By Patrick J. Kiger September 13, 2012

10 Fascinating Amateur Metal-Detector Finds

Remarkable and Intriguing Discoveries From the U.S. and Canada

1946—Underground Stolen Money: Using a mine detector borrowed from the U.S. Army, postal inspectors uncovered $153,150 buried in the backyard of a deceased postal employee who had stolen the money years before. The loot had been stashed in jars and cans inside a length of stovepipe, and buried nine feet below the surface.

1952—Uncovering Pirate Treasure: Massachusetts-based treasure hunter Edward Rowe Snow, on a visit to a small island off the coast of Nova Scotia, used a metal detector and old charts to find eight 18th-Century Spanish doubloons and parts of a skeleton that was still clutching the coins in its hand. The treasure was believed to have come from a Spanish galleon captured by pirates in 1725.

1966—Lost Gold Mine: In Texas, a group of treasure hunters using metal detectors reported that they had rediscovered the lost San Saba gold mine, which had been abandoned by the Spaniards in 1758 when they were overrun by Comanche Indians.

1966—Buried Model T: In Detroit, a group of people, includinga man wielding a metal detector, unearthed what appeared to be a Model T Ford that a man had buried in his backyard back in 1926, to preserve it for posterity.

1974—High School Lost & Found: In Florida, metal detector enthusiast Roy Lloyd found a 1926 high school class ring with the initials “M.B.” in four inches of lake-bottom sand. He eventually located the ring’s owner, Miles Baker, who had lost it 48 years before at the city’s pier.

1974/1975—Conspiracy Fuel: Richard H. Lester, an amateur treasure hunter, used a metal detector to find a bullet on railroad property in Dallas, near the area where President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. The FBI eventually determined that the bullet was of a different type than those known to have been fired by alleged assassin Lee Harvey Oswald.

1976—Live Ammo Near the Schoolyard: In Alabama, metal-detecting enthusiast James Garigues, who was searching near a middle school for old coins, found a live .75 millimeter tank shell, which officials believed may have been a World War II souvenir. The shell was successfully removed by a military demolition crew.

1984—Battle Wounds: An archaeology volunteer wielding a metal detector found a finger bone wearing a ring at Little Bighorn, where Lt. Col. George Custer’s troops were wiped out by the Sioux in 1876.

1997—Confederate Shell: In Virginia, two young boys using a metal detector unearthed a live Confederate Army artillery shell in their grandfather’s backyard.

2008—Golden Chalice: Mike DeMar, diving off Key West, got a hit on his metal detector that turned out to be a gold chalice from a Spanish treasure ship that sank in 1622.

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