The Best of the Best

Three years ago, wanting to cause a commotion, as he called it, Seth and I teamed up to write a post about metal detecting here.  That post remains one of my favorites.  Seth at age fourteen is still an avid treasure hunter, and spends countless hours out with his metal detector.  He has learned an incredible amount of history over the years, and often carries his finds to the Civil War museum down the road from us to chat with local historians.  Honestly, I don’t know what this kid would do with himself if it weren’t for his metal detecting hobby.  His first detector was a Garrett Ace 250, and he was able to upgrade to his beloved At Pro about a year ago.  When friends ask what metal detector we recommend, we always suggest the Ace 250 for kids roughly ten and up (it’s an adult-sized machine, so they have to be tall and strong enough to handle it.)  Seth has been bugging me to take pictures of all his favorite finds using his AT Pro, and this weekend we did just that.  I added all the photos to this post, and then he added his own text.  I guess my next big project is going to be helping Seth start his own blog, because clearly he needs one.  The rest of this post was written by Seth, so if your kids or grandkids are interested, please share with them!  There is lots to learn here.

In the past year I have found 87 wheat cents, I guess my AT Pro likes them. Wheat cents were minted between 1909 and 1958.  The dates on mine range from 1912 to 1958.

I don’t have every date between those years though. The first coin I found with my AT Pro was a 1919 wheat cent. I think it’s pretty cool that the first coin I found with it was 95 years old!

Here is a close up of some of the wheat cents.


Since I am organizing the coin section of this post by denomination,my Indian head cents and two cent piece come next.  I’m sorry it is so hard to see any detail on the Indian head cents, but they have been sitting in the ground for over 100 years and that is a long time to sit and corrode. The 1864 two cent piece in the center of this picture is probably my favorite find of the year.  It’s pretty cool (in my opinion).


Here are the reverses of the coins in the picture above.


Here is a close up picture of my favorite find of the year, my 1864 two cent piece.


This picture shows all the v nickels I found.  It took me two and a half years to find one. V nickels are named after the roman numeral “v” on their backs, representing five cents. When these coins came out in 1883, the word “cents” wasn’t present on the back, and some people gold plated these coins and passed them off as the new five dollar gold piece. This led to the word “cents” being added to the back in mid 1883.


I found six buffalo nickels this past year, most of them being older dates (the one turned over is a 1921). Most of the coins (peace dollars, walking liberty half dollars, standing liberty quarters, and mercury dimes) minted during the time period that these were made in had very detailed pretty pictures on them and the buffalo nickel is no exception. The buffalo nickel, along with the standing liberty quarter,were designed with the date higher than any other point on the coin. This was fine except for the fact that the date would wear off, leaving a dateless coin.


Allright, it’s about time for some silver! These coins are the best silver coins I have found since getting my AT Pro. In the top row are the Barber quarter and Barber dime I found ( both worth about 40$, not that I would ever sell them or any other find I have) along with the 1771 cut Spanish Pistareen. I got lucky with the Pistareen.  The last two digits of the date were on the piece I found meaning it was minted in 1771, my oldest coin by 90 years. Coins like it were cut to make change, I guess they didn’t carry many smaller coins.  Spanish coins ( and other foreign coins ) were actually legal tender in the U.S.A until 1857. In the center is my favorite silver coin for the year, the 1944 walking liberty half. I think it is a very pretty coin design, too bad they don’t make them any more. In case any one is wondering why there are three modern looking quarters in this picture, I’ll tell you why.  All U.S. quarters, dimes, half dollars, and dollar coins made before 1964 were made of 90% silver.


I’m sure everyone knows what the back of a Washington quarter looks like, so this picture only shows the older coins.

Here are all those wheat pennies again,after I had pushed them out of the way to take pictures of other things.

These are all the mercury dimes I found. This was the design of dime used before the current Roosevelt dime was introduced. I like it much more than the current design.

The 1958 silver dime in the picture above was the first silver coin I found with my AT Pro.  I thought that I had found all the coins on our property, but found the 1960 silver dime under the bushes next to our house.

Finally! I’m finished with coins. My mom told me after she had taken all the coin pictures I wanted that there were only 300 pictures of coins on her camera (sarcastically of course). I’m sure some of you are pretty bored with them by now, so lets move on to something else.

This is all the better non-ring jewelry I found. No gold yet, this is all silver except for the earring in the upper left corner which I think is palladium. Oh,wait, I forgot the clasp on the (silver) tin man is marked 14k so I guess I have found some gold after all.


Here are all the better rings I found, seven are silver and the other is copper and is marked world’s fair.


These are two silver thimbles I found, the one on the right was actually laying on top of the ground and I think it is the older  of the two.


Now for some Civil War relics. The large buckle in the center is a carbine sling buckle,probably my most valuable find to date. In the lower left corner there is a piece of flattened lead, actually a Civil War bullet a soldier chewed completely flat. The piece of brass below the buckle is a piece off an epaulet or shoulder scale. These relics were all found within walking distance of my house.


The relics shown in this picture are a mixture of Civil War and earlier items.  They were found at my secret spot were I also found many other things including the piece of Spanish silver, and the walking liberty half dollar. The cone shaped piece of brass in the upper left center is a bayonet scabbard tip. The broken, upside down button in the center of the picture is probably pre-1800.


Here is a close up of the civil war buttons in the previous picture, the upper one is a New York state seal button, and the others are general service eagle buttons.


