1820s House Site

Went back to an 1820s house site I have been working on for a while. In previous trips, I mostly cherrypicked high tones. Today I decided to use a relic mindset and dig anything non-ferrous and repeatable. In other words, I did a lot of junk removal. The most interesting thing I found was lantern parts, which were manufactured by the Manhattan Brass Company (patent date of Apr. 30 1883). Also found some misc brass pieces and iron relics.

Nothing spectacular, but I think if I keep removing junk, some old coins might eventually show up.

Junk pile (mostly aluminum)


I’d say you did pretty good! If the diameter of those rings (top right) is around 1.5", they could have been napkin rings.

All 10 pennies in one spill? That’s a pretty good spill!

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Thanks, the lantern parts were the first thing I dug and that got me pretty excited. The brass rings are 1.5" in diameter, just checked with tape measure, so I think you might be right with the napkin ring theory.

The pennies are all copper and the newest one is 1981, which makes me think they were dropped when the house was still standing (torn down in late 80s or early 90s). I will have to spend more time in the area where I found the penny spill, which is the front yard area out next to the road.


Seems you’re certainly in the right area.

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Keep going back!

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I plan to, very convenient location as it is right down the street from where I live. I will post again if anything else interesting turns up. Might go back there again sometime today.

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Went back today for a few hours, here are the results:

Here are some closeup pictures of the brass tag:



From the text, it looks like this is some sort of ID tag that would be presented to receive a paycheck. I wasn’t able to find any information about this tag online, but I am guessing early 1900s based on what I have read about ALCOA. I think it is the most interesting thing that has come out of this location so far.

I’ll make another post next time I detect at this site.


That’s an awesome token. Do you display yours at all? I want to come up with something to display tokens…I guess a shadow box is the default answer, just curious what you do with them?

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The few tokens I have found I have put in 2" x 2" coin flips. The one I found today is silver dollar size so it fits perfectly in that size of coin flip. I write the date and location on the coin flip.

I do the same thing with most of the old coins I find excluding most wheat pennies. Eventually I want to get a binder with pages designed to catalogue 2" x 2" holders.

What was your oldest clad?

LOL, funny the “Aluminum Co of America” uses brass for it’s tags.

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Oldest coin today was a 1965 quarter.

I am glad ALCOA used brass because an aluminum tag would probably be pretty mangled and corroded. I guess if it was a tag that you needed to turn in every time you got paid, it would make more sense to use brass because it is more durable. The hole in the tag makes me think it was on someone’s keychain at one point.

You’re only a year away.

I think sometimes they were used to show who was “clocked in”. At the end of the day if the tag wasn’t placed back on the “gone home” hook, they would know who to look for in the event of an accident, much like coal miners.

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I think you did pretty good for a place with so much trash. What were you swinging?

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Thanks, I am using a Vanquish 440 in coin mode (best target separation) with max sensitivity and no discrimination. It is the only detector I have at the moment and it does a great job. I am considering adding a beep-dig detector to my arsenal at some point, maybe a Tesoro Vaquero or similar, to mix things up a bit.

The trash wasn’t that bad in the part of the site I tried detecting today, which was nice. The house was built in the mid 1820s and moved (not demolished) in the 80s. So any trash or junk I do find is likely to be from the 150+ years of house activity instead of 30ish years of non-house activity. Lots of old farm trash.

I think you’re right, the coal miner tags (e.g. tool check tags) I have seen online are pretty similar with the number ID.

Short hunt today. The “F” monogram buckle was in the same hole with an old mason jar lid, and somehow the porcelain insert was intact. The “F” buckle is marked “STERLING FRONT” but unfortunately it is only silver-plated. The small D buckle looks like it might be silver-plated as well.

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I’m surprised you haven’t gotten into some older coins.


They’re there.

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Yes, a surprising lack of old coins. Part of the problem is that coins could be hiding in with iron. The area around the house is pretty iron-laden as is to be expected. It will be cool when an old coin finally shows up.

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