The Most Valuable Treasures Ever Found With a Metal Detector

Plunk a person into the middle of nowhere armed with a metal detector and you’ll be amazed at what they unearth. Here are the million-dollar discoveries some of them have made.

The Boot of Cortez

Image: Heritage Auction

The famous Boot of Cortez is one the most significant metal detector finds in recent history. This breathtaking gold nugget was discovered by a local prospector in the Sonoran Desert in 1989.

With a weight of 12.38 kilograms (437 ounces), the Boot of Cortez holds the record for the largest surviving gold nugget found in the Western Hemisphere. Named after the footwear of Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés, the nugget was sold at auction in 2008 for $1.6 million (US).

Source: The Most Valuable Metal Detector Finds Ever

The Esrick Ring

Image: York Press

The Escrick ring was found in 2009 by metal detectorist Michael Greenhorn near Escrick, North Yorkshire. The ring is 90% pure gold with glass and a polished sapphire and is estimated to date back to the fifth or sixth century.

No one really knows who owned the ring nor what it represented when it was created, but its current owner, the Yorkshire Museum, purchased the ring for $44,132 (US) and hopes to gain further information about the ring as experts continue studying it.

Source: 10 Metal Detector Discoveries That Will Truly Amaze You

The Aunslev Cross

Image: Vintage News

Amateur archaeologist Dennis Fabricius Holm found the well-preserved 4.1-centimeter-tall (1.6 inches) Aunslev cross dating from the first half of the 10th century near Eastern Funen in Denmark. This pendant indicates that the Danes might have adopted Christianity a bit earlier than was initially thought.

This fantastic discovery could have remained unknown if the friends of Mr. Holm didn’t encourage him to take the cross to a museum for evaluation. It turned out to be the oldest crucifix ever discovered in this Scandinavian country.

Entire 7th Century Gold Artifact Collection

Image: Dynamosquito

Terry Herbert is an amateur treasure hunter who literally struck gold when he made his metal detector discovery in the fields of Hammerwich, a village in Staffordshire, England, in 2009.

Herbert managed to fill an incredible 244 bags with antique golden objects before contacting the Institute of Archaeology and Antiquity at the University of Birmingham. With over 3,500 pieces, five kilograms (11 pounds) of gold and 1.3 kilograms (2.9 pounds) of silver and a value of $5.4 million (US), it is the largest Anglo-Saxon hoard ever found.

Source: Ten Spectacular Golden Treasures of the Ancient World

Civil War Sword

Image: KellyCo Detectors

Lucas Hall was only seven years old when he made this amazing discovery: a cavalry sword from the Civil War that the president of the Kernstown Battlefield Association, Gary Crawford, characterized as “an 1840 or 1860 lightweight saber.”

Little Lucas got hooked up on metal detector treasure hunts by a neighbor who gave him several Civil War–era bullets from his own collection. Only a week after getting a metal detector for his birthday, the young boy hit paydirt himself.

Source: Virginia Boy Finds Civil War Sword

The Rio Rancho Meteorite

When 13-year-old Jansen Lyons on Albuquerque, New Mexico called the neighborhood meteorite experts to report a discovery he made with his metal detector, no one believed him.

When Lyons showed up with a one-kilogram chunk (2.2 pounds) of space rock, everyone was amazed. The same experts that doubted him earlier at the University of New Mexico’s Institute of Meteoritics confirmed that this “L6 ordinary chondrite” had been around for about 10,000 years.

Source: 7 Most Awesome Treasure Hauls Ever Found with a Metal Detector

The Grouville Hoard

Image: Man Vyi / Wikimedia Commons

The Grouville Hoard. was discovered in 2012 by two metal detectorists, Reg Mead and Richard Miles, in a field on the Channel Island of Jersey between England and France.

The Grouville Hoard consists of tens of thousands of late Iron Age and Roman coins dating from 50-60 BC. Its total value is estimated to be the fantastic $18.3 million (US), and part of the Grouville Hoard can be seen in La Hougue Bie Museum.

The Mojave Nugget

Image: Reno Chris / Wikimedia Commons

One of the most famous metal detector findings in California is the Mojave Nugget. This massive chunk of gold was discovered in 1977 by prospector Ty Paulsen in, just like the name suggests, the Mojave Desert. It weighs almost five kilograms (156 troy ounces) and is worth $200,000.

After its discovery, the Mojave Nugget was sold to Margie and Robert E. Petersen, who donated it to the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County forc its collection of gold nuggets that now numbers 132.

Source: The Mojave Gold Nugget

The Stirling Torcs

Image: Jonbod-Wikimedia-Commons

David Booth’s idea was to start using a metal detector as an excuse to get some fresh air, but when he took it out for the first time in 2009 he discovered four incredible necklaces near Stirling, Scotland worth an estimated $1.3 million (US).

The necklaces were made between 300 and 100 BC in three different styles, Scottish, French and Mediterranean, suggesting that Scottish tribes were in contact with other Iron Age communities in Europe more than it was previously thought.

Source: Treasure hunter set for Iron Age gold find reward

The Frome Hoard

Image: Ben Birchall / PA Archive

The Frome Hoard is one of the most significant metal detectors finds in the United Kingdom ever, at least when it comes to Roman treasure. This huge collection of coins consists of 52,503 silver and bronze pieces and now belongs to the Museum of Somerset.

The hoard was discovered in 2010 by metal detecting amateur Dave Crisp near Frome in Somerset, England. The museum later purchased it from Mr. Crisp for the sum of $420,000 (US).

The Derrynaflan Hoard

Image: Government of Ireland

The Derrynaflan Hoard is one of the most valuable archaeological finds ever discovered in Ireland. The collection consists of five liturgical vessels dating from the 9th century that are now exhibited in the National Museum of Ireland in Dublin.

The discovery was made in 1980 by the Webb family near Killenaule in County Tipperary, but as the father and son team of metal detector enthusiasts failed to have proper permission to dig, their finding was later confiscated by officials in exchange for $66,000 (US.

Hand of Faith

Image: Lance Henry / Flickr

With a weight of over 27 kilograms (960 ounces), the Hand of Faith is the biggest gold nugget that has ever been found with a metal detector. This remarkable discovery took place near Kingower, a small town in Victoria, Australia, in 1980 and it seems that the record still stands.

The Hand of Faith was found by Kevin Hillier who sold it to the Golden Nugget casino in Las Vegas for $1.1 million (US). This impressiv nugget is now on display in the casino.