Updated: Jan 25
For many people, 2020 was a long, tough year. A year some of us might actually prefer to forget. Living through a worldwide pandemic has certainly presented it's challenges. During all the craziness, I absorbed myself with metal detecting as I'm sure many of you did as well. There wasn't a whole lot else you could do when the entire country shut down. Escaping to swing my detector was my source of calm among all the chaos. With all the hours we put in detecting, naturally, it makes sense that some incredible stuff was dug during the year.
One of our youngest club members, Hailey Teal recovered two batwing buckles, this past year. She found them while metal detecting with her father, Peter Teal, at an old house last Spring. They received permission to detect the site after volunteering to search for a woman's lost wedding ring. The woman offered to let Peter and Hailey detect around the yard of an old house that she owned. I can just imagine their excitement when they found not one, but two batwing buckles at the same site.
ESMDA club member, John Kotwas found this beautiful gold cuff link, pictured above. He dug it in an old farm field. With a little research, John was able to learn that the original owner was a Civil War veteran who was actively involved in the local chapter of the Grand Army of the Republic. He was one of the last survivors of the Civil War in Columbia County and has been honored in many 4th of July parades. An amazing find. For so many of the items we dig, we often are not able to find out information regarding who the original owner was. It is always rewarding to discover the history behind a find.
Oh boy is it exciting when you see gold in the hole you're digging. ESMDA club member, Cheryl Huxhold found her first gold ring this past year. It certainly is a beauty too! The ring is inscribed with initials. It was found at an old cellar hole, in Montgomery County. Before discovering the ring, Cheryl pulled several nails from the hole. It was not the easiest of recoveries. Cheryl was about ready to give up on the target. She re-scanned the hole again, dug a little more, and then pulled out the gold ring. Proof that persistence does pay off. Congratulations Cheryl!
Peter Sorrell located a War of 1812 camp in Franklin County. Alongside a creek, all within a 50 square foot area, Peter found an 1808 pattern shoulder belt plate, several script I cuff buttons, a script I coat button, a neck stock buckle, and a few musket balls. The shoulder belt plate is a find of a lifetime. It is an American militia, standard enlisted man's, 1808 "War of 1812" pattern. This just goes to show you that the time you spend researching spots is worth it.
ESMDA club member, Edward Rifenberg found a beautiful 1914 Barber quarter this past year. Finding silver certainly is exciting. The coin is in incredible condition too! There are only four US coins that are known solely by their designers names. The Barber quarter just happens to be one of them. It was designed by Charles Edward Barber and was minted between 1892 and 1916. Congratulation Ed on a great find! Ed also reached an amazing milestone in 2020 when he dug his 1000th Indian Head Cent!
It is really cool when you can find a piece of history as old as the button, pictured above. It is a 1792 US Navy button and was dug by ESMDA club member Gino DiCarlo. Gino shared with me that when he first started to detect, after finding a few buttons, he purchased a copy of Albert's button book. While flipping through the pages, he spotted one of those early goose neck style buttons and from that moment on he dreamed of digging one. Well that dream came true for Gino, this past year, when he was attending the National Detecting League (NDL) down in South Carolina. The NDL is a three day metal detecting event that is put on by Larry Cissna. On the second day of the event, Gino found a whole coat of South Carolina Confederate buttons. I'm sure you can imagine his disappointment though when he learned that the buttons were post war and made in Waterbury Connecticut. On the third and last day of the event, Gino dug the 1792 US Navy button. What an outstanding find!
At the start of the Civil War, there were two types of sabers issued to the Federal Cavalry. The light version and the heavy. ESMDA club member, Patrick Whitton dug a model 1860 saber guard this past year. The model 1860 sabers were used by the US Calvary during the American Civil War and until the end of the Indian Wars. The guard is complete, with knuckle bow, and has three bars to protect the hand. It is an incredible find. Congratulations Patrick!
In 2020, Michael Gesel found a Knights of Saint John Memorial Token while diving in the Niagara river near the Ontario Launch. The memorial token is dedicated in loving memory to the departed comrades by the Second Regiment, Knights of Saint John, Buffalo NY. It is dated May 31, 1914. The monument on the front side of the memorial token is the Knights of St. John memorial monument. The monument is located at the Old United French and Germany Cemetery, now a part of Mount Cavalry in Cheektowaga. After finding the item, Michael contacted the Knights of St. John Facebook group. Michael plans on gifting the memorial token to the group. It's always rewarding when you can share a find with the people who appreciate it the most.
Club member, Roland Ozols had an outstanding year detecting. He found not one, not two, but three Revolutionary War Continental Army Pewter USA buttons. All three buttons were dug from the same farm field. The quest for Revolutionary War relics is at the top of almost every relic hunters bucket list. Truly amazing finds! Roland also visited England back in March. While there he found a Saxon enameled disc brooch. It dates all the way back to the 10th or 11th century. I know I get excited when I dig 18th century items. I can only imagine the thrill of digging something that old.
Club member, Matt Episcopo also dug a Revolutionary War Continental Army Pewter USA button this past year. Matt's button is unique in the fact that it is partially intertwined. The letters U and S are connected and the letter A is separate. It is the enlisted man's pattern of 1781/1782 with French-Made Roman font. It is truly the find of a lifetime. Matt's button was found in a farm field, corn field to be exact. Six feet away from the button, Matt found a 1778 Spanish Half Reale. Congratulations Matt!
So, it seems 2020 was an excellent year, at least, for metal detecting. There certainly were some amazing items recovered. I hope that 2021 is kind to us all and that you are able to check a few more items off your bucket list. If you have a favorite find from 2020, that was not included in this blog, I encourage you to leave a comment or share a photo in the section below. We'd love to hear more about the coins, jewelry, or other great relics you dug last year. Cheers to 2021!