How to Make a Living With a Metal Detector

Written by faith chandler
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How to Make a Living With a Metal Detector
Coins and lost jewellery are easy to find on beaches. (detector de metales image by Marco Antonio Fdez. from

Metal detecting is a popular hobby that can help you earn extra money on the side. Some enthusiasts find incredible treasures during the course of their searches. In 2009, amateur hunter Nick Davies found an ancient Roman pot filled with over 10,000 Roman coins. It is definitely possible to earn a living from metal detecting.

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Things you need

  • Metal Detector
  • Shovel
  • Two Bags
  • Sturdy Work Clothes
  • Budgeting Software
  • Vinegar
  • Baking Soda
  • Toothbrush

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  1. 1

    Get a metal detector. There are a number of detectors on the market. Very low frequency (VLF) detectors are the most widely used type. They can detect a wide range of metals and are even capable of tuning out unlikely types of metal such as aluminium and steel. Pulse induction (PI) metal detectors are capable of finding objects deep underground and are more accurate, but also more expensive. A Beat Frequency Oscillation (BPO) detector is the simplest and cheapest type. It's similar to the VLF but is unable to differentiate between different kinds of metals.

  2. 2

    Research the best spots for metal detecting. Many spots are natural choices for detecting, such as bleachers, amusement parks, carnival grounds, beaches and grounds of old schools and churches. Finding more than lost jewellery and change requires more in-depth research. Look at old maps for battlegrounds and major events. Older building or properties where old buildings stood also make good spots to find antiques.

  3. 3

    Research finds for history and value. Once property is found, look it up. "The Official Red Book: A Guide Book of United States Coins" is a good reference for daily finds, and a new version is released every year. "Warman's Civil War Collectibles Price Guide" is another standby for old finds from battlegrounds around the country.

  4. 4

    Clean and properly store discoveries. Cleaning finds depends on the value of the find and one's personal opinion. Really old finds and coins should not be cleaned; speak with a buyer first to see in what condition they want to buy the item. Other newer coins and jewellery can be cleaned with a vinegar bath overnight and rinsed. Newer silver coins can be cleaned with baking soda and a toothbrush.

  5. 5

    Make connections with local buyers. It's possible to find buyers for different finds. Pawn shops and payday loan shops are now regularly buying gold and silver. Jewellery dealers will sometimes take jewellery and gold. Flea markets and bidding sites are good places to sell items to collectors.

  6. 6

    Keep track of finds and sales. Use a spreadsheet or budgeting software to track items found and sales to different buyers. This will come in handy at tax time.

  7. 7

    Set aside money for taxes. Once metal detector enthusiasts earn more than £260 from their hobby, the IRS requires them to start paying taxes. This job typically is designated as a small business or as being self-employed. Enthusiasts will pay income tax and self-employment taxes on their earnings.

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