🥇 BANNER Stunning Marked Napoleonic Era British Volunteer Corps Cross Belt Plate!!!

paleomaxx

Hero Member
Aug 14, 2016
781
6,382
Upstate, NY
🥇 Banner finds
5
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Deus XP
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I still can't believe I found this! Only the second hunt this Spring since the ground thawed and the site was almost a dud. Only a dozen buttons, two IHPs, and some odds and ends despite being an undetected foundation. I was working my way further out from the structure when I spotted a farm road cut into the hill and detected along it for awhile. There was an old thimble and a spoon bowl so I started working down the embankment and almost immediately got a 90's tone which turned out to be this:

Dug Plate 2.jpg


Finally! I've always wanted to find a cross belt plate so this was a huge bucket lister already, but when I wiped some of the dirt off the front I saw letters along the edge! A marked plate is even higher on my list and super rare, so I didn't mess with it any further out in the field.

Dug Plate 1.jpg


I could clearly see the word "Royal" though so I was positive it would end up being a British military plate of some kind. Once home I started by carefully removing as much of the dirt as I could while it was still moist to see if the patina would be stable. To my relief the hillside must have drained the water almost immediately over the years because the patina is so thin that in spots it almost looks like simply aged brass! It is also completely stable so I knew I could be a little more thorough with the cleaning. Here it is after the dirt has been mostly removed:

1st Stage Cleaning.jpg


Already some amazing detail and the lettering is all clear. Maybe 30-45min more of work with an andre's brush and I was done:

Plate 3.jpg


Talk about a stunner!!! :hello2: Couldn't be happier with the look of it so now it was on to research.

There are only a few mentions of the Royal Kilmarnock Volunteers online. They were organized in Kilmarnock which is a town in the southern park of Scotland. It was apparently the earliest formed corps of Ayrshire Volunteers and were eventually incorporated in the Fourth Battalion Royal Scots Fusiliers. There's an 1800 officer roster, a mention of them assisting with a church collapse in 1801, and there are two other marked artifacts. There's an officer's Gorget and Colonel Parker's sword, both of which seem to be in museums. What I was able to find out was more along the lines of the Volunteer Corps. They were organized in various towns (mostly coastal ones) starting in 1794 for the purpose of home defense in the event of a French invasion. These groups consisted primarily of the propertied classes and the gentry served as the officers. It was very successful and at one time there were over 300,000 serving. They continued until the Volunteer Act was allowed to lapse in 1806 and the Volunteer Corps were formally disbanded in 1813.

It seems like decorated cross belt plates like this would have to have been specially made at the owner's expense and there are many different examples from the various units, but all are quite rare! Digging one in New York State of all places has to be a once in a lifetime event and I can only assume that it was brought over by an immigrant as an heirloom and then lost.

What a fun bit of history and I can't believe I managed to find a piece of it here! Plus I finally have a marked cross belt plate for the collection and more importantly my 2022 digging season is off to a fantastic start!
 
Last edited:
Upvote 63

Silver Tree Chaser

Bronze Member
Aug 12, 2012
1,371
2,990
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Paleomaxx - I've never seen a better looking dug belt plate -ever, ever. Congrats on a killer belt plate and making banner. The contrast of gold gilt and patina is eye-popping. Yes, I have to say your already well on the board for 2022. It's not often that a detectorist can say with confidence that they've recovered a museum-quality piece. Bravo! :notworthy::notworthy::notworthy:
 

hunting deer

Sr. Member
Jul 21, 2010
469
901
Indiana
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1
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I still can't believe I found this! Only the second hunt this Spring since the ground thawed and the site was almost a dud. Only a dozen buttons, two IHPs, and some odds and ends despite being an undetected foundation. I was working my way further out from the structure when I spotted a farm road cut into the hill and detected along it for awhile. There was an old thimble and a spoon bowl so I started working down the embankment and almost immediately got a 90's tone which turned out to be this:

View attachment 2016778

Finally! I've always wanted to find a cross belt plate so this was a huge bucket lister already, but when I wiped some of the dirt off the front I saw letters along the edge! A marked plate is even higher on my list and super rare, so I didn't mess with it any further out in the field.

View attachment 2016777

I could clearly see the word "Royal" though so I was positive it would end up being a British military plate of some kind. Once home I started by carefully removing as much of the dirt as I could while it was still moist to see if the patina would be stable. To my relief the hillside must have drained the water almost immediately over the years because the patina is so thin that in spots it almost looks like simply aged brass! It is also completely stable so I knew I could be a little more thorough with the cleaning. Here it is after the dirt has been mostly removed:

View attachment 2016781

Already some amazing detail and the lettering is all clear. Maybe 30-45min more of work with an andre's brush and I was done:

View attachment 2016782

Talk about a stunner!!! :hello2: Couldn't be happier with the look of it so now it was on to research.

There are only a few mentions of the Royal Kilmarnock Volunteers online. They were organized in Kilmarnock which is a town in the southern park of Scotland. It was apparently the earliest formed corps of Ayrshire Volunteers and were eventually incorporated in the Fourth Battalion Royal Scots Fusiliers. There's an 1800 officer roster, a mention of them assisting with a church collapse in 1801, and there are two other marked artifacts. There's an officer's Gorget and Colonel Parker's sword, both of which seem to be in museums. What I was able to find out was more along the lines of the Volunteer Corps. They were organized in various towns (mostly coastal ones) starting in 1794 for the purpose of home defense in the event of a French invasion. These groups consisted primarily of the propertied classes and the gentry served as the officers. It was very successful and at one time there were over 300,000 serving. They continued until the Volunteer Act was allowed to lapse in 1806 and the Volunteer Corps were formally disbanded in 1813.

