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Thread: I glimpsed Britannia, then she was gone - help!!

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  1. #1
    us
    Jul 2009
    Massachusetts
    Garrett AT Pro
    176
    521 times
    Metal Detecting

    I glimpsed Britannia, then she was gone - help!!

    Today I hunted an inactive farm field located in close proximity to an occupied colonial home. It was a very soggy hunt, and I was coming up with mostly unidentifiable metal scraps. I was down to my last half hour and was no longer even gridding when I got a nice high-pitched coin sound. It read a steady 82 on my AT Pro, which is a little too high for a modern penny, and a little too low for a silver dime or quarter. The controls showed it was 8 inches down, but it still sounded strong, maybe on account of the wet soil. I pinpointed, dug, and recovered the coin. I was absolutely thrilled, as I knew it was likely colonial since it was too big to be a modern penny, but too small to be a large cent. I put it in my pouch, finished my hunt, and went home. After letting it dry for a half hour, I took a peek at it and saw a faint image of Lady Britannia. I could hardly control the urge to start cleaning the dirt off, but thought I should let it dry first. After a couple hours, I took a toothpick and gently started to scrape the dirt off. Much to my horror and utter disappointment, the patina just flaked right off. This is my fourth colonial coin from this field, only one of which had anything left on it (a very nice 1723 Woods Halfpenny). I am really heartbroken over this one, as I definitely saw Britannia on it initially. Anyone have any tips for cleaning the dirt off these coppers and retaining the strike? Should I be scraping the coin while itís still damp instead of letting it dry? Any helpful tips would be most appreciated. Thanks for checking this out. Happy hunting.
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  2. #2
    us
    Jun 2015
    ES of Maryland
    XP Deus Minelab Equinox
    2,580
    8085 times
    Metal Detecting
    Banner Finds (2)
    its a crapshoot when digging old coppers in a farm field. Im just happy to get an id on mine. Ive got over 100 British coppers and large cents and none of the few nice ones I have came from a farm field. Good news is your hunting in the right area for old silver
    Last edited by toasted; Mar 15, 2019 at 09:41 PM.
    Favorite finds
    Silver Pomander c. 1700- 17th century buckles- Cut Pine Tree Shilling- Louis XIV 4 Sols- 12 Spanish Cobs- Cut Pistareen-1759 Half Real-colonial silver cufflinks-1781 Half Real-gold cufflink- 1814 Half Real-1827 & 1831 Mexico Republic One Reales-1830 Bust Dime-1852 Gold $1-44 Seated silvers-5 Trimes-1865 French 50 centimes love token- 6 gold rings


  3. #3
    us
    Jul 2018
    Fairfax Station, VA
    Whites Blue and Gray
    303
    754 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Have you tried shining a flashlight from the side at the same level the coin is? Sometimes it will bring out faint details. Another trick is to rub your forehead with your finger and then wipe lightly over the coin. The oils will touch the high points and bring out a little definition. Nice find!

  4. #4
    us
    Sep 2015
    In MI woods
    AT PRO
    1,391
    1431 times
    Metal Detecting
    You did everything right. Farm fields can produce awesome finds, but there is often going to be increased degradation due to decades of fertilization. You just have to accept it as an example of the highs and lows of the hobby.
    lenmac65, BLK HOLE and Kona Koma like this.

  5. #5
    us
    Randy

    Aug 2017
    SW Missouri
    Minelab CTX 3030 ; GTA 1000
    2,917
    6127 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Honorable Mentions (1)
    Nice!!! Congrats!!!
    lenmac65, Inspector and HIGHSTRUNG like this.

  6. #6
    us
    Aug 2007
    Western New York
    CTX-3030, Equinox 800
    3,664
    5260 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    I've had that happen to a couple of Buffalo nicks. Right out of the hole I can see a faint date outline but as soon as I touch it...... gone. Nice copper find though! Congrats! Try the flashlight trick mentioned above.
    lenmac65, Inspector and BLK HOLE like this.
    _______________________________

    WhyMe

    CTX-3030, Equinox 800

  7. #7
    Charter Member
    us
    Oct 2014
    Massachusetts
    Garrett: AT Pro, AT Gold & Infinium; Minelab: Explorer SE, II & X-terra 705; Tesoro: Tejon & Outlaw; White's: V3i & DFX
    23,677
    23287 times
    Relic Hunting
    Banner Finds (2)
    Congrats on the old copper!
    lenmac65 and HIGHSTRUNG like this.

  8. #8
    us
    Metal Detecting & Hotwheels Collecting

    Sep 2014
    Finger Lakes Region, Upstate NY
    Nox 600, Tesoro, Bounty Hunter, Deteknix
    2,274
    3289 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Nice hunt, hope you will able to make an ID. congratulations on the save
    I always let the coppers dry for a few hours before I attempt to identify them, and only use a toothpick and skin oil. 95% of my coppers are from active farm fields and I have been able to date 65/70% of them. GL&HH
    lenmac65 and HIGHSTRUNG like this.
    Any day of hunting, whether good or bad is better than not hunting at all

  9. #9
    us
    Aug 2007
    New York's Capital Region
    New for 2019 - XP Deus. Minelab Explorers SE Pro & XS/Whites DFX & Beach Hunter, Garrett AT Pro.
    311
    957 times
    Metal Detecting

    I feel your pain.

