How Profitable Is Metal Detecting? (With Examples)

It’s exciting to think you can find long forgotten treasure buried right beneath your feet, but it can also cause you to get too excited and end up spending a lot of money on metal detecting equipment that you may never make a profit from.

So how profitable is metal detecting? It depends on the property you have access to and your luck. It also depends on how much you paid for your metal detecting equipment. Learning how to use your metal detector correctly will also play an important role in making a profit or not.

Don’t let the answer discourage you though. You aren’t limited to just finding something worth a lot of money to make metal detecting profitable. I’ve read countless forums and articles on metal detecting finds and their values and have my own experience to answer all the questions you have below.

Profitable Metal Detector Finds

Here are a few examples of some extremely awesome metal detecting finds from the past. There are many finds, but these always stood out to me from not just a monetary reason, but for the historic impact they’ve had on our society and hobby.

  • Anglo-Saxon hoard in Staffordshire, England

The Anglo-Saxon hoard was found by a man metal detecting in a field. The kicker is he bought the detector over 10 years earlier in a garage sale for a measly few dollars and ended up finding gold, silver, and jewelry that is virtually priceless.

For further reading, here is the news story link:

Here is the Wikipedia treasure link:

  • The Mojave gold nugget in Randsburg, California

While sometimes being falsely credited to be the largest gold nugget ever found in California, this 156 troy ounce gold nugget was found by a gold prospector with a metal detector in 1977. It was valued at over $200,000.

Information is scattered around the internet, but doing a Google search of “Mojave gold nugget” should yield more information if you’re interested. Link:

  • The Hand of Faith gold nugget in Kinower, Victoria, Australia

Named after it’s appearance, The Hand of Faith is the largest gold nugget ever found by a metal detector as of this writing. It weighed in at 875 troy ounces and was just 12 inches under the ground! It was valued over $1 million dollars.

Wikipedia Link:

  • The Galloway Hoard in Scotland

Over 100 gold and silver objects from the Viking age were found by Derek Mclennan. While only metal detecting since 2011, he has uncovered over 14 hoards of treasure in England and Scotland in this short time.

This is the most valuable example on this page and came out at a whopping $2.6 million dollars, but it’s historic value, like the Anglo-Saxon treasure makes it priceless.


While these values are impressive, these are also just the tip of the iceberg of valuable finds. You’d be absolutely amazed at how much money lies beneath the surface that is waiting to be found.

Metal Detecting As A Job

In recent years, shows like “American Diggers”, “Diggers”, and to a lesser extent “The Curse of Oak Island” have caused the metal detecting hobby to explode in growth. While it’s not bad for the hobby to grow, these shows create a false illusion of metal detecting.

I’m not trying to say all of these shows are fake and they’re planting the finds, because I can’t say that with 100% certainty. What I do know, is these shows glorify metal detecting. They make it seem like anyone can go out with a metal detector, swing it around for a couple hours, and end up finding extremely valuable items right under their feet with minimal effort.

These television show lengths can range from anywhere between 30 minutes and an hour, and they want viewers. The best way to keep their viewers from looking to another channel for entertainment, is to make the show exciting. Even if the shows are 100% authentic, they remove the majority of the boring stuff like digging up aluminum cans, pop tabs, and newer coins.

You can easily be lucky and strike it rich like the stories I posted about earlier in this article, although the odds aren’t in your favor when all is said and done. It’s not easy to get permission to hunt in all the areas these shows have access to.

Metal detecting can be a job for you, but maybe in a different way other than hoping to find a buried hoard of gold on your next beach trip that will take away all of your financial troubles for life. Lets look at a couple ideas how.

Ways To Make Money With Metal Detecting

Well the obvious one is to go out and find Blackbeard’s lost treasure worth bazillions., but that’s highly unlikely. So here’s a couple other ideas to turn it into a profitable hobby.

YouTube is the second most search website in the world. There is so much content, you can get lost for days on here just clicking on their “recommended videos” section. There is a thriving metal detecting viewership over there with tons upon tons of videos of people going on their hunts, digging their finds, and overall not just glamorizing things. If you’re okay with recording your adventures, even if you’re camera shy, you can make very good money building a nice channel about your metal detecting adventures over there.

Metal detector repair can be another great way to make money in this hobby. Electronics break out of warranty, and sometimes people can’t afford a brand new metal detector so they try to have them repaired instead. Sure, the manufacturers will do it sometimes for a fee, but that involves the expensive cost of shipping the item and waiting. If you’re good with electronics, or are willing to learn, you can repair metal detectors at least as a side gig.

Coil making and customization can be quite lucrative too. Outside of fancy new detector models coming out, you’ll always see the second hottest topic to be about what coil to use. This is a little bit more advanced than the previous two ideas, but there is demand. Different metal detector models can be finicky with what frequencies their circuitry their coils respond to, so if you’re able to make custom sized coils in the correct specs for a detector model, you could make a fortune.

In Summary

If you’re on the fence about detecting, wondering if you should based on if it will make you money or not, you may be disappointed after reading this. I didn’t want to write an article telling you to go grab a $500 metal detector and even more gear that you’d need if you’re only getting into metal detecting as a way to make income. That would give you false hope.

It’s so rare to make the big finds that will take care of you for life, and even if you had an amazing spot that constantly produced lots of items every day, you still have to factor in the equipment price, gas, the time finding items, the time required to sell the items, and all kinds of other hassles like researching places to metal detect and praying the owners give you permission.

I whole-heatedly recommend metal detecting for a hobby. You don’t have to buy an expensive machine to try it out either. The true profit of metal detecting is having a lot of fun and enjoyment. There’s nothing like finding an item right beneath your feet from hundreds of years ago, that would have been lost forever if you weren’t there to find it.

1 thought on “How Profitable Is Metal Detecting? (With Examples)”

  1. Very good article. There using tens of thousands of dollars on shows like Oak Island to do their
    “metal detecting”. Me? I have my trusty little $100 Bounty Hunter Pioneer 202 thank you!

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