In 1874, when the French inventor Gustave Trouvé developed an instrument capable of detecting small metal objects inside human patients, the idea of a metal detector for all purposes began to grow inside curious minds all around the world.
Later, in 1881, Alexander Graham Bell built a small device in an attempt to locate a bullet inside the chest of the American President James Garfield, and a metal detector was finally born in the U.S.
Since then, metal detectors have been used by all kinds of people for a wide variety of activities, ranging from identifying buried unexploded bombs after World War 1, to looking for gold pieces buried in the neighbor’s backyard.
Metal detectors have been used all over the world throughout History, providing their users with interesting surprises and incredibly important findings. Let’s take a look at 5 of the most famous and valuable treasures ever found using a metal detector:
Spanish Gold Coins
Found in Florida’s Atlantic Coast in 2015, gold coins from a 1715 Spanish shipwreck were discovered by the diver William Bartlett and his team.
The haul is estimated to be worth around $4.5 million.
In 2009, when using his metal detector in Hammerwich, Staffordshire, Terry Herbert stumbled upon what is now considered the greatest hoard of Anglo-Saxon gold and silver objects ever found throughout History.
The Staffordshire Hoard includes more than 3.500 items, most of them military metalworks, and amounts to 11.23 lbs. of gold and 3.18 lbs. of silver. Its estimated value is around $5.3 million.
Around 1980, Michael Webb and his son found an incredible treasure while exploring the ancient Irish Derrynaflan monastic site with their metal detector.
The Derrynaflan hoard consists of 5 liturgical vessels: one chalice, commonly known as Derrynaflan Chalice, one silver paten, a strainer, a small hoop, and a bronze basin.
This is currently considered one of the most important archaeological findings in Ireland, and its value is estimated in around $7.2 million.
In June 2012, Reg Mead and Richard Miles found an incredibly large hoard of ancient Roman and Celtic coins, while diligently searching a field in Jersey, one of the British Channel Islands. They had been searching that field for more than 30 years until they finally discovered the treasure.
The hoard weighs more than 1,650 lbs. and contains more than 70.000 coins. It’s currently valued between $15.8 and $18.3 million and is considered one of the largest masses of Iron Age coins in all of Europe.
Black Swan Project
In 2007, employees of the American salvage company Odyssey Marine Exploration used several metal detectors in the Atlantic Ocean, approximately 180 miles off the west coast of Portugal, to search for remains of the Spanish navy frigate Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes.
They found around 17 tons of gold and silver coins, worth $500 million. The coins have been claimed by the Spanish government and are currently being displayed in several Spanish public museums.