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A morning in the life of a detectorist


A few on the forum have been getting the odd Tradesman Token lately so I thought I put a bit up about them. May or may not be of interest. (excludes milk, bread tokens etc)

From 1840 to the mid 1880s NZ had a hugh shortage of small coinage. This was in part because the NZ Government didn’t consider it was it’s job to supply coins for commercial needs and the Banks whose function it was, was not interested in supplying low denomination coins.

In Great Britain in the 17 and 18 centuries and Aussie in the early 1900s businessmen issued penny & half penny copper tokens to overcome similar problems. So some NZ businesses decided the do the same from the mid 1850s… It appears the first was William Pratt in Chch in 1854. This was also a great way to advertise and could be quite profitable as it cost far less than the penny or halfpenny value to produce and of course some were lost and never redeemed. (these are the ones we are detecting now)

The NZ tokens were produced in England, Sydney, but most were struck by Thomas Stoke in Melbourne. In total around 46 NZ firms had had token made. These are:
Archibald Clark - Draper c1857
Mark Somerville - Wholesale Family Grocer c1857
H Ashton - Haberdashery c1863
Morris Mark - Pawnbroker
R. Gratien - Thames Hotel
Edward Waters - Confectionery
Licensed Victualler Association c1871
United Services Hotel
S Hague Smith
Samuel Coombes - Tailor & Outfitter (Auck & Thames)
B Gitto - Leather Merchant c1864
Charles C Barley - Grocer c1858
Morrin & Co - Grocer Wine & Spirit Merchant
Holland & Butler - Oils Color & Glass
Milner & Thompson c1881
T W Gourlay
W Petersen - Watchmaker & Jeweller
G L Beaths - Draper
Manson & Struthers
EdwaDunerd Reece
Hobday & Jobberns
J Caro
Union Bakery
H J Hall
William Pratt c1854
Alliance Tea Company c1866
Miller &Thompson - Musical c1881
Gaisford & Edmonds - Butcher c1875
A S Wilson - Chemist c1857
Day & Mieville - c1857
E de Carle & Co c1862
Perkins & Co
Jones & Williamson c1858
J W Mears (only a half penny token)
Kirkcaldie & Stains c1875
D Anderson - General Store
James Wallace - Grocer c1859
Lipman Levy
New Plymouth
J Gilmor
Brown & Duthie - Ironmonger c1866
S Beaven - Ironmonger c1863
Clarkson & Turnbull - Draper Clothiers c1865
J M Merrington & Co
J Hurley
George &McCaul (Grahamstown now Thames) This one shows a mining scene, poppet head & steam powerhouse.

In the early 1860s with some 50000 immigates entering NZ from Aussie heading for the Otago goldfields and then Westland, they brought Aussie tokens also. In 1863 tokens were made illegal in Victoria so they were exported to NZ. Known as “Foreign Tokens” the Dunedin Chamber of Commerce tried to have these Foreign Tokens made half the face value they were said to be. But owing to the on going shortage of small coins this failed. Again in 1868 NSW made tokens illegal and many of these also ended up in NZ.

The NZ Government was unwilling to act against the Tradesman Token because of the shortage of Imperial coins and it was not until the that larger amounts of imperial coins arrived in the 1880s and this killed off the token.



So I’m going on about tokens etc and I had a spot a while back where I managed a few with my CTX3030
First trip I just used the standard 11" coil and managed to get about 10 tokens and pennys all pre 1866. Second trip I took the 17" to make sure I got all the deep one. Got another 3 I think again all pre 1866 and reckoned I’d cleaned it all out.
So I woke up this morning and to windy to hit the surf with the detector so I decided to have another go at this site. (It’s over 3 hour round trip & must have been a coin spill) This time I took

my newly acquired second hand GPX4500. As the area is covered in heavy bush I used my Coiltek 10" x 5" mono coil to get under all the brush.
Carefully going over the area for nearly 4 hours I managed to find the following. Top to Bot L to R.
1827 Geo IV penny. My oldest coin found in NZ
1854 Vic penny
1863 Vic penny
Hanks & Compy Sydney 1857 token ( Australian Tea Market)
Jones & Williamson Dunedin 1858 Token (wholesale $ retail grocers, wines, spirits,& provision merchants)
Just shows you there’s always more there.


What a great hunt, 1827 getting back now ain’t ya. Awesome finds well done. HH&GL


1827 penny is quite a rare coin even a dug one as they all had corrosion from the trip over here from ol blighty. They where only minted for the colonies… choice!!!


You are so right tha tthe 1827 penny is rare and quite valuable but it was no thte 1827 penny that was minted for the colonies to the best of my knowledge but the 1827 third farthing and it was minted for use in Malta.

The 1827 penny was worth a hundred pound inonly fine condition as long ago as 1997 - per reference Seaby Standard Catalogue of British Coins. There were only approximately 1,451,520 minted. Today in Vg condition it is worth £150 ($292.85 NZ) and in fine condition £276 ($538.85 NZ) in Very Fine condition £736 ($1436.94 NZ) Extremely Fine condition £2.9k ($5661.84 NZ) Almost Uncirculated £6.7k ($13080.81 NZ) and Uncirculated £8.2k ($16009.35)

Me thinks it is a great find and in any condition worth having!


Thanks guys, At best I would call this one “Very Rough” :face_with_monocle:


Wow Musketballs. Certainly worth returning eh. Guess there is always something Hanging Around, even after a few visits. I bet the fella that had that ocket spill felt dead unlucky when he discovered his loss.


Nice one Trev :laughing:


That bloody Murphy. He’s always just there somewhere.
You have your quite spells okay we all do. Mine started on 1st November (found my last ring 31st October) and lasted until last Thursday. I did 31 hours of detecting in that time and managed a few coins plus the usual heap of rubbish. Then with a 2.30

am start on Thursday and 3.5 hour detecting, I managed to find a stainless ring (drought broken). Then yesterday I had a sleep in with a 3.30am start. Couple of hours and another stainless ring. Out in the water yesterday arvo for another 2 hours, scored a sterling silver ring and a 9 carat gold ring. Just shows that you’ve got to hang in there.



Gotta love silver and gotta love gold - Also think the Maltese Cross (Cross Pattee) ring - it looks real cool and indeed I think it would make me smile just as much as a gold one.


Hey Lammerlaw. PM me with your address and I will post you the maltese cross ring as an early Xmas pressie.


A lovely gesture and more than much appreciated but you keep it as it was meant for you otherwise you would not have found it. If it had been silver I would have suggested that it was a WWI serviceman bring back as it has that WWI German look. Many many thanks though for the kind offer.


Nailed a nice 14 ct gold ring this morning. A bit of sparkle in it as well.
The others I managed over the last few days. The Illegal, Replace & OK is a tyre tread checker not a Historic Places warning disc.



That gold looks mean well done


There really are some pure gems to be found at dawn.



Love the key ring!!
1.30am this morning I hooked the 9 ct ring to bring the total gold rings to 22 for the year which is my best yearly total of gold so far.
Managed to get a total of 4 back to their owners.
Anyway all the best for your hunting in the New Year and take care.



22 golds that’s fantastic well done mate.:+1:


Back in the saddle again. Last couple of days managed a 9 carat signet ring and the one in front is .950 Platinum. Happy camper :sunglasses:


Well done mate can’t wait to find my first bit of gold for year.:+1:


Thanks Cosmo
The signet ring I pulled out of the tide yesterday arvo and it was black as. Thought it was silver until last night when I decided to give it a polish and low & behold - Gold. Nice surprise. Got the Platinum about 5am this morning.