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Thread: Found a beautiful powder flask during yesterday's 2nd hunt

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  1. #1
    Charter Member
    us
    Oct 2008
    SE Virginia
    F75, MXT, CZ-21
    2,120
    1959 times
    Colonial relic hunting and pit digging
    Banner Finds (2)

    Found a beautiful powder flask during yesterday's 2nd hunt

    After Dan and I finished up at our colonial site in the early afternoon I decided to make a stop at the c1700 site where a couple of weeks ago I dug some silver coins and the 1786 German pfennig. This is the place where it's nearly impossible to use a detector. The ground is loaded with small iron and surface trash, and electrical lines and a transformer are right next to the yard where I was hunting. Throw in some thick, pesky weeds and a heavy layer of oyster shells at about 6" down across the entire yard and you have about as difficult a site as you can get. I was again forced to try and cherry pick the high tone targets with my F75, and even that was not easy. But I did manage to dig a couple of clad quarters and finally a silver rosie and a merc in about 90 min. Near the end of a totally frustrating hunt I got a very high tone that I thought was a relatively shallow piece of trash. But I ended up going down almost a foot and eventually pulled out a huge piece of brass that I again thought was going to be junk. But I was shocked to see this beautiful bird motif powder flask once I cleaned the dirt off. This is the first whole one I've dug although it's missing the top. I was afraid of ruining the great looking patina so I just dried cleaned it although I'm not sure how I'm going to get all the dirt out of it. I'm also not sure how old this might be. I figure it dates to somewhere in the mid-1800s, but that's nothing but a wild guess. Appreciate any info on ID'ing or cleaning this cool relic.
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  3. #2
    us
    Aug 2007
    Clifton Park NY / Willsboro NY
    White's XLT / White's V3i
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    wow! that's really cool. Congrats on a great find!

  4. #3
    Charter Member
    us
    Jul 2012
    USA
    Minelab E-Trac
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    Great find! And way to work through the tough conditions to get to the keepers!

  5. #4
    us
    Jul 2012
    Hatfield, PA
    Garrett AT Pro, Garrett Pro Pointer
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    If it's brass I would just do a gentle soap-&-water scrub with a toothbrush, and see if you can't use a toothpick or long nail to dig the dirt out from inside.


    My Best Finds
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  6. #5
    us
    Relic Hunter & Raconteur Extraordinaire

    Mar 2011
    Shenandoah Valley
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    Beautiful! Great save.
    "A land without ruins is a land without memories -- a land without memories is a land without history." ~ Rev. Abram Joseph Ryan, Poet Laureate of the Confederacy

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    Proud great-great grandson of three Confederate soldiers: John Meredith Crutchfield who served with the 60th Virginia, Maurice Coffey, & John McGann who both served with the 51st Virginia. Grandpa Crutchfield and Grandpa Coffey were both wounded and both served time in Yankee prisons.

  7. #6
    Charter Member
    us
    Sep 2010
    Whites MXT, Whites DFX, Whites 6000 Di Pro
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    Powder flasks go way back, they were made from horn, antler, and ivory before and to some extent after copper flasks. The early flasks differ from the standard powder horn, like a flask made of horn, the horn would have been boiled and softened, then pressed flat, then a metal spout used, and they look entirely different. The U. S. military issued powder flasks rather than powder horns starting in 1812. Each branch had their own scenes on the flask, from fouled anchor to stands of colors and stands of arms, drums and artillery. Colt came along in the 1840's, and his flasks are unique and are identified by the scenes on them, usually eagles with their wings spread, and some are quite rare and valuable. Other than that, gun makers also made flasks that can be identified specifically to them, plus there are flasks with dozens and dozens of different scenes, including animals, hunting, birds, lots of eagles, oak leaves and other floral decorations, dogs, etc. Yours is the only one I've seen that the eagle's wings aren't spread. The eagle with spread wings is a very common motif. Flask reproductions are still being made today, and plenty are being counterfeited, attempting to sell them for big bucks. Being dug, we can be pretty sure that yours dates to the mid 1800's. I've never seen any evidence of powder flasks being used in the United States prior to the 1800's, so I think we can rule out revolutionary war soldiers using anything other than cattle horn's. One thing about cow horn, it doesn't condense moisture, and copper does. If anyone knows about copper flasks being used in this country before 1812, I'm sure they'll let us know.
    terpfan likes this.
    Due to the high price of ammunition there will be no warning shot.

  8. #7

    Nov 2012
    Nashville
    Minelab x-Terra 505
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    Relic Hunting
    Terrific find,that is beautiful.
    You can't erase God.~ Me

  9. #8
    us
    Jul 2010
    Pittsburgh, PA
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    Nice relic Bill, that will look good in your curio cabinet.

