Flashback 2003 - the next time you dig an unidentified coin


Bronze Member
Apr 15, 2004
🏆 Honorable Mentions:
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Minelab Equinox 800
Minelab Explorer II
Compass X100
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Flashback 2003 - the next time you dig an unidentified coin be very careful cleaning it!
This is a story of caution for newbees or anyone who has never thought about what they just dug from the ground.
It was a nice day on Oct. 19, 2003. I decided to go to my silver field where some of my first silver finds were
found long ago, but with a new metal detector. The area had been heavily hit with a chemical fertilizer year after year.
The clad coins I was digging looked like hell and had heavy surface corrosion on them. Some of the coins were very
deep which made no sense as they were clad coins. I did manage to find two silver quarters and two silver dimes at
about 8" deep.

Towards the end of my hunt, I got a strong signal. I keep digging and digging, and rechecking hole. At 12", I
found this quarter sized object all corroded to hell, and thought to myself 'oh another clad quarter destroyed
by chemicals' and threw it into my coin pouch. And I wondered how the heck did a clad quarter get that deep
in such hard packed soil?

Later after getting home after dark and having dinner - I started cleaning coins. Using a toothbrush, water, and
dish detergent to remove heavy grime etc. I looked at the mystery coin. Hmmm it's really corroded.
So I switch to baking soda, water, and toothbrush. I see it's all green and am thinking what the heck - still
having no idea what the coin actually might be. I'm scrubbing away and see the green is disappearing but not
paying much attention. I still think it's a shot clad quarter - no big deal.

I dry it off, get a magnifier and then notice a sunburst design that I can now clearly make out. I get out the Red Book on coins
and am paging through further and further back into time.

Oh noooooooooo - it's a Nova Constellatio with no date (1783-1786)! I was dumbfounded - literally blown away!
And had just scrubbed away the one side until there was no detail left at all. Big mistake.

Now for the rest of the story on this field. I run into the guy who maintains this property and he asks me,
'hey do you find many stones in that area?' I said, 'well there's plenty of small stones but nothing very
large. Why?' He proceeds to tell me that they had one foot of surface dirt hauled away from that area and had new topsoil
brought in that had been first sifted for rocks. I asked him if he knew where that new dirt came from and he didn't.
But this explains why clad coins were being found so deep in that area. And my guess is that the Nova Constellatio
copper coin was hauled in with the new dirt.

The morale of this story is: 1) be very careful when you find a coin that is unidentified for any reason
2) topsoil can be hauled in from any place and that can change what you find
and the depths you are finding it at in that area
3) Nova Constellatio coins or any other rare coin are where you find them, and that can be almost
anywhere that has Colonial History in that area

The undisturbed area right next to this field had most of the silver coins. They were all from the same basic 50
year period and were for the most part at about the 6-8" depth in soil. Building had date of 1959.

Nova Constellatio (1783 - 1786) is top coin in 1st photo.

What a new one looked like:


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  • Nova Constellatio with no date (1783-1786)A.jpg
    Nova Constellatio with no date (1783-1786)A.jpg
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Upvote 0


Hero Member
May 3, 2020
San Jose, CA
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MDT 8000, Simplex, Equinox 600, Garrett Carrot
Primary Interest:
Metal Detecting
Great story and great lesson! Thanks for the insight!


Jun 28, 2020
Detector(s) used
Minelab Equinox 800 Garrett AT Pro
Primary Interest:
All Treasure Hunting
Thanks for sharing.


Gold Member
Nov 22, 2012
🥇 Banner finds
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XP Deus II
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All Treasure Hunting
I just dug another CW buckle. I overcleaned it. Does that take points away from me?
Oct 5, 2014
🥇 Banner finds
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Garrett: AT Pro, AT Gold & Infinium; Minelab: Explorer SE, II; Simplex; Tesoro: Tejon & Outlaw; White's: V3i
Primary Interest:
Relic Hunting
Nice finds, congrats! Thank you for sharing! :icon_thumleft:


Silver Member
Mar 2, 2013
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Fisher Gold Bug Pro
Tesoro Cibola
Nokta Pointer; Phillips SHS5200 phones
Nokta Macro SIMPLEX
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Metal Detecting
I just dug another CW buckle. I overcleaned it. Does that take points away from me?

Over-cleaning coins and relics, is an important issue...!
I over-cleaned my V-nickel find I made recently..., but I won't make a mistake like THAT again...!

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