Early U.S. Big Silver Found In California Gold Fields

Early U.S. Big Silver Found In California Gold Fields

in Metal Detecting Finds Stories

While out wondering through the scattered diggings in California's gold country in the rolling hills, I found myself searching around some large rocks of quartz that the miners were breaking up on a little knoll above a creek. It seems in this area, there were little camps on almost every flat area above the creeks. I had mostly been finding shell casings and projectiles from all of the hunters over the years but I knew this area had early mining activities as I have found gold rush era buckles nearby in the past. I was not using my headphones as I normally do and felt a little at a disadvantage as I really trust my ears after countless thousands of hours using my Minelab CTX 3030 over the years. With headphones on, I would have surely enjoyed this signal before I dug it just knowing it could be a coin, but in the little group on iron in the area this signal came in at 12-46 at 8" deep and was tricky to hear with no headphones. The recent rains had the soil just perfect on this beautiful sunny day. So I dug deep and wide and flipped all the dirt out and sitting there right on top was a sight that I just couldn't believe! What mostly shocked me about it was the condition of the coin. It was laying with the reverse side showing so when I saw the eagle through the surface dirt, I knew it was either a barber, seated or bust. Then when I flipped it over, it took my breath away to see the majesty of the capped bust lady liberty right there looking like it was just minted with all details! I was careful not to clean the coin in the field and it was a long hike out and even a long drive home where I had time to wonder about the age of the coin. After cleaning her very carefully at home, it was just as amazing to see the dirt come off as it was to see it sitting on top of the dirt pile when it popped out. Most of our mining activity in this area occurred between 1849 and 1855. After this, most of the miners went on to the next big gold rushes at Pikes Peak, Alaska and even Australia. So there is a short window of time where they were in these fields and most of the relics and coins we find date to this time period. Because California was not yet a state in 1849 and because so many 49'rs came from all around the world, most of the early silver coins we find are foreign with many being French or reals from South America or Spain. It's rare to find a big silver coin here of any type, really rare to find silver coin in this condition, extremely rare to find a large U.S. silver coin and off the charts rare to have it be an 1829 Capped Bust Half Dollar! I found this coin on Dec 28th, 2019 right before New Year’s and it was definitely the find of the year for me and one of the best discoveries I have ever made with my metal detector.





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