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  #1  
Old 01-12-2022, 11:34 PM
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Default Starting 2022 w/Old Religious Medal and a Pair of Indians

Last week, i had a work trip to a location with slightly warmer temperatures than home, so I took my machine with me hoping for the opportunity to get a head start on 2022 with some diggable dirt. I ended up in an old park with temps in the mid to upper 30s, but there was little wind and not a cloud in the sky - with the sun beating down, it felt warmer than it was, making it a pretty comfortable day for early January.

Ended up with a nice variety of finds, but by far my favorite was a small silver religious medal that I recovered from a solid 8” depth. It’s a Catholic Miraculous Medal - and while even the modern ones all are engraved “1830” for the date that the depicted event occurred, it turns out this one may legit be from the 1830s. Church officials originally commissioned a well known goldsmith, Adrien Vachette, to design and produce the original medals in 1832. He ended up producing about 2 million of them by 1836, and he died in 1839. The medal I dug has “Vachette” stamped on the back, indicating it was one of the medals he produced!

Also got a somewhat shallow 1905 IHP that cleaned up wonderfully, a 1920 Buff, a 1950 KG VI Canadian cent, ‘52 Jefferson, and 3 Wheats (‘25, ‘46, ‘48), plus $2.49 in clad. Overall, it was a fun hunt and a great way to keep cabin fever at bay!
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  #2  
Old 01-12-2022, 11:38 PM
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Beautiful religious pendant and cool it may be from that age too! I like the buff and IHP, those nickels cleaned up nicely. Just seeing the finds in the dirt pics gets me going a bit, need to get out!!! Congrats on the killer finds.

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  #3  
Old 01-13-2022, 12:01 AM
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Nice mix of coins and pendant. Update if you find anything to suggest that pendant dates to the 1800s.

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  #4  
Old 01-13-2022, 09:42 AM
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Good report Ben, glad to see you were able to get some field time in. Congrats on the Ihp, Buff, wheats and the cool religious medal. I have dug several like that but paid no attention to age, thinking them modern. I will have to take a closer looks. Thanks, some good info there. Good luck, Mark

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  #5  
Old 01-13-2022, 10:03 AM
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Great recoveries!! The IHP turned into a real "looker"! Congrats

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  #6  
Old 01-13-2022, 04:02 PM
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Originally Posted by GroundSweeper View post
Beautiful religious pendant and cool it may be from that age too! I like the buff and IHP, those nickels cleaned up nicely. Just seeing the finds in the dirt pics gets me going a bit, need to get out!!! Congrats on the killer finds.
Thanks GS! I don't get many Buffs, so they're always fun to see pop up. This is one of the better ones I've dug - it has a pretty crisp date! I always debate cleaning the older nickels - for Vs and Buff I'll often just leave them alone or just give them a very light cleaning. I went all in this time though, and I'm happy with how they turned out.

I was surprised at how shallow both the Buff and the IHP were. Each was no more than 3 or 4" down...I literally thought the IHP was going to be a Zincoln! The Canadian KGVI was just below the surface. Odd.

Yep, I was glad to cheat winter for a day and get out...it was nice to turn some plugs! Hopefully the weather where you're at will let you get out to scratch the itch soon!

Originally Posted by Buellride View post
Great recoveries!! The IHP turned into a real "looker"! Congrats
Thanks Buellride! I love IHPs...one of my favorite coins to find! I actually spent about 3 or 4 hours cleaning this one by hand. For me, it's super relaxing, and once you get some practice at it, the results can be fabulous!

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  #7  
Old 01-13-2022, 04:11 PM
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Originally Posted by markinswpa View post
Good report Ben, glad to see you were able to get some field time in. Congrats on the Ihp, Buff, wheats and the cool religious medal. I have dug several like that but paid no attention to age, thinking them modern. I will have to take a closer looks. Thanks, some good info there. Good luck, Mark
Thanks Mark! It sure felt good to have the chance to get out in a new area and cheat winter a little

The religious medals can be extremely hard to date - there are so many different types and varieties put out by different makers, it can be almost impossible to search and find any reliable info. I got pretty lucky with this one...see my next post for more detail that I turned up!

