Sunday - Dec 17, 2017

So You’ve Found Some Antiques With Your Metal Detector – Now What?


When you go searching for antiques with a metal detector in hand you never know what you may unearth. Sometimes, it’s easy to know what to do with the item you’ve found.  When you dig up a coin for example, it gets cleaned off and goes into your pocket!  Other items however are a bit harder to know how to handle – like antiques and relics.  These exciting treasures of the past can turn up at any point in your hunt.

These types of items you might find with your metal detector are ones you can’t simply keep; they may have historical value, belong to someone else, or possibly even both!  But you can’t just run from the field where you’re metal detecting to the museum either.  So, here’s what you ought to do when you find antiques with your metal detector.

Clean The Item Up

The first thing you’ll want to do when you find what looks to be a relic or antique with your metal detector is clean your newly found treasure so you can actually see what you’ve found.  You must be gentle and very careful using a mild soap and water in most cases or even just a damp cloth.  In other situations you may want to consider having the item professionally cleaned so it’s guaranteed to be done properly without any damage to the artifact.

Try to Find The Owner

Once you figure out what you’ve unearthed, you’ll want to try to find the owner.  In some cases that may not be possible, and in others the rightful owner is really the local historical society or preservation organization.  Just do your best.  For assistance ask the owner of the property you’re hunting on, local history buffs, the town museum, or other places like this that might be able to help you get the treasure where it belongs.

Have An Appraisal Done

You may consider having the item appraised whether you’re able to find the item’s owner or not.  Having the antique appraised will help you not only determine it’s value, but, it will also help you learn additional information about the piece itself, its historical significance, past owners, and more.

If you’ve tried, but still can’t find the owner and the item isn’t appropriate for historical preservation, you must decide whether you’ll keep the treasure, or sell it.  Today, there are several different options when it comes to selling the antiques you find with your metal detector including: 

  • Ebay
  • Antiques Store
  • Auction
  • Private Sale

Often appraisers can also help you find a new owner for your item; which gives you another option for selling the antique you found with your metal detector as well.  As you begin your pursuit of this exciting hobby, be sure to compare some of the best models. Researching the various options at the outset, will assure you select the best metal detector for your requirements.

It’s a privilege to be able to find these treasures and, whenever possible, we, as metal detectorists, must be sure we’re preserving history not trying to turn a profit from our hobby. This means, don’t just take whatever you find with your metal detector home.  Instead, with these tips, now you’ll know exactly what to do when you find antiques while out metal detecting!

About the author: Daniel Bernzweig manages MetalDetector.com in Southborough, MA. He has written on the subject of treasure hunting and metal detecting since the mid 1980’s. He enjoys traveling with his metal detector and helping to educate others in the correct use of metal detectors in their explorations.