Wednesday, 11 June 2014

James 1st - Spur Ryal gold coin weight

Whilst detecting recently I unearthed a small square piece of metal. Clearly visible were the latters "XVI" plus a crown. I recognised this as a coin weight but would need further research at home before I could fully identify it. These square weights were made to check the weight of gold coins to try and spot underweight or fake copies. The weight is made of a copper alloy.

Once home and with the aid of a magnifying glass I could make out the following, large crown, "XVI.s", "VI D" - plus a much smaller indented crown with an "I" below it.

The indented crown with the "I" below identify this coin weight as relating to King James 1st ( reign 1603-1625 ). James was the first Stuart monarch to rule England ( bear in mind he was already King James VI of Scotland ).

James 1st - Spur Ryal coin weight - 16 shillings and 6 pence

With the aid of my Spink coin book I found that during the reign of James 1st one of the gold coins produced was known as the Ryal - this was initially valued as 15 shillings but between the years 1612-1619 the value was increased to be 16 shillings and 6 pence - this matches the "XVI.s" ( 16 shillings ) and "VI D" ( 6 pence ) markings on the weight. So this find is approx 400 years old.

The reverse of the coin weight shows the design of the Ryal coin itself - this feature a spiky sun ( not unlike a "spur" - hence "Spur Ryal" ) within a circle containing eight arches.

My example weighs 5.64g which appears to be less than other known examples ( typically just over  6g ).

Note that From 1632 by Act of Parliament all square coin-weights were made illegal due to the fact that
'many of them, which were in common use were too heavy , and others too light, so that men bought and received by one weight, and sold and delivered by another'. 

More info about coin weights of England can be found on this link here

Update - this find has now been recorded onto the Portable Antiquities Scheme ( PAS ) run by the British Museum  - see link below

Link to PAS entry for this item


Sunday, 6 October 2013

George II - Halfpenny - 1738

I find many Georgian copper coins whilst I am out metal detecting - unfortunately they are inevitably in very poor condition, so bad that they often no more than a blank copper disc.

So I was very pleased to find an example in pretty good condition - this Half Penny example is dated 1738. George II came to the throne in 1727  - he was our last monarch to be born outside the UK - he was also our last monarch to lead troops into battle on the battlefield.

On this coin we can see the wording - GEORGIVS II REX and the split BRITAN  NIA plus date.

George II is shown looking to the left wearing a laurel crown and Roman style tunic. He died in 1760 and was succeeded by his grandson who became George III.

A few days after I found this example I found a "hoard" of seven George III Half Pennies but all seven had next to no detail markings remaining - that's the norm which makes the above example a find I'm very happy to have found.


Sunday, 15 September 2013

Another Tomac Button

Found another elegant shiny smooth Tombac button - this example is 24mm in diameter and again in very good condition.

It features an intricate eight sided star pattern with a zig-zag pattern around the rim - it is likely to date from the 18th century.


Saturday, 23 March 2013

Henry V - Halfpenny - 600 years old

The weather today was awful, howling freezing wind - still with a couple of hours to spare I seized the chance to get out and about to do some metal detecting on one of my local permissions.

All I found today was an assortment of small lead pieces, but this was not a bad sign as lead was very commonly used in bygone times and lead finds suggests that people have passed through this field.

After an hour I was on the verge of giving up as I was beginning to freeze so I set myself "10 more minutes" - my luck was in as the next signal turned up this hammered Halfpenny of Henry V. The coin is in poor condition with a chunk missing and a couple of holes but then again it's 600 years old !

Henry V ruled from 1413-1422 and spent much of this time fighting in France. This particular coin is Spink 1794 - you can see the broken "annulets" ( rings ) either side of the crown which distinguishes this variant.

 The long cross on the reverse shows the text "Civitas London"  ( City of London ) divided up over the four quarters, ie made at the Tower mint.  It's a small coin at just 14mm across and weighs 0.42g.

This is my first Henry Vth coin, hopefully the next one will be in better condition.


Monday, 18 February 2013

Tombac button

Buttons are probably the most common non junk find found whilst out metal detecting - it's an unusual session if I return without a single button.

