Thursday, March 24, 2016

3/24/16 Report - See if you can identify the mystery items. Two Points of View On Cleaning Coins.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

I have a little quiz for you today.  See if you can identify these dug items.

First, what era do you  think they are from?

Mystery Item One.

Mystery Item Two

Mystery Item Three

Mystery Item Four

Mystery Item Five

Mystery Items, Picture Six.

If you don't have any clue yet, they are all gun parts or used with a gun.

They were all recovered from a Revolutionary War era site.

Item 1.  Broken Sideplate from a British trade gun.

Item 2. Piece of a broken brass cast butt plate engraved with a boars head, trumpet, lance and arrow.  It is from a Willet trade gun.

Item 3. Another piece of the same butt plate.

Item 4.  This one is eassier.  It is a triggerguard, circa 1770 - 1813.

Item 5.  These are unused gunflint holders made from flattened lead musket balls.  These were folded over and the gun flint was wrapped in the holder to hold them securely in the gun cock.

Item 6.  These items are not so certain.  It is thought that they are a pistol butt plate and a pistol side plate.

All of these items are shown in Timothy McGuire's book, Recovered Colonial and Revolutionary War Artifacts.

I have found items similar to these such as a silver engraved side gun plate which was found on a 1715 Fleet beach and was posted in this blog back some time ago.


Concerning the question of cleaning the Standing Liberty Quarter which Russ P. found and was shown yesterday, I received basically two types of replies.

Bill Popp said,  I would try the diluted muriatic...remember... A.A.A. Always Add Acid to dilute, not vice versa. 

I've found that method very effective for cleaning reales and other coins.

Dan W. who works on one of the Treasure Coast salvage vessels and has spent a lot of time in the conservation lab, had the following to say.

Don't clean it! It may have rust on it and it is rough, but you could never simulate that kind of patina.   It is beautiful. 

After experimenting with acid and electrolysis on some of my coins, I regretted cleaning some because they no longer remind me of where, when, and how I found them. Just a thought. Dan

Those are two points of view.  Some people like clean shiny coins and others like to keep them as found.

If you do want to clean them, the muriatic method should do the job.  Go slow and keep an eye on them.  Russ only wanted to clean them enough to see the date, so he could stop as soon as that was accomplished.

Happy hunting,