Unique Military Button - 1820 United States Topographical Engineer -USTE button
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  1. #1

    Unique Military Button - 1820 United States Topographical Engineer -USTE button

    This button has to be my rarest of my rare finds, considering to this day, 12 years later no others have been reported as being found anywhere, whether in cigar box or by a metal detectorist.

    The rarity of this one is UNIQUE, only known specimen, in Albert's button book, which was last published in 1976, said none have been reported, but there is an Congressional Act authorizing the production of such buttons and the button I found matched the description as described.

    I found the button long before I was active on the internet (1994) and in 1995 I had a rather severe house fire and it was during the rebuild of the house that I was going through my old finds and took this button to our metal detecting meeting and one of the old timers there recommended I buy Albert's book, that it would be worth my while to do so.

    I purchased the book and to my great delight I saw my button being described in his book as a TE-1. When I read that none have been reported to be found, I knew mine was of some value.

    Since I was down a bit in cash at the time, I sure wanted a new road carbon fiber road bicycle for my other hobby, I decided to not hold on to the button and try and find a buyer.

    After contacting the National Button Society, I was given the name of Mr W_____ T___, who at the time was known as perhaps the most knowledgeable military button collector in the country.

    I called Mr T___ and told him what I found with my detector and he kept asking me again and again, "are you sure it is a button" I said "no doubt, intact shank and all" After a few minutes he made me a four figure offer for the button which I immediately accepted.

    Conditions of sale were to send him photos of the button, and after he verified it was in fact the super rare button he would call me and the sale would go through.

    The sale was finalized that year and it allowed me to purchase a brand new carbon fiber Trek road bicycle, which at the bike store I bought it at, became known as "The Button Bike", since the owner loves to tell the story of the button find, which allowed me to purchase the bike.

    I understand in recent years Mr T, had sold off part or all of his collection and that my USTE button has since been resold for as much as 4 times as what I was paid for it back in the mid 90's.

    Now, I did find the button in a trashy part, behind where a mid 1800's house sat, I remember the day well, since I find very few Military buttons and this one had a beautiful Eagle on it and lots of gilt.

    Did I go back and try to find one of its mates, you bet, however, the homestead is no longer. At the time I found it the area was being prepped for a golf course, and sure enough within a year of finding it the site became off limits as a golf course in fact did go in at that area, wiping out about 4 homesteads that I never really got to pound much at all.

    I am sure, somewhere that area, might be the rest of the buttons from where mine came from, but they might be buried for eternity, or maybe someday somebody else will find one. Since none were never reported the experts were never sure any were made, since they were authorized but no records of being made or any in existence. Now they know they were made..

    If I do not find another one, I do hope someday somebody else does, if you do, it is worth more than most GW buttons are today.......

    HH

    Don in South Jersey
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    "The mantra has always been don't clean a (copper) coin or it will lose value.
    For undug coins this is true. For dug coins this is untrue.
    The value will increase with judicious cleaning."

  2. #2
    us
    Dec 2004
    Long Island New York
    White's XLT
    1,894
    25 times

    Re: Rare Military Button - 1820 United States Topographical Enginner -USTE button

    An amazing find and story Don, congrats.

    kenb

  3. #3
    dugupfinds

    Re: Rare Military Button - 1820 United States Topographical Enginner -USTE button

    Are you serious that button collectors pay over $100 000 for a button?

  4. #4

    Re: Rare Military Button - 1820 United States Topographical Enginner -USTE button

    Typo, 4 figures is in the post now. Sorry.......
    "The mantra has always been don't clean a (copper) coin or it will lose value.
    For undug coins this is true. For dug coins this is untrue.
    The value will increase with judicious cleaning."

  5. #5
    ca
    Feb 2007
    Nova Scotia Canada
    Garret AT Gold, Whites XLT,Tesoro Stingray ll,Whites Surfmaster ll
    369
    66 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting

    Re: Rare Military Button - 1820 United States Topographical Enginner -USTE button

    Amazing find & love the story.That will be a hard one to top ehh

  6. #6
    us
    Sep 2006
    Montana
    11,697
    135 times
    Banner Finds (1)

    Re: Rare Military Button - 1820 United States Topographical Enginner -USTE button

    Don... Thanks for sharing your story!

    Wow... It's great to know that the treasure's are out there and being found... it's like a suplimental "Best Finds" story!

    Awesome...

  7. #7
    dugupfinds

    Re: Rare Military Button - 1820 United States Topographical Enginner -USTE button

    Quote Originally Posted by Don in SJ
    Typo, 4 figures is in the post now. Sorry.......
    Forgot to say great story. I was just about to go though my button collection

    Still a great amount for what was a throw away item.

  8. #8

    Re: Rare Military Button - 1820 United States Topographical Enginner -USTE butto

    great story, and great find!! It just goes to show you...ya never know what you might find on any given day. I'll be somedays you regret parting with it...

    Velox Versutus Vigilans

  9. #9
    us
    Jan 2005
    Great Falls, Montana
    White's DFX & a Sunray probe
    5,112
    34 times
    Relic Hunting
    Banner Finds (2)
    Honorable Mentions (1)

    Re: Rare Military Button - 1820 United States Topographical Enginner -USTE butto

    That's amazing, Don!

    Great story.....says Mona as she roots through her grandma's button box.

  10. #10

    Mar 2007
    Cape Fear, NC
    XLT,Double Eagle
    392
    4 times

    Re: Rare Military Button - 1820 United States Topographical Enginner -USTE button

    Fantastic Find! Congrats

  11. #11
    us
    Celtic Treasure Hunter

    Apr 2005
    Southeastern Ireland
    1,253
    24 times
    Banner Finds (1)

    Re: Rare Military Button - 1820 United States Topographical Enginner -USTE button

    A great find and a great story, thanks for posting, it made my day to read it. I haven't been detecting in about a month, but now I have to get out this weekend. That's exciting.
    The only ones for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the sky.

  12. #12
    Charter Member
    us
    Rich

    May 2003
    Shamokin Pennsylvania
    White's Eagle Spectrum
    653
    167 times
    Honorable Mentions (1)

    Re: Rare Military Button - 1820 United States Topographical Enginner -USTE button

    Great story and a very nice button Don! WTG ...........Rich

  13. #13
    us
    My Find of a Lifetime!

    Oct 2006
    Philadelphia Area
    White's MX Sport, Minelab Excalibur 1000, Teknetics T2 SE
    5,206
    936 times
    Banner Finds (2)
    Honorable Mentions (2)

    Re: Rare Military Button - 1820 United States Topographical Enginner -USTE button

    Don:

    I always find your posts interesting & informative.

    Neil

 

 

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