Livin LARGE in Boise, Idaho
12/12/12 started off like another day. I hopped on the computer and started researching a place to hunt. If you're not familiar with the Boise area (or even the west in general) it's a very new area as far as modern civilization is concerned. French fur trappers established a presence in the mid 1800's but it wasn't until fort Boise was built in 1863 that the valley really started to develop.
That being said... It's a challenge to find a site old enough to produce 1800's coins. Anything seated in this neck of the woods is almost unheard of. Most of the oldest houses here were built in 1895 at best.[split]
While researching on the computer I came across an old farm house not far from Boise that had been scheduled for demolition. Records indicated that the farm house was built in 1877 making the oldest site in Boise I have found by far. I grabbed my CTX and off I went. I thought that maybe today would be the day I found my first seated coin, not knowing that future had something far older in store for me.
Upon arriving at the site I noticed the fresh bulldozed remains of what used to be the farm house. Trash, trash, trash and more trash. It wasn't uncommon to go minutes on end without hearing a threshold.
After about 20 minutes of digging great sounding globs of molten metal my thoughts of finding even a modern coin began to fade. Frustrated, I began working my way back to the truck when bam! A screaming high tone.
A very broad and large sounding high tone. Convinced it was trash I reluctantly began to dig. "Hmmm.... That's not what I was thinking it would be" I said to myself as I removed a perfectly round coin shaped slug from all of three inches deep.
Metal detecting finds - 1798 draped bust large cent As I began to inspect the coin I noticed that it was bigger than a quarter but smaller than a half. Worn nearly flat and covered in years of hardened mud, it appeared to be some sort of copper. I immediately had high hopes of finding my first large cent. Having never actually held a large cent, I wasn't exactly sure what size they were supposed to be?
I began to remove some of the hardened mud with my gloved hand and a little old fashioned spit... A letter appeared... And another... And another... Then the beginnings of a wreath. Just then I realized what I had found. My first large cent! The face of the coin was so encrusted that I couldn't even make out a face or a date. I called my buddy Eric. "Dude... I just found a large cent! I'm coming over!"
After arriving at his house we began to gently clean the coin. To my surprise, the profile on the face of the coin was facing the opposite direction from what I was used to seeing. No way!!! A draped bust large cent!
After some more cleaning it turns out that it's a 1798 draped bust large cent! My oldest coin by 99 years! What on earth is a coin like that doing in Boise Idaho? We might never know but it sure is fun to think about the journey it took to get here. Thank you Minelab for building a machine like the CTX 3030 that is capable of sorting through such trashy areas with ease.
Special thanks to Gerry McMullen from Gerry's Detectors in Boise for introducing me to the CTX 3030 but also for helping to identify the coin. Happy hunting!