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By Michael Bernzweig
Metal detector finds aren’t just your typical coins, gold rings, necklaces and an odd piece of jewelry. Sometimes, you make some weird metal detector finds during searches and these are oftentimes the most memorable discoveries. They can be made of all types of metals from nickel and bronze to more valuable metals like gold and silver. Weird finds come in all shapes and sizes from old toys and milk tokens to space metal that fell to Earth millions of years ago. Weird metal detector finds may not be life changing, but they can be just as interesting as finding buried treasure. In fact, you may prefer finding bizarre artifacts rather than valuable ones in the end. Some detectorists prefer the weird over the expensive for their coolness. This article takes a look at some of the weirder items found during metal detector searches.
Unusual finds like a treasure trove are something that most metal detectorists might hope to turn up once in a lifetime. Others like the Staffordshire Hoard, currently at the British Museum, or the Sutton Hoo treasures can be both historic, unusual and priceless. That is the exciting thing about this hobby, you just never know what you will find! In our article on Civil War era finds like those believed to be in the Confederate Gold treasure, we discuss that there are strange stories and myths surrounding them. In this article we explore the top twelve weirdest finds made by metaldetector.com customers over the past decade!
12. Stolen Handgun
Mike Walker got the chance to assist Kalamazoo police detectives in 2013 in the search for a loaded handgun. The gun had been thrown in an area of thick grass. On a cold, snowy day, Walker and a group of fellow detectorists searched the area and found the handgun. The gun was a fully loaded Ruger 380 with a built-in laser sight. Mostly made from plastic, the gun was difficult to detect, but Walker detected it.
11. Space Iron
David Eichner Sr was searching a Civil War Battlefield for artifacts and relics. Common targets if this era include buckles and buttons as well as an occasional cannonball or two. Military shackles and a helmet are not unusual finds from this era. In this story, using his Bounty Hunter Gold metal detector, he located an object nine inches underground. Eichner dug down to find two pieces of space iron. At the time, he didn’t know what it was, but after taking it to an archeologist, Eichner found out it was a piece of iron that fell to Earth millions of years ago. Now, that is one weird metal detector find. It is interesting to note that during the American Civil War, eleven southern states which left the Union in 1861 fought against the United States of America. Slavery was the main cause of the long-lasting disagreement that began the conflict.
10. Sputnik Sinkers
Sputnik sinkers are used by many fishermen around the world. The little devices have four metal hooks coming off of a central piece. David Monsen located two of these large Sputnik sinkers while searching Nags Head, North Carolina in July 2014. Had someone stepped on one, it would have been a trip to the hospital and a tetanus shot. This shows the exceptional good that hobbyists can do just by disposing of their trash along the way. Sputnik is the first artificial satellite launched by the Soviet Union. This ushered in the Space Age. Sputnik is named after the Russian word for satellite, and it was launched at 10:29 p.m. from the Tyuratam launch site in Kazakhstan.
9. Zinc Dental Work
Weird metal detector finds aren’t always common and some can be downright strange. In 2016, Sonya Harshman located a zinc dental impression dating back to the 1800s. It was an incredible find and first for Harshman. Giuseppangelo Fonzi discovered the mineral tooth in 1806 and contributed greatly to implant dentistry. He developed single synthetic teeth that were implantable directly into the socket and chemically inert.
8. Husband and Wife Treasure Hunting Duo
Kirk and Toni Griffin are a competitive husband and wife treasure hunting duo. According to Toni, Kirk is the one that makes weird metal detector finds. On one search, Kirk found a 1960s Kenmore sewing machine buried 12 inches down at the entrance to a beach. The duo’s stories of treasure hunting led to them landing the cover of an issue of Western & Eastern Treasures Magazine. Steve, Rosemary, and Logan Anderson of Western & Eastern Magazine are dedicated to preserving and promoting the hobby by encouraging all their readers to adhere to the Treasure Hunters' Code of Ethics.
