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British Trade Weight Metal Detecting Find

By: Ken T.


Just before the start of summer a couple of us were on a permission looking for an early 1900's home site. We had found a few items that let us know we were in the right area, but still not quite on target. So we decided to go further out in the scrubs to quieter ground and work our way in. While out in the "quiet" area, I got a screaming loud signal in a small clearing. It had a nice sound, solid VDI, and a small footprint, so it was an easy choice to dig. I was using Nokta|Makro Anfibio Multi w/ Stock 11" coil. It's about the deepest of all the detectors I own. Good thing because it ended up being almost a foot down. When I dug it out, I had no idea what it was. A bit smaller than a half dollar in diameter, but about a 1/4" thick, solid brass and heavy. It had some markings on it, but nothing was obvious about its origin. I really thought it was an old token of some sort from the 1900s. It was cool, but dirty, and little detail. So I tucked it my finds back and went back to looking for the house site. Never found the house site, but I did manage to find a 1917 Walking Liberty from that area. Very pleased with my silver, we called it a day and went home. Once I got home I took out the "token" I found and started cleaning it. Thinking it was from the 1900s time frame and being so solid, I wasn't giving it much thought. After cleaning it up a little, just some water and a toothpick, there were 4 symbols revealed. One, at the 9 o'clock, was a large letter "A". This helped me orient the "token". At the 12 o'clock was a dagger, at the 6 o'clock was what looked like, to me, a teapot and I couldn't make out what was at the 3 o'clock. I had no idea what it was looking at. So I started googling the symbols. The short version... Turns out it is a 1oz British Trade weight called an Avoirdupois. The stamped symbols confirmed it and the 3 o'clock symbol, turns out, was the stamp of King George III. Now at this point, I had more questions than anything... From what I could tell from treasure forums, these are common finds up in New England area where British Colonies were all over. But I am in Central Florida...and up until this moment, I had no idea about British being in Florida other than St. Augustine and New Smyrna Beach. But not in Central Florida. My history mindset was at about mid-1800s for my area. So I did more research and found out that indeed, British owned Florida for roughly 20years 1763-1783. Ok...but why was this Trade Weight here. So I kept on my research... The British hired a family to survey the St. John's River from Jacksonville and South. The Bartram Father and Son sailed the St. John's River from 1773-1777 roughly. It is well documented by their book, "Travels". But what wasn't well documented was the exact locations of their stops South of Lake George. It is thought that they went as far south as Puzzle Lake, almost all the way to Hwy 50. So after many phone calls and further research, this has a very high probability of being a trade weight dropped by the Bartram's during a visit with local Indians Almost 250 years ago. It was found about a 1/2 mile from the banks of the St. John's in the high and dry scrubs. Currently, it's at a local History Museum for further evaluation. Probably the best find of my life....so far. Made the Walking Liberty seem so young!

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