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Design on a Dime?

Posted by on June 27, 2012

My across-the-street neighbor’s backyard runs into a branch of Cooper Creek here in Southern NJ. Because of the site’s potential for great finds, I’ve hunted it several times to treasure extinction and I thought the finds were over. But, as is often the case with metal detecting, sometimes a “find” is something you unearthed previously that you originally cast off as junk or as some other unidentifiable matter but later presents itself as much more.

Such was the case of a mysterious round metal object I found a few months back at my neighbor’s. When I first pulled it from the dirt it really glistened in the sunlight and, being so thin, I had a momentary fantasy that it was a Spanish hammered silver coin, which are sometimes unearthed here on the East Coast. Eventually, however, the more I turned it about in my hand the more it lost its allure and simply looked like a metal seal to a bottle or container.

Back side, no detail.

Back side, no detail.

Side with some detail

Side with some detail

After a few minutes of further inspection under magnification back at home, I was surprised to see some lettering. I could make out an “O” and an “M” below it. Unfortunately, I could not identify anything else because the rest of it, including the reverse side, was absolutely smooth and shiny. Oh well, I thought, this find will go in the mystery section of my collection.

Recently, I came across the object again and, curiosity getting the best of me, began a second study. This time, besides the previously identified “O” and “M,” I could see an “N” next to the “O” and “E” next to the “M.” Suddenly, it hit me: “ONE DIME”!

Close up view, look hard for the text!

Close up view, look hard for the text!

I scoured the ‘Net for pics of an older dime’s reverse and came across examples of a barber dime and a later-circulated seated dime. The font and placement of letters were exact matches to my object’s writing. However, there were a few puzzling factors that did not allow me to classify my find as an older dime—and they were major ones!

The first, and most notable, was that the object was the size of a quarter (see comparison pic). The second was that the “coin” was ultra-thin, literally the thickness of a razor blade. Also, when dropped on a hard surface, it made a cheap, clangy sound—clearly not similar to the sound of a coin drop.

Size comparison.

Size comparison.

So, as us treasure hunters often do, I turned to the TreasureNet forums for help. I posted a description and pics to solicit any possible ideas as to why I had an object that read “ONE DIME” yet was large and thin. You can read that here. If you have any ideas that may put this matter to rest, I’d welcome them. Until then, the “dime” will reside in my finds’ case awaiting a proper ID.

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2 Responses to Design on a Dime?

  1. Papa Bear

    I agree on the hammered flat. What type of dime is it?

    • James Nicholas

      Hi Papa Bear. Thanks for your comment. I’m not sure if it’s a seated or barber dime. The only discernable marking is the “ONE DIME” and the font of that points to both types. I can rule out all other types of dimes, but it’s between those two. It certainly was a surprise to me to turn out to be a dime. Just shows that you never know what will turn up!

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