I'm a metal detectorist, which means I look for metal objects of value or interest in the dirt, up to 10 inches deep.

There's this vacant lot in an historic part of South Nanaimo, where these houses were torn down sometime around 2015:

South Nanaimo derelict homes

In the winter of 2015/2016, I found some cool stuff in the vacant lot, using my metal detector. Here are some of the most interesting things I found:

1862 penny from England

This baby isn't in good shape, so it has no monetary value. But it's SO cool to try to imagine who dropped this coin, and when, and under what circumstances. By the way, the figure shows Britannia seated and holding a trident - very appropriate for the time!

1862 English penny

1900 US Indian Head penny

I love these coins, for some reason. I think it's the chunky, sturdy design. There is lots of American coinage to be found around olde Nanaimo.

1900 Indian Head penny

Balmoral Hotel trade token

I shouted triumphantly when I found this - it was on the list of things I really wanted to find! The old drinking establishments would issue these - I'm trying to imagine what 5 cents was good for - probably a beer or a shot of whiskey, which makes this very old indeed! In case you don't know, the Balmoral Hotel was a reputable South Nanaimo institution in its day - the building still stands, but its uses have changed significantly.

Balmoral Hotel trade token

1762-1822 Chinese coin

I found a Calgary website that shows you how to date Chinese coins - it put this coin as being minted up to 255 years ago! I'm thinking that coins like this were probably worthless in the late 1800s, and were used as good luck tokens or decorations, and that's how it ended up in Nanaimo, tossed aside?

Chinese coin from South Nanaimo

Cuff Link - Order of the Garter

This cuff link bears St. George and the Dragon, and is associated with the Order of the Garter, the oldest chivalric order. It has the inscription "Honi soit qui mal y pense" which means "May he be shamed who thinks badly of it". There is a glint of gold but I am afraid to clean it. This might just be some kind of Victorian mass production?

Order of the Garter cuff link from Nanaimo

Posted by Gerry Thomasen on
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Hello, I was reading your comments about some of the coins and tokens you found in Nanaimo. One of special interest to me is the 5 cent token (enough for a mug of beer) from the Balmoral Hotel on Haliburton Street. I am a writer currently researching a book about the drinking establishments of Nanaimo. Would you consider selling the token? If not, May I have a high definition scan of both sides of the coin for potential publication? Please drop me a line via email when you have the time. In the meantime, I'll be shopping for a metal detector, well done.

Posted by Glen Mofford on Friday, January 19th, 2018 at 8:22pm

Thank you

Posted by Nichol on Wednesday, July 4th, 2018 at 2:46am

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