For this article I am going to keep it to metal detecting clad (non-silver, modern) coins. I have met a handful of people in this hobby who enjoy finding clad coins, it never gets old to them. Myself on the other hand I got into this hobby in search of history, the older the better. Digging clad coins just doesn’t hold my attention. Hunting specifically for modern coins is a very small niche in this hobby compared to the others. Most detectorists you will meet are about the gold, the relics or the old coins.
Although it isn’t for me it is a heavily overlooked niche. I remember several years back when I first started, I found myself at a high school football field. Detecting around the bleachers and concession stand. After a few hours I took out handfuls of coins and figured I was making around nine dollars an hour while detecting! Ok so nine dollars an hour isn’t going to make you go out and quit your job and buy a new house but out getting exercise, enjoying the weather and making a little money… that’s not a bad return for your time!
Not every site is like that of course but the great thing is these sites are constantly getting replenished with more coins. Another great benefit of searching for modern coins is you’re going to be digging a lot more targets because clad coins are so much more common. You are going to find jewelry and silver coins, maybe not as much if you were specifically looking for old coins or jewelry but it’s going to happen.
Another great aspect of looking for sites that will produce a lot of clad is you’re going to learn your metal detector faster and better. When you are constantly digging targets you start recognizing the sounds, the numbers much better. I always recommend to people who get a new metal detector to find the clad rich sites and learn that new metal detector no matter their experience level or how long they have been metal detecting.
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To be honest I’m jealous of people who are content with digging clad coins. One of my best years of finding silver coins I managed to find three semi-key date coins that put me at about seven hundred dollars’ worth of silver found that year and that was a conservative estimate if I was to sell it which I don’t. Not bad right? I know I was happy with it! The thing is though I know people who are hunting clad who easily find a few thousand dollars of clad, a few silver and a handful of gold jewelry a year. If I could stay interested in just finding clad and put as much time in it as I do looking for relics and silver coins I could buy a new metal detector or two a year and still have enough left over to buy the same amount of silver I would have found and there wouldn’t be any environmental damage from being in the ground!
Another huge advantage of searching for modern coins is you don’t need to spend nearly as much money as you would if you wanted a really good gold, relic metal detector or if you wanted to mainly search for silver which is deeper and often masked by other targets. To look for modern coins that are usually shallow and plentiful it’s a very minimal investment compared to the other niches of metal detecting.
Best Places to Metal Detect for Clad Coins
You can really find coins just about anywhere. I’ve been in the middle of a farm field or deep in the woods relic hunting and have come across clad coins! If you are going for numbers though there are specific places that will increase your count.
- Schools are a great place to find clad coins! Especially where the children play, around the soccer, baseball, football fields. Wherever large groups gather you can be sure coins are being dropped. I would highly recommend the playground areas where jewelry is often dropped.
- Parks are another great place to look especially ones that are very busy and a bonus if they have sports fields. Keep a look out for parks that host music festivals and get there early the day after. Guaranteed way to greatly increase your coin count!
- Speaking of concerts if you can get permission for places that have outdoor concerts. These are a gold mine of coins and jewelry. One of the great things about getting there right after is you will often find coins and jewelry right on top of the ground!
- Fairs are another great resource for coins. I used to live about six blocks from a county fair grounds that started back in the 1880s that I hunted often. I ended up finding over 40 silver coins out of the grass parking area but not before I pulled buckets full of clad out of the ground. I often went right after the fair was over and it was nothing to find coins laying on top of the ground and even cash blowing around on a few occasions.
- Busy beaches are another great place to find coins and jewelry. Both fresh and saltwater beaches can produce a lot of coins and another great place to explore.
I’m sure you can come up with other places that will produce coins. Just keep in mind you want to hunt anywhere that large groups of people gather and you will do great!
Although it’s not as popular as most other forms of metal detecting there are some huge benefits to being a clad coin hunter. Rarely do you need to ask for permission because they are public places, although just modern coins if you compare value you have a much better chance of finding more money with this form of metal detecting, you’re digging more therefore better exercise in most cases, modern coins are always being replenished and you’re going to learn your metal detector quicker and better that will carry over if you want to enjoy other niches of the hobby!