Winter Metal Detecting in Upstate New York, page 16

Discovering One Penny Token of Upper Canada Bank

As soon I began recovering a target, I knew that my shovel was useless against the concrete-like surface of frozen ground. I had to run back to Tim and borrow his small "Sampson T Handle" shovel. With this shovel, I managed to crush a few inches of the icy soil and expose... a large copper coin indeed! Thank Gods of Metal Detecting for giving me a shallow target!

Unfortunately, I accidentally hit the coin twice during the process. Nevertheless, I was happy enough just to see the large coin for a change. Having metal detected in Europe for a few years, I had searched specifically for tiny silver hammered coins of medieval times.

Coin Is Dead Frozen into Ground
A Large Coin Disclosed But Still Frozen Into Dirt

At first glance, it was hard to id the partly exposed coin that was dead frozen into the ground - I could not just pick it up without prying it out of dirt. But when I closely looked at the coin, not only I noticed letters CANADA, but also some traces of silver on them. The coin likely was silver-plated to be taken for a silver coin of large denomination during transactions - this practice was not something unusual in the 19th century.

Visible Letters 'CANADA' with Traces of Silver on a Large Copper Coin
Some Letters Had Traces of Silver on Them

After I let the coin get warmer while being exposed to air for five minutes, I easily removed the coin leaving its imprint in the dirt.

Imprint of Coin in Frozen Dirt

Although hitting and damaging the coin was a mishap, I was not too upset about it because the coin did not survive time in this type of soil anyway. Of course, I would be very upset if the coin was silver. But as the saying goes, "if I didn't have bad luck I wouldn't have any luck at all."

Having been destroyed by mineralization, this coin's design was almost gone. After cleaning it, I identified the coin as an 1854 One Penny Token of the Upper Canada Bank.

Dug 1854 One Penny Token of Upper Canada Bank
Dug 1854 One Penny Token of Upper Canada Bank

Just to show you what this coin's design looks like, I included a picture of a Half-Penny token of the same date and identical design; being just smaller in diameter:

Undug 1854 One Half-Penny Token of Bank of Upper Canada with Cabinet Patina
Undug 1854 One Half-Penny Token of Bank of Upper Canada with 'Cabinet' Patina

It is not unusual to find the 19th century Canadian Bank tokens/coins of various types at hunt sites in Upstate New York because these tokens were widely used along with the US 'large' cents and 'Hard Times' tokens in the state. You can find info on the 19th century Canada Bank Tokens in my article: Canada Bank Tokens and Their Types