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Field Of Dreams Surrenders Another Interesting Item: CSA Button..


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For the past seven or so years we've been detecting the parking area of what once had been the most happening Flea Market in central Brevard County, FL.. It started going downhill about 20 years ago after a land speculator purchased the acerage because his inside info said that was for sure where the new Super Center was to be built, and when it got built somewhere else he just let the place fall into disrepair since he didn't give a crap about no steenking Flea Market then and still doesn't today.. A foreclosure, re-purchase, another failed for sure shopping center location deal gone turvy and two fires later he still owns the property because he's now certain that's the land they're going to need to complete a new stretch of road between I-95 and US 1.. What's left of the place has been running on vapors for well over a decade now; maybe a half-dozen die-hard weekend vendors left -- the ones who can't afford to make the 25 mile drive down the road to the new hot spot.. The two things I figure that keep the place open are 1) he must be getting one heckuva great tax write-off, and, 2) somehow this parking lot has turned into the largest Wednesday trunk sale in the area..

We pretty much emptied that lot in 2010 & 2111, digging about $125 in clad even while usually discriminating out the zinc -- but thanks to the Wednesday market taking off it's become kinda like a dry wash or creek that replenishes itself over time.. So every now and again we still stop by to see what's been dropped by the snow birds et al over the winter and the locals during the spring and fall..

Beyond the escaped change finds there've also been a couple of interesting somewhat out-of-place coins unearthed over the years.. Initially an 1885 Borneo one cent piece in really nice condition got itself dug up.. A year or so later out pops a 1908 Gr. Brit. bronze large cent in really worn condition.. (Both have entries further back in this section..)

How do coins like these end up in an east-central FL flea market parking lot..? Well, this location does have a bit of history.. First off it is located along US1, which had been the main land traffic conduit between NE US -- Miami pre Interstate highways completion.. It's also less than a quarter-mile from the Indian River, which was a major water thorofare with several local docking points during the 1800s and is today a long stretch of the Intercoastal Waterway.. One would think that while docked there were times when crewmen could come ashore to stretch their legs.. Prior to this location achieving flea market status in the mid-1960s it had been both farmed (corn mainly, with rotational crops) and planted as an orange grove.. So this area has been active as something or another since at least the late 1800s, more likely since the mid-1800s or earlier, allowing workers and travelers from near and far ample opportunities to lose a coin or two of the variety used wherever it was they called home from out of their purses or off their personage..

Anyhow, I've mentioned how crummy beach detecting has been around here since Matthew swirled by just off-shore and buried the beach with fresh sand instead of stripping sand away.. The four times I went out both here and further south along the Treasure Coast immediately following the storm were sooo lousy and frustrating I actually stopped detecting for a couple months and started going through penny & quarter rolls in search of modern error coins once again because doing so was more rewarding, and that's really saying something..!

I finally couldn't stand it any longer.. So a couple weeks ago I grabbed a detector and headed to the beach.. It was like no time had passed.. Nothing there had changed except for a newly-developing-but-nearly-useless slight shoreline-parallel embankment cut about 5' nearer water's edge than the one that had been sanded over.. Near-skunk day too as it turned out.. Talk about bummed..! Back to the coin rolls I went..

Then a few days ago Nora deceides she'd like to go detecting n says: "Let's go to the Field Of Dreams," which is what we eventually had named the flea market parking lot because no matter how bad the hunting was everywhere else we could always count on that spot to give up something.. It'd been at least a year since we'd last been there, it's close to the house, so I'm like all up in the ok yeah sure why not..?

We get there about an hour before dark, so I set up my detector to include zinc for the quick and dirty hits.. I start pulling out pennies about every 4th arc, 18 of 'em from about a 10' x 20' area during that hour.. And ya wanna know what?, it was FUN..! It didn't matter that they were encrusted clads, it was all about getting that hit and digging the target.. Kewl..! We went back on Sunday and had the same result -- FUN..!

Now it's Monday, and I'm the one asking Nora if she wants to go out detecting.. C'mon, c'mon, let's go, let's go lol..! But no -- she wants to stay home to catch up on laundry (which I nearly fainted upon hearing while immediately agreeing that yes that is a good idea,) so down the road I go..!

This time I discriminate out everything from zinc and below except for nickles and pick up where I'd left off the day before.. Big difference, naturally, but there's still plenty enough junk in that ground at higher numbers to keep the tones busy.. I'd already dug a couple of solid dime / copper penny hits that turned out being an air compressor nozzle and a heavy equipment lubricant plug when I get another hit at the same number.. This one's a little bouncy, to the point I'm tempted to not dig.. There are a couple overlapping signals along with it though, sooo...

Certainly glad I did dig.. This was a total surprise.. Even if it's a modern era anniversary repro it's still a very cool find.. Based on the pix I saw of Superior's repro though, this isn't one -- of their's at least..

