Summer 2008



Bill Strikes Gold And Wins Find Of The Year Award

The real 'McCoy'

Dated 1790

Spade guinea token

Dated 1768

George III Gold Spade Guinea

This beautiful gold coin was found by Bill Severn on a club search. The site where the coin was found was on a farm that had been searched many times by the Ashfield Club and other clubs in the past. The farm had produced the odd bronze Roman coin and a few hammered silver coins. The field where Bill’s gold coin was found had not been fruitful formerly, today was no exception, until Bill neared the gated entrance to the field and his White’s DFX sounded off. Only two inches down Bill uncovered a heart stopping find, a George III gold guinea, dated 1790, in excellent condition.

The guinea was struck in gold from 1663 to 1813. Its name comes from ’Guinea pound’ as the original guineas were made from gold obtained from the Guinea Coast in West Africa. It was first valued at 20 shillings but from 1717 the value was fixed at 21 shillings. It still remained as official money of account until 1971 and decimalization. The first guineas had the quarters of the royal arms in a cross form with sceptres. George II and George III, the last kings to issue guineas, preferred a large spade-like crowned shield of royal arms, issuing them from 1787 to 1799.

Brass tokens are often found that resemble spade guineas these were used as card counters and in children’s games with legends like ‘PLAY INTERNATIONAL GAMES’, ‘IN MEMORY OF THE GOOD OLD TIMES’, ‘THE OLDEN TIMES’ and dated 1768 to prevent them being taken for real coins. Later they were used as tokens by tradesmen.

Ashfield Metal Detecting Club

Committee For 2008-2009

Chairman Secretary Treasurer Site Secretary
Dennis Brown John Radford Mary Severn Dave Hallam


Pat Walker

Dave Rhodes Jeff Oscroft
Roger Bacon John Wardle

Annual General Meeting

The March, 2008, club meeting was the Annual General Meeting. The members pictured above were elected to form the new committee for the year ahead.

On a sad note Mark Attenborough decided to resign his club membership because he could no longer give the club his full support due to domestic reasons. Mark was a founder member of the club and has held the offices of Chairman and Club Secretary, duties he carried out with distinction. Contact with the club will not be lost because Mark has said he will attend club meetings when circumstances permit, as a visitor.

Chairman's Award

The Chairman’s Award this year was awarded to Jeff Oscroft for being, in his opinion, the person who has contributed most to the club in the past year.

Find Of The Year 2007-2008

John Wardle


John Radford

John Wardle and John Radford being presented by the club chairman, Dennis Brown, with the joint Find of the Year Award shield for the best artefact, a Celtic horse cheek piece in two parts, found during the club year.

Find Of The Year Coin

The coin Find of the Year Award was won by Bill Severn with his George III gold spade guinea as pictured at the top of this newsletter.

Find Of The Month February 2008

Coin Bill Severn George III gold spade guinea
Artefact John Wardle Two leaden tokens pictured further down this newsletter

Find Of The Month March 2008

Coin John Wardle Hammered silver Elizabeth I silver 3d. No picture available
Artefact Roger Bacon Coin weight for a gold noble

Coin Weights For Gold Nobles

Edward III introduced the gold noble and unofficial square coin weights were used until 1422. Then the official noble coin weights were made of bronze and round in shape, they were stamped with a crown and fleur-de-lis. In 1465 a coin weight like the one found by Roger was introduced bearing a crude representation of the coin.

Find Of The Month April 2008

Artefact Coin

Found By John Radford

Edward II Silver Hammered Penny - Bury St. Edmunds Mint

Found By Roger Bacon

Other Finds Placed On The Table
Unusual flat boot made of silver

Found By Dennis Brown


Found By Roger Bacon

Victorian 1879 halfcrown, unfortunately broken

Found by John Radford


This annulet five pennyweight was found by John Gough. It is made of brass and has five annulets and the official mark stamped on each side. The number of annulets indicated how many  pennyweights it weighed. They were in use from the sixteenth century to the early twentieth century.


