Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report
Saturday, February 12, 2011:
Well, today was NOT the start of warmer times. It was freezin’ out there. It’s dark now and I still have a chill as I settle down in front of the computer to check emails and weather maps.
I had some wood cutting to do over in Washington Township, Burlington County. For fun, I managed some TH’ing (treasure hunting) as the sun sank. I metal detected an area not far from New Gretna and managed to find a large cent. That’s always an exciting find, when factoring in the way older American coins have exploded in value. Unfortunately, my pre-1854 penny (when large cents were used) was so environmentally damaged that I could even tell the date. What a letdown.
In the past few years, metal detectorist along the East Coast have dug the rarest of Early American large cents, a couple having sold at auction for well over $100,000.
When I began detecting back in the early 1970s, coin dealers wouldn’t even look at dug coins, much less pay even a few bucks for them. Then came eBay. Turns out collectors have absolutely no qualms about buying detected/dug coins, some coins more than showing they’ve been buried for as many as 250 years. I’m hoping those wise-assed coin dealers are now kicking themselves for passing on the hundreds of coins we tried to sell to them.
Interestingly, the coins dug out of Southern NJ soil are often some of the best preserved buried coins found anywhere. When large cents simply fall into Pinelands soil, the combination of indigenous iron and tannic acid work to create an electrolyte environment that helps to keep the coins from corroding. Alas, the one I dug today had been in once farmed field. There it got a steady douse of fertilizers, over decades on end. Kiss of death to copper.
Hey, there sure as heck isn’t much to write about so I offer this little treasure lesson. And if you know of any sites that might have old stuff, please let me know. I’ll share findings, for sure.