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Cash for gold: Metal detector hobbyist finds $1.6 million in treasure

Consumer Reports News: September 25, 2009 03:43 PM

Is it time to give that much-maligned hobby, metal detecting, its due? 

Terry Herbert, 55, a jobless man on welfare, used his metal detector on a Staffordshire field to find a valuable hoard of ancient gold and silver artifacts that has been called one of the most important finds in British archaeology, according to a report released yesterday.

Experts have valued of the cache at a minimum of  1 million pounds, or $1.6 million. By British law, Herbert could receive half that amount, which he says he will share with the owner of the field. The treasure includes 11 lbs. of gold and 5.5 lbs. of silver.

Those of us with neither historically valuable artifacts nor the promise of a reward must contend with a more-common way of valuing and getting paid for our metal objects, often based on their "melt value." Click here for our advice on valuing those objects, and here for an in-depth report from our sister Web site, The Consumerist, on one such gold-buying service, Cash4Gold. (Incidentally, Cash4Gold recently dropped the Consumerist as a defendant in two lawsuits spurred by an earlier article critical of the company.)

And if you're in the market for a metal detector, you're on the wrong Web site. (However, Consumer Reports offers great shopping advice on other appliances that aren't associated with combing the beach in shorts and long black socks.)–Tobie Stanger

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