Size-wise and font-wise everything appears correct.. Something that does bother me as far as whether or not this is actually authentic is/are the dis-similar metals of front & back.. I'm less concerned about not knowing what's underneath the buildup than I am of messing up a cleaning job since I have seen authenticated plain backs before, although never a two-piece -- and I admit provenance would be nice to know.. I'm not sure I'm up to the task of being the one to clean it, or if indeed cleaning should even be attempted, as the buildup is pretty nasty and fairly rock solid once beneath the looser surface stuff I was able to toothpick away.. However, all non-destructive verifiable cleaning suggestions / solutions are more than welcome..

Swamp

Addendum: One of the few Civil War battles to take place in Florida happened near New Smyrna, about 45 miles from this location.. I therefore opine finding a period-correct Civil War button here wouldn't be totally out of the realm of possibility.. The degree-of-difficulty question needing answered about this find being able to have even taken place is really more about the number of uniformed soldiers who traversed this area back then than anything else, for without their presence there would be no lost uniform buttons..

Also, pix are scans not photos -- apologies for obverse unsharpness other than center..

CSAButtonObv_Color_20170116.jpg 

CSAButtonRev_Color_20170116.jpg 

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Cool, Al what is the size of this button, can you make out any of the back mark?

The front of the button looks great, I would do anything else to the front, the back on the other hand needs to be cleaned further if possible.

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Have you ever considered a career in writing.....?     :4chsmu1:

Great find Swamp !!

Digging in the dirt, for who knows what, sure is a good time...   :thumbsupanim

I sure can't get enough of it.

:D

Luke

 

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Great find Swamp! Not my area of expertise  (I'm sure that can be said about pretty much any thing connected to metal detecting), but I know enough that it would be considered a rare and treasured find. I hope it turns out to be the real deal but either way...Pretty cool! 

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:yesss: OMG   fantastic find. I never found one but not detected back east but I'll get by with your pics-thanx much as sure gets the adrenaline up :head: John

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21 hours ago, Au Seeker said:

Cool, Al what is the size of this button, can you make out any of the back mark?

The front of the button looks great, I would do anything else to the front, the back on the other hand needs to be cleaned further if possible.

I'm still dead in the water as far as any back marking info goes, Skip.. The only thing I've tried after toothpicking off the few bits of encrustment that would let loose has been a tiny drop of distilled water rubbed around a bit with the toothpick's side to see if that coating would dissolve, or go into solution, or turn to mud, whatever, so it could be suctioned or absorbed away.. Except for a small portion that kinda muddied up a bit then re-hardened while drying, nuh-uh -- no co-operation at all.. Those shiny marks aren't the back's surface, they're where the side of the toothpick sorta polished the mineral(s).. With the lettering being incuse, it will take getting down to the surface to read, and even then it may be the fill that ends up being read..

Nora came across a collector / dealer's site that has lots and lots of photos and information on certain Civil War relics, buttons among them.. The gentleman will even help you identify and authenticate (or not) what you have as long as you allow him to use your quality photos to add to his data base (I believe he is going to be my next stop with this find..)

You asked about size.. Best I can tell it's either 22.5 or 22.7 mm.. There's enough information and pictures on the fellow's site I "think" I've been able to ID the mfg without the backing info.. However, now that there's probable help on the horizon I don't want to say anything until after.. Plus I'm still a bit flummoxed over the dis-similar metals thing.. The good news with that is he also has period buttons like this, just not CSA's..

Up until this past Monday evening pretty much all I knew about Civil War stuff was whatever detectorists who go after these relics share with the rest of us on YouTube.. I really don't know all that much more today, but I'm learning..

Swamp

PS: relicman dot com
 

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It is truly amazing how a simple find of a button can put you on such a journey of history, statistics, and date to determine who/what/where. Fantastic hobby that enlightens your life and increases your knowledge immensely. A find can indeed be a journey-thanks again-John :brows:

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On 1/19/2017 at 9:21 PM, LukeJ said:

Have you ever considered a career in writing.....?     :4chsmu1:

Great find Swamp !!

Digging in the dirt, for who knows what, sure is a good time...   :thumbsupanim

I sure can't get enough of it.

:D

Luke

 

Luke :4chsmu1: :yesss:

Swamp

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Unfortunately being into the miners fight in cali with CDFG/FS/BLM/Water Quality on and on takes many 1,000s of hours to write , research and present. Maybe someday as have much from the net I've written and feets hile piles of legal bull too :2mo5pow: was not the retirement I had planned as spent that fighting for miners rights on my own dime always... Someday...John

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57 minutes ago, Hoser John said:

Unfortunately being into the miners fight in cali with CDFG/FS/BLM/Water Quality on and on takes many 1,000s of hours to write , research and present. Maybe someday as have much from the net I've written and feets hile piles of legal bull too :2mo5pow: was not the retirement I had planned as spent that fighting for miners rights on my own dime always... Someday...John

John -- Much respect to you and others like yourself who are giving dozens of hours of time researching & compiling, org's such as PLP & MMAC etc., etc., the good folks at ICMJ and everyone else involved in doing whatever it takes to get this absurd anti-mining / prospecting fiasco straightened around.. It's good seeing the Mining Districts getting themselves up-to-date as well..

