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  1. #1


    Wow ó I donít know where to begin as this was totally unexpected. My detecting bud Joey and I hooked up yesterday to make the long drive to a remote rural county where weíve researched and hunted together before. After securing permission from the owner/farmer at a site Joey had been studying, we made our way to the expansive fields that overlooked the river. Joeyís research also revealed what he believed might be an early house site on a knoll about ľ mile from the riverís edge. We began hunting there and quickly noticed that small iron and brick frags were spread out over a rather large area, but not really concentrated in any given spot. Our finds were rather paltry in number, and when we were leaving later in the day a hunter told us that a couple friends of his had been hunting that site methodically for years which explained the lack of finds.

    Anyway, we picked up a few 17th century buckle pieces, musketballs and some early pewter buttons but nothing of real significance. It was interesting to note that neither of us dug any flat or even tombac buttons which, along with the other finds, seemed to confirm this was a very early site that had been abandoned after being occupied for a limited time.

    About halfway into the hunt I decided to make a big loop through the field between the knoll and the river. On the way back toward the knoll I tried to walk the most likely path the early settlers might have taken between the dwelling site and where we believed the early wharf might have been. But the field was absolutely dead silent until I was about 100 yards in front of the knoll when I got a nice hit that sounded like it might be another musketball. But as I flipped the dirt out of the hole I thought I caught a brief glimpse of what appeared to be a silver edge before it was re-covered. But I convinced myself that I was probably seeing things. Then when I finally located the target I was super excited to see that I had indeed unearthed a silver coin of some sort. As I picked it up with the dirt still clinging to it I saw a shield and immediately thought I might be holding an early 1700s pistareen. At that point I hollered over to Joey and headed toward where he was hunting. While on the way I flipped the coin over and the bust was very strange looking and I knew for sure this coin was not Spanish, or at least was one I did not recognize. I carefully removed more of the dirt to reveal more details, and my first thought was could this coin be an example of Lord Baltimore coinage? But that was probably very wishful thinking as thereís absolutely no way I could have recovered something so rare and valuable as that. Joey dismissed that idea as well and seemed to think it might be some obscure coin from a European country, and had me convinced that was the case as well. It was definitely a strange coin with no date and all the Latin inscriptions. So I plopped it in my padded keeper box and figured I could do some research on it when I got back home.

    A little while later I got to thinking about the coin, and began to convince myself that it had a chance to be a Lord Baltimore specimen. I had just finished writing an article for one of the detecting magazines on the history of colonial silver coinage in Virginia, and it included a paragraph on these rare coins so I had some familiarity with them already. I also recounted from a few years ago when my friend Stan and his buddy Audie dug a Lord Baltimore silver groat and copper denarium, the latter which sold at auction for about $42,000. As Joey and I headed back to the truck for a lunch break I told him I was about 80% convinced my find was a Lord Baltimore coin. We both frantically got out our phones and quickly tried to verify, and Joey beat me to the punch. He was flabbergasted when he confirmed I had indeed just recovered a Lord Baltimore silver sixpence dating to 1659! This is one of the holy grails of US coins and we were both in complete shock. I later saw on the NGC website where it was stated that Lord Baltimore coinage is ďdecidedly rarerĒ than Massachusetts silver which confirmed what I already knew as these coins are almost impossible to find. Mine appears to be the Breen 68 variety and although it does have a few small spots of surface corrosion on both sides, I believe a professional coin cleaning can remedy that rather easily. But Iím definitely not going to mess with it myself (no electrolysis this time Ö. haha!). I also plan to have it authenticated, graded and slabbed. If anyone has any good recommendations for where to get this coin cleaned and authenticated please post your comments here. Thanks in advance for any input. And unfortunately the coin is holed (even though I think it gives it character) and that will likely detract from its value, but thatís not a major concern for me since it definitely WILL NOT be sold.

    I thought Iíd end with a little background on the history of this coin for those interested. Three denominations of silver coinage plus a copper denarium were minted in London in 1659 by authority of Cecil Calvert, the second Lord Baltimore, who believed he had the right to coin money for use in the huge tract of land he inherited which later became the colony of Maryland. His authority to issue these coins was challenged and he was arrested, and only a small number were ever produced before being confiscated by the Crown, but a very small number of these apparently got into circulation somehow and some must have made it to the colonies through the pockets of early settlers. So these are extremely rare finds here in the US as well as in the UK, and the 2 that Stan and Audie dug are the only other ones Iíve ever heard of being dug in this country. Iím still pinching myself as I never thought Iíd ever dig one of these beauties. Hopefully this is a good omen for the rest of the season.
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    Last edited by Bill D. (VA); Aug 26, 2015 at 08:52 AM.