I found this button near a farm house - it is large and shiny with a patterned front. This button is made of Tombac a copper alloy with a lot of zinc and sometimes some arsenic too, as you can see it has no corrosion unlike the many copper buttons I find.

Tombac buttons were popular in the 18th Century and pre-date the more sophisticated mass produced three piece mass copper buttons of Victorian times. The metal is very smooth to the touch. I've found others previously but they have been plain - this one has an ornate multi pointed star design with a patterned edge and at 26mm in diameter is a large button.


 The reverse shows a copper eye loop mounted in a raised mount, no makers details are shown.

Wikipedia tells us that the word tombac ( or tombak ) originates from Indonesia and came to Europe when Dutch traders returned with local metal products made of tombac alloy.

With Spring 2013 coming I am seeking new permissions to search - if you own land in the Wells / Mendip area and would allow me to detect then I would be very pleased to hear from you - please email me via


Sunday, 17 February 2013

Anglo-Saxon - Silver Hooked Tag - Treasure

Back in Feb 2012 whilst searching on a stubble field with my Minelab X-Terra 705 detector I found my first Anglo-Saxon item.  The field in question had produced nothing other than a few well worn Georgian coppers until this item.

The item has been dated to the period circa 7th C - 10th C - pre Norman invasion. It is small only about the size of a modern 1p.  I took the item up to show the landowner the next day and he was very interested to see this find.

The design features an expanding cross, it really is a beautiful little item.  Today I handed the piece over to my local Finds Liaison Officer ( FLO ) and completed the Treasure Act paperwork. It will now go off to the British Museum for scrutiny and reporting. Those reports will then go off to the local Coroner for him to consider. I suspect that this item will be acquired by a local museum. The Treasure process is not quick and it may well be 12 months or more before a conclusion.  

The FLO describes the item as follows,

""It is in lovely condition and probably was gilded on the front from the remains around some of the holes and possibly on the back.  It is good you have left the dirt in the grooves as they may contain traces of niello (black material) which contrasts beautifully with the gold and picked out the pattern. I think I can see a few dots of it but it often doesn’t survive well.
They are thought to have been worn to clasp the top of wrapped bands around the leg but they could have also been worn in other places on clothing and the later ones are known to have been used to hold down veils and head coverings (which wealthy women of this period wore) so they may have had broader uses.
Most have two rather than three attachment holes but this is variable as the holes were drilled after the original forming so the number depends on the individual craftsman, the central one could also have been a later addition. They come in a range of shapes although circular is probably most common after triangular. Some have the holes just drilled into the plate like this, other have little semi-circular projections that were drilled so they didn’t interfere with the design.""

UPDATE 17th FEB 2013 - After almost one year the Treasure process is just about at an end - the Hooked Silver Tag will be acquired by the Museum of Somerset in Taunton. The Portable Antiquities Scheme ( PAS ) has now published their findings about this Anglo Saxon item - see link below for more details

LINK to PAS for details on the above Silver Hooked Tag


Sunday, 27 January 2013

Lead Cloth Seal

A day of rare sunshine gave me a chance to get out for a few hours - I searched a slopping pasture field on The Mendips.  The most interesting find today was a lead cloth seal.

I've found broken parts before but this one is almost complete and is also marked.

The front side shows "IP" over "XX" - the reverse appears to show a hand etched crude "1838" over "26" or maybe "Z6" ( 1838 was the second year of the reign of Queen Victoria ).

Seals were attached to cloth to show the manufacturer/agent and I think also for taxation purposes.

Thanks to UKDFD for identifying this item  - see link below

I will try and see if I can trace this seal to a particular trader, hopefully one with local connections - if you recognise this seal then please do drop me an email - thanks



Sunday, 20 January 2013

Minie Ball

Over the years I have found many dozens of lead Musket Balls but today I found my first lead Minie Ball.

The Minie Ball dates from circa 1850 and was widely used in the Crimean War and the US Civil War. The Minie Ball was fired by a black powder charge being set off by a percussion cup struck by the hammer on the weapon and was an improvement over the Musket Ball in terms of accuracy and range.