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Oldest silver: 1839 Seated Liberty Half Dime
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  #8  
Old 01-13-2022, 04:58 PM
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Originally Posted by ToySoldier View post
Nice mix of coins and pendant. Update if you find anything to suggest that pendant dates to the 1800s.
Thanks for giving me the extra prod to find more info on the pendant, TS!! Most of the info that I had found up until today was all pretty circumstantial. The pendant was much deeper than the coins that I found, so that suggested age. The location is surrounded by late 1800's houses, but the area also surely saw Civil War and earlier activity.

"Vachette" on the back strongly suggests Adrien Jean Maximilien Vachette was the maker - he was a master goldsmith, was the official jeweler for the royal court of Louis XVIII, and is verified through multiple sources as the original designer and maker of the first "miraculous medal" when it was first approved by the Archbishop of Paris in 1832. He apparently made the medals through at least 1836, varying the design a little over time and creating around 2 million of them. He died in 1839, and it seems that the "Vachette" maker mark went with him. Since his death, countless other makers have made variations of these medals, and they continue to be made today.

As I continued my research today, I finally got my smoking gun! At first, I tried to find an exact match to the pendant - I found some that are close, but not exact. But I soon started to realize that they all seemed to have a tiny hallmark on the attaching loop, or "bail", of the pendant. Apparently the French had a very robust system of marking gold and silver to try and prevent fraud dating back to at least the 1700s! Long story longer, it turns out that I had overlooked the hallmark on the pendant that I found...I thought it was just a crease or mark caused by whatever chain it had been worn on:

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I broke out my magnifying glasses, and it still didn't look like much at first…Here it is zoomed in:

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Then I turned it on it’s side, and I finally recognized what I was seeing! Here’s the hallmark, a small rabbit’s head, which matches the ones used by the French government for small silver items from 1819 to 1838:

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Here’s a screenshot of a web page that details the various hallmarks:

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The full website can be found here: http://www.silvercollection.it/frenchhallmarks.html

So it’s definitely confirmed - the medal definitely dates between 1832, when the medals were first commissioned, to 1838, when the hallmark was updated. Based on other sources stating Adrien Vachette only made the medals until 1836, I’d say it’s safe to say it dates between 1832-1836, making it one of my oldest verified finds so far!!

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Oldest silver: 1839 Seated Liberty Half Dime
Oldest foreign coin: 1844 Province of Canada Half Penny

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Last edited by AirmetTango; 01-13-2022 at 05:13 PM.
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  #9  
Old 01-13-2022, 07:15 PM
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That IHP cleaned up nicely and congrats on the old medallion!

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  #10  
Old 01-13-2022, 08:20 PM
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Congratulations on the great hunt and great finds. I really love the pendent. It is very nice.

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  #11  
Old 01-14-2022, 09:04 AM
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That was a good hunt with really nice finds. Any of those would make me happy. Nice Indian, they don't make pennies like that any more.

I especially like the 1859 fat one.

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  #12  
Old 01-14-2022, 11:07 AM
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Man, that's a beautiful Indian! Awesome detective work on the pendant too! Great find and a great ID!

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  #13  
Old 01-14-2022, 11:36 AM
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I realize that you know that the 1830 date is simply the date of an apparition or miracle or whatever. And not necessarily the date of the medallion. And I appreciate your attempts to put an early date on the medal via idiosyncrasies on the clasp/loop.

But no, it's modern. Those are a dime-a-dozen at parochial schools. Where they were handed back and forth between students as gifts on holidays and such.

Luv the IH though !
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  #14  
Old 01-14-2022, 01:24 PM
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Originally Posted by kaufenanger View post
That IHP cleaned up nicely and congrats on the old medallion!
Thanks kaufenanger! I spent a ton of time on that IHP - glad you appreciate the end result

Originally Posted by turtlefoot View post
Congratulations on the great hunt and great finds. I really love the pendent. It is very nice.
Thanks turtlefoot! I really enjoyed the hunt, and the pendant was a big thrill, especially as the research revealed it's age!

Originally Posted by maxxkatt View post
That was a good hunt with really nice finds. Any of those would make me happy. Nice Indian, they don't make pennies like that any more.

I especially like the 1859 fat one.
Thanks maxxkatt! Agreed - IHPs are a favorite of mine. The overall design just oozes history to me...there's no doubt you're holding an older coin when you see Lady Liberty wearing that headdress!

