Treasure Finds and Stories
Emotions That I Wish Every Seeker
Only two of my finds induced in me so huge emotions, but only one induced similar emotions in others. The discovery of the find often finishes its history which was begun in the time of its lost, hide or losing, but in this case it was very beginning of its history. History that would have a lot of scenarios and would change a lot in perceiving the last days of January 1945, the year we still know very few...
The metal detector can show what is under the ground. But only few signals guarantee that it can be something unusual, something what is purpose of every treasure hunting. It was in case of the copper coin about four centimeters diameter which I found in November 2009. The signal was strong, clear, unambiguous – I had no doubts that there was a coin few centimeters beneath the soil surface. However I could not identify that coin by myself and it was the kind of secret that I wanted to solve as soon as possible. The kind of euphoria was different, insofar as every find make you happy inasmuch as happiness is different in order to frequency with a find appears, possibility of its identification or even value. I managed to solve this mystery quite fast – the copper coin turned out to be unique 17th century Swedish mintage coin from 1627. Now the coin is located in the special deposit in Warmian and Masurian Museum in Olsztyn which will return to Iława with the moment of opening of the regional museum.
Another case was different. I remember in details this expedition. The ground was icebound, and it was not possible to bend the spade in every place. But it was hard to give the temptation up – because few days earlier I had found two 2nd class Kriegsverdienstkreuz with Swords badges, unfortunately both in very poor condition. However it gave quite reliability guarantee, this region can hide something else, perhaps something more what Wehrmacht soldiers threw away or hid escaping from the town. Even the fact it was Boxing Day didn't reduce my enthusiasm. I got up in the morning, wore warm clothes, took spare batteries, vacuum flask with hot tea and I went „hunting”.
First minutes I spent in the same place I found mentioned Kriegsverdienstkreuz badges. Unfortunately, it was everything what the ground could offer me there. Unwittingly I was going away from that place, and from the town. Discouraged, frostbitten, I began to think about the coming back home. It is hard to return home empty-handed (my rule is “DO NOT COME BACK HOME WITHOUT ANY FIND”), so I decided to check the small part of the forest that was surrounded by thick bushes. The detector gave the weak signal close to the forest way. I began to dig but with serious difficulties. The ground was iced like stone and during digging I encountered tough tree root. I learned not to avoid any signal in this region, so I was digging patiently and picking out soil with my hands out of the hole. Few seconds later I found out why the detector gave so weak signal. When I reached for the batch of frostbitten soil I felt a piece of metal at the bottom of the hole. I excavated it – the corroded object was the German trench knife, that disintegrated in my hands. However the detector didn't become silent and I was still digging. Few minutes later I took the best gift I could receive that day – SA sport badge in bronze. But detector was giving clear, loud signal so I was still digging. Then I could expect really everything. After a dozen or so minutes of crushing the frostbitten soil, I touched quite big object. When I pulled it out of the hole I was convinced that I was holding German wallet. Though it was only leather case but inside of the case was an American folding camera – Kodak Junior.
I slowly hid it to the rucksack. At home I was tearing off the leather case, that was crumbling in my hands, out of the camera. During the coming back home I was wondering whether the plate was inside the camera, and whether it was able to survive in intact condition over 60 years. Certainly, I assumed that it was able, so I was very careful with my best find. After removing the leather case, I began to seek information on the Internet about that Kodak.
I had no doubts that camera was hidden by Wehrmacht soldier backtracking from Iława who was hiding everything that could be suspicions or could interest Red Army soldiers. I asked myself what could be on the plate? I thought that plate could contain last few photos of Iława before Soviet Army entering. Perhaps photos of towns and places which German soldier marked by his presence during the World War II. Maybe photos of soldiers, winter or autumn landscapes of eastern Prussia, escaping people or beloved girl soldier managed to visit. In order to solve this mystery I send the camera to the professional photographic lab.
Unfortunately, through the last 60 years the plate turned into the bit of the paper and it is useless like the camera, but I had known that since the beginning. I regretted it because I have seen these photos in my mind. Without regard to the end of this history, this finds induced me the biggest portion of emotions in my few years treasure hunting career. Emotions that I wish every seeker.