Home Metal Detecting

Breakthrough! First in years. (FINALLY! UPDATED W/PICTURE ADDED)

lordmarcovanlordmarcovan Posts: 42,947 ✭✭✭✭✭
I made a truly remarkable (and somewhat baffling) coin find the other day, at a colonial site north of here. I was just walking the site. I didn't even have my metal detector with me (alas, nor did I bring a camera, either). I still managed to make an amazing (and strange) coin find, right on top of the ground, by eyesight alone. The coin was in a "washout" where the runoff from who knows how many years of rainfall had eroded it out of a sand roadbed.

Prior to Tuesday, my oldest coin ever found was a 1658 Spanish piece.

I've now broken new ground, as this recent "eyeball" find is a far sight older than that.

And that's all I'll say until I post the story and pictures later.

(I'm sick at the moment, and this computer ain't doin' so well, either. I'll be back around eventually. Just thought I'd tantalize y'all until then.) image

Early May UPDATE- I finally came back and have now posted pictures and further story below. Scroll down.


  • johnny9434johnny9434 Posts: 26,440 ✭✭✭✭✭
    will be looking forward to it image
  • Batman23Batman23 Posts: 4,886 ✭✭✭✭✭
  • bronzematbronzemat Posts: 2,537 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Cant wait to see what it is....

    Get well!
  • Let's see now ... my St Augustine tee shirt says 1565 , It's gotta be Spanish i'd think down yonder , congrats whatever it is Lord M , hope your chipper soon mate.
  • lordmarcovanlordmarcovan Posts: 42,947 ✭✭✭✭✭
    St. Augustine was 1565, yes.

    Hint #1: this coin predates the British colonies in America.
  • Now that's interesting , very much so.Id gathered it might be british from the post on the US coin forum , pre dates the colonies though...very interesting indeed.
    You know Lord M , i have an old newspaper article from the late 1800''s and it talks about a hoard of scottish coins being found in what they described as an Indian burial.From the description these coins could only have been John Baliol who wasnt really a King at all ..he was and he wasn't .. i believe it was not an Indian burial but rather a burial of a Scottish Knight or Crusader , some call them Templers.
  • rgCoinGuyrgCoinGuy Posts: 7,610
    Ancient Chinese Secret? image
    imageQuid pro quo. Yes or no?
  • lordmarcovanlordmarcovan Posts: 42,947 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Hint #2- this coin predates the founding of St. Augustine, and the Spanish colonies in America.

    In fact, it predates Columbus' landing in the New World.

  • lordmarcovanlordmarcovan Posts: 42,947 ✭✭✭✭✭
    @rgCoinGuy- It predates the "Mysterious Ming Medallion" I found, too. Which makes it a historical anomaly, just like that was.

    But that piece had no known parallel. This particular find is relatively common- just not in Georgia.

  • << <i>Hint #2- this coin predates the founding of St. Augustine, and the Spanish colonies in America.

    In fact, it predates Columbus' landing in the New World. >>

    Its accepted now if not broadly discussed that Columbus wasn't the first to land here , he may in fact have had a map provided by other europeans.The coins mentioned in the article i mentioned would be 13th century yet found in middle America.
  • ChrisRxChrisRx Posts: 5,619 ✭✭✭✭
    A widows mite
  • coindudeonebaycoindudeonebay Posts: 1,736 ✭✭✭
  • lordmarcovanlordmarcovan Posts: 42,947 ✭✭✭✭✭

    << <i>A widows mite >>

    Not THAT old.

  • << <i>

    << <i>A widows mite >>

    Not THAT old. >>


    Saxon or Celtic? No, that would be WAY out of place....
  • partagaspartagas Posts: 2,068 ✭✭✭
    I can't wait, you are a great story writer.
    If I say something in the woods, and my wife isn't around. Am I still wrong?
  • Maybe it's one of those Dutch NY cents that are seen up this way , very early colonial coin.I think it's nicknamed the NY cent ..could be wrong ,Dutch i thought..somewhere in there.
  • pcgs69pcgs69 Posts: 4,212 ✭✭✭✭
    Maybe some kind of hammered silver?
  • kiyotekiyote Posts: 5,562 ✭✭✭✭✭

    << <i>St. Augustine was 1565, yes.

