The hobby of metal detecting is often ridiculed in the media, and it’s widely thought that those who take up the hobby are wasting their time since the only things they are likely to unearth are bottle caps and beer cans as opposed to hidden treasure. However, for these fortunate five “detectorists” their metal detectors paid off, and they discovered some truly amazing finds.
5 $153,150 Of Stolen Cash
In 1944 workers at the Jacksonville postal department became suspicious when they began to receive complaints of stolen money from delivery recipients. An investigation was undertaken, but the culprit was never found. The complaints continued until 1945, when a postal employee named Marshall confessed on his deathbed that he was the thief, but he refused to reveal the location of the money before he passed away.
A search was commenced, and it was during an inspection of Marshall’s small backyard that a metal detector began to go off. Police found that Marshall had buried a length of pipe 9 feet underground in his own backyard, and inside the pipe were two tin cans filled with loot. The tin cans were what set off the detectors, and even though $153,150 was recovered from the pipe, there is a still large sum of the stolen money that is unaccounted for to this day.
4 A Gold Nugget Worth $1,553,500
When an amateur prospector from Sonora, Mexico purchased an old metal detector from a radio store in 1989 he did not expect to find much.
After days spent scouring the boiling desert and with only a few nails to show for it the prospector was close to admitting defeat. Then, just as he was about to head home, his detector picked up something.
To his astonishment, he had just unearthed the largest gold nugget ever discovered in the Western hemisphere. Named “the Boot of Cortez” because it resembles a conquistador’s boot in shape, the nugget weighs in at 389.4 ounces, a full 100 ounces heavier than the former titleholder.
After being put on display for two years in a museum, the boot of Cortez was sold at auction for $1,553,500.
3 A Ring That Had Been Missing For 48 Years
It was 1974 when amateur metal detectorist Roy Lloyd got a hit on his metal detector one day in Florida. The signal was coming from sediment just beside a lake, curious; Roy dug to see what he had found, and was surprised to see that it was a high school class ring from 1926.
The ring had the initials “M.B” engraved upon it. Roy became determined to return this ring to its rightful owner and set about placing ads and enquiries.
Eventually, a graduate of the 1926 high school class named Miles Baker came forward. Baker had accidentally dropped his ring into the lake while at a pier 48 years earlier and had thought it lost for good, which it would have been if not for Roy and his hobby.
2 A Chalice Worth $1,000,000
In 2008 while holidaying in Key Largo, Mike DeMar decided to take his metal detector out for a spin while on a diving expedition. Mike soon got a hit, but almost passed it up, thinking it was probably just some junk, but fortunately he decided to investigate further.
After clearing away the debris, Mike saw gold shining beneath the sand. Astonishingly Mike had just unearthed a 385-year-old golden chalice that had most likely come from a ship called the Santa Margarita, which sank off the coast of Key Largo in 1622.
The chalice has since been appraised, and its value is estimated at somewhere around $1,000,000
1 The Biggest Treasure Trove Ever Discovered in England
In July 2009 Terry Herbert was out metal detecting the farmland near his home in Lichfield, Staffordshire, Terry had no idea that he was about to stumble upon one of the most important archaeological discoveries England had ever seen.
Terry soon realised the importance of his find and an entire archaeological dig was formed which unearthed the largest hoard of Anglo-Saxon gold and artefacts ever found, including battle armour, weaponry including 66 hilt swords and statues of Saxon deities. There was so much treasure buried at the site that it continued to yield discoveries well into 2012.
The total accumulative value of all the gold is £3,285 million, with Terry and the landowner upon whose property the hoard was discovered both receiving 50% of that sum each. The treasure was split into two parts, with some being on display at Birmingham’s Museum and Art Gallery, and the rest put on display at the Potteries Museum in Stoke-on-Trent.