As seen in the December 2001 edition of W&ET Magazine
Birds Of A Feather
By: Ed Fedory
It never fails to amaze me when I look into the "junk box" of a fellow detectorist and find some remarkable treasure hidden in the depths. It could be a weapon fragment, like the Brown Bess ramrod pipe I saw in Laughlin, Nevada, or the piece of a militia officer's belt plate I found in the bottom of a cut-away plastic milk jug. In each case, the finder knew it was a keeper, but just didn't know why.
One of my favorite times at any show is having the opportunity to talk with some of the readers of this magazine. There are a million stories out there... along with some very interesting relics to back them up!
Each April, we travel to New Hampshire to attend a weekend treasure hunting show, represent W&ET, give a seminar, speak with the readers, and view some of their finds. Over the years, I have had some incredible experiences and wonderful opportunities to see what others are pulling from the ground.
During my relic hunting seminar, Bridget and Janis sat in the front row. Later, they revealed a pair of Washington inaugural buttons they had recovered- in the same field, only days apart!
It was only a couple of years ago that a father and his young son came up to the magazine's tables, reached into the depths of a shopping bag, and pulled out a Mason jar filled with old silver coins. As they spread their treasure on the table, I listened in amazement to the tale of digging and incredible luck this father and son team had shared.
This beautiful pair of Washington inaugural buttons, found on the same grounds and only yards apart during the early spring season in Vermont, begs the question, "How many more still remain in the field?"
It was only last year that a young man approached the tables with a bag full of buttons and asked if I could identify some of them. Most were from the early 1800s and clearly civilian, although there were also a couple of Civil War era Union buttons... but when I came to one large button, I thought for sure I was being set up. Lying face up on the table, covered with a rich green patina, was a George Washington inaugural button! I picked the button up and was in the process of carefully examining it when the young man stated, "Pretty neat button, huh? I think it's an eagle on the front." It was then that I realized I was neither being set up or "had"... the man obviously did not realize the importance of the recovery he had made. To him, it was jut another pretty button.
Another beautiful coin displayed at the show was this off-center struck Fugio cent found by the New Hampshire team of Paul and Neil.
Bridget Kipp had wanted a metal detector since the bottle dump digging days of her youth, and that dream finally came true with a large wrapped box under her Christmas tree in 1999. Getting a metal detector as a Christmas gift in New Hampshire must be akin to getting a pair of ice skates in Florida. While she waited for the snows to melt and the ground to thaw, Bridget joined a metal detecting club and picked up tips on how and where to hunt. A fellow club member suggested that plowed fields might be a good place to start, and living in a rural area with an abundance of fields, Bridget took the advice.
Bridget shared the story of her initial successes in the field with her friend Janis, and it wasn't long before Janis had a metal detector of her own. The pair began hitting the fields together, and before the end of the spring relic hunting season, they had recovered more than 150 early buttons and numerous old coins.
The old expression, "Birds of a feather flock together," was certainly true for this pair of relic huntresses. Although relative newcomers to the hobby, both Bridget and Janis were able to make recoveries that even veteran relic hunters would envy.
After a few moments of stunned silence, Bridget went to the phone and left a message for Janis. "I told her to come over to the house as soon as she got home."
The kind of find guaranteed to raise the heart rate of any relic hunter, this iron pipe tomahawk was recovered by Dave Nolan near the Revolutionary War site of the Battle of White Plains.
As Bridget recalls, "I heard this scream coming across the field, 'I got one! I got one!' and I really didn't need much more of an explanation. I was just so happy that my best friend was able to find an inaugural button to call her own."
"I find it so strange these days," added Bridget, "to leave notes for my husband just like the ones he has been leaving for me during the twenty years of our marriage: Gone hunting... be back later!"