George III Coin and Somalian Stunners

The bikes are COINS and very collectible.
Read more after David’s George III sixpence.

George III Sixpence

My previous blog was about busy, busy Grant Maxwell, an administrator on Detecting Scotland.

I highlight another one of his finds, this time because of its rarity. He started out detecting with a Minelab CTX 3030 and is still using it about eight years later.

He said: The sixpence was the first find on a Detecting Scotland dig. When I cleaned the coin at home I found a couple of oddities.

Unusual Coin

In a twist to what we usually read when detectorists find something rather different, we learn that the coin was Grant’s first find at the rally and he discovered it after he’d only taken a few steps whilst walking away from the car! A clean-up back at home revealed a couple of oddities that made the coin not your usual 1816 sixpence.

One of the most important parts of any British coin’s design is its portrait of the monarch at the time, and there wasn’t anything unusual there. The date on the coin tells us when it was minted and this was when David noticed the first oddity – the shape of the first ‘1’ in ‘1816’ was most unusual! There are two views here with different lighting. Have you ever seen one like this before? Grant thinks that he may have picked up ‘more than he bargained for’ with his first signal.

George III 1816 Sixpence

If you look carefully at some coins, preferably with a magnifying glass if your eyesight is like mine, you can usually see the designer’s initials. But this coin had what appears to be the counter-stamped with initials that could be GB or GR, unless you know different.

Counter- stamping, for many reasons, was quite prevalent in the 19th century, but not always easy to identify. Generally, coins werestamped to advertise a business, to make a political statement or as personal identification. Maybe it was a kind of ‘test’ mark, showing that the coin was genuine. I’m no expert. Perhaps someone can provide a more valid explanation. And now for something completely different.

Continue reading “George III Coin and Somalian Stunners”

Worth More Than Money

Grant Maxwell, Administrator on the Detecting Scotland forum was just a little anxious when the farmer whose land on which they had held a dig just the day before, gave him a call. Was it going to be a complaint?

Not at all. The reason for his call came as a result of talking to his elderly mother and she told him that she’d lost her engagement ring ‘some decades earlier’, possibly when she was hanging out the washing.

Grant informed the farmer that no gold rings had been found, but he’d happily come and have ‘a scout around’ the area (now a chicken pen) to see if he could find it!

James Rankin with his Mother. Picture supplied

After a couple of hours, lots of early decimal coins and not much else in the pouch, Grant got a ‘slightly off’ signal, but dug it anyway. He pulled out a plug and there, about 10” down, nestled the first gold ring he had ever found. He said, “It was a thing of beauty, gold with three sparkling diamonds set in platinum! I literally fell to my knees with happiness.”

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Returning a Find

Music to my Ears

In March this year I posted a blog entitled Ring of Truth. I advised caution when returning rings to losers or their relatives, and related one particular story when it definitely wasn’t welcomed. That wasn’t the norm of course; lost items are usually well received when reunited with their original owners or descendants.

Also it is good for the finder, as he is doing the magnanimous thing! In most cases those who receive the find, whether it be a current or one of their ancestor’s losses it is appreciated. I believe also it has to be good for the hobby (sport?) and sometimes even offers the opportunity to gain more land. This find by detectorist Rob L is rather different.

Rob is an American and collects Civil War and WW items of a personal nature. Some are dug up and others are what he buys, but before he adds them to his collection he always tries to contact a family member to see if they’d like them returned … after all, they are the rightful custodians.

Rob has found and returned a variety of things over the years, including rings, dog tags and keys; almost all of them were happy reunions. His favourite of all times was a World War I harmonica he had purchased from an antique dealer that was roughly ‘personalised’ with a name and other details.

The Harmonica

© Rob

The scribbling on the lower picture is hard to see, but Rob deciphered it as C G Howe 1st xx xxxxxx Inf and placed it on a detecting forum asking for help. Mainly due to one of th emembers he ascertained that it read C.G. Howe 1st Lt. 55th Pioneer Infantry. 

Inscription – C G Howe 1st Lt. 55th Pioneer Infantry
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The Detectorists’ ‘Rotten Pot’


When we see the wordpotpourri’ most of us think of a mixture of things like dried flowers and leaves kept in a bowl to make a room smell pleasant. You may have some in the lavvy right now! This packet from M&S contains cinnamon and cloves. Sounds almost good enough to eat!

