PRESS RELEASE . . . . . MAY 20, 2021
Latest Book in the Money, Mayhem & Might Saga
Takes a Novel Look at early Counterfeit Coins in America:
Metal Detecting in Vermont with GMMD
Reveals Secrets of Maing Fake Silver Reales and Gold Farthings — and real
Civil War buttons
Plus an Appearance in the Chapter by Dr. John Riddell of the New Orleans Mint
(May 20, 2021) In Chapter Nine of the new book — “Minting, Printing & Counterfeiting™” — Talisman & Coiner takes a novel twist at looking at counterfeiting coins in America’s earliest decades — we take a look at the pertinent discoveries made by pioneering metal detectorist Brad Martin, founder of Green Mountain Metal Detecting (GMMD), based in Pownal, Vermont. Brad and is colleagues research colonial and Civil War era homesteads and wagon routes in the Green Mountain State — and traipse deep into the mountains to carefully and painstakingly search for coins and relics from the early days of homesteaders and rugged living.
Brad and his colleagues tape their experiences and share the discoveries on a You Tube channel. He also interprets his finds — and reports on his research, especially when more rare and/or obscure finds make their appearance.
Some of his most startling finds — of what appeared to be early US Silver Dollars, Spanish Reales and gold coins — turned out to be counterfeits; we feature three specimen coins that, had they been genuine, would have been worth a pretty penny — one or two of these finds would have been real “bucket-listers.” Brad carefully cleaned and preserved each specimen — and each showed a base metal that had covered with a fine wash of gold or silver. The decades that the coins had spent underground had removed some of the wash — and Brad’s careful restoration and photos show this phenomena quite clearly. This technique — used by manufacturers of military buttons during the Civil War — was advanced for mass production of “gilt” buttons and jewelry by electroplating — which was beginning to be used to create what is now called “costume jewelry.”
These fakes were fairly common in the 1800s — as a matter of fact, there is an authoritative report from the pre-War days, by a Dr. John Riddell (who was the Melter and Refiner at the New Orleans Branch Mint before the 1860s) and Riddell catalogued many of the counterfeit Spanish Reales that were prevalent in the US and around the globe in the 1840s period. Electroplating got its start around 1800 and really came into its own in the 1850s, just in time for “putting the gilt” on many military objects.
It is also worth noting that Brad and GMMD associates have found the occasional Civil War button and relic in the Green Montains of Vermont, hundreds of miles from the nearest known battle. (However, there were some spy-ring Confederate activities based in nearby Canada, which precipitated a rebel raid on a couple of Vermont Banks in the small town of St. Albans in late 1864. Two lives were lost in the fracas and paper money in excess of $66,000 in 1860s dollars were taken, but later largely returned.)
Minting, Printing and Counterfeiting is now available; it is spiral-bound and has a soft-cover. It is generously illustrated in full-color graphics and illustrations; it measures 8½ x 11 inches and is 165 pages in length. The Green Mountain Metal Detecting story is Chapter Nine of nine.
Talisman & Coiner Productions, LLC is a privately owned small business focusing on dynamic cultural, financial, and monetary issues in our past that are relevant today with special attention to the US Civil War era. Minting, Printing & Counterfeiting, released in 2021, is the second book in the Money, Mayhem & Might Saga. The first book, published in 2020, is the Furious Flight of the Confederate Treasure Train.
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