Here are a few more relics from near my house, as you can see, the Civil War breastplate fragment in the center of my case was featured in the Garrett searcher newsletter!


Here is a better picture of the relics shown above. On the right are the fronts of two New York state seal buttons, and on the right i a coat-size general service eagle button, and a cuff size general service eagle button. In the center, beneath the breastplate fragment, is the back to a Civil War button. Too bad it doesn’t fit either New York  button.


The Civil War relics shown in the previous picture were found on a hilltop near an old home site that I think is more recent than the Civil War. These relics were found with those Civil War relics and related to the old home site and not the Civil War.


These relics were found at one of the old home sites near my house. The best item in this picture the Colt pocket revolver in the center of this picture. These were made during the 1870’s and 80’s. Also worth mentioning is the old harmonica just above the pistol. It has the word “LOVER” in the center and the words “nothing to equal it” and “the very best made.”


These relics were found in my backyard and at home sites in the woods around my house. My favorite find in this case is the post office department button in the top center of this picture. These are probably my favorite buttons to find. I have only found three since I started metal detecting and they were all found at the same site. Pretty easy to guess the job of whoever lived at that home site.  A few other notable items in this case are the skeleton key,and the 1941 Virginia dog license.

That sums up my best finds with my AT Pro.

(Seth will answer your questions this evening!)

p.s. Does anyone know what this relic is? I haven’t been able to identify it.

happy things

A few weeks ago I mentioned using weekends to catch up and clean up after the week.  One of you commented (was that you, Tara?) that you use weekends for relaxing after the week.  I immediately thought, wait-I want to do that too!  I’ve got things all mixed up!  I want to relax on the weekend!  Starting this week, we will have baseball tournaments nearly every weekend through the first of June.  If I kept the mindset that I have to have those weekend days to get ready for the coming week, I’d be a mess because baseball weekends tend to be about baseball, laundry, and food.  And fun.  We mostly like the whole baseball thing.  So, I have a new plan.  It’s huge.  Are you ready?  Monday mornings are going to be for cleaning up and regrouping.  I’m going to make a little checklist of the weekly tasks I want accomplished that morning and we’ll all team up.  Then we’ll be starting the week with a clean house and I’ll be happy.  I only mention my own happiness, because no one else seems to care if the house is clean.  But my happiness ultimately translates into everyone else’s happiness.  We all know how that works.

Speaking of my own happiness.  The gigantic trash heap that has been occupying a large area next to our house for, oh I don’t know, a year maybe?  It’s gone.  The boys have been dragging metal of all kinds from barrels, to large sinks, to copper tubing from old dumps in the woods surrounding our property for years.  Jonny takes it to the metal recycling center so the boys can make a little money selling it (right now it’s five bucks/100 pounds for mixed metal-copper pays significantly more.)  Jonny’s truck stopped being street legal about a year ago though, and while he keeps meaning to work on it, he hasn’t had time.  So that pile, it kept growing.  And it wasn’t pretty.  At one point I offered to pay the boys to take the metal back to where they found it.  No one liked that idea but me.  Last week, Jonny finally pulled the seats out of the van and over a couple of trips, he hauled all the metal away.  I think that pile, sitting in my front yard for many moons netted about ninety dollars between all the big boys.  It doesn’t sound like much.  But then again, when I think about all the work they put into dragging all that metal home, I have to admit that the lesson they learn is worth far more, and worth my having lived with the trash pile out front for so long.  There’s already a new pile growing, but it’s off in the woods a little ways so I don’t have to look at it every day.

Saturday evening I took Keats and the girls to a concert put on by our local homeschooling musical group.  There was a choir, band, and orchestra, all quite talented.  My original plan was for Keats and I to go alone.  Then Larkspur mentioned wanting to go, and I thought she could surely sit through it.  When Beatrix asked to go too, I asked her, “Do you think you can sit through the whole thing without talking the entire time?”  She put some obvious thought into it before answering, “No.”  But then there were tears, because she really wanted to go.  She ended up dancing through nearly the entire concert.  It wasn’t a big problem because we were sitting in the back.  At one point she turned to me and said, “I know I should be sitting still, but this music is just so good for dancing!”

While we were at the concert, Seth and Gabe went metal detecting at a friend’s house.  Gabe found something pretty amazing, a Spanish cut silver coin from 1788 (a quarter of a 4 Reales coin)!  It was pretty lucky that the piece he found had the date on it.  These coins were cut to make smaller denominations, and this is where the phrase “pieces of eight” originated from.

In other news, Job has graduated to riding on my back (photos by Keats).  He doesn’t like riding on the front, and I had hoped that he would be content on my back for short periods of time.  He mostly isn’t.  That’s all right, before long he’ll be too heavy for me to carry him that way anyway.  My right shoulder still gives me trouble, and sadly, baby wearing aggravates it.

I want to stitch that little clump of white clover.  I think I need to make myself frame the two cross stitch pieces that I have had finished and ready to go for quite some time first.

Oh, and finally-there’s this:

A collective groan went up from the big boys when Jonny and I announced that the new license plate would read,  “Yarn Over.”  I will admit, their dismay just made me like it more.  I think they were nearly as incensed as the time I confessed that the real reason that Jonny had turned the van around ten minutes into a road trip was that I forgot my knitting not the “secret girl stuff” that he alluded to in order to save me from questions and possible mutiny.

p.s.  Thank you for all the encouragement you left on this post.  I truly appreciate it!

p.p.s.  The cross stitch is from a book called Wild GardenCross-stitch Embroideries