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Some Buttons I Found on a recent Metal Detecting Trip


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Mason Jarr

I do research during the winter and in the late spring/early summer I travel around the western states to places where I've gotten permission to detect on private properties. This year I found 69 buttons and these are the ones that were in near perfect condition. The others were either cracked or flattened from being stepped on.  All sites I visited were from the late 1860s to early 1890s era.

Buttons.jpg

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Cobra 6 Actual

Wow, they’re all ‘beauties’! Welcome to the Forum, Mason Jarr!

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Mason Jarr
On 7/19/2021 at 5:49 PM, Cobra 6 Actual said:

Wow, they’re all ‘beauties’! Welcome to the Forum, Mason Jarr!

Thank you!

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otter42

Nice display board. Is it specific for buttons? Where did you get it, thanks for posting and help.

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manifestdestiny

The state of preservation on those are wonderful. I'd be hard pressed to find anything in that condition down here.

 

What type of soil are these coming out of?

Great job!

      

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Mason Jarr
42 minutes ago, otter42 said:

Nice display board. Is it specific for buttons? Where did you get it, thanks for posting and help.

Thanks, Otter. The holders are about 1" in diameter so anything that size would fit them. I got it from Sgt Riker's. He's in Virginia and is a Civil War dealer.

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Mason Jarr
33 minutes ago, manifestdestiny said:

The state of preservation on those are wonderful. I'd be hard pressed to find anything in that condition down here.

 

What type of soil are these coming out of?

Great job!

      

Thank you! Most of the western soil is dry and somewhat rocky. I know some people are opposed to cleaning relics, but I always clean the buttons. I've found that using the Krud Kutter Rust Remover (you can get it a Lowe's) does a great job. I put the buttons in a quart ziplock bag and then spray the Krud Kutter on them (it's a gel). I usually leave them in there for about an hour and then run them under hot water and use a toothbrush to knock off the crud and stains. For the really tough stains I sometimes use a VERY soft brass brush.

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otter42

Thanks Mason Jar for the info. Do you add to each button where it was found? I love those kinds of details. I have some CW buttons,  but no background where they came from.  Ken 

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Mason Jarr
49 minutes ago, otter42 said:

Thanks Mason Jar for the info. Do you add to each button where it was found? I love those kinds of details. I have some CW buttons,  but no background where they came from.  Ken 

You're welcome, Ken. When I'm travelling I keep everything from each specific site in a Ziplock bag labeled with the site name. When I get home, I go through and inventory each bag, lay it all out and place an index card with the inventory with it. Then I snap a photo with my phone and keep that. I can't tell you specifically which General Service button came from where unless it's an unusual design or maker, but the ones that are more rare, like the General's Staff, Cavalry, Infantry or Artillery I can tell you where they came from. Here's an example of the finds I got at Fort Sanders near Laramie WY. A friend in Wyoming has the exclusive rights to hunt that area and he took me along this year.

Fort Sanders.jpg

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otter42

That really looks like fun. The button on the 4th row with the "I" for infantry,  is it CW era? Here's my humble collection.  Thanks again for sharing. 

20210721_141043.jpg

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Mason Jarr
1 hour ago, otter42 said:

That really looks like fun. The button on the 4th row with the "I" for infantry,  is it CW era? Here's my humble collection.  Thanks again for sharing. 

20210721_141043.jpg

Those are all nice! Did you detect them? Which one of mine on the 4th row? There are three that have an "I". If you mean the first one on the left, I think that it is CW. Or are you talking about the one in the cardboard box? Some of the sites I detect were during the Snake Indian War....mainly in SE Oregon, SW Idaho, NW Nevada and NE California. I know some of those fort sites were used prior to, during and shortly after the CW. I've found quite a few .69 caliber round balls and conicals at one spot so I'm sure they were still using some equipment and uniforms from the CW. 

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otter42

Sorry, 4th riw down 2nd from the left, cleanest one. 

No, mine have all bern found at antique malls, and garage sales, no history behind them. I was so excited when I found the calvary one at a church rumage sale! I think it was .25 cents! 

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Mason Jarr
2 hours ago, otter42 said:

Sorry, 4th riw down 2nd from the left, cleanest one. 

No, mine have all bern found at antique malls, and garage sales, no history behind them. I was so excited when I found the calvary one at a church rumage sale! I think it was .25 cents! 

 I'm no expert, but I think it's CW era. The IW buttons seem to be blockier and have less detail in the feathers.

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Mason Jarr
4 hours ago, sundance said:

Nice haul. Those were all found on a single trip? How long was that trip?

Thanks! Yes. Left home on April 16th and got back on July 2nd. 

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stratasfan

Thanks for sharing! That is a really nice display, and I love the cleaned buttons! You must have a blast! Sis and I dream of getting to try metal detecting one day. :)

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Mason Jarr
2 hours ago, stratasfan said:

Thanks for sharing! That is a really nice display, and I love the cleaned buttons! You must have a blast! Sis and I dream of getting to try metal detecting one day. :)

Thanks! I've been detecting about 10 years. When I first started I mainly focused on coins, but I've been doing the military relics for the past 3 years. Detecting is like opening a present. You don't know what's there until you see it!

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Mason Jarr
15 minutes ago, otter42 said:

What metal detector would you recommend?

I use MineLab detectors. The one I mainly used this year was the Equinox 800. It's super lightweight, has a wireless headset and transmits on 5 frequencies at once. You'll probably dig a lot of trash, but in my opinion you shouldn't discriminate any signals at these older sites. Some of the desirable targets are made of iron.

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I Hate Moths

 They are some great finds !  I know that it takes a lot of patience.  I have managed to dig up some barbed wire, beer caps, and about a dollar and 25 cents with my cheep little detector.

Thanks for sharing.

 

Tom

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Mason Jarr
1 hour ago, I Hate Moths said:

 They are some great finds !  I know that it takes a lot of patience.  I have managed to dig up some barbed wire, beer caps, and about a dollar and 25 cents with my cheep little detector.

Thanks for sharing.

 

Tom

Thanks, Tom. If I'm just hunting coins I can usually leave most of the trashy targets behind. But as I said above, I dig every repeatable signal at these older sites. I have a boxful of iron square nails, another with horseshoes, ox shoes and mule shoes....but those are things I like to keep anyway. My wife says I'm obsessed with metal detecting. She's probably correct. It's good exercise I tell her!

 

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otter42

Thanks for the advice on type of detector to get. Would this be good for a novice as well?

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Mason Jarr
3 minutes ago, otter42 said:

Thanks for the advice on type of detector to get. Would this be good for a novice as well?

It's fairly user friendly, but as with all technology there's a learning curve. If you go with the Equinox there's a really good after market handbook written by Andy Sabisch that goes through all the buttons and settings, explains what each one does and then recommends settings for the type of hunting you're going to do. To be honest, many people don't put in the effort that's needed to learn the machine and optimize it for their type of hunting. Instead of enjoying a new hobby some people get frustrated that they're not finding a pot of gold every time they go out and the detector ends up in the closet. Really the most important aspect of detecting is LOCATION. You have to be willing to do some research and ask people for permission to trespass on their property. Most of the old military sites are either on federal or state owned properties and they're usually designated as historical....thus detecting isn't allowed. But, some places are on private property and that's where I focus my attention. So if you're willing to do those things you'd probably enjoy the hobby. If not, then I'd hate to see you spend the $1000 or so it takes to get started with a good machine and be disappointed.

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