To Sell or Not to Sell?

Maybe it’s me but recently I’ve noted that many you feel the need to say things like “I will never sell any of my finds”, “I don’t do it for the money” or “I just  love touching history”.  I find no fault at all with these comments, but it seems to me that you are somehow trying to justify what it is you do, and appease anyone who might find fault with it.  Do you feel guilty for participating?

Well I hope this doesn’t disappoint you, but over the years I have sold a few of my finds (coins mostly) and feel no shame at all.  Why should I?  You see over the years I’ve spent hundreds of dollars on equipment and travel expenses, hundreds of hours researching and everything I found was on the up and up…legal, licit, acceptable and within the law.  I never trespassed, always had permission to hunt on private land and detected those public places where my pastime was allowed. Did I find anything of historical significance?  I doubt it but that depends on your definition of historic, doesn’t it?

Why did I sell some of my finds?  Because I needed the money.  If that sounds greedy or obscene to you I am sorry.  You see shit happens and times are not always as good as you’d like. Whoever said “money doesn’t buy happiness” forgot to add that it does help pay the bills. Yes, I understand saving and displaying your finds is fun and I still do that, but an old detecting friend of  mine used to say “that’s nice but can you eat it?”

I know that my good friend in Warsaw will be all over this but I don’t care. He’s irrelevant. Metal detecting, treasure hunting, whatever you care to call it, is an acceptable pastime and I have nothing to be ashamed of or anything to hide. Will I continue to sell my finds? Don’t know…maybe, but I sure as hell won’t allow anyone to put me on a guilt trip if I do.  How you feel or handle this is up to you



Filed under Metal Detecting

25 responses to “To Sell or Not to Sell?

  1. Dick, here’s a scenario I raised recently in one of my podcasts.

    Say you find a nice gold ring and sell it. Six months later, someone approaches you and says somebody told them you can help people find lost items.

    You ask what they lost, and they describe perfectly their mother’s wedding ring and where they lost it – and you realize it’s the one you sold for scrap six months ago.

    Question: Do you tell them they’ll never find it, that you already sold it for scrap?

    No, I don’t know anyone that this has ever happened to, it’s just a nightmare that keeps me from selling rings.

    • Dan, I have never sold a ring. As for your scenario? It’s possible I guess, but there has to be some sort of statute of limitations when it comes to how long someone waits to approach you. JMO.

  2. Yo Ricardo:
    Ole George Washington, a rebel of British descent, had and was suffering from either a gumboil or a severe toothache when his pic was done for the Dollar (?) bills. Never mind what Warsaw’s sartorial, sushi-scoffing, Richard-head, thinks about anything and who’s he anyway; we are talking TREASURE, and who gives a rat’s arse what he thinks?

    He ought to feel deeply privileged that he even rates a mention on your superb, global bog!

    Provided whatever one finds is LEGALLY found, one is free to sell it to the highest bidder. That’s freedom! That’s what democracy is all about. You dig Barford?

    If not, then….Up Yours.

  3. bill from lachine

    Interesting post….very little of what I find could be considered historic insofar as deserving of being in a museum collection actually nil is more like it.

    So like you I have no qualms about liquidating any finds I make…I cash in the clad, I’ve sold a few gold rings for scrap back when gold was at $450 an ounce….lol…

    I’ve cashed in some generic silver coins from time to time.

    Still got a fair amount of gold and silver jewelry that I’ve found but that’s because I’m a bit of a pack rat.

    Regards + HH



    • Bill, I know it’s a touchy subject but I am not sure why? Maybe arkie paranoia.

      • bill from lachine


        Naw I’m crazy Scotsman….heck I’d argue with the devil….pack rat plain and simple insofar as gold and silver jewelry no arkie issues there it’s just the amount of junk I dig to find the keepers which hold me back from selling for scrap value.

        Regards + HH


      • And I know what you do with the money when you sell the scrap….

  4. Robbie

    I had traded a bunch of common silver coins found back in the 1980’s for some rarer dated coins, and have sold a handful of silver coins to one of the clubs I belong to, and cash in all the clad I find, and I sold a couple gold items I found. I worked hard to find and dig it—-it is mine to do with as I please.

  5. Funny but I have never sold jewelry because most gold finds fit my wife’s fingers. However I have donated untold amount of rolls of silver dimes to hunts. This was done way back when silver was a few cents above spot. If something is found and not returnable than it is yours to do with whatever you want.

  6. Big Tony from Bayonne

    Hello Dick, I have sold off some coins I won at functions – back to the club that I belong too. In that way they use them for prizes in future events.
    I have sold off several detectors in order to help pay for a newer one.
    I have also recycled clad back into circulation because I work for the US Mint at very low pay (nada) and no benefits. This helps to keep down the cost of minting new clad coins! It has been several years now that I am performing this work but the US Mint has not sent me a letter of appreciation!

  7. Mike Smith

    Yes I say it is ok to sell your finds. After all you were the one that put in the time, money and effort to locate the item. I have several detecting friends that cash in on the trash they recover and make hundreds on the scrap metals (brass, iron, aluminum and such).

    Even the arkies sell their finds if they are not of great importance, and sometimes of great importance. That is a fact not just my opinion.

  8. Robbie

    Arkies collecting artifacts??? Someone should let WW and NS know about THAT !!! ;oP

  9. You’ll find the upcoming article in January American Digger interesting…it broaches this very subject.

  10. Steve D

    I already sent Dan Hughes a response on his post when he had his pod cast. But I and I suspect others here have a hoarding problem! When I first started this in 1974 I saved the trash in Mom and Dad’s back yard. I did get rid of it. When you’re a young teen and money isn’t flowing I sold everything except the wheat pennies…love em!

    When I was old enough to drive I got down into South Jersey and dug Colonial encampments in what is now Wharton State Forrest. I sold a bunch of NJ coppers for gas and date money in the late 70’s and of course kick myself in the ass today. But I did save my gold that was 40 bucks an ounce. I sold some through the years to buy more stuff.

    As an older adult I share my finds with my wife. Those pieces that are rejected find their way to the scrap dealer to buy more stuff, and at 2500 a pop! Thank goodness because gold is now around 1300 bucks now!

  11. Aye! Aye! I sell everything! If I ever find a couple of seated coins, I will keep them for my sons, but everything else is game. As for selling rings, I have no compunction at all about selling them for scrap. If someone lost a ring at a park, the item is considered lost and gone. Me selling it and it getting melted is only an extension of ‘lost and gone’ status of the ring.

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