Metal Detector Blog

January 13, 2016
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What a Find: 1652 Pine Tree Shilling!

What a Find: 1652 Pine Tree Shilling!

I go detecting with my good friend George all the time and have enjoyed hunting with him this past year. George does a lot of detecting on his own and doesn’t like to get caught up with the politics of group treasure hunting.He is the best detectorist I know. George has an incredible amount of knowledge on the history of New England Territory and Pre-Federal coinage. I had to work Saturday, January 2nd, so I was not with him when he found the Holy Grail of American coins! He stopped by the shop and in his hand, he had the 1652 Pine Tree Shilling!

I am just happy to say that I have held a coin with such a rich history. George has over 20 years’ experience detecting. He has found over 300 Colonial coppers, 25 Reales, 2 Pine Tree coins, 5 Oak Tree coins and many other great artifacts! I can’t tell you the amount of joy I felt for him, when that 1652 coin was dug up. He told me he found the shilling at ten inches deep in a field in Southern New England. He was using his White’s DFX machine with the new 10” D2 search coil.

Historically speaking, for the shilling, you have the following that come in order: Willow Tree, Oak Tree and Pine Tree. This coin is one example of the earliest coinage minted. His coin is listed in the Whitman Encyclopedia of Colonial and Early American Coins, Q. David Bowers as a NOE 28, Rarity: URS-5 which means 9-16 known in existence. Even though it’s dated 1652, to be more accurate, that coins’ date range: 1667-1675. In Colonial America gold and silver coinage was scarce, which lead to complications in trade, however, the coins that were circulated are very worn. One of the neat things about the history of currency in Massachusetts is that the city of Boston established their own currency in order to end current coinage complications.

They would eventually establish independence from England in 1776 and set themselves up as a commercial success powerhouse. The Massachusetts General Court in 1652 ordered the first metallic currency. Silver came from the devalued Spanish Colonial and European coins in circulation, so the first coins being produced were done very simply, with “NE” stamped on one side and the Roman numerals as the denominations. The Pine Tree has similarities to all the more early coin versions, except for the tree on the center of the obverse. When John Hull and Robert Sanderson set up the mint in the Massachusetts capital, there were shillings, sixpences and threepences. Many of you are probably wondering “what’s with the Pine Tree” or “what does it

The Pine Tree seen on the 1652 shilling represents one of the Bay Colony’s primary exports, the pine tree itself and the trees were used for the masts of various ships during the time. The date itself is just as important as the tree. Many people believe the date commemorates the founding of the Massachusetts mint in 1652, while others believe that it went back to politics of the time. For example, no king ruled during 1652, so the date was most likely placed on the coin to erase any idea that the monarchy was reestablished. As far as the value goes, these coins really bring in some good amounts of money!

Now is the time to get started and find some great historical items. Once you have done your research and are prepared for the hunt, the possibilities are endless for coin finds. I still can’t believe what
an incredible discovery that coin was!

Onto the next adventure and as always…Happy Hunting