The spherical shape of the Musket Ball was replaced by the more bullet shape of the Minie Ball, rings around the base helped with rifling ( spinning ) as it passed along the barrel. The base of the Minie Ball has a distinctive concave cone shape - I understand this would have been plugged with a piece of wood to help the base of the round to expand as the powder ignited behind it and so increase the velocity of the round..

This particular example was found out on a snow covered pasture field up on The Mendips in Somerset, UK.

Dimensions -

Length - approx 23mm
Base Diameter - approx 11mm
Weight - approx 16.12g

UPDATE 22.1.13

I sent an email query off to the Royal Armouries museum asking them for more insight into this particular find and have posted their reply below

""Thanks for your query. It is indeed a Minie style ball or bullet, aka the cylindro-conoidal ball with expansion skirt originally designed by (the British) Captain Norton in 1832. This one is of the classic Minie-Delvigne pattern probably most famous in an American Civil War context. The British military equivalent did not utilise grooves however, and this one is too small in any case to be a musket or carbine ball of the era (c1850 – 1870). It’s most likely to have been cast for a muzzle-loading sporting rifle of that vintage.""

Web Link to Royal Armouries


Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Livery Button - Mansell Family

I find a lot of buttons when I go metal detecting - the vast majority are simple plain and unmarked on the reverse.

A nice exception was a large gilt button found recently just outside Wells. On returning home I washed it gently with a nice soft old toothbrush and a little cold water - now I could read some text.

The button is one inch in diameter and has a crest and motto - the motto reads


I'm told this translates as

""That which he wants, he wants very much"" or the similar  ""What he wishes he wishes fervently""

On the button this motto surrounds a stylised letter "M".

A search on the WWW shows this to be the motto of the Mansel ( Maunsel ) family, the letter "M" fits that theory too.

On the reverse the makers details can be read as


Firmin & Sons were a major manufacturer of buttons in Victorian times and these particular markings appear to relate to this company in the period 1895 - 1915 - so we have a button that is approx 100 years old.

I haven't managed to identify any link between the Mansel family and the land around this find though.

I'd be very interested to hear from anyone with local knowledge that might connect the Mansel family to the Wells area of Somerset. 


Monday, 10 December 2012

Double Loop Buckle

A look at one of my local permissions showed that the farmer had ploughed a couple of fields. Detecting on recently ploughed fields is hard work, peaks and troughs and stumbling around on on large clods of mud ! Almost like a mini work out in the gym.

I always approach ploughed fields with eager anticipation - what has the plough brought up from the depths ?

This time the only find of interest was a nice lead token with a double cross pattern.  

Turning back for home took me across an empty pasture field popular with local dog walkers  - I've searched on here many many times. It turns up quiet a lot of early 20th C coins but also a few odd late medieval items. Today I found the buckle below.

I sent a photo off to the UKDFD website and they identify it as a Double Loop Buckle from circa 1550-1650 - Tudor/Stuart - I've yet to find a hammered coin in this particular field but this buckle gives me  some hope that I will eventually.  Detecting is all about patience and hope ! 

More info on my buckle on the UKDFD link below


Sunday, 18 November 2012

Lead Toy Soldier

An afternoon out in a pasture field turned up two Victorian pennies and one late George III ( circa 1806 ) penny - but by far the most interesting find for me was an almost complete toy lead soldier.

I'm no expert but the uniform style looks to me to be similar to that worn by the British at the time of the Zulu War ( Rourkes Drift ).  The soldier has a red painted tunic ( red serge ) and is carrying a back pack and wearing a pith helmet. The upright figure is in a marching position with his rifle on his shoulder.  The trousers appear to have been painted black with a green base.

If you recognise this particular figure and know the manufacturer then please do get in touch via

bea_steve "at"


Thursday, 11 October 2012

Strap End - Circa late 14th - early 15th century

I was very pleased to find this elegant Strap End in a sheep field in the vicinity of Wells. This artefact is made of a copper alloy and is in very good condition with plenty of fine detail still visible - this particular style dates to around circa 1400. I think this is one of the most beautiful items I've found so far.

This metal item would have been attached to the end of leather straps. Strap Ends are often long thin and rectangular - this one is rather different. The back plate is fixed by four small rivets.

I will show this to our county Finds Liaison Officer on her next visit to Wells.