It seems like decorated cross belt plates like this would have to have been specially made at the owner's expense and there are many different examples from the various units, but all are quite rare! Digging one in New York State of all places has to be a once in a lifetime event and I can only assume that it was brought over by an immigrant as an heirloom and then lost.

What a fun bit of history and I can't believe I managed to find a piece of it here! Plus I finally have a marked cross belt plate for the collection and more importantly my 2022 digging season is off to a fantastic start!
Stunning! Congrats!
 

Calabash Digger

Gold Member
Apr 18, 2016
5,043
11,081
🥇 Banner finds
2
Detector(s) used
XP DEUS II ,XP DEUS, EQUINOX 800, EXCALIBUR II,
Primary Interest:
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I still can't believe I found this! Only the second hunt this Spring since the ground thawed and the site was almost a dud. Only a dozen buttons, two IHPs, and some odds and ends despite being an undetected foundation. I was working my way further out from the structure when I spotted a farm road cut into the hill and detected along it for awhile. There was an old thimble and a spoon bowl so I started working down the embankment and almost immediately got a 90's tone which turned out to be this:

View attachment 2016778

Finally! I've always wanted to find a cross belt plate so this was a huge bucket lister already, but when I wiped some of the dirt off the front I saw letters along the edge! A marked plate is even higher on my list and super rare, so I didn't mess with it any further out in the field.

View attachment 2016777

I could clearly see the word "Royal" though so I was positive it would end up being a British military plate of some kind. Once home I started by carefully removing as much of the dirt as I could while it was still moist to see if the patina would be stable. To my relief the hillside must have drained the water almost immediately over the years because the patina is so thin that in spots it almost looks like simply aged brass! It is also completely stable so I knew I could be a little more thorough with the cleaning. Here it is after the dirt has been mostly removed:

View attachment 2016781

Already some amazing detail and the lettering is all clear. Maybe 30-45min more of work with an andre's brush and I was done:

View attachment 2016782

Talk about a stunner!!! :hello2: Couldn't be happier with the look of it so now it was on to research.

There are only a few mentions of the Royal Kilmarnock Volunteers online. They were organized in Kilmarnock which is a town in the southern park of Scotland. It was apparently the earliest formed corps of Ayrshire Volunteers and were eventually incorporated in the Fourth Battalion Royal Scots Fusiliers. There's an 1800 officer roster, a mention of them assisting with a church collapse in 1801, and there are two other marked artifacts. There's an officer's Gorget and Colonel Parker's sword, both of which seem to be in museums. What I was able to find out was more along the lines of the Volunteer Corps. They were organized in various towns (mostly coastal ones) starting in 1794 for the purpose of home defense in the event of a French invasion. These groups consisted primarily of the propertied classes and the gentry served as the officers. It was very successful and at one time there were over 300,000 serving. They continued until the Volunteer Act was allowed to lapse in 1806 and the Volunteer Corps were formally disbanded in 1813.

It seems like decorated cross belt plates like this would have to have been specially made at the owner's expense and there are many different examples from the various units, but all are quite rare! Digging one in New York State of all places has to be a once in a lifetime event and I can only assume that it was brought over by an immigrant as an heirloom and then lost.

What a fun bit of history and I can't believe I managed to find a piece of it here! Plus I finally have a marked cross belt plate for the collection and more importantly my 2022 digging season is off to a fantastic start!
congrats!
 

ANTIQUARIAN

Gold Member
Apr 24, 2010
12,409
26,250
Upper Canada 🇨🇦
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Detector(s) used
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Primary Interest:
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Congratulations on achieving BANNER #5 Max! :occasion14:
This is an artifact that archaeologists would never have found in a million years.

What an incredibly historic find for Upstate NY... this is why we do what we do my friend! :thumbsup:
Dave
 
OP
P

paleomaxx

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Aug 14, 2016
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  • Thread Starter
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Congratulations on achieving BANNER #5 Max! :occasion14:
This is an artifact that archaeologists would never have found in a million years.

What an incredibly historic find for Upstate NY... this is why we do what we do my friend! :thumbsup:
Dave
Thank you so much and you're definitely correct on the archeology point. This was far enough from the main site that no dig would have ever recovered it. I think metal detecting can become an important tool for archeology and hopefully future digs will find a need to enlist help from a few of us experienced detectorists! :laughing7:
 

mope540

Full Member
Jun 29, 2011
213
194
Yonder
Detector(s) used
E-Trac, X1 probe, SEF 8X6 coil.

AT Gold, 5X8 coil, Garrett PP

Equinox 800, 6" coil

Oldest coin to date...1829 large cent
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WOWWW!!!!!! Spectacular!
Congrats on your beautiful banner find.
 

Lanny in AB

Gold Member
Apr 2, 2003
5,598
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Alberta
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Super-sweet find, congratulations!

All the best,

Lanny
 

Bluegrassriver

Jr. Member
Oct 18, 2008
49
14
Kentucky near the Ohio River!
Thank you! Took me a lot of of trial and error to get to this point when it comes to preservation, but it's still fairly nerve-wracking to work on something like this!

I kept it in the original soil even as I started working on it just in case the patina wasn't stable. The design is almost invisible when it's still moist so I couldn't even see most of the details until I let it dry out for the first time and that's when I took the third photo. After that it was just patient work with the andre's brush and some light polishing to bring it back to it's original glory!
I think you are referring to the Andrea's brush in case viewers need one.
 

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