Opechee Beach gives up an unusual token
Breathless, the man on the far side of the lake beachfront came running over to me.
For a second there I thought there was going to be trouble.
It’s not often when a stranger rushes up to someone swinging a metal detector wearing headphones as though he’s performing the 100-yard dash.
“Did you find anything yet?” he said, gasping for air.
He was in his mid-30s, and wore his dark hair short and logger’s beard trimmed long.
“Not yet,” I said dismissively.
The guy just stood there, mouth wide open, thinking. Then he said, ”I’ll pray for you,” and with those words he turned his back to me and went running back up the beach.
But as I thought about it, I was reminded that this is Weirs Beach, in Laconia, New Hampshire — annual Mecca for masses precious metal enthusiasts, biker riviera bar none.
In time, you should expect the unexpected.
And who couldn’t benefit from spiritual support from an unexpected source from time to time?
At the rate I was going on Weirs Beach, the loot was few and far between. Yet I refused to go home empty handed — not after driving 65 miles for a magical two-day stay at the Lazy E Motor Inn, nestled beside the choppy waters of Lake Winnipesaukee.
And what an amazing view from my cottage porch. It was an amazing vacation altogether — much too short, to say the least.
Still, I managed to put in two solid days of metal detecting at Weirs as well as the Leslie E. Roberts Beach and Recreation Area in nearby Belmont. Then I was back at it again in Laconia, at Opechee Park, which boasts two fantastic lakeside beaches.
It was at Opechee Park where I made my first amazing discovery since my start in metal detecting back in April.
It was as if the strange guy’s prayer had been answered.
Here’s what I found during my two-day hunt:
I dug up a grand total of $3.35, plus a Funspot token, a rhinestone jacket button, and a Rhode Island ship token. More on that later.
My Garrett Ace 250 proved once again an electronic champion, revealing even the smallest of metal screws and nails. On this trip I found $3.35 in clad coins, lots of trash, a game token and a rhinestone decorative jacket button, and the BIG FIND — a heavily tarnished Rhode Island 1778-79 Rhode Island Ship Token, in fair condition. It was buried in about three inches of sand at Opechee Park.
A quick web search described the coin as a rare British token commemorating a military victory over the Americans during the final years of the Revolutionary War. The original token was made of brass or pewter and worth around $15,000. However, in 1936, the Robbins Company in Attleboro, Massachusetts made a brass replica estimated at $1,700 in value today. Another replica was made a few years later stamped with the initials H.M.G. It’s worth about $15.
Mine, unfortunately, was not of the original strike. Neither was it from the second replica strike. I’m hoping it’s at least the 1936 copy. Although the folks at Upper Valley Coin & Jewelry in White River Junction were unable to authenticate the token, they say a third party authenticator most certainly could.
This metal detecting hobby is really exciting.
Below are more photos from Laconia.
Love the Lazy E!
Some unexpected help at Weirs Beach
I found 76 cents at the Leslie E. Roberts Beach and Recreation Area in Belmont, New Hampshire. The two nice lifeguards said I had to fork over half — jk:-)
And now for something completely delicious ...
The second lakeside beach at Opechee Park sits along the banks of the Laconia Middle High School property.
The Big Find — a rare Rhode Island Ship Token, which lay buried under about three inches of sand at Opechee Park Beach.
The flip side of the same coin.
The end ... to a really great treasure hunt, and to a really great short vacation. (Dee Sterett photos)