Watch Key Finds Made Over The Last Thirty Years



Plain Watch Keys With Suspension Loops Missing




Watch Key Winders

Most detectorists have found a small watch key winder like the ones illustrated above. Although they were in use in the 18th., century it is uncommon to find one in good condition of that age. This is due to the fragile way in which they were made. I have one shown in the middle of the bottom row of the fancy watch key winders and that has the suspension ring broken. Most keys found by detectorists are of the 19th., or 20th., century. Plain ones are far more common but some nicely decorated ones are found with plants, foliage, animals or birds on them. Later ones may have the name of the watch maker on one side and usually the words WATCHMAKER AND JEWELLER on the other. My named ones are:- Top row PAWSON NEWARK— SAMUEL 97 MARKET ST. MANCHESTER— JENKINSON AND SONS RETFORD & NEWARK. Second row:- WILKINSON BROS. NEWARK— J. FOWLER 34 DERBY ROAD NOTTINGHAM— E. R. GILL ALFRETON RD. NOTTINGHAM. Third row:- JOLLY MANSFIELD— F. HARDY HUCKNALL— CHAS A E JOLLY MANSFIELD—H. E. PECK 71 LUDGATE HILL LONDON. Some are made of gold or silver and set with precious stones. I have found one that is made of gold, shown above, unfortunately it is undecorated or set with precious stones.

An Interesting Button

On a cold, wet and windy day in February, 2008, eight of us attended a club search on a Nottingham farm. Not much was found, mainly scrap lead, shotgun cartridge case ends, a few buttons and a spindle whorl. We stuck at it for about two hours but the conditions were so bad most of us decided pack it in, then all the heavens opened and that soon decided even the most determined to call it a day.

Once home and dried off I emptied my scrap bag into a bowl of water. My ‘good finds box’ required no attention as it was empty. I usually take all my small scrap home and rinse it, just in case I had missed identifying anything when it was recovered. Today only the usual shotgun cartridge case ends, scrap lead and three small buttons emerged from the muddy water. Two of the buttons were flat and plain the third was dome shaped. Closer examination of this one revealed writing and a design on the face but it was undecipherable due to a hard encrustation of dirt and corrosion.

Having nothing to lose I gently cleaned the button with my own cocktail of household cleansers, detergents and a fibre glass brush. To my surprise the button started to show a gleam of silver and I realised, on closer examination that the face of the button was silver plated. I decided to leave it for a day or two immersed in my witches brew of household chemicals. I hasten to say that this drastic measure is only used on finds that appear to be of no importance. The only coins I use it on are copper or bronze that I cannot date or identify in any other way.

After a couple of days I remembered the button and used a soft toothbrush under the tap to rinse all the cleaning solution off it. I was surprised how well the little button had cleaned up. Now I could read the inscription, ‘SOUTHWELL LOYAL VOLs’. I realised that the Minster town of Southwell was only about four miles distant, as the crow flies, from where I had found the button. The button intrigued me and I decided to find out more about its history. My research led me to a local history book by Richard Phillips Shilton, The History of Southwell, printed in 1818. In the book the author gives an excellent account of the formation of the Southwell Loyal Volunteer Infantry in 1803. He describes the uniform as being scarlet turned up with black, quite an eye catching combination. He named individually all the 242 officers and men who made up the three companies, as given in the April, 1804 Muster Roll, commanded by Major William Wylde.

In September, 1807, Major Wylde was presented with a beautiful Scimitar by the Corps as a mark of their esteem and gratitude. On its blade were military emblems wrought in the highest state of enamel and in the channel part the inscription:-

SEPTEMBER 10th. 1807.

On September, 24th., 1808 the Southwell Loyal Volunteer Infantry transferred their services to the then Local Militia and lost their individual identity. On the same day Major Wylde presented a large cup to Sergeant Major Nicholson with this inscription on it:-

as an inadequate testimony of approbation for the fidelity
and economy with which he has applied the funds entrusted
to his charge; and as an acknowledgment of his persevering
activity, conciliating demeanour and military knowledge,
to which the corps stands principally indebted for the
high state of discipline, respectability and strength, which
it has fortunately attained and preserved from its
enrobement to its dissolution.