  2. #2
    I've past through this coin, among many others in the Redbook and always wondered if I'd see one posted.... and I guess today is the day! In the last few years the the rarer Colonials seem to be selling at a premium so this might have quite a bit more value than expected. Without question the best silver you have ever dug.

  3. #3

    Jul 2014
    N.E. Tennessee
    Shovels....lots of shovels!
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    Minerals,Gemstones,Opals,Fossils & more!
    MichiganMan and Davers like this.

    Fine Minerals & Gemstones from the Appalachians

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  4. #4
    Thanks for the lesson ad huge congrats digging a rare piece of colonial history! Wow, it's in awesome shape!

  5. #5

    Mar 2013
    South Carolina
    Garrett ATPro
    884 times
    Relic Hunting
    Banner Finds (1)
    WOW!!! Congratulations Bill what a great and rare find! WOW

  6. #6
    Oct 2013
    Topsham, Maine
    Teknetics T2 SE w/15' SEF Coil/ Minelab GPX 4500/2 Garrett Pro Pointers/3 Sets Killer B Headphones/ Koss Headphones/ Detekniy Wireless headphone Adapter
    8339 times
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    Banner Finds (2)
    Wow Bill! Can't tell you how happy I am for you. I'm really glad that somebody with great respect for history and this hobby makes a find like this. I am blown away at the history and the condition of that incredible find. Good things happen to good people my friend and sometimes GREAT things happen. Enjoy this incredible once in a lifetime find Bill. You've put in the hours and done it the right way
    "Life which is lived without zest and adventure-is not life at all."
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    2017 BEST FINDS
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  7. #7
    Just looked at the Redbook comments and it says many of these were holed, which is very good because a collector would definitely give this particular coin more of a pass. If mine I'd remove the dirt, slap it in a protective holder, and lock it away. I very much doubt you have to send it anywhere to determine it's genuine... and I definitely would not. No reason to. Meaning with a little looking into this, or talking with someone who is an expert on them, it will be pretty overwhelming it's good.
    Last edited by Iron Patch; Oct 05, 2014 at 05:39 PM.

  8. #8
    Dec 2006
    Colonial Virginia
    XP Deus Teknetics T2
    1401 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Banner Finds (2)
    You have a greater chance of finding a Roman coin on the moon than finding one of these. Couple that with the fact that you found it in the middle of a field devoid of any targets, once - in - a - lifetime doesn't begin to explain the odds. As much as I would have loved to be the one that found it, I'm glad it was you and I'm glad I was there to witness it. Great job Bill.....you lucky SOB!!!
    terpfan, BVI Hunter and Wes-N-VA like this.

  9. #9
    Dec 2006
    Colonial Virginia
    XP Deus Teknetics T2
    1401 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Banner Finds (2)
    Oh yeah....banner.
    Wes-N-VA likes this.

  10. #10
    Jun 2012
    Western MA
    Garrett at pro
    877 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Banner Finds (2)
    Wow what a significant find. I was just looking at these in the red book thinking that would be an amazing find but around here there's really no chance. This definitely is a banner find. Can't wait to see it up top. Congrats

  11. #11
    Cellar Dweller

    Dec 2010
    Rhode Island
    1754 times
    Cellar Dweller
    Banner Finds (2)
    Killer find Bill that is what it's all about


    Coming to a Cellar near you...

  12. #12
    May 2008
    Omega, F75, AT Pro
    2649 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Banner Finds (3)
    Honorable Mentions (3)
    Sweet Dreams are made of these.

    What a totally awesome freekin find.

  13. #13

  14. #14
    Well, that's the best coin I've ever seen posted. Banner is an understatement. You'll likely have a NE silver before the end of Fall.

  15. #15

    May 2014
    Minelab E-Trac, Deteknix X-Pointer, Garrett Pro Pointer
    1514 times
    Metal Detecting
    Honorable Mentions (1)
    Congrats on a truly rare find! Banner!


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