Nova Scotia

Canning man finds old penny on property

An American penny found on Alan Bateman's property is from 1882.

American coin found in front of Alan Bateman's property is from 1882

The silhouette of a headdress can be seen on the one-cent coin found on Alan Bateman's property. (Submitted by Alan Bateman)

Alan Bateman's home in Canning, N.S., is nearly 200 years old — and occasionally, he takes out his metal detector to see if there's anything interesting on his lawn.

A week ago, he found an American penny from 1882.

"This spring, as things were thawing out, I went out in front of the house one day and dug up that 1882 Indian Head American penny," Bateman, an artist and lifelong metal detector enthusiast, told CBC Radio's Mainstreet.

Bateman said the penny is in pretty rough shape. 

A photo of the penny he shared on Facebook was taken through a microscope and was also enhanced with Photoshop, Bateman said.

"On the Facebook picture I posted it looks half decent," Bateman said. "But it's probably not worth much more than a penny."

He said one side of the penny is a depiction of "a so-called Indian Head."

"You can see a little bit of a headdress on it," Bateman said.

On the other side of the coin are the words "one cent."

Bateman said because the penny was found near the front entrance of his house, he suspects someone from back then must have dropped it.

"For me, all the stuff I've found on my property, there's a lot of very cool stuff but there's no reason I would sell it. It's much more value as part of the story of our house," he said.

Bateman said he's found other coins around his property "from various vintages." He said the oldest coin he's ever found is from the 1820s.

The back of the one-cent American coin. (Submitted by Alan Bateman)

He's also found "huge hunks of old wood stoves that are for some reason buried three feet down," along with lots of lead, shells from rifles and bottle caps.

A few years ago, Bateman said he found four large pennies that were together in a stack.

Alan Bateman has found an assortment of items around his property. (Submitted by Alan Bateman)

"You can kind of imagine someone lying down on the lawn in the summer, taking a little siesta and they all slippped out of their pocket somehow and they remained in that state until I dug them up," Bateman said.

This time of year is the best time of year to be out sweeping with a metal detector because the grass hasn't started to grow.

"Spring brings change and the soil is all churned up, too," he said.

Bateman said many metal detector enthusiasts hope to find old gold, but he said he's just looking to find interesting items that add to the story of his home.

"The chances of finding something that you can retire on I think are about the same as winning the lottery," he said.

With files from CBC Radio's Mainstreet

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