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Oldest silver: 1839 Seated Liberty Half Dime
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  #15  
Old 01-14-2022, 01:26 PM
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Originally Posted by ben_ks View post
Man, that's a beautiful Indian! Awesome detective work on the pendant too! Great find and a great ID!
Thanks, ben_ks! I had a lot of fun cleaning up the IHP, and the research on the pendant was even more enjoyable than the hunt, and that's saying something!

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Oldest silver: 1839 Seated Liberty Half Dime
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  #16  
Old 01-14-2022, 02:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Tom_in_CA View post
I realize that you know that the 1830 date is simply the date of an apparition or miracle or whatever. And not necessarily the date of the medallion. And I appreciate your attempts to put an early date on the medal via idiosyncrasies on the clasp/loop.

But no, it's modern. Those are a dime-a-dozen at parochial schools. Where they were handed back and forth between students as gifts on holidays and such.

Luv the IH though !
Yep, I definitely realize that all of the "miraculous medals" include the 1830 date, regardless of the year produced and regardless of the maker. Medals made out of aluminum last week in China will include the date 1830.

The difference on this one is both "Vachette" raised on the back, and the "rabbit head" hallmark (my name, not necessarily official - I've seen some websites refer to it as a "hare"). The rabbit head hallmark on the pendant that I found isn't just an idiosyncrasy, although I admittedly overlooked it as such when I was initially inspecting the item. I simply didn't recognize it because I didn't know what I was looking at or looking for, especially since the hallmark is stamped sideways to fit on the loop (to clarify, the close-up pic in my previous post is from the actual find). French hallmarks are well documented, and once I learned about them, there is no doubt to my eye that the stamp matches the hallmark only used for small items from 1818-1839 in Paris, France, which matches the location of the maker. The size, shape, and position of the stamp also matches those found on similar pieces from the proper time frame.

I appreciate your opinion and I don't expect you to change your mind, but for me, the level of proof is conclusive - I stand by my research and assessment that it dates from 1832-1836.

Anyways, I love the IHP, too! The cleaning was just as fun as the finding, and there's no doubt about that date!

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Oldest silver: 1839 Seated Liberty Half Dime
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  #17  
Old 01-14-2022, 08:56 PM
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Originally Posted by AirmetTango View post
Thanks for giving me the extra prod to find more info on the pendant, TS!! Most of the info that I had found up until today was all pretty circumstantial. .......
SPEC-TAC-U-LAR!!

I see the common type pop up every now and again, and have dug them myself. Now I'll have a reason to pay closer attention. A great find, and it adds to the online information for the next person researching. Well done.

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  #18  
Old 01-14-2022, 09:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Tom_in_CA View post
I realize that you know that the 1830 date is simply the date of an apparition or miracle or whatever. And not necessarily the date of the medallion. And I appreciate your attempts to put an early date on the medal via idiosyncrasies on the clasp/loop.

But no, it's modern. Those are a dime-a-dozen at parochial schools. Where they were handed back and forth between students as gifts on holidays and such.

Luv the IH though !
I have to disagree unless you can come up with examples of the common modern pendant with the same hallmark.

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  #19  
Old 01-15-2022, 09:59 AM
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Great research Ben, thank you. Congrats on your finds and great job on cleaning those coins! I have to agree... everything points to the real deal on the religious medal. You are a gentleman sir! Your reply back to Tom was very well worded, civil and allows for both opinions... no harm no foul! I wish all discussions went more like this...
Good luck in 2022.

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  #20  
Old 01-18-2022, 01:26 PM
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Originally Posted by ToySoldier View post
SPEC-TAC-U-LAR!!

I see the common type pop up every now and again, and have dug them myself. Now I'll have a reason to pay closer attention. A great find, and it adds to the online information for the next person researching. Well done.
Thanks again, TS! Yep, I’ve dug a few of the modern ones, too - all of mine up to this one have been aluminum or copper…I’ve never been fortunate to get over a silver one before. I’m thrilled it turned out to have a good hallmark and some real age to it, as well. The research was fun to do, and definitely took some perseverance to find good info - it’ll be awesome if it helps someone else in the future!

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Oldest coin: 1834 Matron Head Large Cent (Honorable Mention: 1857 Flying Eagle Cent)
Oldest silver: 1839 Seated Liberty Half Dime
Oldest foreign coin: 1844 Province of Canada Half Penny

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