It was 3 a.m. this past Saturday morning, and the coffee was brewing as in my sleepy-went-to bed-at-11:30 p.m. stupor I was making final preparations for the day, re-checking my gear for a third time.
A quick check of the weather; in the 80’s today & humid. I decided to nix the camo gear for some baggy cotton trail pants, and made sure to pack extra water.
I was exhausted, but on the road by 3:30 a.m. to meet Todd Hiltz & Dave Wise for a day of detecting. Exhausted or not, Todd’s invitation had been on the table for a while, and this was an opportunity to get out in the woods and hunt some of those cellar hole sites Todd & Dave are always posting about on their Facebook pages. I was happy to finally be able to join them.
I met up with the guys and the first thing I noticed was how awake and alert Todd was. The visions of large cents dancing in my head were quickly replaced by visions of me getting separated from the pack, only to be found in the middle of the woods, sleeping soundly behind a fallen log after a day long search by authorities.
I don’t think Dave had gotten much sleep either, but I had to give him props, because after hurting his knee pretty badly the previous week while escaping from and encounter with a nest of angry hornets, he was willing to trapse through the woods again a week later.
We got under way, and reached our destination shortly after sunrise. We did a quick, low profile, –yeah we’re allowed to be here, but we don’t want any questions– entrance, and after successfully dousing ourselves with Deet, we headed into the forest to find that first cellar hole.
It’s lucky for me that Dave & Todd are good at reading a GPS, and carry hand drawn maps with them. If left up to me, I think I would still be wandering aimlessly looking for a pile of rocks. It’s also helpful to have a scout like Todd lead the way, unless you like spiders for lunch—Thanks Todd!
We reached the first site shortly and began our search. The site was heavily laden with iron, and the signals were a hard read. I was swearing as my E-trac read 12/43, but only produced an old faucet handle. I decided to try another area, and pulled out my usual oxen shoe. I began to get discouraged, and thought we might be heading out soon if the guys weren’t finding anything, so I tried the area over near where we left our gear. Suddenly, I got a sweet, loud signal. Happy to hear it, I dug down about 4 inches, and out popped a coin. It was hard to make out, but by its size I knew it was either a large cent or a CT Copper (after cleaning it turned out to be an 1818 large cent). I silently thanked the universe, and went to take a break. My day was now complete.
Dave and Todd returned, and I happily displayed my coin. Dave had found some cool recyclable barn door latches, and Todd found some old tent grommets. We decided the site had been hit pretty hard, and moved on to site two.
The second site looked promising. A large old foundation with a lot of stone walls, it was obvious it had once been a busy place.
We went our separate ways, and after a quick search of the perimeter, I went back toward the cellar hole. I had dug a few miscellaneous items, and as soon as I got near the area where we left our gear at this site, I got an awesome signal. It was very shallow, and even though there was not a lot of garbage, I expected an old soda can to appear. I put my pinpointer to the ground, and using it as a shovel, about an inch down was another large cent. Two in one day….awesome!
We detected that site for a couple of hours, and it turned up a bunch of buttons for Dave, a complete horse rosette, some buttons, a baby spoon bowl, and an 1859 Indian Head Penny for Todd. I managed a couple of buttons and perhaps a drawer pull or ornament of some kind.
Todd and I had both found coins, and Dave was discouraged saying he was looking for a shot at redemption, so we packed up and headed for a new site, hoping Dave would find a coin, so the day would be a success for all.
We got to the site which was quite overgrown, the guys headed in one direction, and I in another. When I met up with them, they had found some buttons and a horse stirrup, and I had nothing to show for my efforts. We again went in separate directions, and as I came back towards Dave, he yelled and motioned for me to come over. Excited, I hurried to where him and Todd now were. As I neared them I could see by the look on Dave’s face that he had fulfilled his dream of redemption.
I looked at the hole he dug, and I was astonished. Although covered by dirt, I could see the silver shining through, and thought for sure it was a reale. As they brushed the dirt off of it, it became apparent it wasn’t a reale, but what was it? It turns out Dave had found a 1721 Pistareen. I had seen pictures before, but never seen one in person, and I was blown away by the detail and condition of the coin. I have never seen a coin that old come out of the ground in such beautiful condition. I grabbed my camera, because this was truly one of those finds of a lifetime that needed to be shared.
Here are pics of the coin after cleaning. Congratulations to you Dave-that was one hell of a find!