I have one metal detector that I believe is trusted and accurate to get you closer to your perfect find.
I have used this metal detector several times, and I think you’ll be interested to know what makes it a tier above the rest in the metal detecting market.
For any aspiring or experienced metal detector, you’ve come across the monster that is Minelab. Minelab is a household name in the metal detecting community and one you should be comfortable with reading. I’m about to give a deep and detailed description of one of their most popular units.
Minelab, Garrett, Fisher, and Nokta are some of the top brands for metal detecting. Honestly, Minelab is the one to beat. There’s no better way to showcase their incredible products than with the Minelab Equinox 800.
As I shared earlier, Minelab is a household name in the metal detecting community. Minelab is known for its innovative takes on the traditional metal detector. There’s nothing wrong with the conventional metal detector, but having a Minelab Equinox 800 is one step ahead in making your prospecting easier.
So what makes the Minelab Equinox 800 my top recommended metal detector? Let’s take a look at some of its features. I’ll start from the most impressive feature that sets them apart to their more minor features that add that little bonus.
The Features of The Minelab Equinox 800
- The Multi-IQ Frequency
You can’t talk about the Minelab Equinox Series without mentioning its notable highlight, the Muti-IQ Frequency. The Multi-IQ frequency, aka the Multi-IQ Simultaneous Multi-Frequency, offers five operating frequencies: 5,10,15,20, and 40 kHz.
Thanks to the Multi-IQ frequency, users can operate across the spectrum with little to no inconvenience.
For a unit like this, offering up to 40kHz is pretty impressive. The Garrett AT MAX offers an operating frequency of 13.6kHz. Please note that the AT MAX has been a leading unit in the market for years until newer models started making their name in the industry.
Not only does it offer up to 40 kHz, but it’s also adjustable. Minelab’s Multi-IQ frequency is next-level technology, and it lives up to the expectation.
- Detect Modes
Minelab offers four detect modes with the Equinox 800:
The Minelab Equinox 600 (the other model in this series) does not offer a gold mode. In fact, many metal detectors at this price point tend not to provide a gold mode unless they’re specifically gold metal detectors.
With the Equinox 800, you’re getting an all-rounded unit. It’s a pretty incredible feat for equipment like this, in my opinion.
- The Custom Search Profiles
Users can create up to eight search profiles. Each detect mode can have two search profiles. The purpose of the Minelab Equinox 800 was to make prospecting easier than the traditional metal detectors. I think they achieved their mission with this feature and others that I will share below. So, be sure to keep reading.
- Ground Balancing
Ground balancing is a crucial tool for metal detectorists and their units. Traditionally, detectorists had to manually adjust the ground balance as they moved from one terrain to the other. The Minelab Equinox 800 offers both manual and automatic ground balancing.
Automatic ground balancing has risen in popularity in recent years due to its ease and beginner-friendly nature. However, veteran detectorists do prefer manual ground balancing.
Nevertheless, everything is a personal preference. You can choose manual or automatic ground balancing. It depends on your skill level. Personally, I prefer automatic ground balancing. Having the option of manual ground balancing is an enticing offer, though.
- Battery Runtime
The Minelab Equinox 800 is an excellent metal detector. However, nothing is ultimately perfect. One and its sole ‘handicap’ is its battery time.
The Equinox 800 comes with an in-built rechargeable Lithium-ion battery. This battery, though, has a runtime of 12 hours.
I’ve been prospecting for an extended period, and 12 hours isn’t going to cut it. Sometimes, you can be stuck in an open field for hours on end, prospecting. Unless you carry some means of charging the unit, you’re not going to find a place to charge your unit in the boonies.
- The Depth Indicator
The Minelab Equinox 800 offers a depth indicator with five levels. It will help you to approximate the relative depth of a target. If you don’t like manuals, well, I got you, I read the NOX manual, and there’s something you need to know.
According to Minelab, the accuracy of the depth indicator or the depth gauge reduces in highly mineralized soil. I realized this during one of my hunts, but it wasn’t until I went back to the manual that I understood why.
Waterproofing is slowly becoming a staple for metal detectors. Not all metal detectors will have it, but so far, at this price point, metal detectors are waterproof for up to 3 meters or 10 feet. If you want to go deeper, possibly underwater, you may need to invest in an underwater unit.
There are other features, but they are standard features on metal detectors across the board. I highly recommend the Minelab Equinox 800; it’s reliable and consistent. You cannot fail with the NOX 800.
The Minelab Equinox Series consists of two models:
- The Minelab Equinox 800
- The Minelab Equinox 600
Out of these two models, the Minelab Equinox 800 is better because of its additional operating frequencies. The Equinox Series is well known because it offers the Multi-IQ frequency. Please note that not all Minelab products have the Multi-IQ frequency built into them.
In my experience, the Minelab Equinox 800 is a unit made for the more intermediate to advanced detectorist. It has so many features that a beginner would have difficulty maneuvering.
You also have the Minelab Equinox 600, which offers fewer frequencies, but I wouldn’t recommend it to a beginner. I think that there are other models from Minelab that are beginner-friendly. Minelab’s Vanquish series is their beginner-friendly line, and I highly recommend this unit to anyone getting into prospecting.
Regardless, the Minelab Equinox 800 is a beast. It offers detectorists a modern and innovative touch into prospecting. If you’re at the intermediate level, I think you can handle the Equinox 800. For any users moving from beginner models to expert-level models, look no further; the Minelab Equinox 800 is a superior choice in the market.
If you could find one of the most significant finds in history? It’s possible. With the right tools and some level of skill, even amateur detectorists can discover a massive hoard. You have to be in the right place at the right time. And maybe you’re standing there right now.
I’m frequently asked what machine I use and recommend. No doubt about it, for the beginner get the Nokta Makro Simplex + Kit it’s the best. 100% waterproof, wireless headphones and pinpointer. Check prices and reviews with quick links below.
The next thing you need is a great shovel, believe me when I say you’ll dig more knowing you can dig FASTER. Links below to the nearly bullet proof Lesche T- Handle Shovel
Metal Detecting and Beaches are a perfect match. Sunshine easy digging and lots of people means dropped coins and jewelry. To search a beach affectively you’ve GOT TO HAVE A SAND SCOOP. CKG Sand Scoops are heavy duty and able to use as a shovel.
If it’s time up UP YOUR GAME and get the industry standard metal detector. The Minelab Equinox 800 IS THE BEST. Okay it’s not cheap, but your finds are going to increase with this machine. Shortcut links for reviews and current prices.