Nails Attracted To a Magnet White Background

Can You Find Coins by Magnet Fishing?

From coin collecting I discovered metal detecting, from metal detecting I discovered magnet fishing! It’s amazing how one hobby can build into multiple!

I have read a lot of articles that claim there are no US coins you can find magnet fishing and this IS NOT TRUE. There is ONE coin from the United States you can find magnet fishing. Read more to find out which coin and why!

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What is magnet fishing?

Magnet fishing is a fairly new hobby that has been gaining traction the last few years and it’s exactly what it sounds like! (Well, maybe not exactly what it sounds like, as you are not fishing for metal fish.)

Magnet fishers tie a rope to a very strong magnet and cast the rope into a body of water to see if they can pull up any metal treasures in the water.

Can you find coins magnet fishing?

Unfortunately, it is very unlikely you will find any US coins, silver, or gold while magnet fishing. The most common metals used in US coins are: copper, zinc, silver, nickel, and gold; and of those only nickel is magnetic.

While nickel is magnetic, all US nickels are actually only 25% nickel. The rest is non-magnetic copper. The small amount of nickel in US coins is unlikely potent enough to be attracted to even a magnet-fishers magnet.

There is only one US cent that you will be able to find magnet fishing… the 1943 Steel Penny! This penny was minted during WW2 when copper was scarce. Since copper was being conserved for the war effort, the US Mint decided to use steel with a coating of zinc.

Even a small refrigerator magnet can attract a 1943 Steel Penny, so a magnet fisher should have no problems catching it if they come across one.

Of course… that is a lot of effort for just a single penny, with a low likelihood you would happen to cast into a river or lake that has a steel penny at the bottom.

Magnet fishers outside of the US should have more luck. Several Canadian and UK coins are made from magnetic materials. However, you are unlikely to get rich off of any of those common coins.

Is magnet fishing worth it if you can’t find coins?

You can still find guns, car parts, bike parts, sunglasses, and other things that get lost in rivers. If your motivation is to get rich or find valuable coins this is not the hobby for you.

Magnet fishing is about finding lost treasures and doing your part to keep waterways clean.

That being said, there is one way you could strike it rich magnet fishing. Although incredibly rare, it is possible to find a safe at the bottom of a river with valuables like coins, silver, or gold.

You would need to be incredibly strong and have a really powerful magnet to be able to pull a metal safe out of the water.

I think magnet fishing is still a great hobby. And it’s very inexpensive to try.

Here is a link to a beginners magnet fishing kit on Amazon. I like this kit because it comes with everything you need to get started. Along with a magnet and ropes, it also includes gloves (prevent tetanus!), an informational e-booklet, a plastic scraper (to pry things off the magnet), and a case!


As the magnets are very powerful, make sure to keep it in a case when not in use! The strong magnet can damage electronics and get stuck on metal.

What is a better way to find coins?

A better way to find lost coins is a metal detector! A metal detector does not need a coin to be magnetic to be able to find it. I’ve found all sorts of pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters with my metal detector.

A metal detector does require a little more skill than magnet fishing. You can’t just chuck your metal detector into a river! But overall I was surprised how easy it was to learn.

My first time metal detecting I found 86 cents buried in my backyard! And I hadn’t even bothered to use the manual.

For detecting coins, I’d recommend a Garrett metal detector. They are user friendly and even have a “coin” setting which makes your metal detector only ping on metals that are likely to be coins.

I have a Garrett Ace 400 and it’s a great metal detector! I would recommend it wholeheartedly, but if it’s your first time metal detecting the slightly cheaper Garret Ace 300 has almost all the same features.

The best places to find coins metal detecting are parks and beaches. Parks are more likely to have older coins, but you will probably find more coins at the beach. If you are super adventurous you could even trek off into the woods to metal detect!

You never know where someone may have lost a few coins from their pocket or stashed a pile of gold. The mystery is what makes metal detecting fun!

So, magnet fishing or metal detecting: which is better?

I would have to say that metal detecting is the better hobby overall. There are many more places to metal detect as you don’t need a body of water. Even your backyard could be a great place to hunt!

Metal detecting can also find many of the same treasures as magnet fishing. You can still find old guns, bike parts, car parts, and LOTS of nails with a metal detector. Metal detectors can be tuned to only give you a signal for more valuable metals, whereas magnet fishers have only one setting: Magnetic.

Magnet fishing has the upside of being cheaper and more obscure. Most people I’ve mentioned magnet fishing to have never even heard of it! The downside to the relative obscurity is that there is a much smaller online community.

If my background was in fishing instead of coin collecting I may have given a different answer though. Both are great hobbies to try. Plus, for being under $100 to start, I think magnet fishing is worth the money.

Click Here to View Magnet Fishing Kits on Amazon >

Click Here to View Metal Detectors on Amazon >

Which hobby do you prefer? Vote in our poll and leave a comment below!

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