Although the situations are completely different east of the Mississippi, we are under attack here too.. Don't even get Skip started on SC trying to re-define "Navigable Waterways"..

Keep up the good fight..

Swamp
 

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Very good writeup, Swamp.  When you find out more about the button, please include it so we can all learn a little more.  I have to admit my history and therefore relic knowledge is pretty bleak, but since I've gotten into the prospecting side of the hobby, I tend to look at junk I find much differently.

For example, me and a buddy were out prospecting the outer bounds of an area we had found gold at before.  We didn't see each other most of the day until we came back to the truck.  He asks if I got anything and I showed him a little bit of gold I found.  There was a look of frustration on his face as the skunk has had him for over a month.  He looks at me and says "I'm glad someone can find gold .. all I found was a stink'n button!"  So he throws it in the back of the truck and I said "hey, let me see it.  You don't just find any buttons in the desert".    So I take a close look at it rubbing off a little bit more dirt and once I looked closer I could see the Chinese letter symbols circling the center of the button.  I said "what do you mean you didn't find anything, you found a button from a Chinese prospector that worked this very same ground over 100 years ago!"  The way I understand it is that when the Chinese workers stopped working the railroads, they went and prospected many of the Arizona gold fields.  They were pretty good at it, too.   When my buddy heard this, he held the button in his hand for a while and the frown left his face.   Eventually, he looked up and said, "hey Andy, wanna trade?"   LOL.  I told him to get his a$$ in the truck.

Edited by Andyy
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Great story Andy. We love finding the Chinese relics. Weve learned a lot the last couple of years about the Chinese roll in mining around here. Very interesting. 

Swamp, let us know what you find out about it. The oldest boy really likes it haha. He said great job also.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well, an expert evaluation has been completed and a verdict has been rendered: This button is a modern day reproduction..

As was troubling from the beginning, the mis-matched metals obverse -- reverse ended up being the most deciding factor (based on photos only vs in-hand eval., and I doubt that would have made any difference anyhow..) A true period piece would never have an iron-based reverse..

And that's that.. Close but no ceegar.. No trophy received, just a Certificate of Participation.. Next..! (and next time too..)

Swamp

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On 2/1/2017 at 6:38 PM, Au Seeker said:

But it still could be an older re-enactment relic, they been doing re-enactments for a long time, ever since the CW, so I think you still did good!!! :thumbsupanim

True and thanks, Skip..

I think it's a cool find too, regardless when it's actually from.. And that's what's been the main problem once knowing for sure it isn't an actual period piece -- trying to date it..

One thing I noticed initially and have been paying much more attention to as a helper in trying to determine an approximate date of manufacture (along with the button's iron-based reverse half) following the evaluation result is: All the two-piece button original obverse halves I've seen so far have a rounded outer edge; the reproductions have a flat / straight outer edge.. I've been able to find reproductions online that for all intent and purpose could have been manufactured last week (although last year is more likely..) What I haven't been able to find (so far) is any information, much less reliable information, about when / where that form of edge manufacturing began.. My guess to the why is as a (another) way to tell originals from reproductions..

Something else: The really new reproductions just look flat-out chintzy.. At least this button still looks period correct.. Was it not for the flat outer edge (while discounting the incorrect reverse half) identifier we'd otherwise be looking at a really good repro..

All I have to go on age-wise right now is what my gut tells me and the history behind the cheapening of manufactured items / products on a world wide scale.. The feeling I get is this button was manufactured around the time of the Civil War's 100th anniversary.. I'm going with the 1960s or slightly earlier based mainly on the still extremely good quality of the obverse half..

I suppose I should consider myself fortunate I found this in the southeastern US, because if I am correct with my dating of the button and it is 50 years old or older and I'd found this in the southwest I'd have had to leave it in place along with all the pull-tab relics.. :laught16:
Oh gee, was I supposed to leave it in place here too..?

Swamp

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I think you're suppose to leave everything in the ground if you ask our government!!! :2mo5pow:

Yes your button does seems to have been made/reproduced back when quality was important to manufacturers even when reproducing an item, I'm guessing it was made from a mold made using an original button and care was use to insure the mold was of high quality,

Another thing I noticed about the originals and your repro is that on the originals the front piece on most all I've seen seems to wrap around the back much further than on the repro you found, the one you found looks to have very little to no wrap around of the front onto the back.

I have only seen one period rebel button that didn't have much wrap around but all others wrap around what looks like 1/16" to !/8" onto the back and as you have stated all seems to have brass backs and none I've seen have steel backs.

 

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