Over the years I’ve had my hands on and used somewhere around 40 different metal detectors. I enjoy learning new detectors and keeping up with the new technology almost as much as I enjoy metal detecting.
I was recently asked what I thought the best metal detector was for coins and it has been playing through my mind a lot. I feel like with this article not only can I tell you some of the best I’ve used but also clear up a few things.
When you’re talking about coin shooting there’s actually two types of coin hunting to discuss. First there is searching for modern, usually shallow coins. There are many people I’ve met throughout the years who do this. They aren’t interested in much more than going to places like parks, schools, soccer fields etc. looking for modern coins. For example, I recently talked to a gentleman who is retired, goes out almost every day for a few hours and averages well over a thousand dollars’ worth of modern change during the summers. That doesn’t even include the miscellaneous jewelry and other valuables he sometimes finds.
If this is what you want to do you don’t need an expensive metal detector. The Garrett Ace series detectors, some of the entry level Teknetics and Fisher metal detectors like the Fisher F22 or the Teknetics Delta 4000 are great at finding these shallow coins. Recently I was able to use the Quest X10 and it is a great metal detector at the entry level price range. I also like that you can remove the middle shaft and shorten it even for very small kids. All of these metal detectors mentioned will get the job done and if you get out with them you can easily pay for them in just a few months.
I think It’s also worth mentioning that I often see people wishing they could afford a more expensive metal detector. I’ve known people to buy an entry level metal detector, go out after work a few times a week, a day on the weekend and within a season finding enough change to turn in and buy that more expensive metal detector. I personally believe it’s a great way to get into the hobby and get your feet wet.
The second part of coin shooting is probably a larger group than the first. Those of us who like to find old, silver coins. With silver coins being worth much more than face value it is a very popular part of the hobby. The downside to it is in most cases it takes a much more expensive metal detector, there is a lot less silver coins to be found and not getting replenished like clad coins. Again though, a silver coin is worth way more than face value and there is a chance of hitting a semi key date or even key date silver coin. Over the years I have found a handful of semi-key date coins with values ranging from 10 dollars plus to over 100 dollars. My most valuable silver coin I ever found was sold for 2,750.00!! THAT is the attraction to finding silver coins!
So why is a more expensive metal detector needed to be a successful silver coin hunter? In most cases silver coins are deeper, often times found where people have been losing and tossing trash down for many many years. Often times those silver coins sit below a lot of that trash and modern coins. It takes a more expensive metal detector that can get good depth and “see through” the trash to those deeper layers.
Most of my silver coin hunting has been done in Ohio. Over the years I could probably count on one hand the silver coins I found at a depth less than 6 inches and rarely have I found silver coins where there wasn’t a lot of modern trash, iron and other debris mixed in.
There are some great metal detectors currently out on the market. The latest and greatest metal detectors are more versatile, most being waterproof, suited for water, coins, relic hunting and some even for prospecting. Unfortunately, although they are some great, all around good metal detectors I’ve not come across any of them that are up there with my favorite silver coin machines.
My all-time favorite has to be the Minelab E-TRAC. This metal detector is absolutely a silver magnet! I Consider myself a relic hunter but when the crops were in and the woods were overgrown, I spent my summers in Ohio looking for silver coins at hunted out parks and schools. It was nothing to find over a 100 silver coins in a summer.
So what makes the Minelab E-TRAC so special? It properly ID’s silver coins even at depth. Many metal detectors, past a certain depth you really lose the Numeric ID capabilities. One of my favorite digital metal detectors for relic hunting for example a shallow dime will come in around 82 very consistently. Once the coins fall below 5 inches deep the ID is no longer accurate and a dime might jump from the 70’s to mid 80’s. With the Minelab E-TRAC I have found that in most cases, even at 8 plus inches I will get a very steady VDI alerting me to a deep, silver coin. My Minelab E-TRAC managed to find many silver coins at 8 inches and even deeper that gave a perfect numeric ID.
Another thing that makes the Minelab E-TRAC so deadly is how accurate the depth gauge is. If the depth meter shows halfway down then the coin is at 6 inches. In most cases I found that silver coins tend to be 6 inches or deeper so when I was limited on time or only had a one-time permission, I would concentrate on those 6 inches or deeper targets.
Another one, just as good just a little more difficult to learn is the Minelab Explorer series. Minelab doesn’t sell them anymore but you can find them on the used market for a very affordable price. I’ve had every one of them throughout the years and they all work good on silver. I will tell you though the original Explorer XS was my favorite, I don’t know it just seemed hot on silver coins.
Although I don’t have as much experience on the Garrett AT Pro, I have hunted with many people who use them. I do have some experience with them though and enough to know they are a very capable silver seeking metal detector. I’ve had the opportunity to compare the AT Pro next to the Minelab E-TRAC and Explorer series detectors on silver coin signals and the AT Pro is in my opinion another great choice. It can still be picked up new and is an affordable, great choice.
Whether you’re wanting to go to the park and find new coins with the kids or you want to go find the silver coins I hope my suggestions will get you going. If you have any questions don’t hesitate to reach out to me!