Inside, I found about a dozen medium sized musket balls, two larger walnut sized grape shot or musket balls, and forty or so heavily worn pewter buttons that were obviously of military origin. Many of them bore numbers on their faces and I assumed from my own past finds that they were Civil War relics. However, after talking with my friend and co-worker, Mark Becker, who has a pretty expansive knowledge of that sort of thing, and doing a little research online, I have determined they are actually Revolutionary War artifacts. They are made of pewter, with rusty iron loops on the backs, and some were probably silver plated, with the numbers representing the regiments.
I cannot imagine what this little purse was doing on the sidewalks of NYC. Perhaps some desperate individual stole it thinking it was full of money and disposed of it just as quickly when he or she realized it was just filled with worthless lead balls and nasty broken buttons. Little did they know, they were actually tossing aside an incredible little collection of important relics dating back to America's war for independence. I would be excited to find any one of these buttons, never mind an entire sack of them. Once again, it proves that "treasure" can be found anywhere, at any time, as long as you keep your eyes open.