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Author: Vince A Miglore, Email

Vince Miglore is a researcher and technical writer with a keen interest in metal detecting. He's written for numerous magazines, including W&E treasures, and is former editor of a hobbyist newsletter.
"I bought a detector back in 1982, and in the first 5 minutes I found an Indian Head penny dated 1881 -right in my own front yard! Since then I've been hooked."
You'll be hooked too, when you see how great this sport is for your physical fitness, your appreciation of natural science, and most of all for the wealth of treasures you can find.

Vince is the author of Metal Detecting for the Beginner 2nd Edition, 2010 which can be found at Amazon.comand Photo Intro to Metal Detecting: An Image-based Primer at Amazon.com

Jackpot Coins

by Vince Migliore

Most of the coins you find with your metal detector are worth no more than face value. Every once in a while, however, you can find a coin that has collector value. And on an extraordinary occasion you may even find an exceptionally rare coin that has tremendous value to the coin collector. These are the Jackpot Coins.

Older coins are generally more desirable, but what really adds to a coinís value is its rarity or scarceness. In coin collecting, the rarest and therefore most valuable coins are those with limited editions, mint die errors, double strikes, and unusual designs. Coins are also rated by a grading system based on the wear and appearance of the coin. With so many denominations, variations, and grades, it can be tough to search through the mountain of information on American coins. Fortunately (or maybe not so fortunately) for the metal detectorist, the grade of coins found in the ground is going to be pretty low, with a grade of Fine (F-12) being about as good as it gets for buried currency. The F-12 grade corresponds to moderate or considerable wear with the design still visible.

The chart below summarizes the most outstanding of the Jackpot Coins. Make no mistake, though; there are volumes of books on numismatics (coin collecting) and there is no easy way to cut through all the clutter. The chart simply calls your attention to the coins that require further investigation. If you have a large number of coins your best bet is to buy a price guide, such as ďA Guide Book of United States Coins, 2012Ē by R.S. Yoeman, the Official Red Book. Such books provide pictures and references to help identify grade levels and design variations. Even if you donít hit the jackpot, some of these older coins can be worth hundreds of dollars.

In the meantime, itís best to treat all your finds as if they have collector value. You can start by being careful not to scratch the coins when you retrieve them, and donít rub the dirt off or use cleaning agents. A simple soap and water rinse will generally get them clean enough to see the date and denomination, and then you can see if you have a winner on your hands.

The chart classifies coins into three broad categories; those valued at about $1,000 or more; those valued about $10,000 or more; and the truly rare coins valued at over $50,000. Before you quit your day job, be sure to check out more reliable sources and descriptions than we have room for here. Remember too there are many replicas, fakes, and hoaxes for the really rare coins. More often than not, however, you will be pleasantly surprised at finding how many of your coins have collector value.

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