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My Return to the Early 19th Century Home

Posted by on September 12, 2014
Aspinwall match & stamp box

Aspinwall match & stamp box.

As you can imagine, I was excited to get back to the early 19th Century homesite. Because of work and family life, most times I can’t plan my outings ahead of time. They are very spur of the moment. Well, when the moment presented itself, I was off for the hunt! When I arrived I showed the homeowner my finds from my previous dig and I learned a little more about the property from her. While I enjoy finding coins and artifacts, I love meeting nice people, and this homeowner is among the nicest!

With my gear on and detector powered up, I decided to hit another part of the backyard. But as I walked (with my coil to the ground as I always do) I got a screaming high tone – in an area I had searched last time! How could I miss it? So I dug. What I found was one of the coolest things I’ve found to date.

The Aspinwall Manufacturing Company, although Michigan based, held their first product demo of their potato manufacturing machine in Red Bank, NJ, in the late 1800s. This was the swag of the day – a matchstick case that doubled as a stamp holder. A travel to Red Bank during the late 1800s must not have been easy, and somehow the metal box made it’s way back to where I was, only to be lost for over 100 years.

Aspinwall match & stamp box

Aspinwall match & stamp box.

When I showed it to the homeowner, I mentioned how the top lid must open, but I’m very careful with relics and would clean it first and see if I could gently get it to budge. Before I was able to finish my sentence she stuck her thumb under the latch and started to pry it open. I watched silently, wide-eyed in horror. Certainly it was going to be destroyed. But it wasn’t! The lid flipped open to reveal, “Place Stamps Here.” I was both relieved and excited by this new revelation. Safe and sound back in my pouch, it was time for more digging.

Aspinwall match & stamp box

Aspinwall match & stamp box, opened.

I went on to find some other pretty cool stuff, like what I think this is a snuff box but I can’t find anything on the maker: SUHO Patented. If you know what it is, please share!

SOHU Snuff Box

This piece had a rectangular brown stone in the center, but it was shattered.

junk jewelry

Along with a curled, unidentified piece of lead, this shot musket ball was a pretty cool find.

Shot musket ball with lead piece

Shot musket ball with lead piece.

Marked “STERLING” I believe this to be the top of a silver cigar case. I hope to find the bottom part!

Sterling cigar topper

Sterling cigar topper.

I found this lovely decorated flat button. It’s a shame the shank is missing.

flat button

I believe this was a frame of some sort. I’m not 100% positive.


Here’s a padlock that’s not too difficult to date!

1902 padlock

Here’s an ornate little key. Interestingly, it fits into the padlock, but there’s just no turning it as it’s frozen shut.

Graham key

This 1906 Jamaican Half Penny rang up like tin foil. I’m glad I dug it!

1902 jamaican half penny

1902 jamaican half penny

Always look at your garter clips and suspenders buckles as they often have patent numbers and dates. This one is stamped 1898.

Garter clip 1898

This is a toe plate. Back in the day shoes often had both toe and heel plates.

toe plateSo, as you can see, this property keeps on giving. I can’t wait to get back to see what else lies beneath the surface. Stay tuned!


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