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 the lucky ones have made, both on land and underwater. More
With a weight of over 27 kilograms (952 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 impressive nugget is now on display in the casino.
Seeing such a fascinating chunk of pure gold in a Vegas casino must be an overwhelming experience, but the set of circumstances that led to its discovery is even more amazing.
According to the Gold Seekers website, two weeks prior to the discovery, Kevi dreamt about an unusually shaped gold nugget and drew it on a piece of paper. The nugget he found was exactly the same shape. Thus the name — the Hand of Faith.
The Galloway Hoard is considered to be the most valuable collection of artifacts dating from the Viking age ever discovered in Great Britain. It was found in 2014 by metal detecting amateur Derek McLennan in a field near Dumfries and Galloway in Scotland.
Its material worth was estimated at $2.6 million (US), but its historical and cultural value is priceless. National Museums Scotland is in the process of acquiring the hoard.
Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop, stated to the BBC that “The Vikings were well known for having raided these shores in the past, but today we can appreciate what they have left behind, with this wonderful addition to Scotland’s cultural heritage.”
Over a hundred gold and silver items were collected from the fields of Dumfries and Galloway, including armbands, brooches and a rather unusual cross. Take a closer look at it in this next image.
This is an early Christian cross that likely dates back to the 10th or possibly even the 9th century. Made of solid silver, the cross is also decorated with highly unusual ornaments for that period.
The head of the Treasure Trove Unit at Scotland’s National Museum, Stuart Campbell, explained: “This is a hugely significant find, nothing like this has been found in Scotland before in terms of the range of material this hoard represents.” But, there’s even more.
Another fascinating artifact found among the Galloway Hoard was this pot. According to experts, this may be the biggest and possibly the most significant silver Carolingian pot ever unearthed in Great Britain.
Beautifully preserved, this pot even had its relatively undamaged lid still in place. It is estimated that this silver alloy-lidded vessel was already approximately 100 years old when the treasure was buried in the 9th or 10th century.
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.
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 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). Still, the Escrick ring is not the only enigmatic discovery featured here. More is yet to come!
Not all exciting metal detector finds date from the ancient past. This one is less than a century old!
A classic light-green 1913 Model T Ford buried in 1926 was discovered in 1966 by volunteers armed with metal detectors. They were enlisted by a local Detroit radio DJ who came across a story about Perry Andrews, a man who buried his beloved car after his son-in-law wanted to convert it into a hot rod. It turned out to be true.