Colonial Coin Found Metal Detecting

A 1784 Spanish Colonial coin along with an 1831 Large Cent found together metal detecting in the woods.


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White's V3i Metal Detector


Metal detecting in the woods produced this 1784 two reales.
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1784 two reales reverse.
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Metal detecting in the woods I found this 1831 large cent.
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1831 large cent reverse.
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A metal detecting buddy of mine, Robert Hoard came up from Alabama for a couple days of metal detecting.  I had not seen Rob in 30 years but it was as if we had just been out hunting last week.  Rob had never tried metal detecting in the woods and I wanted him to have the opportunity of finding something old.  There are not a lot of coins in the woods, but when you do find them they are usually old coins.

It started out with us finding shotgun shells.  They were mostly the type used in the 1930's.  I did find a 10 gauge shell which was very unusual as the majority of them are 12 gauge with a 20 gauge showing up once in a while.  Within minutes of hunting I received an 83VDI reading on the detector which is usually a quarter reading.  Down about three inches I popped up a silver colonial shoe buckle from the 1700's.  It is marked on the reverse side with Roman numerals XXVll (27).  Not sure what this represents.  Perhaps a buckle size?  The shoe buckle weighs in at 20 grams.  One troy ounce = 31.1034768 grams.

Moving on through the woods we reached a logging trail with a small area where I had found quite a few Indian head cents.  I told Rob to check this area out as he was using a different detector.  I started hunting about 10 feet off the logging trail and received yet another 83VDI reading.  Digging down about three inches I popped up an 1831 large cent (Matron head type).  It was in good enough shape to read the date.  BUT, that was not the only coin in the hole.  I ran the coil back over the hole and was still getting the 83VDI.  Within seconds I could see a large silver coin.  When I picked it up I knew it did not have the weight of a USA coin and Spanish colonial was my first instinct.  It turned out to be a 1784 2 Reales minted in Mexico City.  The F.F. on the reverse of the coin is the assayers initials who assayed coins from 1778 to  1786.  The date was scratched during the years in the ground due to a tree that was up-rooted during a storm. The only evidence left of this was a depression in the ground much like a small crater. I found the coins at the very top of the crater.

After making these two unbelievable finds in one hole we metal detected our way up to the top of the mountain where it flattened out.  Here Rob found an old button from the 1800's and an Indian head cent dated 1906.  Another old button was all we found the rest of the day except for at least another 100 shotgun shells!

The next day was not quite as productive as I found one Indian head cent dated 1886, an old button, a brass reins holder to a wagon, and some type of buckle.  Rob found another button, a 1901 Indian head cent and a 1912 Lincoln wheat penny.

I sent in photos and the story of these finds to White's Electronics and they sent me a $100 gift certificate.  It made the December 2012 Stories on White's website.  I redeemed the certificate for a White's/Lesche digger and a carrying case for the V3i.

Read more about the Spanish 8 Reales dollar and it's role in the U.S. up until 1857.

Silver colonial shoe buckle.
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Remington-UMC 10 guage shotgun shell.
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Buttons and coins.
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Wagon reins holder.
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Obverse 1831 Large cent fresh out of the ground.
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Reverse 1831 large cent fresh out of the ground.
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Obverse 1784 Spanish 2 reales fresh out of the ground.
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J.R. Hoff on the day the 1831 large cent and 2 reales was found.
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Copyright 2012 J.R. Hoff