24 June 2011

Metal Detecting Post #39 - Ancient Greek Coin In Virginia!

One of my e-quaintances, a young man and fellow SCV member/relic hunter who goes by the screen name of "Sentinel", recently found this coin in eastern Virginia while using a metal detector and hunting for Civil War relics. Amazing.

Ptolemy V, Epiphanes - King of the Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt 204-180 B.C.
Bronze 26mm (18.15 grams) Struck circa 193-180 B.C.
Reference: Sear 7879; Svoronos 1233; B.M.C. 6.93,67-8
Head of Cleopatra I, as Isis right; hair in formal curls
and wreathed with corn.
Eagle standing left on thunderbolt, wings open.


Anonymous said...

How would that end up in eastern VA?

Thomas said...

That is absolutely amazing. There has been much speculation that the Phoenicians, who were under Ptolemaic rule at that particular time, had traveled to North America and the Caribbean many times. What a find!

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Anon - Thomas gives a clue. Also, Sentinel postulates that the original landowner may have been a coin collector.

Brock Townsend said...

Amazing, indeed! Thanks and posted.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Brock - yes it is. Thanks for the post/comment.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

BTW, last evening, I went back to the R.L. Dabney place and did some relic hunting myself. I also found a coin - a 1938 Wheat Penny :o(

But I did find what appears to be either an 18th or 19th century bronze buckle. I'm working on getting it ID'd now. Will report later if its worthwhile.

Rollory said...

Because someone has to say it:

What evidence is there that this coin is in fact 2K years old, and not cast in the past year or so?

What evidence is there that it has in fact been lying in Virginia mud for 2K years, and not placed there in the past year or so?

I am not asking these things because I believe or disbelieve any particular aspect of this story; I ask them because these are questions that _will_ be asked and _must_ be answered for the find to be taken seriously.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...


Those are fair questions. Because of where and how it was discovered. Because of who found it and the relic hunter's experience. I don't know anyone who is casting coins today that look like that. Here's a link to the complete story by the person who found it:


Rollory said...

Ahhhh ... from that post:

" I believe the man who lived there in the 1800's must've been a collector of rare and ancient coins, I just find it too much of a coincidence that I found this coin and the rare King Rama V of Thailand Copper in the same yard. "

Ok. The way it was originally presented, it sounded like it was intended as proof that the Greeks somehow made it to the New World. That was what was straining my credulity. But that line makes it sound like he's finding stuff dropped by a rare coin collector from the 1800s, which is far more "ordinary" (and believable) a story.

13thBama said...

also, a metallurgist would quickly be able to tell if it were cast or struck, as coins are struck. At least, that is my understanding.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

I'm convinced its authentic. As to how it got in Virginia, who knows? In any event, I'd hold onto it - the way the dollar is headed, its value can only go up. ;o)

Anonymous said...

My brothers neighbor who has long resided outside of Richmond, VA, has used metal detectors to search for artifacts on property contractors had ready as new building sites. He says he and his friends have found several clusters of old Greek coins in this area. At the time I was purchasing a small collection of Rev War and Civil war buttons and bullets, and the Greek coins were just a bonus in my purchase which I had little interest in at the time. Therefore, I did not put much stock into the ancient coins. I was further told that the seller and his friends had wondered if Hessian soldiers had brought them to America with them during the Rev War era. That seemed odd then but I had no other explanation for it.

The man said he kept a larger group of better quality Greek coins he had verified with a local coin collection company. The group I have appear that some are made of brass and others of silver and do match those I have seen online. However, I can not personally state the are the real thing or that his story is legit. However, it is odd that new information is surfacing on this subject of Greek ancient coins and people from that area of the world ( possibly Phonecians ) having come to America long before Columbus. verify the
More recently I have heard stories of similar finds in VA and other states as well. Is it possible there is truth to all this? With all the amazing information coming forth from archeologists, I say, until proven otherwise, why not?

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Anon - very interesting story. Thanks for sharing!