Treasure Hunting: Discovery of Exquisite Mythological Bronze Statue "Psyche" in Upstate New York

Recovering Unusual Relic on the Forest Floor - Relic Hunting Story 4, page 2

And there was one indeed! The high-pitch-tone signal was overloading the circuit of the White's XLT metal detector and sounded "big" and loud. I knew it was a large and shallow object, most likely an old rusty bucket or something alike. And I knew from my prior experiences with "big" signals (see Story On Upstate New York Cache Discovery) that I had to investigate it.

I brushed the leaves off the spot and caught a glimpse of green patina in the black soil. I saw a bronze object but I could not make anything out of it. I dug my shovel's blade into the dirt, a few inches away from the object, and carefully pried the target out.

It was already twilight, and being in the shade of trees' canopy, I still could not figure out what I had just dug out. Only by touching the intricate curves of the object, I could tell that it was an art work - an old bronze statue!

It was so unexpected that it took me a moment to adjust my perception and finally see the face and body of a young female. Wow! I could not believe what I saw! The statue was 10 inches high. The pose of a young woman expressed sadness, and there was a Roman oil lamp in her right hand.

A Real Piece of Art (a dollar coin and other coins were placed for size comparison)

A Bronze Statue Psyche by Moreau

Head of the Lady in Bronze

The Intricate Details

The Intricate Details

The Roman Oil Lamp

The Watering-Can

It took me a couple of months to research the origin and manufacturer of this amazing art work. I found out that it was a vintage 1882 reproduction of a famous sculpture "Psyche," a maiden from Greek mythology, created by the renown French sculptor Louis Auguste Moreau. I even found an original catalog of the Ferdinand Barbedienne art studio located in Paris where such reproductions were made and offered to public in 1880s.

An Engraved Signature of the Famous French Sculptor Moreau

Moreau's Authograph Signature

This remarkable metal detecting find was a winner of the 1997 Best Finds Competition in Western & Eastern Treasures magazine (W&ET, March 1998, volume 32, p.39). I still cannot explain how the bronze statue could escape from under the searchcoils of many metal detectorists, but somehow that only enhances the beauty and mystery of the lady in bronze.

Happy Hunting!

Peter and Sergei in 2003

Treasure Hunters in Upstate New York

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