    Hint #1: this coin predates the British colonies in America. >>

    There's no such thing?
    "I'll split the atom! I am the fifth dimension! I am the eighth wonder of the world!" -Gef the talking mongoose.
  • your killen even me now, was it beeds or wampum?, lol,,, fess up,,, j
  • KarbKarb Posts: 558 ✭✭✭
    I really need to know!! I'm no good with suspense.

    Hoarding silver and collecting history
  • Now......you have me.......I'm trying to contain my anticipation...
  • pcgs69pcgs69 Posts: 4,212 ✭✭✭✭
    Maybe he found the yap stones he was searching for a while ago???
  • GaCoinGuyGaCoinGuy Posts: 2,568 ✭✭✭✭
    The only thing I can think of given his clues on this post and the other would be a Roman or Greek ancient of some sort.

    Can't wait to see what it was.

  • scooperqprscooperqpr Posts: 440 ✭✭
    tell us
  • rickoricko Posts: 97,875 ✭✭✭✭✭
    AAAARRRRRGGGHHHHHH.... the suspense is killing me... out with it LordM..... image Cheers, RickO
  • gripgrip Posts: 9,962 ✭✭✭✭✭

    << <i>Maybe he found the yap stones he was searching for a while ago??? >>

    Is that the one off Jenson Beach Blvd?
  • pcgs69pcgs69 Posts: 4,212 ✭✭✭✭

    << <i>

    << <i>Maybe he found the yap stones he was searching for a while ago??? >>

    Is that the one off Jenson Beach Blvd? >>

    The ones from This Thread

    Certainly was a good read!
  • AUandAGAUandAG Posts: 24,007 ✭✭✭✭✭
    This is going nowhere, quite boring now.


    Post the dang thing.
    Registry: CC lowballs (boblindstrom), [email protected]
  • laserartlaserart Posts: 8,019
    The man suffers from memory lapses from time to time,

    mostly all the time.
    "If I had a nickel for every nickel I ever had, I'd have all my nickels back".
  • GaCoinGuyGaCoinGuy Posts: 2,568 ✭✭✭✭

    << <i>The man suffers from memory lapses from time to time,

    mostly all the time. >>

    Me too image It's called CRS Syndrome.

  • lordmarcovanlordmarcovan Posts: 42,947 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Sorry, O Ye of Little Faith. Hey, what can I say. I got sick and was bedridden with the crud for several days. And had to go back to work tonight.

    So, without further ado, here 'tis.


    Here are larger (1200 dpi) scans:

    Brightened, as above, but bigger

    Unbrightened/color unadjusted

    800 x 425 "negative" image (colors inverted to create a "negative" view- which may or may not make the details more visible)

    Yes, boys and girls... that's right... I just found a Fourth century ROMAN coin... in southeast GEORGIA!

    Go figure.

    It was right on top of the ground where it had been washed out of a sand roadbed by recent rains. I didn't even need a metal detector or anything. It was just laying there totally exposed, but it did take a sharp eye to spot it against the grey sand background. I thought it was a Lincoln cent at first, because it was lying heads-up, and even with it lying on the ground at my feet I could make out the head on it. But when I picked it up, I Immediately knew it was too thick and too heavy to be a Lincoln cent.

    One of the many crazy things about this is, I never had to clean it. The images show it exactly as it was when I picked it up. I reckon it already had 1,500 years worth of patina on it before it ever made it into the ground on this side of the Atlantic. Once an ancient bronze coin forms a patina like this (which is like a "skin") its surfaces remain relatively inert and "stable". Plus, it was found in well drained, sandy soil, which is often kind to old copper and bronze relics around here. I've seen 200-year-old copper coins found around here that were in remarkably pristine condition. Of course this is much older than that, but I believe it was in our Georgia soil no more (or less) than about 150-250 years.

    I have posted it on the World & Ancient Coin Forum to try and get particulars regarding the emperor and variety and so on.

