Coin Collecting – The Metal Detectorists Other Hobby

If you are a metal detectorist, it is a safe bet you have found a coin or two while digging a plug.  They have been in production since The Iron Age – and there are now trillions of them on this planet. Relic hunters find them when they are out looking for bullets and buckles.  Beach hunters find them when looking for rings and necklaces. Even the gold prospectors find them out in the middle of fields looking for nuggets.  

Most of the coins we come across are routine business.  Clean the dirt away, rejoice at our free source of income, and off to the bank or coin machine they go.   We rinse and repeat the process with little thought to the clad.  

Then one day, you pry up that one coin from the depths below.  Maybe it’s the first silver, or perhaps a foreign coin you have never seen before.  Suddenly, it’s a different ballgame. You surely won’t be throwing this coin into the machine.  Dirty or not, you want to know more about this newfound “keeper”.


So you hop on Google and decide to do a little searching.  Next thing you know you are clicking every coin collecting website on the internet and buying enough books to start your own Amazon.  You are a numismatist before you know it. Move over metal detecting. Coin collecting is here to stay. You did invite it after all.

Numismatics (coin collecting) is a hobby that has been around for thousands of years.  It was known as the Hobby of Kings during The Renaissance, as only the rich could afford it.  However, it was going on long before that. There have been findings that show coins were cataloged by looks and dates since the 6th century BC – in ancient Greek and Roman territories. 

It is a hobby that has stood the test of time, and that is unlikely to change.  Coins are continuously minted in most major countries, and local coin sellers and collecting clubs can be found in most major metropolitan areas.      

Just like metal detecting – it is a multi-faceted hobby.

One collector may enjoy silver or gold, and nothing else.  To another, metal content is of no concern, and a key date is all that matters.  Or maybe the goal is to fulfill a “set” that is put out by the mint year by year.   While other collectors hoard coins by the trunkload and have even had to reinforce the floors to their house. 

Then we have the cleaners.  They only look for dirty coins in order to clean and restore them to the best of their ability.  A metal detectorist would be right at home there – seeing how most dug coins are in less than perfect shape coming from decades to centuries underground.  Yet others only want uncirculated coins that have never been touched by humans hands. Anything less would be unworthy in their eyes. 

Dirty – clean – round – square – old – new.  There is a coin for everybody. Almost…  


Credit:National Museum of American History & Smithsonian Institution Archives

In 1794 the United States minted and issued its first dollar coin.  The Flowing Hair Silver Dollar was 90% silver and 10% copper. 219 years later this extremely rare coin was sold at auction in 2013 for $10,016,875 US Dollars – making it the most expensive coin ever sold. 

However, it is not the rarest.  That title belongs to the 1849 Double Eagle $20 gold piece.  

Only 2 proof coins were minted.  One of them landed in the Smithsonian Institute’s National Numismatic Collection.  The other had a more nefarious fate. It was presented to the Treasury Secretary William M Meredith – whose family later sold it as part of an estate sale.  It has been missing ever since.  

You have your work cut out for you if you want to hit the upper echelon of coin collecting like those.  It becomes more of an investment, and not so much a hobby. However, don’t despair. There is much fun (and some profit) to be had at the lower end of the spectrum.

Numerous key date coin finds can be found in accidental circulation.  There are also some very nice “errors” that slip through the cracks. These can bring a pretty penny – excuse the pun.  So check your pocket change.  

You can also employ the tactics of coin roll hunting.  A hobby in its own right.  Simply walk into your local bank and ask them if they have rolls of coins to trade.  Hand them some paper cash in exchange, and off you go with rolls (or even boxes) of coins.  Random dates and random condition. Some VERY nice finds have been found using this method. 

Like I stated above, coin collecting can turn into an investment game very quickly.  Finding that special coin can introduce a metal detectorist into the coin collecting hobby.  Just like buying and selling coins can introduce one into the investment aspect. Like all investments, they can rise and fall at a moment’s notice.  That is when the “fun” factor is taken away for many…and just begins for others.   

Hope you enjoyed this blog – TheHunterGT signing off – I will see you – on the next blog.

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