Christmas 2008




Judging a recent Find of the Month Award are, round the table from left to right, David Hallam Search Secretary, Anja Rhodes Finds Liaison Officer, Dennis Brown Club Chairman and club member Mark Islip.

                                  Find Of The Month July, 2008
Coin:- Gothic florin, found by John Radford.

Artefact:- Georgian ring, found by Richard Waite.



                                      GOTHIC  FLORIN
This beautiful coin, a Victoria Gothic florin, was found by John Radford on a club search in July, it won the July, Find of the Month Award.
   The first silver florin minted in England was in 1849, it was soon termed the ‘Godless’ florin because the words ‘Dei Gratia. Fid Def.’ were omitted from it. This omission caused a public outcry and the person responsible for the error, the Deputy Master of the Royal Mint, was dismissed. Some thought that the issue of the ‘Godless’ coin was the cause of an outbreak of cholera in the same year. It was also the first coin to state the value of the coin twice in words, ‘ONE FLORIN. ONE TENTH OF A POUND’ on the obverse. An attempt to establish a decimal coinage that was soon discarded.
   The ‘Gothic’ florin found by John was so named because of its Old English or Gothic lettering and the having the date in Roman numerals.  Issued from 1851 to 1887 it had on the obverse ‘VICTORIA. D.G. BRITT. REG. F.D. which satisfied the religious concerns of the public.  The word 'Florin' on a two shilling coin was discontinued in 1937.                                                


                          Find of the Month August. 2008.
COIN.   Edward 1 silver  hammered   penny.  Darren Hoyle. No picture available.

ARTEFACT.  Gold  medieval  padlock clasp. Darren Hoyle. This was featured in  the Summer, 2008 issue of  the  newsletter.
       However to give an idea of how small the padlock is, it is shown here at the side of a five pence coin. If you get the chance please read the excellent article by John Radford, about Darren’s find, in the December, 2008 issue of the Searcher Magazine.

Other finds made in August

Pilgrim's ampulla
Dennis Brown
Roman duck brooch
Darren Hoyle
Early syringe
Dennis Brown

                             Find Of The Month September, 2008
COIN.   Charles 1 Hammered silver shilling 1645—1646. John Radford

ARTEFACT.  Bronze  Roman Ring. Dennis Brown.

                 Roman ring

     Charles1 shilling

                               Find Of The Month October, 2008
COIN:- George111 gold half guinea found by Dennis Brown

ARTEFACT:- Roman Elagabalus denarius found by June Reedman. Jointly with a silver thimble found by Dennis Brown.


Gold half guinea.

Elagabalus denarius.


Silver thimble.

Other Finds Placed On The Table

Candle snuffer

   Prince of Wales feathers

    Half belt buckle 'HYOCATYS' on it.

                John Radford

           Dennis Brown

                     Paul Wigginton

Charles1 shilling
Gordon Reedman

Roman Brooch
Bill Severn

William111 shilling
John Radford


 John Gough.

On a club search in November, I noticed that two of the club members, June and Graham Reedman had the new Garrett Pro-Pinpointers. They gave myself and other club members a demonstration of the new accessory. I was well impressed and after reading the Product Report in the Treasure Hunting magazine, December issue, I decided to buy one. Four stockists advertised them in both hobby magazines at £74.99 post free.
      I had dealt many times in  the past with Regton and had not encountered any problems so I telephoned my order. Imagine my surprise when I was told that the price was not as advertised £74.99 post free but £84.99 post free, an increase of £10, and this was do to the unfavourable dollar/pound exchange rate. A £10 increase on a £75 item is 13.33%, which seems to be extortionate, if the pound has fallen by that much we are in deep doo-doo indeed. This appears to be another rip off that we as detectorists are prone to!
      Regton are the agents for Garrett and supply the other outlets. One of the other stockists told me that they have had to follow suit with the price increase.