The word was borrowed directly from the French ‘pot pourri’, and in that language the literal meaning of these words is “putrid or rotten pot.”

Detecting Medley

Long ago when the Editor and I were thinking of a header for my new column in The Searcher magazine, potpourri was a title considered. Why? It means, ‘a miscellaneous collection of almost anything’, and I intended writing short bits about metal detecting and presenting them as a whole. We considered many titles and eventually chose MEDLEY, easier to understand and meaning a varied mixture of stories.

After that pitiful and convoluted introduction this blog goes back to the French meaning of potpourri, ‘putrid or rotten pot’. I don’t know why, perhaps it is because I have taken and adapted some of those earlier stories – because I can. Now that is rotten (lazy?). And so is this silly introduction.

Detecting Medley started in August 2009

Detectorist Disappointment

Let’s start with those detectorists who are renowned for blindly rushing into purchasing new equipment, because FaceAche and forum guys with pseudonyms like DeusDave, PullTabFinder and DigitUp recommended it! They haven’t thought ahead and ‘disappointment’ is probably a new word in their vocabulary. Like all gullible punters who haven’t done their homework, the result is predictable.

ICEGIF with permission. Even aristocats make errors of judgement

They were lured by the attraction of, say, a new machine at a higher cost, and then disenchanted because it failed to deliver the goods. What did they expect? For them it proves a tough learning curve, when they find out [usually] that sticking with the same detector, getting to know its little foibles and fully understanding how it works, will eventually bring dividends.

This subject is a favourite of Texas blogger Dick Stout and one in which he excels. Read his latest blog HERE (20th March).

DeusDave, PullTabFinder and DigitUp are figments of my imagination and bear no relationship to anyone I know.

Rating: 5 out of 5.
Continue reading “The Detectorists’ ‘Rotten Pot’”

A Leaden Kind of Blog or ‘A Crap Post’

A Lump of Lead

A chunk of unidentified lead hidden in a tin for almost 20 years turned out to be a very interesting find for a Kent detectorist. He found the item in a small orchard in the mid 1990’s, long before the internet with detecting forums and Faceache made identification of items easy. Books on Roman coins were researched at the time but nothing could be found relating to the find.

After registering the find (somewhat late!) with the FLO, the old piece of lead was taken to London to be viewed by Dr. Sam Moorhead, National Finds Adviser, Ancient Coins at the British Museum. He recorded it as a “find of note” and was designated for inclusion in the British Numismatic Journal, ‘Coin Register.’

The detectorist was surprised when his ‘piece of lead’ was a possible trial piece of the reverse die of a silver medallion of Valens (AD 364-78). How it came to be in a small field in Kent is a mystery, as the mintmark is from Trier, in Germany.

A Roman lead, possible, trial piece, using the reverse die of a silver medallion of Valens (AD 364-78), dating to AD 367-75. ‘A FIND of NOTE’. KENT-7F3206. © PAS
Continue reading “A Leaden Kind of Blog or ‘A Crap Post’”

Detectorists’ Bits and Pieces


Mickey’s comment on text: “I reckon John’s just made that up, but I like it!”

You may be interested to know that in a recent survey carried out by the Disney Corporation on the top five everyday pleasures, the finding of money was number one! Could that be why so many of us are detectorists?

Here are the other four ‘pleasures’ in order: freshly washed bedding, not having to queue, somebody smiling at you, and helping someone. Well, there you go! Another Mickey Mouse production!

New Ostrich Metal Detector

The following letter was sent to ‘Bird Talk’ a USA guide to keeping pet birds. 

I have often wondered why the ostrich sticks its head in the sand. Is it just a old wives’ tale or do they really do that? Are they really trying to hide or perhaps looking for something? 

The reply was quite amusing : 

Your question is easy to answer. You must realise that it would be very silly for the birds to put their heads in the sand to hide. When ostriches do this they are simply looking for spare change. In fact, they are so good at doing this, many retired men in African countries use ostriches at the beach instead of metal detectors. The birds are much better at finding change than metal detectors – and they don’t need batteries or make those annoying beeping sounds . . . 

There followed some serious stuff about ostriches and the reply went on to say said that they were only kidding  . . . the only things that put their head in the sand were clams and politicians.

Continue reading “Detectorists’ Bits and Pieces”