in and around Virginia, I have never found the elusive gold coin! All that changed on June 26, 2013 at 11:42 a.m. As most people who follow me, on YouTube (Wes-N-VA) or Facebook (Mid Atlantic Relic & Coin Hunters), know that I am an avid Civil War relic hunter. I have been very lucky to metal detect in some of the best locations in Virginia for Civil War relics.
On June 25, 2013 I got a call from a fellow Mid Atlantic Relic & Coin Hunter member, Harvey Smith, asking me to come up and metal detect a freshly cut wheat field in Hanover County, Virginia. Of course, I jumped all over the opportunity to metal detect a new field that we have never hunted in the past. So, on June 26, 2013 I headed west to meet Harvey at his house north of Richmond, Virginia.
After loading our equipment up, we headed to the field to see if we could not save some more Civil History from future destruction. The day was already hot and humid with expected temperature's to be in the mid to high 90's. Arriving at the location, we made contact with the care taker of the land and told him we were going to metal detect as long as we could under the oppressive heat and humidity already present at 11:00 a.m. The ground was very hard and compact due to the lack of rain during the late spring and early summer and with the 6" high wheat stalks, I knew we were going to have a very tough time digging but off we went.
I turned on my Minelab Etrac and off I went into the field. I noticed two very old cedar trees on a great piece of high ground about 100 yards from where we parked. Of course, the high ground is always the best locations to search on a known Civil War site. This site was part of the "Overland Campaign" of 1864. We were within the Union lines of this particular site and I just knew that this piece of high ground would be an excellent place for the location of artillery. As I headed across the field, I became very concerned about the lack of signals in the ground. Maybe the place has been hunted hard in the past? As I made my way closer to the trees and the high ground, I started to get a few low tones on the Etrac. I decided to dig the signals since I had not had any tones all the way across the 100 plus yards to this location. I dug two small shell like pieces of brass. I was a little surprised by those two pieces of decorative brass pieces and decided to hunt a small grid pattern around the holes. It was less than five minutes and I got another low signal (11-08). Thinking it to be another small piece of brass, I dug the 4” hole and out pops a small yellow coin! I could not believe I was staring down and a possible gold coin. I threw my hat, sunglasses, and ear phones right off in my excitement.
I knelt down to recover my very first gold coin and noticed that it was a very special and unique gold coin. It was a gold “lovers” coin that one of the soldiers must have dropped in 1864. Did the soldier have this coin on a neckless and that is why I found those two clam shell pieces just feet away?
On the reverse side were the initials of either the soldier or his sweet heart back home. Wow, what a wonderful piece of history I was holding in my hand! I just stood there looking at this small gold coin and thinking how much this must have meant to that poor soldier who lost this. What was he doing when he lost it? Was he wounded or killed in action? So many unanswered questions, but his story will now be told to future generations because it was saved from future construction and certain destruction. This is one coin and one metal detecting trip that I will never forget!