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Metal Detector Blog

March 8, 2017
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Charles 2nd & Catherine's 1662 Brass Counter

Categories: Finds

I went out detecting this past weekend with King George of NE. As we were pondering on where to go detecting, we came to a mutual agreement. Let’s go to an area that has produced before and one that we know has some history to it.This area George found his Spanish cob and we both found a lot of Colonial Coppers in this one area on the South Shore of Mass. After detecting for 4 hours, George pulled a nice large cent, 2 buffalo nickels and a worn King William the 3rd silver six pence! For myself, I had a goose egg. I had nothing but pieces of brass and copper scraps.

I was so frustrated because it was a cold day and 24 degrees out with a wind chill of 15.I said to myself, I am not leaving until I find something. Well, 45 minutes passed and I get a signal from the Garrett AT-Pro with the NEL Storm Coil. The reading jumped from 55-70 at all directions and I got a depth reading of 6-8 inches deep! I dug a large plug and to my surprise, out popped my first 1600 counter! When I ran the coil over the counter, it rang a solid 68. That lets you know it was on its side and lets you know you have to dig those iffy signals. I remember us looking and could not figure out what I just found. I have the live dig on Facebook, so you all should take a look!

The 1662 Charles II and Catherine of Braganza brass counter is surely one of the most unique things I’ve ever found! Here’s some history on this incredible item! Counters or Jetons were coin-like medals made in Europe during the 13th-17th centuries. The word “Jeton” comes from the French word, “Jeter”, which means “to push” because they were pushed over abacus (or counting frame/tool) during calculation. They were used as a substitute for money with games, almost identical to poker chips. There were, as Wikipedia pointed out, thousands of various Jetons (counters) that existed throughout history. They had to always be decorated and the decorations always had a purpose.

You could see portraits, educational and religious designs on the counters. In the 16th century, counters were used for political purposes and to glorify the ruler’s deeds. In the 17th century, their sizes continued to decrease and were used as chips for playing cards. This particular brass counter I found was made to commemorate the wedding of Charles II and Catherine of Braganza in 1650, which is on the obverse. Charles II was the king of England, Scotland and Ireland.

Charles II reigned in Scotland from 1649 until 1651 and in England from the restoration of the monarchy in 1660 until his passing. Catherine of Braganza was the Queen of Scotland, England and Ireland from 1662-1685. The marriage of both Charles and Catherine was seen as a source of political stability. This counter is one example of another way important events were remembered at that time. On the reverse side, is a unicorn and on the other is a lion. Unicorns symbolized purity and healing, which is fitting for after periods of war as well as instability. The lion was a symbol of strength and courage.

Finding this brass counter has been a really great experience. Once again, I went into an area of history that I didn’t know anything about and learned so much!

Happy Treasure Hunting!


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