The E-Sylum:  Volume 5, Number 42, October 20, 2002, Article 8


  In response to Joe Wolfe's comments regarding American
  coin hoards, Larry Lee, the Curator of the American
  Numismatic Association, had the following comments:

  "The ANA Museum is interested in learning of the discovery
  of any historically-important coin hoards located by
  professional archeologists in the United States. This would
  include Peace medals, colonial coins and medals, as well as
  caches of "foreign" coins. We are currently working with the
  National Park Service on a project related to the identification,
  conservation and publication of all archeologically-recovered
  "coin hoards" discovered on National Park property.  We
  are presently waiting to examine the first batch of about 50
  coins and tokens excavated from Block 3, a colonial-era
  neighborhood located across the street from the Philadelphia
  Mint.  It is believed several Mint employees lived in the block
  of houses represented by this archaeological investigation and
  a few of the pieces may be of great numismatic significance. It
  is hoped this archeology project can be expanded to include
  any numismatically related material discovered in site surveys
  and excavation reports from all college and university-
  sponsored excavations in the country.

  I don't mean to jump on anyone, but I personally feel that
  "coin shooters" and pot-hunters usually destroy any
  archeological context that may be associated with a buried
  coin when they go treasure hunting and that in general, they
  do a great disservice to the history of our country by removing
  the artifacts from the  ground. The fact it is illegal to use a
  metal detector in our National Parks indicates the government
  feels the same way about the issue.

  Incidentally, under the Native American Graves Protection and
  Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) enacted in 1991, it is now illegal
  to own numismatic artifacts that demonstrably came from
  "Indian" graves.  Though not yet tested in court, this ban
  possibly could include awarded Indian Peace medals and
  the so-called Oregon beaver token."

  Dick Johnson adds: "The answer to a maiden's prayer for Joe
  Wolfe's inquiry about coin hoards is chapter 3 of Lloyd R.
  Laing's book, "Coins and Archaeology" New York: Schocken
  Books (1969) p 53-68.

  Not only does it give the guidance he is seeking it also identifies
  six kinds of coin hoards:

  (1) collected coins
  (2) accumulations
  (3) coins lost in a catastrophe
  (4) mercantile hoards
  (5) bullion hoards
  (6) savings hoards

  Most often, coins were buried in uncertain times, as an
  impending invasion.

  This book is often lacking in most numismatic libraries, but it
  shouldn't be -- it is tremendously useful. (My notes on reading
  this book reveal 68 "numismatic concepts" covered, from
  blanching to votive deposits, eight on dies alone.)

  The first effort when encountering a fresh hoard, the author
  notes, is to date it.  Numismatic research is most useful here.
  Determine the date of issue of the most modern piece, ergo,
  the hoard was buried after that date.

  Incidentally we use the term "hoard" too loosely in numismatic
  conversation. It should be reserved only for recovered buried
  objects.  "I just bought a hard of tokens," really means

  [Coincidentally, there are two related items of note in the
  current Coin World issue (October 28, 2002)

  "Cleaning Up" by Paul Gilkes (p16) discusses techniques
  for removing dirt from dug coins.

  "Georgia Forest Yields 1798/7 Draped Bust cent"
  by Eric von Klinger:   "The sandy soil in a pine forest
  clear cut in McIntosh County, southeast Georgia,
  appears to have been a kind conservator of a rare large
  cent from the late 18th century...   The coin is a 1798/7
  Draped Bust cent."  Text and illustrations are on the web

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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