Surprising Yard Hunt Leads to a Crazy Rare Colonial Silver!

paleomaxx

Hero Member
Aug 14, 2016
748
5,974
Upstate, NY
🥇 Banner finds
4
Detector(s) used
Deus XP
Primary Interest:
All Treasure Hunting
I prefer tracking down lost colonial structures, but I do yard hunts from time to time as demonstrations or for people who are interested in their house's history. They can be fun, but obviously produce a lot more modern trash and around here there tends to have been extensive landscaping around the houses so not usually much original ground is left to detect. As a result I manage the expectations for myself, but occasionally I still get surprised. This particular house was supposedly built in the late 1790's but had obviously been significantly modified and had apparently been detected many times in the past when a previous owner was there. Not particularly old and previously hunted so I was expecting even less than usual.

Most of the yard was recently scraped down to the ledge and replaced with fill so that was toast. There was one small strip going down a slope away from the house that didn't appear to have been messed with and very quickly I pulled out a flat button. Soon there were several more, including some cone shank tombacs which is a very good sign. To my surprise I even starting digging large coppers that had somehow been missed! The buttons alone had me questioning if this house was really built in the 1790's:

DSC09802.JPG DSC09803.JPG DSC09804.JPG

One of the tombac buttons is a new type that I haven't seen before. It almost looks like the shank was inserted into the molten tombac as opposed to the cone shank variety where it was cast around the shank. Very unusual and I suspect middle 1700's. The first colonial copper that I pulled out also ended up being a pretty old one:

IMG_20210412_175719.jpg IMG_20210412_175803.jpg

It took a bit of cleaning, but it ended up being a particularly nice 1731 King George II half penny! Nearby was another old copper, that also cleaned up fairly well, although not as nicely as the first:

DSC09795.JPG DSC09796.JPG

It's a 1774 King George III halfpenny, but a counterfeit which is unusual as most counterfeit KGIII half pennies are dated 1775. There were even a few more recent large coppers, although not in as good shape as the colonial coppers:

DSC09800.JPG

An 1802 Draped Bust Large Cent, a completely toasted Classic Head, and a decent 1820 Matron Head rounded out the copper coinage.

DSC09805.JPG

After the few hour hunt I had a decent aggregation of finds and considering the area had been hunted I was pleased with the result. It wasn't even until I got home and started the cleaning that I realized what I had accidentally mixed in with the buttons.

There was a small, bent disc that was the exact size and thickness as a tombac. It had even rung up on the detector in the same range. I couldn't see any trace of a shank in the field, but even that isn't too weird with the caked-on dirt. What was weird is that even after I started cleaning it I couldn't make out a shank scar on either side. It also wasn't cleaning like a tombac would. The patina on the edge was flaking and becoming a brighter silver. There was no visible trace of a pattern, so I started using Andre's brush which wasn't doing much until I angled the light differently and a design popped out in the center:

DSC09813.JPG

It was a coin! And not just any coin but obviously an extremely worn silver coin and it given the rough and thin nature it also had to be early! The crown with the "L" seemed familiar, but I continued on the reverse and was able to pull even more detail off that:

DSC09807.JPG DSC09811.JPG DSC09814.JPG

Now I can see some lettering, "enedictum" and another crown. A little more work and a date appears above the crown: 1743!!! :hello2:

Now that's some seriously old silver for my area and even better it reminds me of one I'd seen in a book so I dug out my old red book and there it was; under the French colonial issues, a Sou Marque!

Sou Marque.jpg

These were specifically minted for use in the the French colonies between 1738 and 1764. The material is a 25% silver billon which is why it rang so low and why it's in such rough shape. Apparently the later issues had even less silver content to the point where some were just silver plated copper. There are a ton of different mintmarks and some are extraordinarily rare, but unfortunately the mintmark on this one doesn't seem to have survived. Still, I'm just glad enough detail survived to identify and for the date to also still be there is just fantastic!

I don't think I've seen any others of these posted here on Treasurenet. I should think it'd be found on early sites in Canada though, but have any others out there been found?

This silver coin, the KGII, along with all of the cone shank tombacs, has me thinking maybe this was the site of a late 1760's or early 1770s house since this is a good amount of early pieces to be floating around in the 1790's, but who knows. Definitely one of my better yard hunts and I'm super happy with the early and unusual silver so this was a good day!
 
Upvote 25

DiggerKid2003

Sr. Member
Jul 5, 2014
433
990
Spotsylvania VA
Detector(s) used
Garret At Pro, Garret Pro Pointer, Wireless Z-Lynk headphones.
Primary Interest:
Metal Detecting
Very cool finds! I don’t think I’ve ever seen one of those coins
 

pepperj

Gold Member
Feb 3, 2009
19,859
54,966
Detector(s) used
Deus, Minelab 3030, E-Trac,
Primary Interest:
Relic Hunting
It's always satisfying to find one or two items from a well presented site.
But seriously those results are better than most non detected sites/
Congrats on the old coppers and the silver.
 

