When the year came to a close, I was a bit bummed that my 2020 digging season in WI/MN/IN had closed for good. But the frozen ground and snow cover gave me opportunity to review my finds from my final month of digging in 2020, and only now am I taking the time to write about them!
In November I found my oldest coin ever (even though I don’t have an exact date), so that’s certainly something to celebrate! The following are the coins, accessories, and random finds of note from November.
1961 Roosevelt Dime (silver) – I’ll begin with the least exciting. I dug this from a park situated behind a 100+ year old one-room school house which is now a town hall. I thought I might have found some nice artifacts there, but this was the oldest item of the lot. Since I don’t find much silver, though, I was stoked to uncover it!
1892 Indian Head Penny – I dug this one from between the roots of a tree that must have been 100 years old on a farm that’s been updated greatly over the years. It’s amazing that I’ve found most of my Indian Heads near old trees. I had thought that was just a neat metal-detecting joke, but it’s occurred way often to be a coincidence. The maxim is true! Massive tree are made for swinging (and I don’t mean on tires).
U.S. Large Cent (no date) – OK, this might be my favorite find to date. I was at a city park in Indiana built in the 1970s just looking for spare change, so when this thing dinged up, I seriously thought it was a garbage token of some sort. But when I got home and saw the green, I knew I had something special. Upon closer inspection, it revealed the “RICA” at 5:00 on the reverse as well as the central wreath. This thing is definitely a large cent, but without a date, I can’t tell how old it is—just that it’s earlier than 1858. This counts as my oldest-ever coin (so far). I’d love any insights about it that you could share!
Toy Ring – Again I’ll start with the least exciting, but it’s got a good story! I was visiting a friend in Indiana who had lost his wedding ring several years ago. He asked if I could swing through his garden and yard in search of it (which is like asking President Trump if he wants to share his thoughts). “Abso-freaking-lutely!” So I swung for about an hour, and just as they called me in for dinner, I heard this ping in the aluminum/gold range. I knew immediately it wasn’t his wedding ring when I saw it, but I surprised him with it anyways. It barely fit on his pinky sadly, but hey…I found a ring when I was looking for a ring!
925 Silver Ring – I found this silver ring (made in China) at the same park where I found the large cent. This came up within my first ten minutes at the site, so I was stoked for what the rest of my digs might bring. Besides these two gems and about about $9 is change, I didn’t find much during the 2 weeks or so I spent there, off and on.
Brass Button Cover – I found this weird item during my first-ever night dig (there was a street lamp over a church parking lot, so I decided to swing while my friends chatted). I had no clue what it was at first, so thanks to Shane at Ohio River History for helping me ID it. Apparently people back in the day would use these covers to spruce up their ugly buttons. Nothing says “fancy” like brass, I guess.
50-cal Shell – It’s not every day you find a 50-cal shell OR a Korean War relic in an Indiana backyard, but this hobby is full of surprises. The story likely goes that some kid bought this at an Army Surplus store in the ’60s and dropped it while playing bombardier in his sandbox. At least that would have my story had I been the one to lose it as a child.
1967 Hot Wheels, Deora Model – When I posted this picture on my Instagram account, it got more likes than any other find I’ve shared. The Deora was a concept car shaped like a flatbed truck. The front door opened from the hood, and the back bed was like two leather couches draped in a rain cover. The original Hot Wheels model came with two plastic surfboards (long gone by now!), and sells for a decent price in good condition. I believe the bluish tint of my piece marks this as a model built in HongKong.
Axe Head – I always like to share my axe-head findings, even if I don’t keep them myself. My wife thinks I’m crazy for hanging onto thimbles and harmonica reeds, so I don’t want to push it by lugging around huge chunks of iron too! I know that these can be dated by style and shape, so perhaps someone has an inkling as to what I have here in the picture. Thanks for any help you might give!
Knowles Automatic Striker. Pat 3 Feb 27, 1906 – I close with this find from a creek-side. I don’t know a whole lot about fishing or antique lures, but I’m amazed at the condition of this piece after having been buried in the muck for so long! A friend of mine noted that this one may hold some value, and I had just tossed into my bag of randomness. Anyone out there know about antique lures and their potential values? Thanks for any info you can share!