Friday, 7 June 2013

A Spring Mudlark and My First Coin

Back on part time wages and back on the bus. Low mists of cow parsley edge the parks. Above, horse chestnuts are dressed with white candles. Trees still hold the lime green haze of spring before they deepen into the green of summer. This time I noticed the Council block's lawns with their daises and buttercups squared off with black railings. We pass traffic lights and lamp posts covered in flowers wrapped in cellophane, tributes to someone killed in a traffic accident. Then the streets narrow, the height of buildings increase and you'd no longer know it was spring. Just tarmac, glass, metal and stone - albeit rather grand.

There were so many people down on the foreshore, the Thames Discovery crew measuring,  documenting and considering old archaeological features, a large group of kids, solitary souls, a gaggle of friends and kids with their families. I wasn't expecting to find much. I reckoned most stuff would have been scooped up after a series of low tides, a bank holiday weekend and half term. 

It was a pleasure to meet 11 year old Kane and his mum Sarah, all the way down from Merseyside for a mudlark. Whilst his friends immerse themselves in PS3s, minecraft and youtube Kane's out digging in bottle dumps. Kane kept me company for a while telling me what he'd found in the past and what he'd like to find. Keen to find some Tudor pins, it was nice to be able to show him where to look and how to find them. Turned round and there was Florida Tom, back in England for 6 weeks of mudlarking. Very good to meet up with him again. 

Fortunately Tom and Kane kept me mooching around one particular spot and just when I thought this was definitely my worst mudlark ever I found my first coin - well apart from a Russian Kopek and 2p - very excited. I didn't care that it was battered, thin and worn - it all added to its charm and it sparkled!

Mudlarking Find George II Copper Farthing

It's a George II copper farthing minted  between 1734-1754. I can't make out whether the date is the 30s or 50s. A crown of leaves (laureate) tops George's head and he wears Roman military dress in the classical style. On the reverse is Britannia, the Latin name for Roman Britain, who first appeared on British coins in  1672 and was only omitted from the 2008 redesign, much to the annoyance of the Daily Mail. 

Masses of fakes were also produced, the wording or 'legend' was often different so the counterfeiters could escape prosecution. Given I can't make out whether it reads  GEORGIUS.II.Rex and on the reverse BRITAN NIA no idea whether it's a genuine or not - quite like the idea it might be a fake. I wonder what it last bought? 

George II Farthing (AH Baldwin and Sons) 
On my way back I found a couple of nice delft shards,

Mudlarking Find: Delft Shard

Mudlarking Find Polychrome Delft Shard Early 1700s
A couple of salts reckoned by Christies to be from 1720 and from Vauxhall, deploy similar colours and painting techniques to the one above. 
Delftware Salts possibly from Vauxhall 1720 (Christies) 

My other vaguely interesting find I'll keep for a separate post. As I left it started to rain. Ran for the bus and just managed to get home in time to help husband and youngest pack for our imminent holiday, which went some way to appeasing my rather irritated husband - who wasn't too happy that I'd absconded down to the Thames.


  1. oh man that is so cool! what a great find!!

  2. Beautifully composed...thank you for this!

  3. Beautiful, lovely find! I can't find an email link on your blog but please email me through mine, so I can tell you about the mosaic stuff! Tania