    The last 2 King George II coppers I dug did the same. Clearly identifiable out of the hole but then after trying a very light cleaning, all detail was lost !
    lenmac65 likes this.

  10. #10
    us
    Jul 2009
    Massachusetts
    Garrett AT Pro
    176
    521 times
    Metal Detecting
    Quote Originally Posted by toasted View Post
    its a crapshoot when digging old coppers in a farm field. Im just happy to get an id on mine. Ive got over 100 British coppers and large cents and none of the few nice ones I have came from a farm field. Good news is your hunting in the right area for old silver
    I only have four colonial coppers. Based on what you are saying, I guess I should be happy that I at least got one really nice one from the field. I sure hope you are right about the silver .. I would love to find a Spanish piece.

    Quote Originally Posted by DigginNorthernVa View Post
    Have you tried shining a flashlight from the side at the same level the coin is? Sometimes it will bring out faint details. Another trick is to rub your forehead with your finger and then wipe lightly over the coin. The oils will touch the high points and bring out a little definition. Nice find!
    I have not had luck with the flashlight. Maybe a USB Scope would help. I will try the skin oil trick though, as I have nothing to lose. At least I know it was British, even if I never find out the type and age.

    Quote Originally Posted by tomhighland View Post
    You did everything right. Farm fields can produce awesome finds, but there is often going to be increased degradation due to decades of fertilization. You just have to accept it as an example of the highs and lows of the hobby.
    Thanks for the affirmation. I thought I was doing things generally OK, but I was not sure.

    Quote Originally Posted by Whyme View Post
    I've had that happen to a couple of Buffalo nicks. Right out of the hole I can see a faint date outline but as soon as I touch it...... gone. Nice copper find though! Congrats! Try the flashlight trick mentioned above.
    Sorry about the Buffalo coins. I certainly understand your frustration.


    Quote Originally Posted by Inspector View Post
    Nice hunt, hope you will able to make an ID. congratulations on the save
    I always let the coppers dry for a few hours before I attempt to identify them, and only use a toothpick and skin oil. 95% of my coppers are from active farm fields and I have been able to date 65/70% of them. GL&HH
    I sure wish I had that percentage, as I am at only 25%. I started detecting this past August, and this is the only site I have lined up with colonial potential, so I hate even losing one. Thus far I have found four colonial coins, only one of which has nice detail. Oh well .. going to keep trying.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ed (Upstate NY) View Post
    The last 2 King George II coppers I dug did the same. Clearly identifiable out of the hole but then after trying a very light cleaning, all detail was lost !
    That should make me feel a little better, as misery loves company. However, it really stinks that we both lost out on some nice coins. Good luck with your next find.

  11. #11
    us
    Sep 2018
    Massachusetts
    Garrett AT Max
    841
    1817 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    unfortunately I've had this happen multiple times with coppers. One thing you can do is pack it in the dirt it was sitting in. That will keep it from drying before you get home. Once you take it out of the dirt is when it get's dicey. I have not found enough coppers to have a perfect method of cleaning. Sometimes brushing the coin with a stiff plastic brush and then tooth picking with a wooden or bamboo pick will reveal a nice coin. Other times as you flake off the patina / crud all detail goes with it. You can let a coin sit in peroxide for a couple days which will gently remove some dirt but from experience on a delicate coin not all of it. The thing that is so tough is that there are quite a few methods and you never know until you try if it will help or ruin the coin. The key is to find as many coppers as possible so you can experiment and figure it all out. I just got these "andre's pencils" for cleaning coins but you need to know that they can also totally destroy the coin. Haven't tried them yet. Good luck!
    lenmac65 likes this.

  12. #12
    us
    Sep 2011
    Southwest, CT
    Spectra V3i with wireless headphones, Bounty Hunter 505, 8" & 10.25" Coils,
    1,327
    1402 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    WTG on the copper. As others have said it can be a crap shoot for field finds due to the fertilizer. The woods can be the same way based on how dry / wet the area is.
    lenmac65 likes this.
    SPECTRA V3i, BH 505, Pro-Pointer. Lesche Digger Oldest Copper: 1694 William & Mary Halfpenny. Oldest Silver 1663 1-Reale Cob.


  13. #13
    Charter Member
    us
    Aug 2017
    Northern Virginia
    AT MAX/AT PRO/Garrett Pro Pointer, Lesche diggers, and the custom made Freeloader Pack Mule Pouch!
    3,185
    4149 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Honorable Mentions (1)
    Same thing has happened to me, it hurts!
    lenmac65 likes this.

  14. #14
    us
    Dec 2017
    Newburgh ny
    Whites Class III SL. Spectrum xlt Tesoro Vaquero Compadre
    365
    980 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    I find the best way to clean a copper that looks like its going to loss detail is too just rub them on my jeans right out of the ground. This will leave some dirt on it and help the design pop out. If it looks like there is a nice patina I don't rub them and use a tooth pick later.
    lenmac65 and basssmann like this.

  15. #15
    Charter Member
    us
    Kona Koma

    Nov 2017
    On the Beach
    Minelab Equinox 800 Minelab Quattro
    501
    1223 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Still a nice find.
    lenmac65 likes this.

 

 
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