As seen in the January 2003 edition of W&ET Magazine
Nice Guys Finish First
By: Ed Fedory
Nice guys finish first?
Over the years Paul and Neal have amassed a fine collection of artifacts, and their display is a big draw at every show. Shown here are only a few of the Colonial buckles they have found on their Thursday searches.
They won't take advantage of a situation, and you can always count on their help. They're usually men of simple words and short sentences, but when they speak, people generally listen. I guess that's because they mean what they say. Their philosophy, character, and sense of fair play comes from the depths of grassroots America.
The pair of matching knee buckles were found on the same site· yards apart and on different searches. While the other buckle gives the illusion of being made of silver, only the upper surface is actually silver- a true example of New England economy!
Some argue that they're a dying breed. I think not. You can still
find them around· just have to look a little harder these days. You won't
find them up on any soapbox· there's a "camouflage of quiet" about them.
They don't use the word I a great deal- it's not in their humble nature.
They'll never throw a bunch of fancy facts and numbers at you to prove a
point. Instead, they rely on something that is very uncommon these days:
Paul and Neal have also made some excellent non-metallic recoveries on the site of old cellar hole dumps. In the center is an early whale-oil lamp.
I first met Paul and Neal about a half dozen years ago at the Best
of the Northeast treasure show in Keene, New Hampshire. They came up to
the table I was behind, and Paul slowly opened up a folded paper towel.
"Wait until you see these," came a voice from a tall, bearded stranger who
was playing "wing man" to Paul's shoulder. With painstaking slowness, each
layer of paper was unfolded until the treasure was revealed. I was amazed
to see a perfectly matched pair of Colonial knee buckles. Not only were
they in beautiful condition, but they were cast and engraved in silver!
The brass butt plate and trigger guard from an early flintlock were unearthed at one of the team's favorite sites. "We kept on looking for the rest of the rifle, but it was nowhere to be found," Neal said.
g, a good portion of the tabletop was covered with relics. Other people began coming over and checking out the finds Paul had made. Yet, I think the neatest thing about that initial meeting was the smile on Wingman's face· it never left. He was happy to see his friend and hunting partner share the hard-won cellar hole recoveries he had made. Neal, as I lat
I first met Paul and Neal years ago at one of the Best of the Northeast shows just a couple of really nice guys who made some really interesting finds!
Well, in the years to follow, I've had ample opportunities, on a yearly basis, to view the recoveries made by this interesting team of relic hunters! Both Paul and Neal specialize in old cellar holes found in the deep New Hampshire woods. "You just never know what you are going to find," stated Neal.
From the numerous finds the two have made, it seems apparent that bells were a very popular New England item.
At a recent show I was able to view an unusual small silver watch
fob that Neal had dug during the previous month. It was dated 1791 and was
covered with engraved Masonic symbols. Paul was quick to follow with his
1742 piece of eight, and for the life of me, I didn't know which relic I
like the best.
One of Paul's best finds of the year was this 1742 Spanish Pillar dollar. Finding a piece of eight is a dream nearly every relic hunter longs to have fulfilled!
For those who are new to relic hunting and have never searched any
old cellar holes, there are a number of tips that will help you to have a
successful hunt on such a site.
Most pewter spoon finds made from old cellar holes in the form of fragments. However, Paul and Neal seem to have a knack for getting them out of the ground intact!
It will be to your advantage to make an initial visual survey of
the surrounding grounds. Look for the remains of old fruit trees that
might indicate the site of a small orchard. The banks of any sloping
ground that might have been used as a dumping site in earlier centuries can
produce a wealth of interesting items from the past. Those folks of the
bygone days didn't have the benefit of "garbage pick ups," and usually
anything that was past its time of usefulness was thrown over a bank, and
put "out of sight and out of mind."