New Brunswick

'Treasure buddies' scour Saint John for interesting finds

From 17th-century musket balls to 18th-century coins, Sean Goguen and Scott Osborne say they have found some interesting treasures in the backyards of Saint Johners.

Buried treasure dug up so far includes an Irish half-penny from 1787

The pair say if they find anything 500 years old or older they will donate it to the New Brunswick Museum. (Julia Wright/CBC)

From 17th-century musket balls to 18th-century coins, Sean Goguen and Scott Osborne say they have found some interesting treasures in the backyards of Saint Johners.

The pair call themselves "treasure buddies" and use metal detectors to look for buried treasure in and around the city.

It all started three years ago, when Goguen and his wife got a metal detector and found a few relics on their first evening out. Osborne tagged along — and was hooked.

"I was like, 'Yeah, I'm going to have to get my own metal detector.' And I went out the next day bought my own," he said.

Since then, the duo have found an array of buried treasures, from 18th-century military buttons, medallions, lead bullets from the 1750s, a 24-karat gold pendant, and a 1920s German watch.

They're especially proud of an Irish half-penny from 1787.

Another special find is an 1815 half-penny, paper thin from corrosion after being in the ground for 200 years.

Scott Osborne, left, and Sean Goguen take their metal detectors off the beaten path looking for treasure. (Julia Wright/CBC)

"If there's anything at least 500 years (old) we are going to turn it over to the New Brunswick museum," Goguen said.

So far they haven't found anything that old, but they feel they are close.

One man's trash ...

Not everything they find is gold, however.

"It's like 85 per cent trash," Osborne said.

But the treasure buddies don't leave anything behind.

"We do clean up the trash, take it with us out of the woods," Goguen said.

While it's easy to get discouraged hunting for treasure, the pair try to put in some time before they call it quits.

"We kind of compete with each other, and we're, like, 'Who's going to find the best object today?'" Osborne said.

X marks the spot

Osborne and Goguen search in many places, from beaches to trails and even people's backyards.

"Anywhere that people would have went is where we go now," Goguen said.

He said researching a place is essential.

In three years of searching, the two men have found lots of old coins, including one from 1787. (Julia Wright/CBC)

They have a call out on Kijiji asking for people to grant them permission to search with their detectors.

When going on private property, the pair always ask for permission first.

"I guess people are a little skeptical about somebody coming on their property and digging a hole or whatnot," Osborne said. But like any good treasure hunters, they cover their tracks well.

The pair have even had requests from property owners asking them to search for lost items with their metal detectors.

Long-lost treasure

They haven't sold anything they've found to make a profit and don't plan to.

"OK, if we find, like, a diamond ring and if we can't find the owner of the diamond ring … then we would probably sell it," Osborne said.

One of their finds is a 1924 skating champion medallion, with the name W. H. Miller etched on it.

The only discovery with a name on it is this skating medallion from 1924, but Osborne and Goguen have been unable to track down the family of the owner. (Julia Wright/CBC)

So far, that's the only item the two have found with a name.

Goguen did some research and tried to find the family. He said he believes Miller would have died in the 1940s or 50s in Saint John, but after that he thinks there was a name change in the family and he lost the trace.

With files from Information Morning Saint John

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