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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Shipwreck Relics

It’s been a long and daunting winter in the Northeastern United States. Snowstorm after snowstorm, low temperatures and frozen ground have translated into zero metal detecting outings for many of us. Itching to get out and detect, I couldn’t take it much longer. Usually the beaches provide haven when the dirt is snow covered or impossible to penetrate, but even the sand on the Jersey Shore has been cement-like. I took the opportunity of an above-freezing day on the first day of March and headed way south to meet up with friends Dave McMahon and Relic Ron. While targets were few and far between, I did manage to find some old ship nails and percussion caps. I’ve always wanted to find something from a shipwreck, and braving the cold, wind, and snow this day paid off. The ride home was scary as we got another 6-8 inches of snow, thus keeping me off my old home sites for a little longer. Once the thaw happens, I’ll be sure to post the good stuff!

Two ship nails and two percussion caps, probably from the 1700s

Two ship nails and two percussion caps, probably from the 1700s.

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Who’s the Black Sheep?

In November 2013 I detected on some very old ground in England, and found some great stuff. My story, however, has been lost. So I will regroup, and rewrite! In the meantime, please watch (well, listen really) to my first night in my freezing tent. Full story in the works!

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Update on James’ Farm Field Detecting

Another visit to the farm fields (see here for original posting) brought some more good finds, including several pre-Civil War flat buttons, a large Zouave ball button, and miscellaneous lead shot, from musket balls to 2-ring bullets.

Miscellaneous bullets

Miscellaneous bullets

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A Productive, Muddy Day

Since temps were above 40 following a few days of heavy rain, I took advantage of the “warm” weather and went back to my spot that keeps producing. While there was plenty of garbage to be found, I did manage to eke out some cool relics and coins.

Somers Brother's Chewing Tobacco Tin

1878 Somers Brother’s Chewing Tobacco Tin with a rose leaf and frog design. In its heyday it had a compass in the middle, which is now long gone.

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