Used to finding coins with your metal detector? Whether it's a penny you dropped a few years ago or a coin dating back to the middle ages, these small metal treasures are commonly found on metal detecting hunts. There is, however, plenty more to find. Anything from jewellery and belt buckles to precious metal toys and heirlooms can be uncovered by lucky hunters. But there is always a chance that you might get even more lucky. From the unexpected to downright strange, read on for a list of the craziest finds uncovered by metal detectorists.
That’s a lot of gold!
Uncovering a gold coin is enough to get anyone excited. But what about an actual golden nugget? The largest gold nugget that has ever been uncovered using a metal detector was the 960 ounce Hand of Faith. It was discovered in September 1980 by Kevin Hillier near Kingower, Australia. The gigantic piece of treasure was eventually sold to Golden Nugget Casino in Las Vegas for $1 million which, in today’s currency, would be equal to around £2.2m!
Something from outer space.
That astronaut dream a little too out there? Discovering something from outer space here on earth is probably the next best thing, and that’s exactly what happened to 13-year-old Jason Lyons in 2011. Using a cheap metal detector that was built by his grandfather, Jason stumbled across a 2lb meteorite whilst out on a hike. Close examination revealed that the space rock had been on the ground for around 10,000 years and was made of nickel-iron.
Not for the faint-hearted.
Of the many weird and wonderful things you could find with your metal detector, these are probably not what you’d hope to stumble across. A volunteer archaeologist in Little Bighorn discovered a finger bone that was still wearing a ring. This discovery was said to date back to 1876 when Sioux had wiped out the troops of Lt. Col. George Custer at the battle of the Little Bighorn during the Civil War. And that’s not the only eery find that the Civil War era left behind - one curious detectorist also uncovered a shackle with the leg bone of its prisoner still within its grasp.
Closer to home.
English fields are no stranger to an ancient hoard either. One lucky detectorist in Cumbria discovered 67 pieces of a 1,800 year old helmet - one of just three of its type ever found in the UK. Once the find was taken to an auction house, it took over 200 hours to recreate the helmet, revealing a roman face mask attached to a bronze cap with a griffin crest. The piece eventually sold at auction for £2.3 million - over eight times its estimated value!
You might be excited or even delighted if you uncovered gold teeth with your metal detector, but a certain other denture discovery might not leave you with such a smile on your face. This happened to one not-so-lucky detectorist when he uncovered a pair of false teeth buried underground, leaving him feeling disturbed at the thought of the decaying mouth that it came from. Promptly re-burying the teeth, he quickly moved on to try and find something a little less human...
A Ford Model T.
Any vintage-loving car enthusiast would be happy to own a classic like this, but perhaps not in the state this one was discovered. An eager bunch of fellas were casually searching with the metal detectors when they came across an entire 1913 Ford Model T car. This vintage vehicle had apparently been buried by the owner to preserve it for posterity, but unfortunately for him, it seemed to have been forgotten about!
Most expensive treasure haul.
There have been many discoveries of buried treasure over the years, especially since the invention of metal detectors, all with varying degrees of worth - this one, however, gets the gold medal. The salvage firm Odyssey Marine Exploration used metal detectors in 2007 to uncover a whopping stash of gold and silver coins that sank with a Spanish war ship off the coast of Portugal in 1804. The huge hoard was eventually valued at a staggering $500 million dollars (that's £480m in today's money). Odyssey didn’t have their hands on it for long as the Spanish government eventually won a legal battle against them to claim it for themselves.
Feeling inspired and intrigued? Why not get out there yourself and see what weird and wonderful things your metal detector can uncover. And who knows - you might just strike gold!