Amazing Metal Detecting Finds in North America
Detectorists are always looking for an amazing find. Just the possibility of finding something valuable makes the thrill of the hunt exciting. And there are amazing finds from time-to-time – precious antiquities and treasures that are revealed from beneath the ground with the use of metal detectors.
Technology and innovations in metal detecting technology has made it possible for amateur hunters to find remarkable and noteworthy items, grasping newfound wealth and inspiring other detectorists to keep swinging.
While the amazing metal detecting finds you hear about often occur in Europe, American detectorists have also found some astonishing treasures. The following are some of the most exciting and valuable.
Detectorist Edward Rowe Snow visited an island near the shore of Nova Scotia in 1952. Here, he excavated eight Spanish doubloons from the 18th century. The treasure was found along with a skeleton, whose hand was still holding some of the doubloons. The doubloons may have come from a Spanish galleon that was seized in 1725 by pirates.
In 2008, Mike DeMar was hunting in the waters of Key West when he uncovered what turned out to be a gold chalice. Upon researching the item, it was discovered that the chalice was 385 years old and was from the Spanish ship the Santa Margarita. The ship was full of treasure when it wrecked in 1622. The chalice netted Mike a $1 million reward.
Collection of Civil War Relics
Anywhere that Civil War battles were fought is prime hunting ground for detectorists. One such area is Clarke County, Virginia. Lucas Hall, a 7-year-old who had asked for a metal detector for his birthday, began hunting that area. It turned out to be a productive endeavor. After just a few hunting trips in the area, Lucas excavated an 1840/1860 Cavalry sword from the Civil War. Further hunting unearthed other Civil War relics, though none were as valuable as the sword.
The Boot of Cortez
In 1989, in Sonora, Mexico, a detectorist was hunting along the outskirts of the desert when he discovered a true treasure trove. He was using an inexpensive metal detector and had been at it for a number of days before he made his discovery.
The first valuable target he excavated was a gold nugget that weighed in at 389 troy ounces. The gold nugget was given the name “Boot of Cortez” because of its massive size – there had never been a larger gold nugget found in the Americas previously. The nugget was sold for over $1.5 million at an auction.
Stolen Currency from the Post Office
Postal Inspectors were on the hunt for money that a former postal employee had stolen years earlier. It was after the employee died that they decided to enlist the help of a detectorist from the U.S. Army to search the deceased employee’s home. To their surprise, the detectorist located the stolen cash, a total of $153,150, in the employee’s courtyard. He had hidden the cash in cans, urns, and a length of stovepipe. The treasure was buried nine feet underground.
1913 Ford Model T Car
Yes, you read that right. A couple of Detroit detectorists were swinging their detectors when they located a complete 1913 Model T car that had been buried by the owner in 1926. It seems that the car’s owner had buried the entire car in his backyard for posterity, and then he apparently forgot about it.
A Ring on a Finger Bone
A volunteer archaeologist was searching Little Bighorn, the area where the Sioux had defeated the troops of Lt. Col. George Custer in 1976, when he came across something interesting. It was a ring, still around the bone of the person who wore it.
Rio Rancho Meteorite
Detectorist Jason Lyons, age 13, found a 21-pound piece of space rock in New Mexico. The meteorite was detected with an inexpensive detector that Jason’s grandfather had built for him. When he took the meteorite to the experts at the New Mexico Institute of Meteoritic, it was found to be a rare rock that is estimated to have been in existence on Earth for more than 10,000 years.
Bottom Line on Amazing Metal Detecting Finds
As you can see from the above, there is treasure to be found while metal detecting. Yes, there are times that a series of unsuccessful hunting trips can become discouraging, but you really never know what will be in the next hole you dig. That’s the exciting part of metal detecting – the possibility of having the next amazing find!