Fakes, Forgeries and a Bender

Originally written five years ago and now resurrected with many updates.

At the close of the detecting session, I bent down and scooped up a silver coin, which I placed carefully in my foam-filled finds’ tin. On arriving home, the ‘silver’ George II shilling was clearly a forgery (replica?) I had been duped and was bitterly disappointed, just like many others before me.

George II Shilling Forgery. © JW

Forgers have always been with us, of course. It will be a clue to how many years ago I wrote this if you saw the original text. Only last week I was given a dud £1 coin in my change and only realised the fact when it failed to be accepted by two different car park ‘pay and display’ machines.

In any society there are always those who profit from the innocence and gullibility of people like myself. Every year 2 million fake coins are spotted and taken out of circulation – it’s that easy to fake. It’s thought that 3% of all £1 coins are counterfeit – that’s a total value of £47 million! I wrote at the time, It’s illegal to spend or pass on a fake pound; instead you should take it to a police station.

The last of the old-style coins rolled off the production lines sometime in December 2015. It is believed that the new twelve-sided £1 coin will be far more difficult to counterfeit, but we shall wait and see!

It’s now 2021 and it seems that the new pound coin has stumped the counterfeiters … unless you know different!

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Basil Brown and “The Dig”


Basil Brown – the Invisible Archaeologist

Before we start – excuses

In 2007 Mrs John and I visited Sutton Hoo and viewed the huge ship grave and the National Trust exhibition of priceless royal treasures with a sense of awe and wonder. AWESOME! It is over eighty years ago since this seventh-century Anglo-Saxon burial ground and royal grave was unearthed in a Suffolk field, and it still has an inescapable fascination. In the same year I purchased Preston’s book and have read it many times. I also penned a review at the time and this blog revisits that time in my life.

My review centred on Basil Brown, the hero of the story. The appellation ‘Invisible Archaeologist’ is only one of many. He was also referred to as the ‘Local Excavator’, the ‘Suffolk Heritage Explorer’ and many more. The way he was treated by the ‘proper’ archaeologists will resonate with detectorists everywhere. He probably knew more than they did!

This has been one of the most difficult blogs I have ever done. Doing research and then losing it all; intense pain after a fall; depression, and a sense of worthlessness were just some of the ingredients in the mix. My intention was to post on the same day as the Netflix film was released. It was not to be.

Streaming on Netflix from 29th January – a film of the book.
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Detectorist Suckers

More Money Than Sense

in 2011 I compiled a short blog post that received a lot of attention and deserves a reprise. In those days my original blog had nearly 2000 subscribers and comments left on posts usually reached the giddy 30’s. Not so today: I’m fortunate to get 4 of 5. This is how it started:

I believe that for many detectorists the act of buying a new machine far outweighs the thrill of actually participating in the hobby.

John Winter November 2011

And continued … that’s the impression I get from looking at the various detecting forums, (not so many about now), talking to people in the field and keeping my eyes and ears open. If you regularly visit online hobby (sport?) sites then you’ll be very familiar with the threads extolling the virtues of one make of detector over another. They usually run for several pages, becoming increasingly vitriolic and personal before an enlightened and increasingly frustrated moderator pulls the plug. Has it changed?

The machines being discussed (I use that word lightly) are rarely the reasonably priced models, but high-end machines costing well over a thousand pounds – and more!

For the guys with all the latest gear (but little idea?) it’s as though when they do venture into a muddy field they have to hold their head up high by sporting the latest and the most expensive equipment; when we all know that all you need to find treasure is enthusiasm, a reasonably priced proven detector and a spade.

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