In this series, we have selected 100 metal detecting finds that were extremely difficult to detect and recover, and provide details on the circumstances and techniques that contributed to their successful recovery.
KEEPER: This is an ultra-rare button from George Washington, the first US President’s, inauguration. Considered to be the “holy grail” of US button collecting, many varieties were made, but it is estimated that less than 400 survive. This pattern, Cobb 9A / Albert WI 4A-1 is particularly rare, with less than ten examples known to exist.
SITE: Homesite of an early Tennessee settler
SITE EVALUATION: 10 of 10 Awesome Civil War and early homesite relics. Only thing I haven’t found here yet is an 1800s coin. Site has been hunted hard for years, but has produced many relics for me and my hunting partners.
PERMISSION: Current property owner is extremely gracious and appreciates the history of the property
PUT YOURSELF IN POSITION: A fellow detectorist asked me a couple of months ago how I find so much rare stuff. The question kind of threw me for a loop, because I really didn’t have a good answer. It was a friendly question, but my finds are so unbelievable this year, any sane person might justifiably question whether they were real finds. I dug 8 Civil War plates this year, for example, and 4 of them have been extremely rare.
After thinking on the question a while, the answer is simple and obvious. With heavy research and working hard on permission, I have been fortunate to BE IN POSITION to find the rare stuff. This button, for example, was not randomly found – it was found exactly where one would expect to find such a thing – the home of an early well-to-do settler from Virginia (GW was from Virginia). Other rare finds were similarly found based on specific research to locate key Civil War camps, and home-sites that no longer exist that were on Civil War battlefields.
So if you want to maximize your chances of finding the good stuff, do the research and get the permission that put you in position to do so! Good luck out there to you!
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