You can read more about this actual artefact on the following UKDFD web link


Saturday, 6 October 2012

French Jetton - 15th C

Today I had a chance to detect in a small orchard. I thought I might find a few Georgian / Victorian artefacts or coins but no I was lucky enough to find something much older.

Finds were very few and far between, one lead bag seal and one rather nice olde copper alloy French Jetton. Jettons are tokens and are believed to have been used for counting and gaming. Most of the Jettons found in Britain were actually manufactured in Germany or France.

This example is believed to have been made in Tournai, at the time a French city ( today it is part of Belgium ) - this style dates from circa 1415 - 1497, so almost 800 years old.



The Jetton is thin and about the size of a modern 2p coin - it weighs 3.2g. One side shows a shield with three Fleur de Lys.

I will show this to our local county Finds Liaison Officer ( FLO ) on her next visit to Wells.


Friday, 5 October 2012

Crockery bits

A recent detecting session on a stubble field turned up almost no metal finds at all, just a couple of 20th C looking buckles.

I did notice however than that particular field had a lot of broken crockery on the surface, not old Romano-British pot but more recent Georgian/Victorian blue and white pattern china plus one brown/cream piece. The thinking is that broken crockery was added to the "night waste" cart that ended up on fields to be worked into heavy soils. 

If you know more about the china crockery patterns shown here then please do drop me an email - thanks via

bea_steve  "at"


Help - Lost keys

Last week I was asked if I could help someone find their set of keys. They sent me a message via this Blog and we arranged to meet up and search.

The keys were hidden away for safe keeping whilst the owner went caving up on The Mendips in the Priddy area. Before we set off to search with the metal detector we got the permission of the landowner to search in the area where they keys had been left.

The keys were left in among tall tufted grass clumps, put aside so well that when the caver returned to the surface they couldn't be found. Unfortunately our joint search with the metal detector failed to find them too - we scoured the area several times in between rain showers but only found a couple of remnants of coke cans.

Messages about the keys have been left with the farmer and in the cavers changing barn  - hopefully someone will stumble across them soon.

If you have lost or mislaid something important or precious that's made of metal then do get in touch - maybe a ring or earrings while gardening or keys for a tractor whilst out on the farm - maybe I can help try and find them for you - contact me via

bea_steve   "at"


Saturday, 22 September 2012

Bronze Age worked flint

Whilst metal detecting around the perimeter of a corn field up on The Mendips I noticed this black shiny item on the surface. At first glance I thought it was a fragment of a clay pigeon target that had been blasted.

However as soon as I picked up I could see it was actually a flint. I knew that flints didn't occur naturally here in Somerset so it was of interest for sure. The stone is about the size of a match box and has many clear signs of being worked, chipped into a blade.

Ironically I hadn't found anything of interest at all with my metal detector so this became my best find by far of that particular day. Within one mile of this location there must be at least a dozen barrows, so the area has plenty of ancient history.

I took the flint to my local Finds Liaison Officer and she recognised it straight away as a Bronze Age worked flint, likely to be a personal scrapper for cleaning the muck and dead skin flakes from the owners own skin ( pre soap and water ).

This item is the oldest find I've made and dates from circa 800BC through to circa 2100BC, ie between 3000 - 4000 years old.

More information about this actual Bronze Age flint can be found on the link below

Web Link to PAS Flint find

So keep your eyes peeled next time for surface finds while you are out field walking.  


Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Crotal Bell - circa 1600

Many of my local permission fields have recently been harvested and at last I have a chance to get back on and search among the stubble remnants.

Yesterday I was very pleased to find my first complete Crotal Bell - I've been willing myself to find one of these for many months. They seem to be fairly common finds over in eastern counties but rather rarer here in the west.

This bell dates from circa 16th - 17th century ( Tudor era ) - the bell would have been attached to animal, to livestock. Crotal Bells are cast as one piece, the iron pellet ( dinger ) inside would have been embedded in a ball of sand before the molten metal was poured after completion the sand would have dropped out through the sound slit.

After I got home I carefully washed the dirt out of this bell and I'm pleased to say that the iron pellet inside hadn't rusted away, so the bell rings like new. The bell is about 25mm in diameter and weighs 24g ( ie it's a bit smaller than a ping pong ball ).