Blak bart

Gold Member
Jun 6, 2016
12,330
55,987
FL keys
🥇 Banner finds
5
Detector(s) used
Mine lab primary fisher secondary
Primary Interest:
All Treasure Hunting
Awsome overall hunt....im impressed with all the other finds as well as the colonial French coin !! What a great hunt congrats !!
 

Digger RJ

Gold Member
Aug 24, 2017
11,995
20,401
SW Missouri/Oklahoma
🏆 Honorable Mentions:
1
Detector(s) used
Minelab CTX 3030; Minelab Equinox 800
Primary Interest:
All Treasure Hunting
I prefer tracking down lost colonial structures, but I do yard hunts from time to time as demonstrations or for people who are interested in their house's history. They can be fun, but obviously produce a lot more modern trash and around here there tends to have been extensive landscaping around the houses so not usually much original ground is left to detect. As a result I manage the expectations for myself, but occasionally I still get surprised. This particular house was supposedly built in the late 1790's but had obviously been significantly modified and had apparently been detected many times in the past when a previous owner was there. Not particularly old and previously hunted so I was expecting even less than usual.

Most of the yard was recently scraped down to the ledge and replaced with fill so that was toast. There was one small strip going down a slope away from the house that didn't appear to have been messed with and very quickly I pulled out a flat button. Soon there were several more, including some cone shank tombacs which is a very good sign. To my surprise I even starting digging large coppers that had somehow been missed! The buttons alone had me questioning if this house was really built in the 1790's:

View attachment 1949272 View attachment 1949273 View attachment 1949274

One of the tombac buttons is a new type that I haven't seen before. It almost looks like the shank was inserted into the molten tombac as opposed to the cone shank variety where it was cast around the shank. Very unusual and I suspect middle 1700's. The first colonial copper that I pulled out also ended up being a pretty old one:

View attachment 1949275 View attachment 1949276

It took a bit of cleaning, but it ended up being a particularly nice 1731 King George II half penny! Nearby was another old copper, that also cleaned up fairly well, although not as nicely as the first:

View attachment 1949277 View attachment 1949278

It's a 1774 King George III halfpenny, but a counterfeit which is unusual as most counterfeit KGIII half pennies are dated 1775. There were even a few more recent large coppers, although not in as good shape as the colonial coppers:

View attachment 1949279

An 1802 Draped Bust Large Cent, a completely toasted Classic Head, and a decent 1820 Matron Head rounded out the copper coinage.

View attachment 1949281

After the few hour hunt I had a decent aggregation of finds and considering the area had been hunted I was pleased with the result. It wasn't even until I got home and started the cleaning that I realized what I had accidentally mixed in with the buttons.

There was a small, bent disc that was the exact size and thickness as a tombac. It had even rung up on the detector in the same range. I couldn't see any trace of a shank in the field, but even that isn't too weird with the caked-on dirt. What was weird is that even after I started cleaning it I couldn't make out a shank scar on either side. It also wasn't cleaning like a tombac would. The patina on the edge was flaking and becoming a brighter silver. There was no visible trace of a pattern, so I started using Andre's brush which wasn't doing much until I angled the light differently and a design popped out in the center:

View attachment 1949282

It was a coin! And not just any coin but obviously an extremely worn silver coin and it given the rough and thin nature it also had to be early! The crown with the "L" seemed familiar, but I continued on the reverse and was able to pull even more detail off that:

View attachment 1949283 View attachment 1949284 View attachment 1949285

Now I can see some lettering, "enedictum" and another crown. A little more work and a date appears above the crown: 1743!!! :hello2:

Now that's some seriously old silver for my area and even better it reminds me of one I'd seen in a book so I dug out my old red book and there it was; under the French colonial issues, a Sou Marque!

View attachment 1949290

These were specifically minted for use in the the French colonies between 1738 and 1764. The material is a 25% silver billon which is why it rang so low and why it's in such rough shape. Apparently the later issues had even less silver content to the point where some were just silver plated copper. There are a ton of different mintmarks and some are extraordinarily rare, but unfortunately the mintmark on this one doesn't seem to have survived. Still, I'm just glad enough detail survived to identify and for the date to also still be there is just fantastic!

I don't think I've seen any others of these posted here on Treasurenet. I should think it'd be found on early sites in Canada though, but have any others out there been found?

This silver coin, the KGII, along with all of the cone shank tombacs, has me thinking maybe this was the site of a late 1760's or early 1770s house since this is a good amount of early pieces to be floating around in the 1790's, but who knows. Definitely one of my better yard hunts and I'm super happy with the early and unusual silver so this was a good day!
Awesome!!! Congrats!!! 1700's!!!
 

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