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I started detecting about 5 years ago with the hope of digging buried “treasure”. Anyone who has detected for any length of time knows that our “treasure” can range from modern silver coins to common historical finds and sometimes even rare finds valued less than $1000 but worth millions to us. I never in my wildest dreams thought I would be able to dig something that would be as amazing as I did on May 24th.
I got out of work early and decided I wanted to go find somewhere to swing it. I headed up North and came to the town of Granby, CT. I found a nice field on private property and asked for permission to detect the grounds. The owner said he didn't think I would find anything because there is another detectorist that hunts the property. I decided to give it a try and started detecting. After finding nothing but a few odds and ends, I worked my way to the back of the property. I soon got a nice repeating signal that sounded like a deep quarter on my White’s IDX Pro. I dug deep, however the signal was still in the hole. I dug a few more inches down (I ended up about 8 inches down) and in the next shovel full I had a nice copper looking up at me. It was very caked on with dirt but I was happy none the less. I continued swinging and got a few silvers but eventually decided to head home thinking my LC or KG copper was the best find of the day.
I returned home for dinner and after eating I decided to clean my copper to see exactly what I had. I have dug over 50 coppers over the years so although I was happy with the find, I wasn't thinking much of it other than hoping it was an older colonial issue. I took my toothbrush and water and started to clean the coin. After a few wipes I said to myself “this doesn't look right”. I didn't see a bust of a figure, a wreath or anything I was expecting. Upon closer examination, I saw what looked to be an animal on the coin facing left.
At that very moment I remembered one of the first meetings I ever attended at my local detecting club. I was talking to another member and asked him what his best find was. He told me it was a Higley Copper and explained that it had a deer on it. I said to myself “no way”! I handed my fiancé the coin and ran to get my Red Book. To my amazement I opened the book right to the page with the Higley/Granby copper. And sure enough the picture looking up at me was a match of what I had in my hand. I was in complete shock. I quickly posted the find on detecting forums at which point everyone started to agree it looked like the real deal.
Although I had heard of this coin once before, I really knew nothing about it. Through my research and some helpful friends, I found out that they were minted in 1737 in Granby, CT by Dr. Samuel Higley. He minted the coins from copper ore from his personal mine and distributed them around town. In those days the blacksmiths and silversmiths needed pure copper in the production of their goods. The coins were considered 99.9% pure copper so naturally many where melted down and used in the production of goods. This along with the fact that not many Higley Coppers where struck makes them extremely rare today. How rare? Apparently only around 60-100 examples exist, and only one other has been known to have been dug… by my fellow club member.
The coin has since been looked at by a few experts who have congratulated me as one of the only people to have this amazing find. I have since sent the coin out at PCGS to be authenticated and I am waiting on the results. I have been told that if the coin comes back genuine even in its toasted state it would be worth between $5,000 and $11,000. I never imagined that I would dig something with so much historical and monetary value.
Having experienced such a great find it is hard to imagine anything else topping this. You just never know what is going to come out of the next signal you dig. It’s amazing to think that at 27 years old I've probably found the best thing I will ever find… but I suppose it’s also a little sad. I guess there’s always a twenty dollar gold piece to find right?