There is a very good guide to Crotal Bells on the UKDFD website - see the link below

Crotal Bell Guide - UKDFD


Thursday, 16 August 2012

George III Shilling - Fake

Today we are used to fake £1 coins but the temptation to produce fake coins has been with us since coins first appeared. Contemporary fake silver Roman coins are still unearthed nowadays.  

Whilst metal detecting today I found a fake 1819 George III shilling. The coin was about 8 inches down on a grass field in among the sheep. My metal detector is a Minelab X-Terra 705 and this coin gave a signal reading of "32" - "32" can relate to a modern day £1 coin or an item made of copper alloy.

I recognised the coin as being the size of a shilling but it didn't look like a silver example - I thought for a brief moment that maybe it was a post 1946 cupro-nickel shilling, these come out the ground brown.  But no portrait of George VI or Elizabeth II.  A closer look showed the "bullhead" portrait of George III ( this style dates from near the end of his reign ) - but it sure wasn't the .925 silver that it should have been.

The fake George III Shilling dated 1819 is on the right

George III ruled for sixty years and for much of his reign low value coinage was in short supply as it was not issued. After 1787 shillings were not issued again until 1816 a gap of almost 30 years. The 1816 examples featured the new "bullhead" thick necked portrait of George III and they were produced from 1816 to his death in 1820.  The forgers were quick off the mark to produce imitations of this new design that was flooding into circulation.

Left genuine - Right fake

The forgery I found today is a copper disc ( maybe a re-worked copper half penny ) with a thin fake silver coating - as you can see it has not survived well after almost 200 years in the ground - the fake silver surface has worn away and the copper base is clearly evident.

Whilst not the real thing it makes an interesting addition to my collection.


Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Early "AA" Automobile Association badge

Today I had the opportunity to work alongside a small team of archaeologists as they dug a potential Iron Age site. I was there to help them recover any nearby metal items and to check through their spoil heap. 

I found part of the rim of a metal cooking pot, plus various pieces of lead and iron - this gave them something to ponder.

Finds were very few and far between - ironically the only item that was clearly identifiable was this early 20th century "AA" badge.

It appears to be made of copper alloy and features the winged emblem of the Motor Union at the top - the reverse includes the final three digits of the issue number as #...128.

A look on the WWW suggests that this design dates from 1911 through to the mid 1920s - later examples were made of chrome or nickel.

More information about the history and design of the "AA" badge can be found on the AA web link below


Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Brass mount - Who was "JE" ?

This item was found recently in the vicinity of Welsh's Green ( near Milton ) - there are the remains of a couple of ruined building nearby now long ruined and overgrown among the trees.

The mount has four fixing points on the reverse - it measures approx 4cm by 4cm and is likely to have been mounted on a horse harness.

My guess is that this mount is maybe Victorian - I wonder if "JE" lived at Welsh's Green or maybe owned this land at that time.

All help welcomed.


Wednesday, 27 June 2012

"52" a lead item

Found today - in a private garden of a very olde house - it's made of lead and is stamped "52".

The house is adjacent to an olde church.

It's about the size of those wooden sticks you get to eat small tubs of ice cream.

Why would this be numbered - was it handed out and collected back in again, is it some kind of token ?  

Plant label ?

Maybe it relates more to the adjacent church ?

Although bent now I suspect it should be flat.

All clues welcomed - thanks


Friday, 22 June 2012

Pilgrims Ampulla

This lead item was found last winter ( Nov 2011 ) in the middle of a pasture field  whilst metal detecting ( with permission ) not far from Wells.

Unfortunately the ampulla is damaged but bear in mind that it is between 700-900 years old. One side shows a stylised "W" symbol - this is believed to relate to the shrine at Walsingham, Norfolk, this being a major pilgrimage site in the Middle Ages - some considerable trek from Somerset.

The other side of the ampulla shows a "scallop shell" type pattern. The neck of the ampulla is broken and bent over, also missing are two small side handles.

Pilgrims Ampullas would have contained holy water from the shrine, a religious souvenir of the day and bought to bring good luck to the bearer. These are often found in fields too and it is thought that perhaps the ampulla and holy water were a blessing for the crops.

