Jan 22, 2013, 09:08 AM
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.
Jan 22, 2013, 09:29 AM
wow! that's really cool. Congrats on a great find!
Jan 22, 2013, 09:43 AM
Great find! And way to work through the tough conditions to get to the keepers!
Jan 22, 2013, 09:46 AM
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.
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Jan 22, 2013, 10:43 AM
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Jan 22, 2013, 11:07 AM
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.
Due to the high price of ammunition there will be no warning shot.
Jan 22, 2013, 11:16 AM
Terrific find,that is beautiful.
Jan 22, 2013, 11:18 AM
Nice relic Bill, that will look good in your curio cabinet.
Jan 22, 2013, 11:23 AM
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.
Originally Posted by BosnMate
Jan 22, 2013, 11:23 AM
Superb relic to display! Congratulations.
Jan 22, 2013, 11:49 AM
im seeing a couple of grouse.sweet find.
Jan 22, 2013, 12:09 PM
Excellent find! CONGRATS!!
Jan 22, 2013, 02:05 PM
You continue to be so lucky!!! Congrats!
Jan 22, 2013, 04:29 PM
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.
Jan 22, 2013, 05:09 PM
That is a fairly close match. I wonder how old that one is? Thanks for the help.
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