One of A Kind Button?

No, I’m sure it’s not a one-of-a-kind button. But I can’t find another example anywhere of a button with this specific back mark. Have you seen it? If so, please let me know!

Button with IMPERIAL TREBLE QUALITY backmark

Button with IMPERIAL TREBLE QUALITY backmark

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A Cold November Day

Over Thanksgiving weekend, I went back to my childhood home to see what else I could find. It was cold and muddy, which I wasn’t expecting, and I hadn’t dressed properly to fend off the elements. My feet, fingers, and body got cold fast, so the hunt was shorter than I had planned.

I did manage to find some interesting items during my short mission.

Traymore Hotel shoe horn

I found this shoe horn from the NYC Traymore Hotel. I can’t find any information on the hotel other than it had undergone renovations in 1911.

Hem weight

Hem weight (pictured next to a penny for size comparison)

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A Few Nice Buttons

As we entered mid-November, I was able to get out for a few hours. While signals were few and far between, I did find some nice buttons. In particular, I found my first ball buttons!

Various button finds

Various button finds

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Field and Far Between

In a previous entry, I wrote about a property in the southwest, NJ, area that yielded some very interesting history. That property, once the site of a mid-1700s structure and now home to an 1890s farmhouse, sits adjacent to a vast acreage of fields that are farmed from April through November. In late November, when the property owner notified me that the fields were barren (yet ripe for metal detecting) following the annual soybean harvest, I made the 40-minute trek there with excitement as to what history they held.

Aerial view of the farm field.

Aerial view of the farm field.

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Return Trip to House I “Found when Lost”

I returned for a second scouring of the late-1800s house built on the foundation of a 1740s-era house (see an account of the initial trip here) and made some more period finds, including a large concave button with what appears to be an “S” on the front; two colonial shoe buckles (one with chape intact, one just the frame), and various flat buttons. What a great property, not to mention always-gracious hosts!

Front of concave button with S design

Front of concave button with S design

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A 1700s Kind of Day

Unless a property stops producing, I’ll keep going back as long as I have permission to do so. So, back I went to one of my favorite spots, built in 1810. While the property is filled with debris from yesterday, there continue to be treasures hidden amongst the clutter.

On this day I decided to break out my XP Deus to see what it could do, and it did not disappoint! I quickly got a nice signal and began to retrieve it. Spanish silver!! I had found my second half reale. While most of the coin has been worn thin, the most important detail – the date – is crystal clear. 1791!

1791 Spanish half reale

1791 Spanish half reale with tombac buttons, also from the late 1700s

While I had entered the 18th century relic realm, it didn’t stop me from being excited to find a 19th century one.

Toe plate from the 1800s

Toe plate from the 1800s

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From Lost to Found

On a recent trip to explore the more rural parts of Southern NJ, I got lost trying to find one particular out-of-the-way colonial structure. Though I had GPS via my phone, apparently the area was so rural that even modern technology couldn’t accurately assist me in finding my way. Intent on reaching my destination nonetheless, I decided to pull into a windy dirt driveway so as to ascertain from the homeowners (1) where the heck I was and (2) directions to my target location. I immediately received a friendly greeting from the homeowner, who happened to be outside working on his house. After hearing about my predicament, the homeowner pointed just beyond his property and across the road to a grouping of trees; there, he said, was the location I was looking for.

After thanking him, we struck up a conversation, which inevitably had me explaining my metal detecting hobby. The homeowner was intrigued and granted me unsolicited permission to search his property for historic relics. Though I really didn’t have time to do so right then and there, I told him I certainly would be back. Before leaving, he showed me items he had recovered from his property, all of which were found right on the surface of the ground. I could see old bottle pieces and pottery fragments, not to mention a matron head large cent. “Hmmm,” I thought, “this place certainly has potential.” I thanked my new friend and told him I’d be in touch.

About a week later, returning to the property, the homeowner told me that the current home was built around 1890, but the original structure had been built sometime in the 1700s and burned down around 1860. (Later research dated the original structure to 1754 or 1756.) This had me wondering if I could locate items specific to the original structure.

After an anxious start, the first item of note that I dug was my first silver Walking Liberty half dollar (1937). To see a large silver disc in the hole is thrilling; the size and design makes this coin look really majestic.

1937 Walking Liberty silver half dollar

1937 Walking Liberty silver half dollar

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Detecting My Brother’s Victorian-Era Property

As my brother and his partner were house-hunting in the Northern NJ/Southern NY area, their main preference was a historic home that they could refurbish to its original grandeur in a structural sense, while fashioning it with more modern amenities and conveniences. Knowing full well that I would get exclusive access to metal detect their eventually chosen property, I felt as though I was a third wheel in their selection process. Of course, I was holding out hope that they would ultimately settle on a colonial property. Unfortunately, however, most of the very old homes they saw had one or more overriding negative factors about them that deterred a serious offer from being made.

victorian home

My brother’s beautiful Victorian home, through the years.

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More Finds at the Early 19th Century Home

It’s not often that detectorists like myself find a property that just keeps on giving. Usually we hit a property once, twice, even three times, and then it simply becomes a struggle for diminishing returns. Well, not this house. Not this property. A few hours in spots I’ve already searched yielded some fantastic goodies!

1857 large cent obverse

1857 large cent, obverse — only 333k minted! This is the same year the 1857 flying eagle penny entered circulation.

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Big Round Tease

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