As to the Garrett Pro-Pinpointer I have found that it does all it says in the full page Regton advertising blurbs in the magazines. However if any club member is a prospective purchaser and undecided they are welcome to have a short trial with mine.   
     The Product Report in the Treasure Hunting Magazine is a good factual article and should be read by anyone thinking of buying a Pro-Pinpointer.



                                                 FIND OF THE MONTH UPDATE

                                                                    January, 2008 to October, 2008.


Henry 111 silver hammered penny. John Radford.
Roman Brooch. John Wardle.


George 111 gold spade guinea. Bill Severn.
Two lead tokens. John Wardle.
   March. Elizabeth 1 silver hammered three-pence. John Wardle.
Gold noble coin weight. Roger Bacon. 

             Find of the Year 2007—2008.
George 111 gold spade guinea. Bill Severn.
 Celtic horse cheek piece. Joint John Wardle and John Radford. Jointly.

  April. Edward 11 silver hammered penny. Roger Bacon.
Buckle. John Radford.
  May  . John Balliol, hammered silver penny. Graham Reedman.
Silver thimble. John Wardle.
  June.  Edward 1 hammered silver penny. Mary Severn.
Gold ring. Dennis Brown.  
   July   Victoria Gothic florin. John Radford.
Georgian ring. Richard Waite.
  August. Edward 1 silver hammered penny. Darren Hoyle.
Gold medieval padlock/clasp. Darren Hoyle.
  September. Charles 1 hammered silver shilling. John Radford.
Roman Ring. Dennis Brown. 
  October.  George 111 gold half guinea. Dennis Brown.
Elagabalus denarius. June Reedman. Jointly.
Silver Thimble. Paul Wigginton.
                                CLUB RALLY BEST NATURAL FIND. Pocket watch. John Radford.




Dennis Brown, the club chairman, made an interesting find on one of his own sites. It was half a mould for making the lead shot that metal detectorists usually call, rightly or wrongly, musket balls. 
     Never one to take things at face value Dennis decided to see if he could make a complete mould based on the half he had found. He made a plaster mould of his half and melted a quantity of scrap lead (all detectorists have some) and cast the matching half.  They fitted together perfectly. Not satisfied he decided to cast a lead shot from the completed mould so he melted a stick of solder and filled the mould with it.
      When the metal  had set he was delighted to find he had a cast a lead shot complete with a tail of sprue. Full marks to Dennis for ingenuity.                   


Top left. Original find.
Bottom left. Filled mould.
  Top right. Duplicated mould.
Bottom right.Opened mould.



Shot with sprue showing.

Shot trimmed by computer

Bullet pincers. Lead was poured into the closed jaws.


Mary Severn

On a recent club search Mary Severn found half a Roman denarius. She thought it may be the missing half of a coin found earlier on the same field by another club member. On comparing them it was obvious that they were from two different coins. Mary was determined to find the missing half of her coin and painstakingly searched the area. Then, at last, she found it. Now we can go home  Bill her husband was heard to say!




Cleaning coins and artifacts with ammonia.

As most members of the club know I am saving and recording the small brass “trouser” buttons with the name of a tailor or outfitter on them. Most of the buttons are in a bad state when recovered from the soil and need a lot of cleaning before they are suitable for photographing. I used a mixture of household chemicals (mainly Cillit Bang) and a fibre glass brush to remove the encrustation on them, this was not successful in a lot of cases and the names on the buttons remained unreadable
   I happened to read on the UK Detector Finds Database website,, that John Stokes  had a method of cleaning with household ammonia. I contacted him and he kindly gave me permission to include details in the club newsletter.
   I have since cleaned buttons and other items with ammonia and have had considerable success. Details of the ammonia treatment is given below with the caution to try it out at first on some unimportant item. John Stokes and the Ashfield Metal Detecting Club accept no liability if the user gets it wrong.                                                                                        



Cleaning should be fairly easy using the ammonia treatment. The fibre glass brush comes into use at the end of cleaning.

