Coin Shooting Tips & Tricks
One of the most common things people use their metal detectors for is searching for coins, a hobby also known as "coin shooting". Coin shooting can be a good way to enjoy your hobby while making legitimate, cold hard cash at the same time. I have always said, if you are a diligent metal detectorist and get out frequently enough, you can easily and completely pay for your metal detector within one year's time. If you don't get out as often but still go relatively frequently, you can pay it off in 2-3 years pretty easy.
There are several tips and trick for metal detecting coins that will help you recover more coins quicker. I will begin listing them here and continue as I think of them. Please feel free to contact us and make suggestions!
- Know your machine and how each coin reads under your search coil. Do a bench test and learn how it reads audibly and on the visual read out (if you have one).
- If you are truly coin shooting, discriminate out everything but coins...coinshooting is a lot about using your time effectively. Digging up a bunch of trash is a serious waste of time when you are looking for money. If you are hoping to find any nickels, make sure you don't discriminate them out. On a lot of metal detectors, nickels read much like a small aluminum piece. If your metal detector only has a discrimination knob, you may be best foregoing the nickels and only look for more valuable coins. Metal detectors like theGarrett AT Proallow you to discriminate out individual items and be very selective of your targets.
- Decide if you want to waste time digging up pennies. Newer pennies are worth one cent and that is it. What is your time worth? Keep in mind, however, pennies made before 1984 are solid copper and worth between 3 & 4 cents each!
- Use a pinpointer. Many coins are small and can be hard to find in a pile of loose soil. A pinpointer like theGarrett Pro Pointeris a good option.
- DOUBLE CHECK YOUR HOLES! Don't dig up a coin and just walk away. This may be the most important rule to recovering lots of coins metal detecting. I have dug several times and found a coin only to check the hole again and recover, one, two, three, or more in one hole. Just last weekend I dug a penny signal and eventually ended up digging out 13 pennies (I kept digging hoping there was some silver in the hole). One time I dug a hole with two dollar coins and seven quarters! This is known as a coin spill and they happen frequently. Double check your hole and make sure you recovered all of the valuables!
- Check the dates on the coins you recover...it can be very telling of an area. Typically the older the better. Even if you are finding pennies, it can tell you what era the property was most heavily used. For instance if you are in a park and only finding coins from the 1990's and newer you may not have much luck finding silver coins, which date pre-1964. However, if you find Wheat Pennies or other coins from the early 1900's you are much more likely to find silver coins.
- Don't scuff the coins or clean them too much. You can literally destroy a valuable coin by trying to over-clean a coin. You can find coin values on a handy website called Cointracker atwww.cointracker.com. It is wise to consider anything you dig up from the ground to be in "poor" condition. However, silver can be cleaned up nicely and assuming it wasn't circulated too much, silver coins can be in great condition. It is recommended that the harshest cleaner you use on coins be either straight water or water with a little soap. Also be careful diggin if you think you targeted a coin...a small trowel or spade can put a significant scar on soft silver or gold.
- Know a coin dealer you can stop in and visit to give you information on coins. It can take a lifetime to learn the values of all of the many coins out there. These guys do it for a living and stay up to date on current pricing. Our favorite coin dealer locally isAdvanced Coin & Stamp in Olathe, KS.
Stay tuned, I will keep posting tips as I think of them!
For a good, quality, and inexpensive metal detector for coinshooting, check out the Garrett ACE 350 (click image below).