For me this was a fascinating journey into the past to a time when invasion by Napoleon was a real threat. The regular armed forces were at the south coast to repel any invasion and, usually started by public subscription, local volunteer companies were formed to guard their local communities. The book gives details of the subscribers for ‘The Defence of the Country, in the Parish of Southwell’ May 6th., 1798. Some of the contributors and amounts donated were:- Sir R. Sutton, Baronet £100, - W. Cheetham, Draper £2. 12s. 6d. - W. Hind, Innkeeper £1. 1s. 0d. - C. Northage, Farmer, 15s. - W. Bettison Hairdresser, 10s. 6d. - R. Yates Yeoman, 5s. - E. Sardinson, Staymaker, 2s.6d. - C. Currie, Dancing-master, 2s.6d. - R. Eyre, Labourer, 6d. and The Young Gentlemen of the Reverend Jackson’s Grammar School, £2. 10s. In all the total came to £275. 17s.

One thing that struck me as being odd if not a little spooky was the introduction by the author to the chapter giving the history of the Southwell Loyal Volunteers. It reads:- ‘Documents of this description bear low interest, while recent; but, if this publication should happen to outlive a couple of centuries, they perhaps, may then be admitted to claim some rank as curiosities.’

The Southwell Loyal Volunteers Infantry was disbanded in 1808, I found the button in 2008 exactly ‘a couple’ of centuries later!

This little button had turned a non-productive search into one of my more interesting ones and will ensure that I know what I am getting rid of as scrap in future.

Actual Size
14.30 mm

Spanish Treasure

by John Radford

Exciting as detecting is, the fascination is always intensified whenever a fresh field is encountered. Where do you start, where do you wander and what can you find? In the words of a well-known TV programme presenter “We’ve got just three days to find out” Usually, in the case of a club search, three days is a luxury and more than likely a few hours is all you’ll have so you’ll have to think quickly.

If there are no prominent old landmarks around which to base your first steps, then you’ll have to use your intuition. Some, given the time, search in straight lines from one end of the field to the other. I on the other hand tend to wander wherever the mood or feeling takes me, giving an area more attention if an interesting find is made. This way at least I get a different view of the scenery at every turn. Whichever method you use, it’s a good idea to change once in a while. To cut a long story short, this particular club search in February was on two relatively new fields.

In the morning I wandered around the first field, finding at most a few buttons and a flower design lead token. After lunch I decided to tackle the second field and break with tradition and walk in a straight line from the car to the end of the field. Signals were very few so as I neared the end of the field I was relieved and delighted to hear the sound of a low growl in my headphones, which usually indicates a good find, possibly a hammered coin. My delight was short lived however when I unearthed what I thought to be the end of a ring pull tab. I was about to transfer it with the other scrap when I noticed a faint pattern upon one side. How strange I thought for a ring pull tab to have a pattern and on close examination I could just about make out what looked like a sheaf of arrows. The disc was very thin and I could not make anything out on the other side.

Thanks to a bit of detective work on the internet and ultimately a positive identification from UKDFD, it was found to be a silver hammered Spanish Half Reale of Ferdinand and Isabella, dating from 1474 to 1504. The bundle of arrows depicted on one side are the emblem of Isabella I of Castile and on the other side would have been the emblem of Ferdinand II of Aragon which is the yoke. Queen Isabella was the sponsor of the voyage of discovery by Christopher Columbus who it is claimed discovered America in 1492.

A silver coin of 8 Reales was the highest unit of silver used in the New World. It would be cut into segments for smaller currency, halves, quarters, eighths and sixteenths which gave rise to the description “Pieces of Eight”

It was also sometimes also known as a Spanish Cob, effectively a standard piece of silver “Cut off a bar” and stamped hence the name Cob. The 8 Reale coin was also the for-runner of the American Dollar. The American colonists called the coin a dollar after the Dutch Daalder, and also from the German Thaler.

In all a very interesting find, I wonder how it came to be lost in Nottinghamshire?


In this issue I would like to give details of two books, Benet’s Artefacts of England and the United Kingdom Current Values one and two by Paul G. Murawski. Some of us can remember his excellent periodical, Valued History, which was published from 1996 to 1998.