7. A Lock
Caleb Haddam made an exciting find during a search. Haddam’s weird metal detector finds don’t get any stranger than the lock he located. The rusted, silver lock has a triangle logo on it, but nothing else to determine where it came from. Haddam also noted the lock being connected to what appears to be a chain clasp. Abraham O. Stansbury received a patent in England in 1805 for a double-acting pin tumbler lock, though Linus Yale Sr. invented the modern version in 1848. Locks are a common and important part of our lives today, no matter how unusual or odd their shapes may be.
6. A Strange Piece of Copper
Jack Hart made some strange finds on his property in Chesapeake Bay, Virginia. Hart’s weird metal detector finds included a 10-inch by six-inch piece of copper sheeting. As he dug down into a nine-inch hole, Hart located another piece of copper. The piece was six inches tall and circular. It weighed about six pounds and Hart had no idea what his weird metal detector finds were.
5. A Pocket Wood Cutting Wedge?
Tony Monti lives in Massachusetts, one of America’s oldest states. In 2018, Monti dug around a property built in the 1970s. Next door to the property is another house which was built in 1700s. During the dig, Monti located a wedge-shaped device. It is believed the artifact was a pocket wood cutting wedge.
4. Mystery Items in New York
Years ago, while search his grandfather’s yard in New York, detectorist Frank came upon some weird metal detector finds. The metal pieces are straight but meet at 90-degree angles. The peculiar metal detector finds have left Frank and others unsure of what they are or what they were used for. One thought was the items were pieces of a gun.
3. Canadian Coin Farm
John Harvey has made some excellent finds over the years. One of the best he has made came in Ontario, Canada. Searching a farm that dates back to the 1820s, Harvey found a number of hot spots on the property. The farm’s hot spots yielded a number of coins from the 1800s. Harvey hopes to go back to the farm and search the full 800-acre property further. There is no telling what exciting and weird metal detector finds will be found.
2. 1950s Toy Gun
Using a Fisher CZ 70 Pro to search his Sanford, North Carolina property, Wayne’s metal detector made a loud coin hit. He began to dig expecting to fund some old junk from the building of the 1946-constructed home. Instead, Wayne discovered a handle and pulled out an old gun. The weird metal detector find turned out to be an old cap gun from the 1950s.
1. Antique Toy Gun
James Resinger received permission to search the property of a 1909 house in Elma, Washington. During a two-hour hunt, he found a number of coins with oldest dating back to the 1920s. His weird metal detector finds were a golf club money clip and more significant, an antique toy gun. The old cast iron toy was made in the 1930s. In pictures taken by Resinger, it looked almost as good as new. It is interesting to note that American inventor Edward Lewis first marketed a toy gun in 1846 that used air pressure to fire a small projectile out of a barrel by means of a pump or spring lever. Over the next few decades, his invention underwent many improvements, and the toy gun has remained a favorite toy of generations of children to this day.
One Last Spectacular Find: A Hand-Shaped Gold Nugget
960 ounces of gold was found using a metal detector in the Hand of Faith, the largest gold nugget ever found. Located in Australia's Kingower region, it was found in September 1980 by Kevin Hillier. It was located with a Garrett metal detector. A replica of the nugget is in the Garrett Treasure museum in Garland, Texas. Golden Nugget Las Vegas is currently displaying the original nugget at its public display area in Las Vegas, Nevada. This is the biggest gold nugget in existence and is the second-biggest ever discovered using a metal detector.
Metal detecting isn’t just about finding expensive items and treasures. Some of the best items are the weird metal detecting finds that will come out of the ground when you least expect it. A simple search can yield some very interesting pieces. You may not find a life-changing treasure, but you could discover an interesting piece just as valuable as something more expensive. While a story about a whopping two-pound meteor may make the news, it is a fact that meteorites are being found with metal detectors all the time. The truth is you just never know what the next odd item that might come up out of the ground might be!