Story Of My Silver Spoon Treasure Find.

Back in February 2013, I had only been metal detecting for six months with a Garret Ace 250. With no permissions of my own I relied on our club digs for land to detect on and also the odd invite onto fellow club members permissions. (A bit like today really).  It was on one of these invites that I found the above spoon. We were detecting on a pasture field and had hardly any finds to speak of when I heard a lovely sweet sounding signal on my Ace and dug it with hope of a good find. My first spadeful dug out the turf with an inch or two of top soil that left me a hole about six inches deep. Down on my knees and prodding around with my pinpointer I found the source of the signal, after scrapping away some soil I could see it...the end of a spoon. Drat I thought, another spoon. Dug it out and put it straight into my finds pouch.

After about an hour I spotted my detecting buddy, who's permission it was, sat down in the field having a break. We had been detecting a bit of distance from each other. I worked my way over to him for a break myself. Sitting down beside him he asked if I had found anything decent. "Na" I says, how about yourself..."Nope" he says, just this trashy stuff which he showed me. I then showed him 'my trash' and said the only identifiable thing I've found is a spoon. He had a look at the spoon which was quite black in colour and rubbed it a bit. He then said this spoon looks like silver and then said he was sure it was. EH! I says, I had found about five spoons before out detecting and just assumed this one was just an ordinary spoon, I never gave it a thought that it could be silver. See, six months into metal detecting and I was still as green as ever.

Back at home that evening I cleaned it a bit more, never found any hallmarks on it but did see the letters I.W and S.C, with numbers under letters. Now I knew those numbers were maybe a date, and I read it as 1772.
Being so chuffed with a good silver find, that evening I put it up on our clubs forum and on the MDF Metal Detecting Forum. The replies I had back on the post from the club and MDF forums changed things.

A couple said are you sure the date is 1772, if so, at the time, it makes the spoon under 300 years old, but a couple saw the date as 1712, making it over 300 years making it a treasure find, and one for the FLO.
After a good hard study of the date I thought maybe it was 1712. Just in case I sent an email to our local FLO with photos of the spoon. After only a few days the FLO got back to me and was interested in it and would I bring it to her. Which I did, and she told me it will be sent up to the British Museum in London.

That was the last I saw of the spoon. A couple of months later I did get a letter from the British Museum saying that they had the spoon and it will be sent to a coroner. A few months later I had a letter from the coroner saying that it was classed as treasure. Few months later I had another letter saying a local museum here in Devon was interested in the spoon and it was sent to a Devon coroner.

 They have described the spoon as:
A post-medieval silver spoon. The bowl is oval. The stem is sub-rectangular in cross section and flat. It is narrow at the base of the spoon bowl and becomes wider and sub circular towards the end of the stem with a semi-circular form at the very end forming a slight kink. A rat's tail forms at the base of the spoon and extends to the mid-point on the back of the spoon bowl. On the reverse of the stem, in the wider section, are the owner's initials, first line possibly an I+W, second line S.C, third line 1712. The stem is also bent in two places, at the base of the spoon bowl and just after the mid-point of the stem.
This form of spoon is also known as a 'wavy ended' or' dog nose' spoon, characterised by the stem. English examples became popular in the 1690s with the last examples being made in the 1710s.

Which brings me to today. This morning I had a letter from a Devon coroner saying an inquest is being held at his office next month and he would like me to attend. So finally, looks like the end is in sight. I'm looking forward to attending for the experience of it and the excitement that something I had found is ending up in a museum.

So a good lesson above folks is to be sure you check your trash buckets, you just don't know what you may find.
Friday 3 October 2014.

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