  10. #9
    Charter Member
    us
    Oct 2008
    SE Virginia
    F75, MXT, CZ-21
    2,120
    1959 times
    Colonial relic hunting and pit digging
    Banner Finds (2)
    Quote Originally Posted by BosnMate View Post
    Powder flasks go way back, they were made from horn, antler, and ivory before and to some extent after copper flasks. The early flasks differ from the standard powder horn, like a flask made of horn, the horn would have been boiled and softened, then pressed flat, then a metal spout used, and they look entirely different. The U. S. military issued powder flasks rather than powder horns starting in 1812. Each branch had their own scenes on the flask, from fouled anchor to stands of colors and stands of arms, drums and artillery. Colt came along in the 1840's, and his flasks are unique and are identified by the scenes on them, usually eagles with their wings spread, and some are quite rare and valuable. Other than that, gun makers also made flasks that can be identified specifically to them, plus there are flasks with dozens and dozens of different scenes, including animals, hunting, birds, lots of eagles, oak leaves and other floral decorations, dogs, etc. Yours is the only one I've seen that the eagle's wings aren't spread. The eagle with spread wings is a very common motif. Flask reproductions are still being made today, and plenty are being counterfeited, attempting to sell them for big bucks. Being dug, we can be pretty sure that yours dates to the mid 1800's. I've never seen any evidence of powder flasks being used in the United States prior to the 1800's, so I think we can rule out revolutionary war soldiers using anything other than cattle horn's. One thing about cow horn, it doesn't condense moisture, and copper does. If anyone knows about copper flasks being used in this country before 1812, I'm sure they'll let us know.
    Excellent write-up on the history of flasks. Thank you for taking the time to do that. Personally, I don't believe that is an eagle depicted on the flask. It looks like some kind of game bird, especially seeing how there appears to be marsh grass shown as a background. But it doesn't look like a pheasant or quail so not exactly sure what it is. If that can be determined then maybe it would be a little easier to ID and date this particular piece. I do agree that its likely to be from the mid-1800s give or take a few years. Thanks again for your reply.

  11. #10
    us
    May 2012
    Florida
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    Superb relic to display! Congratulations.

  12. #11
    us
    Oct 2010
    eastern wa
    minelab eureka,fisher f2,ace 150,fisher gold tick,whites coin classic II
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    im seeing a couple of grouse.sweet find.
    Tnmountains likes this.

  13. #12
    Charter Member
    us
    Jan 2006
    SE Louisiana
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    Excellent find! CONGRATS!!





  14. #13
    us
    Nov 2012
    Tidewater VA
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    You continue to be so lucky!!! Congrats!
    Secretary
    Tidewater Coin and Relic Club
    www.tc-rc.com



  15. #14
    us
    Aug 2007
    Clifton Park NY / Willsboro NY
    White's XLT / White's V3i
    782
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    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Banner Finds (2)
    Took a little searching, but I'm pretty sure this is it:

    : Search Results

    2nd from the top

    Edit: I don't think it's the exact same one, but pretty darn close. Yours seems to have 2 birds.

  16. #15
    Charter Member
    us
    Oct 2008
    SE Virginia
    F75, MXT, CZ-21
    2,120
    1959 times
    Colonial relic hunting and pit digging
    Banner Finds (2)
    Quote Originally Posted by grasshopper View Post
    Took a little searching, but I'm pretty sure this is it:

    : Search Results

    2nd from the top

    Edit: I don't think it's the exact same one, but pretty darn close. Yours seems to have 2 birds.
    That is a fairly close match. I wonder how old that one is? Thanks for the help.

  17. #16
    us
    Zodiacdiverdave

    Mar 2011
    The North Atlantic Ocean
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    Man you guys down in VA are killing it. Up here in the North, North East you need dynamite to dig any targets right now so I am really enjoying seeing what you and your mates are digging up.
    Well done,
    ZDD
    cti4sw likes this.
    Living the dream

  18. #17
    us
    Jul 2008
    Maryland
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    That's a beauty for sure!

  19. #18
    us
    Sep 2012
    Garrett gtax 1000,Garrett ace 250, Technetics delta
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    That's a really cool find!

  20. #19
    us
    Stacey

    Jan 2013
    North Alabama
    Whites Spectrum XLT
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    Really nice, congrats!

  21. #20
    Charter Member
    us
    Jan 2009
    South East Tennessee on Ga, Ala line
    Tesoro Conquistador freq shift Fisher F75 Garrett AT-Pro Larson mo jo pro Flippin stick
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    Wow. That is going to look really good displayed. I think it is grouse as well but Bosnmate seems to have nailed the rest. Nice flask.

 

 
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