A New Jersey shore newspaper article about a coin hunter triggered my query about an 1872 coin hoard.
Around his neck he wears the prized piece of his antique coin collection; a gold Portuguese escudo (coin), which he has fashioned onto a heavy, silver chain. The coin bears the date 1746 and the likeness of King John V of Portugal, who reigned from 1706 until his death in 1750. Other markings on the coin indicate it was minted in Brazil.
Shortly after discovering it on the beach in Cape May, part-time treasure hunter Fred Croasdale consulted a rare coins expert at the Sotheby's auction house in New York and was told that his find was valued at approximately $2,000. That was much less than it would have been had it been minted in Portugal during that time. Nevertheless, Croasdale is proud of this and many of his discoveries.
"I screamed like a little kid when I found it," he said.
Currently, Croasdale is waiting for dredging to cease off the cove in Cape May so he can see what valuables the sea offers. When asked what his dream discovery would be, Croasdale is quick to mention the long-rumored buried treasure of the infamous Capt. Kidd.
Tales of Kidd's treasure at Cape May Point have tantalized local residents and treasure hunters for centuries. Croasdale also cites other such treasure that has already been discovered.
"I know for a fact," said Croasdale, "that in 1872 they were digging a ditch at Dick Thompson's farm in Cold Spring and they pulled up a chest with $30,000 in silver and gold coins that dated from the 1600s. There have been many small caches of gold coins found. There's plenty out there. There's always stuff to be found."
Curious, I looked for a reference to this hoard in Dave Bowers' American Coin Treasures and Hoards, but there was no "Dick Thompson" in the index. None of the Thompson references listed seemed to match. I don't have a copy of John Kleeberg's book on American hoards - can anyone tell me if this hoard is listed? Thanks.
To read the complete article, see:
Treasures don't always stay buried
Wayne Homren, Editor
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