‘Immigrant Woods’ Keeps Producing

I’ve found a really hot spot, one I’ve hunted six times since October 10th, in a local park that dates to the mid-1800s.

I was told last year by another local detectorist that the park had been ‘hunted out’; now, I don’t know if he was trying to discourage me from his ‘turf’ but I’ve been there probably fifteen times or more and have always come home with decent finds.

‘Decent’ used to mean Indian Head pennies and the occasional mid-to-late 1800s U.S. coin.

Not so since October 10th.

Now, ‘decent’ finds means multiple 1800s…or OLDER…coins, some of them silver and almost all foreigners. On that day in early October I made a decision to change things up and try something new: I’d go into the woods and try hitting the sides of the ravines, places I was pretty confident hadn’t ever been detected.

It has proven to be the best decision of my fledgeling 3-year metal detecting career, with river and creek hunting a close second.Water hunts have been an adventure to say the least, and a great way to keep cool on those hot summer days here in Ohio. The 1786 reale was a bonus on Labor Day morning, found in the lazy trace of the Mohican River near the old Newville Settlement.

Immigrant Woods beat that coin by over two hundred years.

Thanks to my South Carolina YouTube pal Shannon, who goes by ‘Palmetto Digger’ on the social media video site, I was able to identify a coin I found last week in the park, one which I thought was another reale. I emailed closeup pics of the coin to Shannon, asking if the coin was a reale; he’s a pretty adept detectorist who’s dug more than a few of them in SC’s Low Country, which makes him a pretty solid authority in my book. I received an answer the next day.

It was a shock.

Shannon says my coin is most probably a German States Schwarzburg Spitzgroschen, a coin that was struck in the mid-1500s. MID-FIFTEEN HUNDREDS. Nearly 500 years ago!

Most guys and gals go their entire metal detecting lives without finding something such as a Spitzgroschen…which makes me a very, very fortunate guy. You’ll never hear me refer to myself as an ‘expert’ detectorist; the spot I’ve been finding all the old foreign coins was out of sheer luck, with a side of adventure thown in. Believe me, it is a challenge staying glued to the side of a steep hill covered with wet leaves and mud. I made a quick trip down the side of one of those hills the first day I tried it; I still have a sore spot on my right shin bone reminding me of it daily.

How did those coins get there, you ask? My hunch, backed up by being a retired police officer who spent time as a detective in Special Investigations, is that sometime in the past thirty to forty years someone had a coin collection stolen during an area home burglary; once the thief realized he had a bunch of foreign coins in his possession which were probably of no use to him, he got rid of the evidence by going back in the woods and scattering them across the hill side.

Which was good luck for me.

As an aside, I called the Records Section at the police department and asked if they could research old home burglary reports from 1990 back thirty years, since the newest coin I’ve found to date is from 1966. No word yet, but I’d bet my next pension check that those coins are from a burglary. If Records can find a report where a coin collection was taken, I’ll try to contact the owner or a family member; if they can tell me what some of the coins I’ve found are I fully intend to return all of them.

You can watch a recap of the coins I’ve found on my YouTube channel here:

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Author: timteamohio

Retired cop embarking on new adventures, seeking to recover the history beneath us.

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