    You will need;- A smallish plastic tumbler, (about 4 inches high).

                             A stiff toothbrush, (Superdrug still do them).

                             A fiberglass brush.

                             Boots household ammonia, barcode 05143764.

Method :- Put the item to be cleaned into the tumbler, standing it on edge against the side. Put warm water in, to just cover the item, and then add about a 50% quantity of ammonia, i.e. 2/3 water to 1/3 ammonia.

   You can then go and have a cuppa, or whatever else you need to do. The mixture will start to go blue, which shows that it is working. Leave it for about ten minutes, or until it has gone to a RAF blue, (mid colour). Take out the piece, and wash it under cold running water, whilst brushing it with the toothbrush. Most of the crud should be off at this stage, but if there is a little left on don't worry.

  Allow the item to dry completely, DO NOT use the fibre-glass brush on any wet items, (it will ruin the brush). Once you are satisfied that it is totally dry, you can then brush off any residue crud, but only ever brush in one direction, (not back and forwards), preferably away from your body, because of the glass particles floating around. I also use thin rubber gloves, again because of the bits of glass. Don't brush too hard, otherwise you will put nasty scratches onto your item.

  The above will, in all but the worst cases, be sufficient to do the job. However, if when you have done it, you are still not happy, then you can place it back in the mixture for a while. Experience will tell you when things are cleaned sufficiently as you use it more.

   Do not use the same mixture of ammonia and water on different metals, just one metal at a time.

Once again many thank to John Stokes and UK Detector Finds Database.



This silver denarius of Elagabalus was minted in 218AD. at Antioch. The obverse pictures the laureate head of Elagabalus with the legend ANTONINVS PIVS FEL AVG. The reverse pictures a galley with sail and rowers proceeding right, at the prow is the pilot, acrosolium ( decoration on the prow of a ship), and at the stern a furled sail. With FELICITAS around and TEMP in the exsurge. Seaby Roman Silver Coins Volume 3, Elagabalus number 27. B.M.C. 277, R.I.C. 188.
     The coin was found by June Reedman on a club search and was awarded joint October, 2008, Find of the Month  Award. Initially it was identified as a denarius of Antoninus Pius 138—161A.D. But luckily the error was discovered before the certificate was presented.   Varius Avitus Bassianus surnamed Elagabalus after being appointed Priest of Elagabalus whose worship he introduced to Rome. He was born in 205A.D., and at thirteen years of age he became the sole master of the Roman world. His was a reign of cruelty, extravagance and folly, after three years and nine months his soldiers killed him and his mother Soæmias throwing their bodies into the Tiber.           


Here is the second set of ten drawings of figures that may be found on the reverses of Roman coins found in Britain.

 11. FECVNDITAS          12. FELICITAS                                13.  FIDES                           14.  FIDES MILITVM          15.  FORTVNA

 16. GENIVS             17. HILARITAS         18. IVNO                     19. IVPITER                    20. LAETITIA

11,  FECVNDITAS.  Fertility, usually  of  the Empress. Female  figure with  or holding children.

12. FELICITAS. Felicity, public happiness and prosperity. Female figure holding caduceus, corn or sceptre.

13. FIDES. Good faith, fidelity, loyalty and confidence. Female figure holding corn ears and basket of fruit.

14. FIDES MILITVM. The loyalty and fidelity of the soldiers. Female figure holding two standards.

15. FORTVNA. Fortune. Female figure holding rudder, cornucopia and sometimes an olive branch.

16. GENIVS. Genius the spirit. Male figure holding a patera and cornucopia with an altar at his feet.

17. HILARITAS. Hilarity. Mirth and rejoicing. Female figure holding palm and corn with one or two children at her feet.

18. IVNO. Juno the consort of Jupiter. Female figure holding patera and hasta with a peacock at her feet.

19. IVPITER. Jupiter or Jove, king of the Gods  and mankind. Male holding a thunderbolt, at his feet an eagle and an altar.

