FUMSUP – a First World War lucky charm

This strange little chap was familiar to thousands of British soldiers

I don’t think Steve Grundy is a metal detectorist, but he was interested in my blogpost on the subject of sweetheart brooches, and contacted me about a curious little item in his collection. I must confess that I’d never come across this before, and was rather intrigued.

The brooches I highlighted earlier were, in effect, good luck mascots. What Steve showed me was a good luck charm, popular in the 19th and 20th centuries and often given, by wives and girlfriends, to soldiers about to go to war. The tiny charm has an interesting history, which the Victorians probably believed …

The Fumsup (Thumbs-Up)👍is believed to hark back to Roman times and the days of the gladiators. The story goes that the emperor would decide whether a gladiator would live or die. A ‘thumbs up’👍meant he would die and a👎(Thumbs Down) would mean he would live. This is opposite to what we think today.

Continue reading “FUMSUP – a First World War lucky charm”

Talking the Torc

My friend Dave, whose wife has recently become a convert to detecting, ruefully admitted that she was finding more interesting artefacts than him. He contemplated whether he had become complacent and should be re-examining his detecting technique, especially as she was using what could only be described as a ‘cheap beginners’ machine’. Was his swinging action too fast? Was he ignoring what could be positive signals? Or what? 

Beginner David Booth’s experience also amplifies the fact that it’s not the make of machine we are using and it’s not necessarily the type of land we have at our disposal, but it’s more likely to be our own fault that we don’t find anything. I hesitate – that’s a bold statement!  David found treasure in 2009. What follows is an extract from my scribblings at the time.

David Booth pictured with his find of Iron Age Treasure. Courtesy of JACKPHOTO
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Bucks Museum & Lenborough Hoard

In 2014 Weekend Wanderers organised a dig at Lenborough in Buckinghamshire. Detectorist Paul Coleman discovered over 5,250 Anglo-Saxon coins located in a lead container. They were subsequently valued at £1.35 million by the Treasure Valuation Committee. Bucks Museum wished to keep them in the county and Brett Thorn, Keeper of Archaeology, made an appeal for pledges from local people and organisations. The bulk of the money would come from national grant giving charities. Additionally the Museum raised over £50,000 locally to secure the coins for BucksT

The Lenborough hoard of over 5200 Anglo-Saxon silver pennies was found in 2014. After a major fundraising appeal, the hoard was saved for the public. In the video, Dr Gareth Williams, a Curator at the British Museum and Brett Thorn share information on this fantastic hoard.
READ MORE – but only if you think IT’S worth a gander

Can you detect old banknotes?

Yes you can, especially if they have been made into a charm . . .

The banknotes produced by the Bank of England will always be worth their face value. Even for banknotes that no longer have legal tender status. If you look closely at any Bank of England banknote, you will notice it contains the ‘promise to pay’ inscription – the bank’s promise to honour the stated face value of our banknotes for all time.

10-shilling or 10 bob note – equivalent to 50p today

If you were born in the late 1960’s you won’t remember the old ten-shilling note, which was withdrawn in 1970 after the introduction of the fifty pence coin in 1969. But you may be able to unearth one when metal detecting … and it was worth a lot more then than that 50p in your pocket today! That’s what happened to my mate Dave did when searching in a local park recently.

The note was folded and placed inside a silver pendent; evidently they were very popular and used as emergency money. I seem to recall my dear late Mother owning a gold charm bracelet with lots of similar charms … I think she had them all up to £100, plus many other charms from around the world. Wonder where it is now?

So, it IS possible to detect a 10 bob note like the one shown above

The ten-shilling note was the smallest denomination note ever issued by the Bank of England. The note was issued by the Bank of England for the first time in 1928 and continued to be printed until 1969. The note ceased to be legal tender in 1970 and was discontinued in favour of the fifty pence coin due to inflation.

Bob – The subject of great debate, as the origins of this nickname are unclear although we do know that usage of bob for shilling dates back to the late 1700s. Brewer’s 1870 Dictionary of Phrase and Fable states that ‘bob’ could be derived from ‘Bawbee’, which was 16-19th century slang for a half-penny.

End of an Era

The 10-shilling note disappeared in 1971. The first Bank of England Ten Shilling notes appeared in 1928 but in 1971 were eventually replaced with a 50 pence coin.