    The good news is that I have almost no doubt whatsoever it is genuine. And, being an avid collector of Roman coins, I know enough about them to date this piece to somewhere around the Fourth century (300s AD- likely 390s if it is indeed Arcadius). The bad news is that it's not worth more than ten or fifteen bucks on a very good day, most likely. You see, coins like this are quite commonly found... in Europe.

    But HERE? Wow.

    How a 1,700-year-old Roman coin got into the dirt on on a 250-year-old colonial site in Georgia is the million-dollar question, and I guess we'll never know the answer.

    But what a fascinating mystery, huh?

    My pet theory is that it belonged to an early coin collector of the 18th or 19th century. This is not at all implausible on the site where I found it. It was in Midway, Georgia. Midway is a sleepy little town today- little more than a wide spot in the road- but in colonial times it was quite important. No less than three signers of the Declaration of Indepence made their homes around Midway. These people were the wealthy elite of the late-colonial and antebellum plantation eras, and more than a few of them were antiquarians and/or collectors.

    My recent trip to Midway was a result of my reading The Children of Pride, which is a book made up from a collection of letters written between 1860 and 1868 by the Reverend Charles Colcock Jones and members of his family. I reread The Children Of Pride in light of this April being the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War. The book is a fascinating glimpse into that period, much as Gone With The Wind is- but of course The Children Of Pride is better history, since it is purely nonfiction.

    I went up to Midway to see the ancient walled cemetery where Dr. C. C. Jones is buried, since I'd just gotten an intimate glimpse of him through his letters. The cemetery is situated beneath moss-draped oaks, right across the road from the 1792 Midway Congregational Church (which replaced a building burned by the British in 1778). The coin was found on a site near (but not in) the churchyard and cemetery.

    Here is an interesting factoid. His son, Charles C. Jones, Jr., who was elected Mayor of Savannah in 1860 before joining the Confederate forces during the war, was a historian (I have his book about The Dead Towns of Georgia)... and he was a collector, too! Several of his letters mention his collection of "Indian remains" (relics). If you read his letters, it is not at all hard to imagine that he would have also had an old coin or two, and a Roman coin fits in with the tastes of the elite, classically-educated society of his day. The Latin inscriptions on the coin echo many Latin phrases exchanged with his father in their letters. Or perhaps the coin was part of an earlier, 18th century gentleman's "cabinet of curiosities". That still doesn't tell us how it got into the ground, but what got me looking so closely at the ground in the first place was that I'd already picked up a number of old colonial pottery sherds and a gunflint near where the coin lay.

    This whole thing is rather surreal and I do not fault you a bit if you don't believe any of it.

    I still have a hard time believing it myself. But I assure you this is no hoax or "April Fool's" prank (April is over now).

    First, how strange that I, who happen to be a collector of Roman coins, found a Roman coin... here in Georgia.

    Second, it's weird that I happen to be a metal detectorist and treasure hunting blogger who usually takes pictures and writes about all his outings, but as luck would have it, I found this on a day when I had neither detector NOR camera with me. I was only on a casual stroll, and not expecting at all to actually find anything. This find was made almost accidentally.

    Third, how coincidental is it that I had just read the letters of a man who might have been the very person who lost this coin, 150 or more years ago. (Then again, it could have been lost by one of the earlier colonial citizens of the town, too, I guess).

    I will be donating or loaning the coin to the Midway Museum. I mentioned the find to them and they have expressed great interest in it. It might not be worth much monetarily, but it's definitely got a story to tell. Too bad it can't speak and tell us the full details of that story, huh? But on the other hand, I suppose a little bit of mystery is always fun.

    PS- such a find is not without precedent, by the way. In his book All The Best Rubbish, Colonial Williamsburg archaeologist Ivor Noël Hume showed a bronze sestertius coin of the emperor Nero (54-68 AD) that was found in Virginia, also on a colonial site, I believe. And there was an even earlier silver denarius from the First century BC found in Virginia. In another freaky coincidence, I had just read about these finds only a day or two before I discovered this coin in Midway. (I've been reading a lot lately).
  • melvin289melvin289 Posts: 3,058
    Lord M, good eye to spot it and congratulations on spotting it.

