In order to find old things, you have to go to old places.
Recently I had a chance to travel and go metal detecting in Kansas with a friend at a property that dates to the early 1800’s. The property owner told us that there used to be an old house that once sat at the back half of his property. My friend and I decided to metal detect where we believe was the yard of an old victorian era house. The grass and brush was knee high in most areas so we concentrated on detecting the spots where it was possible to swing a metal detector.
We had dug our share of scrap metals, shotgun headstamps, tabs, pull tabs, bits of aluminum cans, square nuts and even a horseshoe. I was using my AT Pro and heard a nickel or tab tone in my headphones. I could tell that it was a smaller coin sized target, and the target ID numbers were lower than the usual nickel numbers, but the tone was what caught my attention because it had that coin sound to it.
I decided to dig the target and about 5 inches deep I noticed something round laying on top of the dirt that I had just turned over. At first I thought it was a wheat penny but I couldn’t tell because the coin was so dirty.
The 5 on the front showed us it ws a nickel. I thought it might be a V nickel. We couldn’t make out the design on the reverse but when the coin was still dirty I could tell that it has some sort of shield on it. It turns out that this coin is a circa 1866-1883 Shield Nickel.
It’s unfortunate that the reverse of the coin is so worn that I haven’t been able to get an exact date off of it. Since this coin doesn’t have ray’s between the stars on the front this shield nickel most likely dates from 1867 to 1883.
The Shield nickel was the first United States five-cent piece to be made out of copper-nickel, the same alloy of which American nickels are struck today.
We had a great hunt, and finding this shield nickel is a good indicator that we’ve located a very old property that could potentially hold a lot of great finds in the future for both of us.
It was an epic hunt for me, and I am honored to be able to detect with such a great friend on a property like this. To find a Shield Nickel while I was there was icing on the cake. I can’t wait to get back out there and see what else we can find!