Don’t Ring Me!

27th December 2014 — 10 Comments

A lost ring may not always be valuable in the sense that it originally cost a lot of money; it’s usually the sentimental value to the owner that’s worth more than anything else.

It’s a truth universally acknowledged that sooner or later almost every detectorist will return a lost ring to its original owner. Well, it seems that way! The finders don’t usually ask for a monetary reward – the satisfaction and good feeling when returning lost property and especially the look of astonishment on the recipient’s face is recompense enough … but, the return of a ring is not aways welcomed – and it’s usually a wedding or engagement ring when this happens!

The Ring of Truth

thumb_7_ring021

Typical Class Ring

Kit Robinson was detecting with his friends and the day was going quite well. He had already found a Viking stirrup mount, an Edward III hammered coin plus other bits and pieces and was ready to call it a day. The session had been fruitful, but he was feeling really tired and in two minds whether to act on the very faint signal whispering and wheedling in his headphones. Should he dig or not?

Kit went ahead, albeit in a perfunctory manner and to his surprise found a rather magnificent and stunning ring. At first he thought it was a Bishop’s ring for it was rather impressive and that would have been quite a special find. However, when he removed some of the soil there was an inscription and a date – 1960. So, ‘not so spectacular’ thought Kit, but quite remarkable he mused, because that was the year in which he was born.

When he arrived home and eventually got around to cleaning the ring, Kit discovered that there was also a name inscribed inside the flange, that of a Larry Randolph. Larry’s ring happened to fit Kit perfectly and he took to wearing it for a while and anyway, it was quite a conversational piece.

Kit, a recent been a convert to the internet, wondered if this new technology could perhaps help him in locating the rightful owner of the ring. After a little searching, he eventually found a Military Academy website in the United States of America. Soon the wheels were turning to locate Larry Randolph, but it was proving to be difficult as even the Alumni Association (old boys) of the Academy had lost touch with him.

The editor of the Alumni newsletter employed an ‘ace detective’ who eventually found Randolph in Florida. The ring was forwarded to him. Randolph was absolutely astounded that his ring had been found and even more surprised that it was being returned to him, courtesy of a metal detectorist from the UK.

He wasn’t pleased!

Larry Randolph now manages a thoroughbred horse farm. After he graduated from the Academy he served in the Army National Guard during the Vietnam War. But how did his ring end up in Jolly Old England, I hear you ask? In his own words . . .

My ex-wife lived in England for a while and I can just imagine her taking the ring one day and throwing it as far as she could . . .

To his knowledge, Kit is the only English civilian who has been made an honourable member of the Military Academy for his fine gesture in returning the ring … so there was some form of compensation! It’s just a pity that Mr Randolph didn’t feel sufficiently pleased to add his thanks … but then, the memory must have been quite painful!

Names have been changed in the above extract

What are Class Rings? 

I’ve being asked to explain exactly what class rings are as they seem alien to our culture. The tradition of the class ring is American of course, and hasn’t reached our shores – yet!

It was over 170 years ago at the West Point military academy that the class of 1835 received the first rings, a tradition that has become a popular one at high school and college campuses across the States. They were based on seal or signet rings worn by the ancient Egyptians, and the belief was that the rings promised eternal life.

Today they have become a fashion statement and are very popular, seen as a combination of demonstrating school pride and an outward representation of the diploma awarded after graduation. You will see from the picture above that the ring usually has the name of the student or college, sometimes the mascot or logo of the school and the graduation year. They are not presented by the establishment, but every student buys his/her own ring, some of which can be very expensive.

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Click on the link to Meet the metal detectorists saving marriages

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Success

What I describe above perhaps isn’t the norm, but I advise all detectorists to proceed with caution. Don’t ever assume that the ring, brooch or dog tag you have found and tried to return to the owner of family will be appreciated.

The end result is usually more satisfying … like when Mrs John helped George. He had lost his wedding ring whilst cutting the grass and was distraught as his wife had recently died.

He had a very small garden and wire fences, persistent rain and assorted bits of rubbish didn’t help, but she managed to produce the goods. The ring was a little mangled but eventually restored to its former glory by a local jeweller at no charge. George was very pleased.

RingFind copy

George – © JW

John

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10 responses to Don’t Ring Me!

  1. Nice story John as usual, has a nice ring to it ha ha.
    I would have thought the owner would have been pleased if only to spite his ex by making sure she knew he had it back, he could even have giving her a ring to let her know… ha ha ok I will stop now!
    Regards Alex

  2. Excellent post John and very informative to the differences in opinions and response by the original owners of the lost objects.
    That piece by the BBC News Business ( Meet the metal detectorists saving marriages
    By Zoe Kleinman ) makes good reading.
    P.S. Larry isn’t related to me. Ha Ha…

  3. Fascinating read as always John, thank you.

  4. Good post John. Over the years I have returned maybe ten or fifteen class rings, all worth the effort. On the flip side, I lost mine a long time ago and have no idea when or where. Still waiting for the phone call…..

  5. Morning all;

    I remember having a similar experience some years back

    Its a very pleasing one to see the facial expressions and emotions that a family show when a long lost family possession is returned to them. Jerry.

  6. I have a chance at doing a ring return, once I find it. A woman that lives in our court was driving home with her fiance having a heated argument in the car, when she tossed her engagement ring at him. She failed to realize in time that his window was rolled down. She has asked me to help her find it, but the snow is too deep. I guess she is going to have to wait till spring on that one.

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  1. Anonymous - 27th December 2014

    […] of money; it's usually the sentimental value to the owner that's worth more than anything else. Don?t Ring Me! | John Winter http://www.johnwinter.net Reply With […]

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