We Were Featured in the Asbury Park Press!

Thanks to Asbury Park Press columnist Jerry Carino, filmographer Brian Johnston and photographer Doug ? for capturing us at our best. We’re thrilled with the article, photos and video. Please have a read, look and watch!

Asbury Park Press screen capture

Grant & James were featured in the Asbury Park Press

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Newfound Hope

Undying hope, captured on a cufflink.

Undying hope, captured on a cufflink.

On a recent outing to an unplanted field in Salem County, NJ, among other finds (King George III copper, colonial tombac coat button, 1894 Indian Head penny) I located a colonial cufflink. As I unearthed it, I immediately noticed a crude design, which in my experience is often the case with 18th century cufflinks. At first, the image looked like the letters “D” and “R” intertwined with rays above them. However, through the magic of social media—this time a colonial coins and relics Facebook page—two members quickly provided a more accurate ID: The image was of a woman resting on an anchor. On the surface, this design conjures up a romantic vision of a young maiden longingly waiting for her beloved mariner to return to port after a long time at sea. However, through further research (and more online magic), I learned that this image is an age-old allegory used to symbolize undying hope.

Thus, in the reflection that followed this find, something  became clear to me: Amid a very uncertain time of rough living conditions, short lifespans, and uncertain futures, the colonial wearer of this cufflink not only literally wore hope on their shirtsleeves, but (much more significantly) they held unyielding hope in their heart. We can learn a lot from our forbearers!

There’s a story behind every artifact. Most of these stories remain dormant like the fields in which they are buried.  This latest find is yet another example of how metal detectorists can give them voice!

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Old Item, New ID—My Second 1600s Find!

17th century button

17th century button

Sometimes, an artifact can provide newfound excitement long after its original excavation because it is positively identified as much older and/or significant than previously thought. Such was the case with a button originally pictured in one of my previous posts.

Back in early January, I had found a flat button on the same quick excursion that yielded a 1621-1665 Spanish cob and my first arrowhead. At the time, I suspected that it was an older button (“older” meaning pre-dating the usual company-made 1800s flat buttons I commonly find). My suspicions were predicated in large part on the lack of a backmark (maker’s mark) and especially considering the rather crude shank (loop), which was slightly off-center and looked almost like a square nail shaft had been fused to the button and then bent over to create a loop.

Read more »

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NJ Civil War Staff Buttons

NJ Civil War Staff Button

NJ Civil War Staff Button

The story of these buttons was featured in the April 2016 “Best Finds” issue of Western & Eastern Treasures magazine. Please contact me if you’d like to learn how to read about the wonderful experience of unearthing these rare and historic relics, which includes meeting two of the nicest and most generous home owners I’ve ever come across. In total, I found 7 NJ Civil War Staff Buttons of the Alberts NJ 7D b/m Horstmann & Allien/NY variety. These are quite rare, and I can tie them to the original owner, which adds to their historic value. Read more »

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Cob on the Corn

Spanish CobbIn early January, exploring some remote parts of NJ, I was tipped off by a local about a colonial-era house with 100 acres located down a remote road on a riverbank. He had me at “colonial-era,” for shortly thereafter I was on my way to seek permission to metal detect there.

Long story, short, the owner was very nice to chat with but guarded with respect to granting permission to hunt his property. After some genuine assurances on my part, he eventually agreed on a compromise—I had just “an hour or two” to detect 100 acres of barren corn field! Daunting as that was, I had no time to think about it. Read more »

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Most Wanted… Found!

NJ Copper coin

NJ Copper coin

No matter what your hobby or interest may be, we all have those elusive, much-sought-after finds, goals, catches (think fishing), or items that we are hoping to someday cross off our personal bucket lists. For me, in my hobby of metal detecting, this was always the New Jersey state copper coin. Why the New Jersey “copper”? Well, I was born, bred, and still reside in New Jersey—a place for which I hold an immense amount of pride. Couple that with the fact that, as most people with any knowledge of history can attest, New Jersey (wedged between the major colonial and wartime-contested cities of New York and Philadelphia) played a pivotal role during colonial and Revolutionary times, even earning the title of “the cockpit of the Revolution” because of the amount of battles, skirmishes, and Revolutionary traffic that occurred here. Read more »

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A Cold but Good Start to the Year

Frost on an XP Deus Coil

Morning frost latched itself onto my detector’s coil.

Early January 2016. Frost on the ground, cold winds, and a dull sky aren’t usually the signs that lure you to spend a day outside. But ground that’s soft enough to dig? That’ll do! As the sun rose into the sky early that January morning, my coil was ready to scan the ground in hopes to unearth some long-lost treasures. While navigating through the corn stalk stubble, frosty yet muddy ground, and the periodic bone-chilling breeze I was able to rescue some great artifacts.

The day started out slow with me digging up a lot of modern trash, but soon heated up when I broke into the 1700s. It’s always a thrill to find Spanish silver from our Colonial Era! Read more »

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If It’s Out There, I’ll Find It!

I hear all-too-often, “You won’t find anything. This place has been searched many times before.” Well, I believe it truly hasn’t been searched properly until it’s been searched by me! No disrespect to other detectorists, but no one — not even me — will get everything the first time out. I myself have missed many things on my first attempt, or even my second and third attempts. There’s a saying that sums it up pretty nicely: “If you miss by an inch, you’ve missed by a mile.” Because I’m lucky enough to return to properties I’ve searched before, I have the opportunity to slow down, be patient, and find what I may have missed on previous attempts (or what others before my didn’t retrieve). The following finds all came from properties I’ve already given a thorough going over. And I guarantee you I’ll still go back to find more.

Old well pump chain

Old well pump chain.

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Detecting Against the Clock

1810-1830 Naval button with gold gilt

1810-1830 Naval button with gold gilt

Recently, I took to the farm fields for a full day of detecting given that the fields will soon be planted, which will signify an end to field hunting until November. Though I have scoured these vast fields about a dozen times, this outing was by far my most successful.

The finds, as seen below, included a gold gilded naval button circa 1810-1830, a post-Civil War South Carolina two-piece button, a colonial flower-motif coat button, a musket ball, a rather chubby skeleton key, an early 1700s George I copper coin, an early 1800s U.S. half cent, a Fishman’s copper store token, an early watch winder, a silver barrette, and many other colonial and post-colonial buttons. Read more »

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Celebrating a 100th Wedding Anniversary

Gold wedding band found one day shy of the couple's 100th wedding anniversary!

With Old Man Winter’s reverse hibernation under way and the related metal detecting hindrances (i.e., frozen ground and frigid temps) asleep with him, I was able embark on a recent historical hunt on some fields in Salem County, NJ. I love this area because it represents one of the last vestiges of rural New Jersey at its finest. Indeed, it’s one of those park-your-car-on-the-side-of-the-road type of places where you may not see a single soul the rest of the day. Read more »

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