Finding foreign coins in West Germany as you might have guessed is pretty commonplace. However, when you find 40 English pennies on an old German Kaserne in one small area, it does make you wonder. About a dozen or so Nazi coins were also found intermixed with the English coins, which made for some really good coin shooting that day.
It was supposed to be winter, but you would never have thought so. The ground was soft as a spring day. The temperature was hovering around in the 40s, just comfortable enough to hunt without getting too cold. I was back coin shooting my old reliable hunting grounds in Baumholder, West Germany, going over the same ground I had been over time and time again---and, as usual, was having good luck.
Luck on this day had so far turned out to be a silver Washington quarter and one Mercury dime. At least I wasn't going to be "skunked" as I did have silver in my coin pouch. I was working an old ball field where coins had been found from the 1700's right up to modern days. This field was riddled with .50 caliber slugs which, depending on their depth, gave a solid quarter or half dollar reading on the VDI meter. One can only take so much of digging these heart-pounder signals, and a nearby field was looking better and better all the time.
After moving on to this field, coins were few and far between, but they were keepers and kept me interested. The first coin found was an aluminum 50 Reich pfennig piece dated 1935. Next came a few wheat pennies, more Reich pfennig pieces in denominations of one, five and ten pfennigs. These coins have the familiar swastika on them.
One coin in particular I remember finding was a 50 centimes from France also made of aluminum. It registered "penny/dime" on the VDI scale and was 4" down. What reminds me of finding it is the network of roots that I had to deal with in order to extract it from the ground. Never, in 14 years of metal detecting, had I ever worked up such a sweat in retrieving a coin! A few moments later a "quarter" reading on the meter turned out to be a 1921 50 pfennig aluminum piece in excellent shape.
Looking across the field, I noticed an interesting piece of ground behind an old German barracks. Having an hour or so of daylight left, I decided to check the place out. Who knows, it might be good for a few more coins before driving home. The first swing of the detector was one constant whonk after another. Checking the signals in all metals mode showed they were too big to be a coin...or so I thought. After walking about 10 feet more, I decided to investigate one of these big signals. The meter was registering just short of "penny/dime" and indicated that the target was 3" deep. I had to raise the coil about 4" off the ground in order to pinpoint the signal. Surely it must be a tank or Jeep I was about to dig up!
Cutting a half circle in the grass, I hinged back the plug and immediately saw a copper disc about the size of a half dollar. Brushing the dirt off revealed it was an English penny with a date of 1907. I wonder what all those other signals were? I walked back to where I had originally started and using the same technique, slowly unearthed one coin after another. English halfpennies started showing up, the oldest dated 1914. After digging 33 coins I had to quit, not because I was tired but because it was just too dark to see any more.
I returned the next morning. I had covered the ground pretty well. Working about an hour and a half produced another seven English coins, among them a three pence piece dated 1954. With the big signals gone, the smaller Nazi coins started to show up. In one hole I recovered four of them. Three 10 pfennigs and one five pfennigs. One of the 10 pfennig coins was made out of brass and aluminum and cleaned up really well. I had been looking for one of these since I've been stationed in Germany and was pleased with this find. As a bonus, I also found a Nazi uniform button with the eagle claws gripping the swastika.
How 40 English coins came to be behind the German barracks in Baumholder I can only theorize. I don't believe they were dropped because the grounds indicate it was not a traffic area. I think maybe a soldier (English or American) threw them out the second story window at his buddies below. Since the newest date is 1956, they have been in the ground at least 30 years. Although not a "cache", it was still a lot of fun digging them up one at a time.
English One Penny: 1907, 1912, 1913, 1914, 1916, 1917 (2), 1919, 1920, 1929, 1932, 1937 (3), 1938 (2), 1944, 1946, 1947 (2), 1948 (2).
English Half Penny: 1914, 1920 (2), 1925, 1928, 1933, 1939, 1941, 1942, 1943 (2), 1944, 1945, 1949 (2), 1952, 1956.
Three Pence: 1954.
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