Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Backyard Archaeology: One Dime

Planting a Ceanothus 'Tassajara Blue' in my wonderful neighbor's back garden, a small object turned up in the soil.  I had been finding all sorts of things the past few days, mostly bits of glass and terracotta.  This however...  ONE DIME.  Why, yes you are!  It looked so old that it seemed fake, so I instantly turned it over to find a date.  1901! 

I had been carrying on a phone conversation with my immensely talented friend Hugh, who instantly procured values via the magic of the internet.  A dime could have purchased a beer in 1901 at an Idora Park concession.  Well, today it remains likely I could still buy a beer with this dime- the going rate for a worn 1901 dime minted in Philadelphia as this one was is $2.  Maybe a Pabst at happy hour with no tip.

Either way, I'm thrilled to live out my Indiana Jones fantasies and find all sorts of "treasures" left behind.  


  1. That's so cool! I keep hoping I'll find some buried treasure on my yard!

  2. What a fabulous find! Now we're going to have to get you an Indiana Jones hat! :P When I find things like that in a garden, I always wish I could know its history, even though I know it's not possible. Whose pocket did it fall out of? How long has it been there? How did nobody find it before you?...

  3. Thanks ladies! Clare, you read my mind! If only the person who dropped it had a sheet of paper in a weather-proof bag attached to the dime outlining their name, occupation, why they dropped the dime, who their living relatives are so that I can return the dime with a little ceremony and flourish... ah there goes my imagination again!

  4. Great post, Christine!

    Brings back all the rubble and broken glass I found when planting my garden :(

    But there were one or two little bottles, very old!


  5. I think that you could make a dandy necklace.

    I've dug up more rusty nails and broken glass than anything else. We do have a little shrine on our mantle of the better finds. And even those are mostly rat skulls and medicine bottles.

    (Funny, I've been planning a blog post on Urban Archaeology....)

  6. I love garden archaeology, but my space only dates back to around 1950--no Egyptian tombs or even 1901 dimes on this spread. The most recent treasure: a kitschy little pot in the form of a shoe with a kitten curled around the toe. I must post it sometime.

  7. I finally got around to photographing my archaeological booty: