Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Ground is Freezing

  Well, I didn't get out nearly enough this, for a variety of reasons, but I am trying to squeeze in a few hunts before Winter completely sets. These items were found on a beautiful nineteenth century farm. Some in a plowed field and the rest near an old barn.
  The dime sized coin like object is a lead bale seal, similar to the one I found last year. Lead bale seals were used to label bundles of twine or wool or sacks of wheat, etc... The initials of the maker would be stamped on one side and the length, weight, number, etc... on the other. I think the MC stands for Maine Central, as in Maine Central Railroad.
  The little twisted thing is a copper butter knife. There is also a small bell, about two inches tall, that probably hung from a goat's neck or a sleigh. (Are you listening?) And lastly, some silver, in the form of a "925" (indicating the highest quality Sterling silver) stamped earring. 
  It just makes me want to move to Florida for the Winter.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

The New Old Cellar Hole

About three weeks ago I took a walk down an old carriage road near a house where I was putting in a patio. The road was well groomed and looked as if it was being used for horses and probably snow-mobiles in the winter. Walking down the wooded trail, flanked on either side by crumbling stone walls, and crossing fast-moving streams on tiny bridges, with not a single modern home in sight, I felt as if I had travelled back in time.
I was waiting for materials to show up at the jobsite and so I couldn't go too far, but before I turned around I spotted a thick patch of strange looking grass in the woods uphill from the trail and I knew immediately what it meant. I checked it out, and sure enough, there was an early nineteenth century cellar hole, with possibly one of the finest looking stone foundations I have ever seen in one. Of course, I didn't have my detector with me and it would be nearly a month before I could find the time to return.

Well, I finally got back there and did a little hunting and I don't know what to think--it's different. There seems to be an unusually large number of signals and nearly all of the diggable items seem to be just an inch or two from the surface. Maybe the tree-cover there is relatively new and was all open field until recently, so the buildup of decomposing forest matter, such as leaves and dead trees, happens very slowly.
My first signal was the little Everlast pocket flashlight, which is dated 1912 on the lid. I am assuming it is a little flashlight. At first, I thought it was a makeup case of some sort, because I thought it said Ever Lady on the lid. After cleaning, however, I could read it correctly and I noticed the tiny filament where the bulb had been and the on/off switch.
Then there was the rusty skeleton key bottle opener and the beautiful little decorative silver heart-shaped bookmark. The ornate floral pattern brass necklace pieces were buried right beside each other amid a number of bricks and must have been part of a larger piece, the rest of which I could not find. I really like the small copper frame, which measures about 4 inches by 3 inches, and which will go to good use when I think of one. The ocular object seems to be the eye-piece to a brass microscope, but there are certainly other possibilities. One of the photos shows our leonine housemate Georges attempting to frighten a squirrel away from the bird feeder, as seen through the still unbroken 150-year-old lens. Also, there were the little copper pieces of advertising tin that say something about "Koch", but we won't go there.
Then came the cannonball. Cannonball? That's right, cannonball. At least I think it's a cannon ball. I don't know what else it could be. It's a big metal ball that weighs about 15-20 pounds. There were definitely problems here with the British in the 1800's and there were certainly cannons and their accompanying balls around. I'm going to post pics with the experts on the Metal Detecting Maine website and see what they say. Those guys and gals can ID anything. I do know one thing--that along with a 5 pound sad iron, a pile of rusty junk, a metal detector, and shovels, a cannonball makes for an unpleasant load to hike out of the woods with.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Bed Knobs and Soup Sticks

I have been so busy for the last two weeks that I haven't really had the opportunity to get out with the detector, but I finished a little job over near Hosmer Pond a few days ago and noticed the crumbling remnants of a nineteenth century stone foundation near the jobsite. I had less than 30 minutes till I had to be at my next appointment, so I couldn't spend much time hunting, but I turned up a few interesting items in that time. I do not believe the site has ever been hunted, as in that brief amount of time, I found a few rather large copper objects that surely would have discovered by anyone searching with a machine. The first was a fine copper thimble, the only copper thimble I have ever found, as most of them seem to be aluminum or silver. Also, a large brass bed knob and an interesting old spoon, the age of which I am uncertain. The surface seems to be soft and dull enough to be lead or pewter, but the inside is certainly of ferrous composition and is rusting through in spots. Also, there is a fantastic little floral or leaf or fire design on the rear. I will have to do some research, but in the meantime, it's great for eating cereal...

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Recent Park Finds

Have been working in Camden this week, so I haven't been able to get out to any old cellar holes and have been limited to a few short hunts in the local parks. Nothing too mind-blowing: a very large 1800's brass button and a '51 wheatback, another video arcade token for my token collection, an interesting '77 British New Penny (only minted between '71 and '81, I believe), a small child's bracelet charm (circa 1970's), and a bigfat stainless ring with crucifix designs around the perimeter and a two-piece construction that allows for the outer ring to rotate around the inner. Fits on my pinkie.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Back to Union

I'm just going to keep hitting this site until I run out of finds. Went back yesterday afternoon for a fine 1939 silver Washington and well as two more Indians, one 1906 and one brutalized and unidentifiable. Also, a wheatie and a couple more nice musket balls, a fine little brass button with decorative back, two thimbles--one with illegible words and one with an "8", and a number of doodads and thingies.
Also, cleaned up that great little floral brass button and the old gold plating shone out from between the pistils like, well, like gold.

Monday, April 8, 2013

More Canadian Silver

Got back to the turned up site I mentioned yesterday for an hour or so and it was just as I had hoped. I found a nice 1939 Mercury dime and a little canadian silver 1880 five cent piece. Both of these coins were just inches below the surface. I know there is more there and I hope I have a chance to get back there before construction begins or whatever is going to happen. Also found live ammunition, a doll's arm, some kind of clay bead or marble, a tiny copper utensil, half of a skeleton key, and a large musket ball with verdigris that makes it look like a miniature planet earth.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Downside Up

Stopped by an old foundation site where I had previously found three or four old coins, one of which was a fine Civil War Token, and was shocked to see that the foundation was gone! As were the remnants of the old well and the old perimeter walls. I didn't even know such a thing was legal. Literally, every stone had been removed, the trees torn up by their roots and the earth roughly re-graded. I mourned the loss of the site for a few moments, also realizing that the upheaval and bulldozing might have pulled some old things to the surface. I turned on my machine and set out across the furrows, immediately turning up a number of ammunition shells from the 1800's laying right on the surface. I explicitly remembered digging a sackful of these same shells up on my last visit, but from a depth of 6 to 8 inches. The sun was going down and the cold wind was blowing hard, so i knew I didn't have much time. Firstly, I turned up a strange little copper ring, which I at first thought was a bracelet, and then some sort of animal tagging ring, and now believe is a kind of pocket-watch part or locket piece. Then I found a very tiny brass button, smaller than a penny. It was easy digging. Most of the finds were either on the surface or just one or two inches deep. I was just about to pack it in when I found the Indian, with an immediately visible date of 1863! A very early Indian Head penny. I decided then and there to come back on the following day, which is today, and which I am going to do.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Under the Boardwalk

Here are a few more items from the 19th Century foundation I have been hitting in Union. The gold plated change-purse was really exciting and I thought for sure there would be a pile of coins around it, but alas, no such luck. The last time I found a change-purse, it was filled with silver coins. That was beside an old well on North Haven and there is a past blog that goes into more detail. Also, a nice old spoon for my spoon collection and a fantastic little brass buckle that is thick and heavy and still has the ring on back. (Penny for size comparison)
The letters and the 8 were found beneath that pier I mentioned a few days ago and probably came off of boats. This is my third or fourth 8 and I never tire of finding them. Infinity...

Monday, April 1, 2013


At last, the ground has mostly thawed and I have been able to get out here and there in the past few days. Some of this loot was found under a large pier at low tide, but most came from a nineteenth century cellar hole in Union.
Came out with a few good coins: a 1920 Mercury dime and a gorgeous 1870 Canadian dime, a 5-cent token from the 1800's, a unidentifiably worn large cent, and four wheat pennies. There is quite a selection of trinkets, too: a beautiful floral pattern brass button and a highly decorative little copper ring (I love the copper rings), a few simple brass/copper coat buttons and three stone/porcelain buttons, four buckles, one of which is a really amazing hand-hammered brass belt buckle, a fancy little ribbon clasp, pipe-stem, mystery devices and extremely large "shotgun shell" casings, a pocket-knife, some nice pottery shards and glass jar lids. Whew! All in all, a pretty successful few days hunts, considering I can really only get out in the early morning or evenings.