    You know even in Roman days the South was the envy of the world. The wealthy of Rome would vacation there for the weather and the golf.


    Collect for the love of the hobby, the beauty of the coins, and enjoy the ride.
  • AndresAndres Posts: 3,484 ✭✭✭
    I think this coin was still in circulation at the time it was lost ,
    in those days there were many types of coins of many different countries in circulation,
    french, spanish, dutch and english coins all lived happily together in one purse.
    it probably came over from europe with one of the early settlers, and circulated as a round copper coin worth 2pence
    4 maravedis or as a dutch stuiver.
    as long as a coin was made of copper and had a certain weight, nobody cared when and where it was issued.

    just my 2 cents
    collector of Greek banknotes - most beautifull world banknotes - Greek & Roman ancient coins.
  • lordmarcovanlordmarcovan Posts: 42,947 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I hadn't stopped to consider the "lost from somebody's pocket change" implications as much as the "lost by a colonial collector" one.

    Of course there's the "lost by a modern collector" angle, too, though I find that highly unlikely. Though it could well have been dropped the day before I found it, I have an intuition that this thing lay there in the dirt a long, long time. Not since Roman times, of course, but for a couple of centuries. As a digger, I've usually got a pretty decent instinct for when something's been in the dirt a long time. And the site where I found it is today a pretty sleepy little Georgia town- actually less likely to be the abode of an ancient coin collector today than it would have been back before the Civil War.

    If it were lost during the earliest occupation of the site where I found it (say, 1750s or so), then I guess the "pocket change" scenario is remotely plausible. I have found a surprising variety of British, French, and Spanish coins of the colonial era here on our local sites in the past, and to somebody from the mid-18th century, this could have vaguely resembled a British farthing (albeit a rather small and fat one), a Spanish maravedis (though again, somewhat smaller than the 1658 2-maravedis piece that was previously my oldest coin find), or perhaps a French 2-sous piece or double-tournois, for example. Certainly a shortage of small change forced our earliest settlers to spend just about anything round and coinlike when they got their hands on it.

    But in any scenario, the question remains as to how they would have gotten their hands on it, back in the 1700s or 1800s. Naturally nobody's claiming the Romans made it as far as Coastal Georgia. (Unless of course they rode on UFOs, haha).

    I still lean mostly towards the "lost by an early collector" theory, personally.
  • rickoricko Posts: 97,875 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Marvelous find LordM.... really unique. The early collector theory is likely the answer (Occam's Razor), though other possiblities certainly exist. Might be worth going back to the site with your MD....just saying, could be some more there. Cheers, RickO
  • lordmarcovanlordmarcovan Posts: 42,947 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I may try to get permission to go back there with a detector.

    That is a somewhat tricky proposition, however, as the site is on the National Register of Historic Places and is not one that would normally be permissible to hunt. (Like I said, this was a semi-accidental "eyeball" find from the surface.) It sure would be nice to be able to "put the coil to the soil" around there, but we'll have to wait and see. Perhaps my giving this coin to the museum will sufficiently demonstrate that I'm honest and not just out to pillage the site. (When I'm giving myself airs, I like to fancy myself more "amateur archeologist" than wanton treasure hunter.) If I did get permission for further hunting there (with a detector) then I'd happily give over any historically significant finds to the museum. Just the thrill of the hunt and the little bit of publicity any finds generated would be enough for me.

    Note that when I said "the site is on the National Register", I was referring to the Midway Church and cemetery (and its associated museum). Technically I did NOT find this in the churchyard or cemetery or associated grounds, though- it was relatively NEAR the church-cemetery-museum site but not exactly IN that area. I must remain a little bit vague about the exact location of the discovery site, for obvious reasons. I actually do not know who owns the spot where I picked up the coin. It is semi-public and adjacent to a road, though, so even if I were tempted to go "poaching" there without permission (which of course I am not), I'd be quickly noticed. It's a farily high-visibility location.
  • kevinstangkevinstang Posts: 1,515 ✭✭✭

    << <i>Marvelous find LordM.... really unique. The early collector theory is likely the answer (Occam's Razor), though other possiblities certainly exist. Might be worth going back to the site with your MD....just saying, could be some more there. Cheers, RickO >>

    Yeah, could you imagine the headlines if a cache of Roman coins was found in Georgia like they find every now and then in Great Britain!

