Hey, Guys! Wanna Trade?
By: Lance W. Comfort
Once again it was time for another annual B.O.N.E. (Best of the North East) treasure hunting show in Keene, New Hampshire. This was to be the 19th year of this wonderful event that’s put on by George Streeter Electronics and his associates, and it promised to be better than ever, encompassing two natural hunts and one planted hunt, along with the show itself and great dinner events. All profits go to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital and the U.S. Wounded Warrior Project, and this year there would be more than $1,500 raised for each organization.
My brother, Rick, and I had planned on including the four-day event into our two weeks of detecting together in New England, ending with our spring Brothers & Others Hunt in Vermont. I picked him up at the airport in Manchester, and we made the hour drive to our hotel in Keene. We both wanted to talk and catch up on things, but we knew morning would be coming soon and we wanted to get a good night’s sleep.
Thursday was to be the first of two natural hunts held on an old farmstead dating back to the mid 1700s. The event was sponsored by Minelab and Streeter’s Electronics. We’d detected this site before, but there are always great finds to be made. Huntmaster Brian Thomas gave participants the rules and boundaries, and we were off to a great day of detecting. Everyone scattered over 100 or so acres, and many were soon finding relics and coins dating back to the 18th century.
Rick’s best find of the day was a one rupee, British East India silver coin from the reign of Shah Alam II, dating to the late 1700s. It took us a while to figure out what he had found, and he was quite perplexed until we were able to get on the internet later that evening. Gary Douglas took first place honors with a spectacular “Whigs of ’76” button from the Congressional election of 1834. Second place went to Paul Fucillo of Hamilton, Massachusetts for a beautiful and complete late 1700s shoe buckle.
That evening we had a nice dinner and were able to spend a lot of quality time with old friends, and make a lot of new ones, too.
Friday was another natural hunt at the same farmstead, but this time a 40-acre field adjacent to an old cellar hole was added for the day. After Brian Thomas again outlined the rules and boundaries, Rick and I wasted no time in making our way over to the new field, as did most everyone else. This area yielded a number of large coppers and buttons in no time. It wasn’t too long before I noticed quite a commotion at the upper end of the field, where several people were detecting. I commented to Rick that they must have found something good, but little did we know how good it was to be.
When things seemed to calm down in that corner of the field, Rick and I wandered over to see what all the excitement had been about. I bumped into Pat D’Arinzo from Connecticut, and when I asked what had caused all of the action, he started showing me a number of nice large coppers, including some Canadian tokens— and then he pulled out the most beautiful 1877 trade dollar I’ve ever seen. It looked as if it had just been dropped, with only a little bit of dirt in the deeper indentations of the coin. He told me that they had apparently stumbled onto an old hoard that had been hidden away more than 100 years ago. The farmer who owned the land had been clearing this field over the past five years and apparently disturbed the cache which, judging by the condition of the coins found, must have been in a Mason jar or other container, protecting them from the elements for so many years.
Michael Cordeiro, also from Connecticut, found a trade dollar as well, this one an 1878; and Mark Roche of Rhode Island found a beautiful 1876 Seated Liberty quarter. Each also found a number of coppers in the same location. Judging from the condition of the coins, which showed very little wear, the cache must have been stowed away sometime in the late 1870s or early ’80s. This was truly an amazing find.
At the same dinner I was privileged to be introduced to Rob Freeman, director of sales, distribution, and retail for North America Minelab; and John Watson, customer care tech for the service center located in the Chicago area. We had a great discussion on the future of metal detecting, along with our sincere aversion to the way some of the new reality TV programs are representing our hobby. Rob told me about how he and Minelab are attempting to change the negative opinions that some viewers are forming due to these programs. I informed him that my lecture on Saturday at the BONE show, “Touching History,” was also directed at the reality shows, stressing the non-monetary significance of our finds and the importance of determining and preserving provenance of each item.
At the banquet that evening I was honored to be asked to award the prizes for the best finds of that day’s hunt— Pat and Michael for first place, and Mark for a second place win. George Streeter pronounced these the best finds in 19 years of BONE shows, and no one was about to argue with him.
Saturday was the Best of the North East Show, and Rick and I were up early to set up our display. I was not giving my lecture until later in the morning, so there would be lots of time to meet and greet individuals and talk about what we love, along with viewing all of the great finds that others have made over the years. The show was very well attended, and there were many door prizes and other drawings throughout the day. It seemed that all the lectures were enjoyed by the crowds that continued into the late afternoon. It was great meeting everyone, and we all learned a lot from one another, as we always do.
That evening was the Treasure Hunters Hall of Fame Banquet, where I was inducted along with Andy Vacco, Sun Ray Detector Electronics, and Minelab America. To be chosen for this honor was a truly humbling experience, and was most appreciated, yet I feel there are many others out there who are certainly more worthy of the award than I.
Sunday morning was the Mark Sutcliff Memorial Planted Hunt, which is always a lot of fun. This year close to $2,000 worth of silver and other coins had been planted for all to seek out. There were also tokens for prizes, including a number of metal detectors. Everyone had a great time, as we all did throughout the four days, and I really can’t wait for next year’s event.
Rick and I spent Sunday afternoon detecting an old site with Jason Sevene and his friend, Teri Erickson, who has just gotten the detecting bug, and she has it bad! It didn’t help that one of her first finds was a Massachusetts copper, either. (Beginner’s luck always amazes me!) We all had a fine time and found a number of old artifacts from the site. Ironically, it seems that each time Jason takes us somewhere we always find a butter knife, as we did again this time. Because of this, we decided that Jason’s new nickname should be Jason “Butter Knife” Sevene. We think it will “stick”!
We decided to spend an extra day in New Hampshire and were invited by Jason to join him and his dad, Ken, along with John Quist and Chris Redmond, for a day at a really beautiful cellar hole at one of his favorite sites, reachable only by a long and narrow dirt road. Only a few minutes after arriving, Jason dug a nice Seated Liberty dime. A number of Indian Head cents, buttons, and other artifacts were located as well, and we all had fun giving Jason a hard time about how he’s supposed to let his guests make the good finds.
Soon Rick and I had to head back to Vermont for another week of detecting together. We came away from the Bone show with many fond memories and, of course, lots of new friends. Among them are Pat and Michael, finders of the two trade dollars.
Hey, guys! Wanna trade?