Category Archives: Metal detecting

Metal detecting – recent finds

A selection of buckles

A selection of buckles

I’ve not been out detecting much recently. This lot came from inland – it’s nice to get away from the beach occasionally.

Buckles seem to be quite a common find. These are all some sort of copper alloy so they’re quite well preserved.

The barrel-tap key is a throwback to a different way of life. The key offered some security when barrels of beer or cider were taken out into the field.

I did find one coin – an 1861 penny. This is the oldest coin I’ve found so far (and possibly the oldest item).

A Barrel-tap key - probably 19C

A Barrel-tap key - probably 19C

Barrel-tap key

Barrel-tap key - a view of the end

A cigarette lighter

A cigarette lighter - not working yet

A lock plate

Perhaps the security door off a secure mouse hole?


Everyone wants to find a ring. Not necessarily giant iron rings though.

Victoria penny 1861

Victoria penny 1861 - the oldest coin I've found so far


...and the tail side

Find of the day #11 – real old money

I went out with a metal detecting club last weekend. It was my first time off the beach. We were on fields in the Weald.

I concentrated on pasture and with my first signal picked up my first pre-decimal coin. It’s a 1906 Edward VII penny with a nice patina.


The tail side of the penny. It's well worn but there's Britannia in all her glory.


There's the king

The rest of the day was pretty barren for me. Just before the rain came though I dug up a 1928 farthing from some peaty soil. It’s pretty badly corroded. It’s years since I’ve seen one in the flesh. We used to play ‘shops’ with them at my gran’s cottage years ago.


The farthing.


...and the other side

The rest of the day supplied a soaking, some useful practice in laying turves, several bits of tat (including a shotgun cartridge) and this. I think it’s the window opener from an alien space craft.


Can you see the self-portrait the alien has worked into the design?

Find of the day #10 – Aluminium

Why do people melt down aluminium on the beach?

You find a lot of this and it gives a strong ‘coin like’ signal on the old detector. The small ingots can be a sod to find amongst the pebbles.

Melted aluminium alloy

Melted aluminium alloy

Find of the day #9 – Bell

Crotal bells are a favourite find for metal detectorists. They were attached to horse harnesses to warn people of the approach of horses on narrow lanes. They were in use from medieval times until the nineteenth century.

This is not a crotal bell. At a stretch it might be a budgie bell – attached to budgie harnesses to warn people of the approach of budgies on narrow lanes.

It’s probably from a dog or cat collar.



Find of the day #8 – a mystery item

I’ve no idea what this is. The red metal is a coppery material, the yellow is brassy. I get the feeling it might be the innards of something larger.

If you have an idea what it might be – please do let me know.

It's a mystery

About 4cm long. Knurled end. Slotted. A bit like part of a propelling pencil

It's still a mystery

The slot in the end is rectangular. So it's probably not a pencil or a lipstick.

It's confounding

It's been a bit battered by it's time in the pebbles.

Guy in the middle distance

Some nice photos by Tom Davies. I happen to be in them (GITMD) but I like them because of the contexts. Thanks, Tom.

Bexhill from the beach at dusk

West Parade from the beach at dusk. I'm the silhouette with the MD

The baker talk

Back to the camera giving the baker talk

This was taken at Bodiam Castle’s medieval weekend. That’s me presenting the Baker Talk to a small audience in front of the West Range. I’m afraid that the hat has since been eaten by a dog.

Find of the day #7 – ammunition


Shotgun cartridge?

Is this a shotgun cartridge? It seems a strange find for a beach. People do find Second World War and earlier ammo though.

UPDATE: Apparently it’s a cannon shell. It’s a pretty big one!


The other side

Find of the day #6


Bolts and nuts

If you see a size you need, let me know.

Find of the day #5



I’m guessing that when the chain rusts the ‘pearls’ probably aren’t real.

Find of the day #4

Beer bottle tops

Beer bottle tops

A small sample of the beer bottle tops scattered across Bexhill’s beach. Not good if you’re barefoot.

Other beer brands are available.

The printed squares are 1cm by 1cm.