Granddad’s Box of Treasures

16th April 2018 — 18 Comments

I’m considered to be some kind of expert in the field of detecting, but that is far from the truth. I receive at least two queries a week asking if I can identify an item. I sometimes can, but usually resort to asking a friend who actually knows what they are talking about.

For example, Rod Blunt, coin guru and gaffer at the UKDFD, is my first port of call for identifying those elusive hammered coins. He’s very approachable, very busy, but always manages to fit me in. Thanks Rod!

Marianne, another friend of mine, happened to mention that her late grandfather had left a number of coins loose in a box, and she wondered what they were … and if they were worth anything. I said that I’d help. The first ‘challenge’ wasn’t too difficult. Mr. Google came to my aid.


The first wasn’t a coin, but an historical and commemorative medal made by a chap called Jean Dassier, and produced in the 19th century. They were made in copper and silver, but the one shown here looks more like a bronze.


The obverse shows Henry V – HENRICUS. V. D. G. ANG. FR. ET. HIB. REX. (Henry V, by the grace of God, king of England, France, and Ireland). The reverse shows a monument in the form of a sarcophagus on which Henry reclines amid captured arms. Fame is crowning him and sounding his praises.

Dassier also produced medals of other monarchs. There was a lot of nine bronzes sold at auction recently for £130, but they were in extra fine condition.


The second coin was just a little more problematic but Tony Bibby (Bibbsy) on the British MDF was very helpful and gave me a lead on what proved to be a very interesting coin, a 1791 Dutch Colony Ceylon VOC 1 Dump copper cob commonly referred to as VOC Dump coinage of Ceylon. VOC was the Dutch East India Company (Vereenigde Oost- Indische Compagnie).

Ceylon was a governorate of the Dutch East India Company between 1658 and 1798 on the island currently knownas Sri Lanka. Owing to the constantly increasing shortage of small change in the province, the council of Colombo decided to have copper stuivers struck in Ceylon. These are the famous ‘VOC dump stuivers’ series and were struck in the local mints in Colombo, Galle, Trincomalee and Galle. The coins produced in Trincomalee were almost always of an irregular shape.

Stuiver copper cob


Coincidentally, on the same day that I composed this blog post, I saw something similar on the Canadian MDF. Daniel wrote:

“The young’uns like to see what Grampa has in his treasure chest when they come over. If they are good and answer an easy riddle they can have a memento from the ‘chest’. It is chock full of junk jewelry, baubles, beads AND 150 dollars in silver dollars and 50 cent pieces. They always seem to get a coin.”

What a lovely idea, and one that they will always remember! Here’s the treasure chest … very impressive!

Courtesy of Daniel


Catherine’s Treasure Hunt Mystery

My blog post has reminded Seagoon of a treasure chest shown on the last BBC Antiques Roadshow. Please take a look at this interesting and intriguing video HERE.



Now, here’s a blatant advertisement so I advise you to stop reading now if you are not in the market for a box in which to store your treasures. Since 2015 Christopher McDowell has been providing all means of storage for displaying your finds. I’m sure that you’ll be able to find something to suit your needs. Check out the site by clicking on his logo.

“I have been looking for a way to display my finds when I came across FindsBox. I purchased a capsule showcase and it was well worth the reasonable price tag. I am more than happy! Ronnie, N.Ireland




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18 responses to Granddad’s Box of Treasures

  1. Another good read John, thank you. I unfortunately never knew either of my
    two Grandpa’s, and only one grandmother, who was a spitting image of Old
    Mother Riley. Right down to the way of being dressed,
    At least the old bugger could cook great cakes.

  2. If the shipping was not so expensive, I would be buying one or two [or several] of those boxes John.. But as you and I well know, the shipping is a killer and the pony express has size limits!!! LOL

    I have a bucket that I fill with goodies and give them out to the neighbourhood children when they come over. I love the bright glint in their eyes when they get something that they want.


  3. Good One John, I like his treasure chest

  4. Rod Blunt has provided some great identifications. His ability to provide information with the various classes of specific hammered coins is truly amazing!

  5. Thank you John, Micheal, Tom and Paul for your welcome contributions.

  6. Another interesting blog John

    Strongly recommend Finds Box – great service and reasonable prices.

  7. Thank you John for including my “treasure chest” in your blog. I was thrilled to see it there and will show your blog to the “younguns”…………………Daniel

  8. great read after a horrid day at work …many thanks for all you do john

  9. John from Ontario (AKA Geobound) 17th April 2018 at 12:25 AM

    Nice article John, but I still think you’re the goto guy for knowledge.

    Those boxes also look very well made, I’m sure plenty of people can use them.

    I was too dumb to understand the importance of my grandparents (or young I suppose), but I did get a salesman’s book to borrow from one of my grandads. I was to give it back to him when I was done reading it, but sadly he passed before I had the chance.

    It’s the only keepsake of his that I have, and won’t part with it for anything.

  10. I remain an imaginative and dedicated scribbler John, and would never call myself an ‘expert’.

  11. Well that turned out to be a whole lot more interesting than the ‘formal classical ‘ style initially suggested (not your article John – the medal; you were up to usual..!) Loads to learn! Apols… I’m going to witter… Turns out Dassier’s set of (up to) 36 medals of English monarchs (Cromwell’s medal was smaller!) was popular and remains so. There’s a contemporary reproduction set on offer for £595! The original run included damascened bronze sets – lovely! Stuivers –  pennies – marvellous dog-ends of coins… Grampa’s treasure: that’s the way to do it! My treasure chest will have all the plastic souvenir tat collected over the years, and old toy cars and planes, etc; might be worth sommat… That chest immediately reminded me of the treasure chest on the last Antiques Roadshow; a very, very touching treasure chest, and hopefully it turned out well in the end, but…   I’ll bung a link on the DS website. Thank you John!

  12. Thank you for that. I have added the Roadshow video to my blog.

  13. Another cracking blog John, my grandchildren think that I have a treasure chest, the only trouble is, they think it’s called Lloyd’s TSB.

    Good health

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