Both the featured books are still available, edition one at Amazon and edition two by Greenlight Publishing. (Treasure Hunting magazine)

The first edition has 300 pages with over 1,000 illustrated artefacts and the second edition has 616 pages and more than 2,000 illustrations.

All the illustrations are in full colour and have a market price for every artefact quoted. They are quality books and should be a must have in every metal detectorist’s library.

National Council For Metal Detecting - Code Of Conduct

1.  Do not trespass. Obtain permission before venturing on to any land.
2.  Respect the Country Code. Do not leave gates open, and do not damage crops or frighten animals.
3.  Wherever the site, do not leave a mess or an unsafe surface for those who may follow. It is perfectly simple to extract a coin or other small object buried a few inches below the ground without digging a great hole. Use a suitable digging implement to cut a neat flap (do not remove the plug of earth entirely from the ground), extract the object, reinstate the grass, sand or soil carefully, and you will have difficulty in locating the find spot again.
4.  If you discover any live ammunition or any lethal object such as an unexploded bomb or mine, do not disturb it. Mark the site carefully and report the find to the local police and landowner.
5.  Help keep Britain tidy. Safely dispose of refuse you come across. Report all unusual historical finds to the landowner, and acquaint yourself with current NCMD policy relating to the Voluntary Reporting of Portable Antiquities.
7.   Remember it is illegal for anyone to use a metal detector on a protected area (e.g. scheduled archaeological site, SSSI, or Ministry of Defence property) without permission from the appropriate authority.
8.  Acquaint yourself with the definitions of Treasure contained in the Treasure Act 1996
and its associated Code of Practice, making sure you understand your responsibilities.
9.   Remember that when you are out with your metal detector you are an ambassador for our hobby.   Do nothing that might give it a bad name.
10. Never miss an opportunity to explain your hobby to anyone who asks about it.

Dangerous Playthings

The fine example of a toy cannon, pictured below, was found by Dennis Brown on a recent club search. Toy cannons were made as children’s playthings from the 18th. century up until the early 20th. Century. Although regarded as toys they were able to be fired, as can be confirmed by the numbers found by detectorists with the barrels burst at either the muzzle or the touch hole end. This damage obviously having been caused by using too much black power to discharge a lead or stone shot. It is extremely unlikely that sales of such dangerous toys would be permitted nowadays.

Quite often toy cannons, with slow burning fuses, would be carriage mounted on toy boats and launched on ponds in attempts to recreate navel battles. Dennis has realistically recreated such a carriage from wood and mounted his cannon on it. (Pictured below).

The cannon found by Dennis

Ready for action but not loaded

Artefact Find Of The Months Awards

April 2007 to March 2008

Several remarks about the lack of the entries for the Find of the Year was voiced by members attending the April meeting. Hardly any of the winners of the monthly award had brought their winning entries with them. In order to rectify this in a small way here are illustrations of all the winning artefacts for the last club year.

AprilMay JuneJuly

AugustSeptember OctoberNovember





JanuaryFebruary March

Unusual Lead Tokens From Farnsfield

(1) 20.63x1.75mm 3.6g

(2) 21.65x1.95mm 5.6g

(3) 22.00x1.83mm 6.4g

(4) 21.62x1.85mm 4.6g

The four lead tokens illustrated above number 1 was found by Jeff Oscroft, numbers 2,3 and 4 by John Wardle. All four tokens were found on different fields of the same farm in Farnsfield. Numbers 2, 3 and 4 all have the words ’SENIOR CLUB’ on them, the meaning of this is not known. Token number 1 has a lis on it with initials. Images of all four tokens have been sent to David Powell for inclusion in a future issue of The Lead Token Telegraph.

More Buttons

This silver plated button was found by Eric Pursglove on a club search. It is only 16.5mm. The illustration is about twice its actual size. Eric wonders if anyone can shed some light on the designs which include a cockerel and stars.

Was a cavalry regiment in the British Army first raised in 1685. It saw service for three centuries, before being amalgamated into the 4th/7th Dragoon Guards in 1922.

Found on a club search by John Gough.

Great Seal Of The King Of England

Stephen 1135-1154

Written by John Gough

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