This ampulla is dated c 1150 - 1350  - these items were superceded by Pilgrims Badges.

I passed the item onto our local county Finds Liaison Officer ( FLO ) and she has recorded a more detailed description for this item on PAS which you can read via the link below


Tuesday, 15 May 2012

49 Musket Balls - Now 70

Lovely spring day here so took a walk across the fields that I have permission to search. I decided to focus on a field that I have only passed over en route to other locations. This field had not produced anything in my brief time there before.

The field is pasture and on a slope, one side of a small but steep valley with a small stream at its base.  After 20 minutes of finding nothing I had a strong signal - it turned out to be a lead musket ball. A metre later another similar signal produced another musket ball.  This was the start of a most unusual detecting session for me as over the next 3 hours I dug up 49 musket balls, and all from a sub section of that field measuring perhaps 70m by 30m.

Several of the musket balls have suffered major impact damage ( but still weigh 90% of the intact examples ) - others have slight impact damage ( slightly flattened on one side ) - others appears round and undamaged.

49 Musket Balls

This location is half a mile or so from a known Roundhead encampment gathered nearby with the intention of taking my local town from the Royalists. I recently read a detailed history of the English Civil War in my county and it refers to this encampment.  It says that a party of Royalist troops set out to take a look at the gathering and assess the strength of the enemy. They were spotted and a "skirmish" ensued with the Royalist fleeing back to the town to gather their colleagues before retreating.The Roundheads were then able to take the town unopposed.

A complete example alongside three damaged examples

I wonder if the location I found today might be the site ( or part of the site ) of the skirmish between these two opposing armies ?

I have weighed each musket ball and they all weigh between 21g and 22g - they are approx 16mm in diameter.

Would this size and weight relate to known English Civil War era musket balls ?

I received the following feedback and insight from the Royal Armouries museum,

""Many thanks for getting in touch. 16mm would be .65 calibre, which is pistol bore for the C17th, carbine bore for the C18th and early C19th. The military connection is certainly possible, but if they’re all 16mm in diameter, seems unlikely (unless you’re only seeing one side of an exchange of fire, but at pistol ranges that again seems odd). Musket bore was between .70 and .80 calibre in those days, and a battle or skirmish without muskets would be strange. I wonder about a later date, as for example, if an early C19th Yeomanry cavalry unit used the area for practice, their carbine balls might litter it in the way you describe. That’s pretty speculative though.""

UPDATE 17th May 2012 - today I returned to this site - A further 21 musket balls were recovered and as before all the same size ( approx 16mm diameter ) and weight ( approx 22g ).  As before all the balls were found in one relatively compact area, a small subsection of a large field.

Among the 21 musket balls found today were these 5 examples - the ball in the centre appears to have two teeth marks ( I understand they were sometimes bitten to get them to fit the barrel better )

I now think these finds relate to a target practice area rather than a skirmish.  I searched around this area, finds were very few and far between and included a William III farthing ( circa 1690-1700 ) and a George III half penny ( circa 1799-1807 )


Thursday, 26 April 2012

Toy aeroplane

I do find some unexpected things whilst out detecting - I was very happy to unearth this old toy aeroplane today - the broken wing was about a metre away.

I am an avid aviation fan but I don't recognise this aircraft design - it may be just a "generic" airplane.  My guess would be that this is from the 1930s or 1940s but it may be later.

Under the starboard wing it appears to have the makers name - unfortunately the wing tip is missing, so this reads as

.......arbens & Co, London

Under the other wing it says Made in England

So it's not Corgi, not Matchbox, not Dinky or Hornby - anybody recognise this toy or the manufacturers name please - thank you.

UPDATE 27.4.12 - with thanks to forum members at  this has now been recognised as manufactured by Charbens & Co of London.  Robert Newson has written an excellent detailed history of this 20th C toy maker which includes a photo of this same plane described as a "Hawker Hurricane", produced post WW2. To my eyes this aircraft bears little resemblance to a Hurricane but I'm sure young child would have used their imagination!

External Link to Robert Newsons history of Charbens & Co website  


Friday, 6 April 2012

Lead Bag Seal - R CANDY of STREET

It's always nice to find a "local" find whilst out metal detecting. Today I found a lead bag seal on a ploughed field near Wells.

