Always sort through your metal detecting finds after you arrive home from beach or shallow water hunting.
Earlier in the year I found a piece of Spanish silver in a Treasure Coast parking lot, thrown out along with a bunch of bottle caps and iron nails by a litter bug who had previously hunted this prime Spanish 1715 fleet shipwreck beach.
Old shipwreck artifacts and treasure coins can easily be mistaken for junk, if you are not used to finding these types of metal detecting finds.
I have also picked up pieces of silver plate or dishes that were dug and thrown back on the beach next to sand piles by unsuspecting beach hunters.
A few years back I remember returning home thinking I had got skunked water hunting for modern jewelry.
After searching through my finds pouch I pulled out a small Spanish silver half reale from the early 1600s.
I vaguely remember putting the small square shaped piece of metal in my finds pouch while water hunting.
My old Spanish silver treasure coins are the reason why I always put everything in my finds pouch and inspect the contents after arriving home.
To be honest, I learned the hard way many years ago when first searching the famous Treasure Coast of Florida.
The blackened fragments I had been throwing away in the trash can before leaving the beach turned out to be pieces of silver plate of dishes.
I only found out my mistake afterwards, when deciding to clean a few of the larger fragments with rims that I had bothered to take home.
Putting all your finds in your finds pouch and taking all your finds home is always a good option on heavily hunted tourist beaches too.
Throwing crusty pennies or other junk finds back down may have a blow back effect.
You may have to dig the object again if you search the same beach, and you give another beach or water hunter incentive to stay around searching.
I try to look at every target dug, as one less reason for the competition to have any interest in the area.