SO METAL: The world of metal detecting is changing

Started by gash, May 13, 2017, 11:22:20 am

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The hunger for lost treasure never gets old. The combination of updated equipment, satellite mapping technology, and YouTube has given metal-detecting a boost as a 21st-Century hobby.

If you grew up in the '70s and '80s, you probably remember when metal detectors were a big fad. They were sort of like CB radios and pet rocks -- just about everybody had one. It was not uncommon to see people at beaches and parks waving the weed-eater-looking devices around carefully hunting for lost jewelry or spilled change.

A few years ago there were a couple finds in northern England that sent big waves through the relatively small world of metal detecting. The discoveries, both in 2014, were so large that they made the news internationally. In one, an amateur treasure hunter found a stash of gold coins from the Roman era not far from present-day York. The haul of nearly 2,000 coins is worth about $58,000. In another, an unemployed hobbyist found a hoard of more than 5,000 Anglo-Saxon coins valued at about $1.5 million.

Your odds of striking it rich out treasure hunting with a metal detector are probably a bit higher than they are of winning the lottery. But you have to bushwhack through the woods and spend hours in the elements swinging a beeping contraption around. So it takes a lot more time and work too, and if you're willing to log hours and energy outside, you might be better off learning to operate a backhoe, if your main concern is making money. But people who get into metal detecting tend to pursue the hobby for reasons other than simple financial gain.

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