Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Texas heat

I tried to go metal detecting the other day and it is just too hot and humid here in Central Texas. In January I was able to spend 7 or 8 hours at a time out metal detecting, but I barely managed two in this +100 degree heat. Don't count on any new metal detecting content until late summer/fall.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Father's Day Antique Store Finds

For Father's Day, my brother and I took our father to his favorite Texas BBQ joint, City Market in Luling, Texas.Whenever we go to Luling, we also always go to a little antique store to look around. We have bought vinyls, Pyrex bowls, furniture, and other odds and ends there in past. This time, I took a dig through the coins.

I bought two foreign coins:

1907-D Germany - 1/2 mark

This coin was minted in Germany before WWI, when the Mark was actually worth something. How cool is that? It is also in pretty good condition. The internet tells me the mint mark "D" is for Munich. This coin is 90% silver and weighs 2.77 grams. I paid three bucks for it, which is only about 50 cents more than the melt value, but I managed to find the same coin in similar condition on ebay and it sold for twenty bucks!
EBAY Listing

1909 Ottoman Empire - 40 para (a subunit of the Ottoman currency)

I just liked the way this coin looked. I didn't know where it was from or how old it was, but I thought it was from either Egypt or Turkey. I got it for a buck. I was very happy when I got home to do some research and it turned out to be from 1909! It is made of nickel.

And now for the American coins I bought:

1945-S Jefferson "War" Nickel - 5 cents

Many people don't realize that Jefferson nickels from 1942-1945 were actually 56% copper, 35% silver, 9% manganese. The nickel from the original 75% copper, 25% nickel composition was taken out for the war effort. 35% silver isn't much, but a Jefferson "War" Nickel is always worth at least the melt value of the silver, which as of this writing is $1.61. I paid two bucks for this "War" nickel, because it still has some of the shine that is usually worn away in circulation.

1976-S (Proof) Kennedy Bicentennial half-dollar - 50 cents

This coin is a real beauty. As you may know, after 1964, coins meant for circulation no longer contained any silver. However, the US Mint sells what they call "proof sets" directly to anyone interested. The coins in these sets are mint condition and sealed. Generally, coins in the proof sets were not made of silver until 1992, when they started issuing both silver and non-silver proof sets. However, in 1976, they made silver proof sets. This coin is the silver half dollar from one of those proof sets! It is 40% silver, meaning melt is around $4.25, but this coin carries a premium since it is from a proof set. I got it for five bucks, but I see a ton going on ebay for eight or more. Score!

1877 Seated Liberty Dime - 10 cents

Yes, this is a coin. Yes, it has seen MUCH better days. BUT, this 1877 Seated Liberty Dime is now the oldest coin in my collection. It is ugly, I know, but was a steal at a buck. It is 90% silver.

So I paid a total of $12.00 for these five coins. I think I made off pretty well, and added some nice coins to my collection!

Don't Stop Digging!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Bottles from an Old Town Dump, #1

I haven't had a chance to go detector swinging in the last month or so. That should change in the next week or two. For now, I'd like to share with you some digging of a different kind.

My father owns a small deer hunting property near a tiny town in Central Texas. One corner of the property was used as the town dump more than half a century ago. I don't go deer hunting, but I love to go bottle picking. Sounds like fun, right? It is. Anything gross has rotted away years ago and all that is left are mounds of earth, rusty metal, and bottles.

We went up to the property yesterday to do some mowing on the roads and around the deer stands. Afterwards, I got to go bottle picking. Unfortunately, I left my camera at home. I'll be sure to have it next time. Here are closeups of the bottles I pulled. I don't know very much about bottles, but the information I have has been gleaned from an hour or two of research on the internet. I have not cleaned any of them yet:

French's Mustard Jar - Pre-1950s (This style was patented in 1915)

Opal Mentholatum Jar. Unsure of date. Here is the same one on Ebay: Click here.

Gebhardt's Eagle Brand Chili Powder - Pre-1950s

Eight-sided ointment/cosmetics opal glass jar, product unknown. The glass manufacturer is "Hazel Atlas". You can see the large "H" over the smaller "A". They used the mark from 1923 - 1964. This jar is most likely from the 20s or 30s; the company started by making a variety of jars like this but later made frosted glasses, tumblers, bowls, etc. My parents actually have some of their bowls.

Prescription bottle. Glass manufacturer is Obear-Nester Glass Company, (1894-1980). I believe this bottle is from the 1900s. You can see that it does not have a screw top, indicating it would be cork-sealed. It has measurements in ounces on one side, and cubic centimeters on the other. You can also see some kind of laurel wreath embossing on the front, under the neck.

I found pictures of a similar version of this bottle here on ebay: Click here. The bottom markings on mine are reversed and slightly different.

Round wide mouth bottle (miscellaneous use) manufactured by Illinois Glass Company, Alton, IL (1873-1929).

I identified this bottle by this 1926 Illinois Glass Company catalog I found on the internet: Page 53. I think my bottle is on the top right.

Vick's (think VapoRub) cobalt blue jar. ~1930 I found this one with the lid still on! Thank you to Bill Lindsay at for help with the ID.

And finally, I also found this light blue glass insulator. They were used on telegraph, telephone, and powerlines. There is actually a collectors market for these, and rarer ones found in good shape can be worth some money. Unfortunately, the bottom of this one is cracked and the part I have lacks any marks.

The cool thing about all of these bottles is that they were all only partially underground and there was no digging required. I found all of these in about 10 minutes of searching, and there were many bottles I "left for next time". I will post more pics of these bottles once cleaned.

I have really only scratched the surface of what this dump may contain!

Don't Stop Digging!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Blackshear Elementary, Visit #1

The quest for silver leads me to older and older schools in Austin. My next visit was at Blackshear Elementary which was built in 1903.

Unfortunately for me, a the signal from a cell phone tower prevented me from digging the oldest part of the school. My metal detector picked up the signal, which caused the display to constantly give false signals. You can see what I mean in my video.

Here is episode #4 of my video blog, which covers my time at Blackshar Elementary:

I did manage to get my first half dollar:

Unfortunately, I am still skunked on silver coins. Here are my clad totals:

I am more than happy with $9.31 given my difficulty with the area. At least $6.00 came out of the playgrounds alone.

Thanks for reading and watching!

Don't Stop Digging!