20 LAETITIA. Joy, gladness and well founded. Female figure corn ears in her right hand and a hasta pura  ( a spear shaft without the iron head) in her left hand.        JMBG  

                                     UNUSUAL HALLMARK.
On a recent club search I recovered the rear of a  pocket watch casing. It appeared to be silver and I examined that hallmarks to see if I could date it. I usually have in the car a small pocket size book ‘English Silver Hallmarks’ edited by Judith Bannister, however this time I had left it at home. When I arrived home I looked in the book and found that none of the usual assay office marks matched the one on the watch casing. Then I found that the mark was of the London Assay Office but for platinum, not silver. It appears that in 1973 all articles containing platinum at 950 parts per 1000 or over had to be hallmarked. The first year for marking platinum was 1975, starting with ‘A’. The letter ‘i’ and the import mark meant that the watch case was imported and then hallmarked in 1983 by the London Assay Office.                JMBG



The English Silver Hallmarks book, edited by Judith Bannister, in the Dealers Guides series. This is the second one of these books I have had since the early 1980s. The panel illustrated above is an extract from one of the pages, it shows how easy the book is to use.


Platinum watch casing.

Hallmarks in full.

Platinum import mark.


In this newsletter I would like to introduce you to a book I have only recently purchased. It is The Essential Guide to Old, Antique and Ancient Metal Spoons by David Villanueva it is soft covered, A5 in size with 88 pages and is extremely well illustrated. 
              David Villanueva is a metal detectorist of over 30 years experience, he has written various other books to do with the hobby. Information about these books can be found  on the web site
              This book is described as “ A profusely illustrated guide to spoons for finders, collectors, family historians and anyone interested in spoons from the earliest times to the nineteenth century. The book is basically divided into three sections: the first covers the development of spoons particularly silver, from earliest times;  the second covers old base metal spoons and the third some continental spoons, many of which have been found in Britain. Whatever old spoon you may come across or want information on, you should find it in this book.”
             The good news is that it won’t break the bank, only £5 including postage and package, if not ordering online the book can be obtained from True Treasure Books, David Villanueva, 43, Sandpiper Road, Whitstable, Kent. CT5 4DP.  

RICHARD1  1109  -  1216

For a number of years John Gough, has collected the small brass advertising or trader's buttons, like the two illustrated here. Most of us regard these little buttons as an annoyance and more than likely they are consigned to the hedge bottom or junk box in disgust. Realising that the buttons are being degraded by the minerals and fertilizers in the soil he started to save them, he is recording them individually and researching the persons or companies named on them with the intention of writing a book about them and their buttons. Would club members please save these buttons in any condition for him with, if known, a note of the general area where found e.g. Newark or Cotgrave.



Both these dress hook fasteners were found by John Gough on a recent club search within a yard of each other.
     They are thought to be Tudor in date however that will be determined when the report is completed by the Finds Liaison Officer, Anja Rohde.
     It is amazing how they remained virtually together in the soil for four hundred years in spite of the many ploughings and other movements  of the soil during that time.         







Bleep! Bleep! What’s this, a pull ring?
Oh! No! By Jove a gold ring.
And there’s a silver penny.
Of these you don’t find many.
Now I’m doing really well.
Isn’t this a crotal bell?
Buttons, tokens, by the score.
Keep on digging I’ll find more.
Now I’m really over the moon
When up pops a silver spoon;
Be careful that the silver thimble
Doesn’t slip through fingers nimble.
My! O my! The words are stammered
When I find a silver hammered.
Celtic, Roman, Saxon ware,
Nobles sprinkled here and there.
At last my dreams have all come true
But suddenly out of the blue,
Bells are ringing in my ears,
Realising all my fears.
It’s all a dream—I’m feeling blue,
But who knows? Sometimes dreams come true.

 D & C Crabtree.










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