Lead bag seals are not uncommon finds although I don't find many myself. This example has the following supplier details stamped on it




I would imagine that this is a Victorian bag seal - I will try and do some research into the local firm of "R CANDY of STREET".


Saturday, 17 March 2012

George V - Half Crown - 1929

This afternoon I decided to take my older detector with me on a visit to a nearby recently ploughed permission - this is a CS3MX, a simple machine to operate which uses a 17khz frequency, in theory this is good for finding smaller targets.

I did find one tiny button ( 10mm in diameter ) but the best find was a 1929 George V Half Crown ( Two Shillings and Six Pence ) . This coin was only about two inches down and gave a massive signal - it is 32mm in diameter, a large coin.

George V was crowned in 1910. In 1920 during his reign British silver coins were debased from .925 ( Sterling Silver ) down to .500 so this particular example is half silver.


Thursday, 15 March 2012

Button - "Rose" Clan

Whilst detecting this week near Wookey I found this small button, it's only 15mm in diameter. Few finds were made in this field but most were Georgian Half Pennies - this button fits in with this time period.

The front shows a Harp plus the text CONSTANT AND TRUE. After I returned home I did some web research and found that this motto and the Harp image relate to the "Rose" Clan from Northern Scotland.

The reverse of the button shows the makers name as JOHN WILLIAMS - they were based in St Martins Lane, London from 1791 to 1800 - in the reign of George III.

Why would this button be in the middle of pasture land in Somerset - well I can only guess that some proud members of the Rose family lived locally here around the year 1800. I'll try and do some local research on this.


Friday, 9 March 2012

Georgian Half Penny Token

Today I found my first token - found on pasture near Wells.

This token dates from about 1790 during the reign of George III. Small change was in short supply with George III only producing official mint Half Pennies between 1770 and 1775 - by 1790 there were many different local Half Penny tokens in circulation. In 1799 after a gap of some 24 years the Royal Mint at last produced a new design George III Half Penny and the need for tokens was over.

This token shows a three mast sailing ship with the test SUCCESS TO THE COAL TRADE - the other side shows a male standing figure with a spanner and an auger with the text BIRMINGHAM HALF PENNY - this particular token has been pierced.


Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Victorian Six Pence 1900

A few hours detecting high up on the Mendips produced very few finds - the best of the day came late as I was meandering back down towards home.

This Victorian Six Pence is dated 1900, issued shortly before her death in January 1901. Over her long reign her coins featured several different bust portraits - this coin shows the "Old Head" which started to appear from 1893 onwards and shows her as a widow with a veil.


Friday, 10 February 2012

Printing Plate Fragment With Adverts

A few days ago I found this fragment of a printing plate. It was found on pasture close to the edge of Wells Somerset.

I have "reversed" the image so that we can read it. What intrigues me is that this is a fixed plate, the words, letters and text can't be changed for any amends.  I assume that these adverts might have appeared in a newspaper ( Wells Journal ? ) or maybe it was used to print flyers / leaflets.

The plate is approx 65mm in width - among the text we can see

THE NEWTON window blinds patented........ of Mayfair, London

ROPE the Belfast Ropeworks Company................


A little WWW research shows that the Belfast Ropeworks Company was the biggest in Britain ( perhaps the World ) and was founded by Mr Wolff, he later went onto to be a partner in Harland & Wolff the famous shipbuilders ( they built the Titanic ).

I guess that this item is either Victorian or maybe Edwardian - why it would be in the middle of a grass field on the edge of town now that's a harder question to answer.


Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Military Button - 2nd Somerset Regiment

The button below was found whilst metal detecting near Godney and is marked with a crown at the top, a "2" in the centre and "Somerset Reg" around the edge.

The rear of the button is badly corroded.

I contacted the National Army Museum in Chelsea, London  - they say

""The 40th (2nd Somersetshire) Regiment of Foot was in existence from 1786 to 1881 when it became the Prince of Wales's Volunteers (South Lancashire Regiment).""

I've seen other army buttons that show the number of the Regiment of Foot as the centre numeric in which case I would imagine seeing "40" as the centre digits, but not so in this case.

A great local Somerset related find.