Dig Up Your Own Pirate’s Booty With These Treasure-Hunting Tips

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The beach isn’t the only place to find buried treasure this summer. If you know how to look for it, treasure can be found everywhere, says Dave Becker, moderator of the metal-detecting Reddit community who shared his gold-hunting tales with us in June’s Bathroom Minutes magazine feature, “Heavy Metal.” He also shared some metal-detecting tips, from where best to strike gold to choosing the right equipment, which we’ve listed below.

On where to start looking for treasure: “If you’re a beginner, start in your backyard. Then, look for stone walls, old foundations and flowers growing where they shouldn’t be. Also, find out where the old-timers hang out and talk to them. The best information on where to start digging is going to come from the people who live around you.”

On what you’ll need to get started: “First things first, get a decent metal detector. If you go too cheap, you’ll probably just end up frustrated and storing it in a closet only to collect dust. You’ll also need a good shovel, a hand-held metal detector to zero in on your targets and some kind of container to store your finds. If you look for deals, you should be able to get started for about $200.”

On his most valuable finds: “I found a copper coin called a Non Vi Virtute Vici in the woods against a stone wall one time. It was one-of-a-kind, and I sold it for five figures. My other interesting finds include military uniform buttons, Spanish silver and trade axes.”

On what metal detecting has taught him: “If you like history and finding cool stuff, metal detecting is a great hobby, but you WON’T get rich doing it. While sometimes you get lucky, most of the time you don’t. It’s great for the environment, however. You’ll dig up so much trash from the ground that you’ll start to wonder when the city’s going to put you on the Sanitation department payroll.”