Thursday, September 22, 2011

Detecting Report: Saxapahaw and Mebane, Sept 22

Hey everyone!

I decided to head out today to a section of the Webb Farm at Victory Calls where I had found some older relics, but the ground has been so dry lately.  We finally got some rain yesterday and today, which really helps loosen up the clay and increase detection depth.  I only found a few new targets in the area, but one of them turned out to be this great 1844 large cent!

These larger pennies are nearly the size of a US half-dollar, and were the standard size before 1857.  They were replaced by the short-lived Flying Eagle cent (1856-1858) and the Indian Head penny (1859-1909), both the size of our smaller modern penny.  The change came as a result of complaints about the unwieldiness of the larger coins in volume, as well as increasing copper prices in the 1850's.  Increasing copper prices would again affect the penny in 1982 when the coin composition was changed to zinc with a thin copper coating.  The ground is not kind to copper coins around here, so I've also included a picture of what this coin ought to look like, courtesy of

Not long after finding the cent, I got a call from some of my detecting friends, Brad and Bubba, from Mebane.  They also wanted to take advantage of the rain, so we headed off to a spot in the woods near Mebane.  This site has produced numerous Bingham School uniform buttons in the past, so that was the goal for the day.  The Bingham School was a preparatory school for boys which operated near my farm in Saxapahaw from 1844-1864, and near Mebane from 1865-1891.  I will do a much more detailed post on Bingham sometime in the future, including my uniform button collection.

Again I didn't dig many targets, but I did pull a Bingham School script-letter cuff button.  It's in absolutely TERRIBLE condition, and really I could only ID it from the construction and the filigrees on the ends of the letter "B".  That said, I was still extremely happy to have one of these rare buttons, as it is my first BS cuff button with script style lettering.
Brad was called away, so Bubba and I hit one last spot, also in the woods.  We managed to check off a few of the "most common finds" from my previous post - shotgun shells, part of a pocketwatch case, the front plate from a large lock, and even a complete harmonica reed. 

Overall, this was a fabulous day of detecting, good finds and good friends.  I'll leave you with a short video of the two best finds of the day as they come out of the ground for the first time in more than a century.  Be sure to sign up for the facebook group to stay up to date on the latest finds, history, and detecting articles.  Thanks for looking, and I hope you enjoyed! 


  1. Those large cents are mythical for me. They are not a probable find in these parts. Sure, anything is possible but I will be shocked if I ever dig one up. Good job.

  2. Well, if you're ever in central NC, we'll see if we can find you one! Thought I've only got 2, so it's not like they're terribly common around here either. What we need to do is hunt with those PA and CT forum folks, they seem to find their fair share!