    Great eyeball find LM, I like checking washouts etc. in the spring as well for dislodged goodies- unfortunately this year for me there still underwater.
  • johnny9434johnny9434 Posts: 26,440 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Nice catch LordM, wtg image
  • pcgs69pcgs69 Posts: 4,212 ✭✭✭✭
    Now that's a very cool find. Part of the fun is wondering how it got there.
  • ZotZot Posts: 825 ✭✭✭
    Wow! What a fantastic find - congrats!!
    Eyeballing a roman coin on the wrong side of the pond! That's remarkable!

    Now, the "LM to England investment committee" does not accept this as an excuse for "mission accomplished". The trip is still on! image

    I see how the "lost by coin collector" theory looks like a strong possibility.
    Still, would it be possible that it's been lost while in circulation (more recently of course, a few hundred yrs ago)? (I assume it's bronze, so maybe it could have circulated based on that?).
    Minelab: GPX 5000, Excalibur II, Explorer SE. White's: MXT, PI Pro
  • laserartlaserart Posts: 8,019
    Have you considered it could have been stolen during the Civil War and then ultimately lost by the thief? Maybe he had a hole in his "possible bag" and it fell out.
    "If I had a nickel for every nickel I ever had, I'd have all my nickels back".
  • as long as your playing hypetheticals, why not this thought,, some colonial dude who came over on the boat figured it wasnt worth anything anymore and tossed it over his/her shoulder to make a wish for prosperity in the new country, you did find in a creek bed right,, lol,, j
  • AndresAndres Posts: 3,484 ✭✭✭
    most plausible explanation is that it was found in England in the 18th century,
    one of the early settlers took it with him to America, and after a few years in circulation it was lost again
    at the place where you found it.
    I dont believe it was owned by a collector, collectors in early America were almost non exsistent
    in those days, and if there was one , I doubt he collected low quality bronze roman coins.

    overhere in the Netherlands during the 16th - 17th and 18th century , many coins were in circulation
    from spain , france , Italy, germany & england, they kept circulating for hundreds of years, especially copper and bronze coins.
    although the government tried a few times to regulate the coin circulation, they never succeded.
    people just weren't interested, as long as the coin was round and made of copper / bronze, it was accepted
    based on approx. weight, (just as silver and gold coins).

    only under new laws introduced after the defeat of Napoleon, during King William I and II , the old stuff finally disappeard
    out of circulation.
    collector of Greek banknotes - most beautifull world banknotes - Greek & Roman ancient coins.
  • SilverDreamsSilverDreams Posts: 427 ✭✭
    Great find Lord M. Long time, no see.
    I lust for silver.
  • jdillanejdillane Posts: 2,357 ✭✭✭
    Very cool! But, can't help but wonder if it was a plant. A deep pockets fellow would not have any qualms leaving such a relic just for giggles.
  • rbdjr1rbdjr1 Posts: 4,517 ✭✭

    >>>> Back in the 70s & early 80s, while working in Augsburg, Germany (sold life insurance to the US Military forces stationed in Europe), many GIs had metal detectors, as Augsburg was a one of the Roman Empires' main strongholds.

    It had a wall built by the Romans that surrounded the city. Time after time, speaking with American GI metal detecting hobbyists, that spent lot of their free time, searching the ground around that great wall,

    ...and would talk about the Roman coins, roman spears & more they would find around that Roman wall.

    Thanks for the pic of that Roman coin! It brought me back to some good memories of my time in Augsburg.


    edit: I think that wall was fortified over the eons by other empires, so other things, I'm sure were "dug up" besides roman goodies! image
  • lordmarcovanlordmarcovan Posts: 42,947 ✭✭✭✭✭

    << <i>Very cool! But, can't help but wonder if it was a plant. A deep pockets fellow would not have any qualms leaving such a relic just for giggles. >>

    Always possible, but that's highly unlikely in the location where I found it.
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