Silver hoard found in Ohio


I don’t know of anyone that metal detects who doesn’t hope to find something truly amazing. All of us dream of that “find of a lifetime” and for a couple of guys in Ohio, that’s just what happened. Tom Dunn and Todd Aubry just found a silver hoard that is really incredible!

Tom recently got permission from a longtime friend to metal detect his entire property  which includes a still standing farm house, a field and woods that once had activity including a few houses that are now long gone. Tom and Todd were really looking forward to this coming fall, spending time in the fields and woods hunting the sites that have long since disappeared. With the hot weather and fear of killing the grass they were running out of places to go. Tom was on the phone with his friend and he told them to come detect his property, he wasn’t worried about the grass. Although it wasn’t local, Tom and Todd made a few trips down to detect the grass areas.

The first few hunts didn’t produce much except a few Indians, a Barber quarter and a few relics but for the most part the finds were few and far between. Tom loaded up one morning and headed down there, on his long drive he decided it was his last time hunting the property until the crops were off the field. He hunted for a few hours with not much to show for it when he started to cut across one grass field to hunt a patch of grass next to the woods. Tom got a signal and looked down and thought to himself “that’s the same reading that Barber quarter I found the other day gave me” Tom was excited and happy to find a promising signal.

He dug it up and instantly knew it was silver but also quickly realized it was not a Barber quarter. In fact he wasn’t sure what it was except it was a big piece of silver. He thought he could see 1776 and a quick google search he realized he was holding a 2 Reale! As he got back to swinging it wasn’t long before he hit another coin, then another. Tom was so excited he’s not sure which ones those were now but one was a bust half and the other a 2 Reale.

The Hoard

By now Tom couldn’t believe what was happening and admits that from so much excitement, some of it is foggy. The next hit was actually multiple signals he believed were all in a tight area but nothing could brace him for what he was about to find. He kneeled down, dug a 2 Reale, stood up and re-checked the hole to find more signals. Tom had no clue what was about to happen!

After he dug each coin he would send his good friend and hunting partner Todd a picture of what he just dug, after the second silver,Todd was quickly on his way. While Todd was making the long trip there Tom decided to re-open his last hole and see what else was in there. Tom said “I would dig another coin and then stick my pin pointer back in the hole and there was more” To his amazement there were 35 coins in that one hole! He was still slowly and meticulously pulling coins out of the hole when Todd arrived. While Tom was finishing up his hole, Todd starting detecting the area and managed to find 18 more silver coins! Once Tom finished up his hole he managed 11 more silver coins in that area, a total of 67 silver coins ranging from 1773- 1843 all within just a very small area. There is a possibility of an older coin but a few of the Reale’s are to worn to get an accurate date.

Tom’s coins

Spanish/Mexican –  Eighteen  two Reales, three one Reales and two half reales. Two Mexican coins, 1833 eight Reale and a two Reale.

French – an 1821 two Franc and an 1833 and 1840 five Franc.

American –  Seven half dollars, two seated and six bust.  A bust quarter and a draped bust quarter (1805) three bust dimes and three seated dimes. Four bust half dimes and two seated half dimes.

Tom’s Coins


Todd’s coins

Spanish coins –Two 2 Reales, two 1 Reales and four ½ Reales

American – Two bust half dimes, four seated half dimes. One seated bust half dollar and one seated quarter

One 1817 Prussian 1 Thaler coin

Todd’s Coins


How did they get there?

This question alone I think is why many of us metal detect. The adventure, trying to figure out how things ended up where we find them. It’s the mystery and trying to track down as much information as we can makes this hobby so much fun for so many of us.

In reality no one will ever know the story. We can piece together what we know and try to make an educated guess but really it usually just brings up more questions. For example it appears that all the coins were buried together at one time and it was later disturbed spreading some out as far as 10 feet from the original hole but how was it disturbed? Tom and Todd do not believe this particular area has ever been plowed. Why was it all silver coins? Why no gold or copper?

One of the first thoughts that quickly popped into my mind was Morgans Raiders due to the property’s location. Stories have been told that when Morgan was coming through southern Ohio and the word spread, many people buried their valuables. The problem with this is its highly unlikely due to the age of the coins. I would guess these would have been buried no later than 1850’s and very unlikely to have been buried in the 1860’s.

Many other thoughts crossed my mind including the possibility of an Outlaws cache or a fur trader hiding money in fear of being robbed. I have spent countless hours wondering about the possibilities, wishing I knew the circumstances and just how they ended up there.

Todd-L Tom-R

My Theory

I think (and I could be completely wrong) that either a store, trading post, dairy farm, mill or some kind of business was there that people came to for services or goods. The location was (and still is) a good distance from town so the owner would bury his money for safe keeping until he could go to town and deposit it in the bank. Another possibility is he didn’t trust banks and didn’t even use them. For whatever reason he never came back for the coins, maybe he passed away suddenly, forgot where he buried them or who knows what could have happened!

Through research I hope there is more to this story. I believe there could be more caches to be found and that hopefully other finds might shed more light on the story and put some puzzle pieces together. Tracking the land owners back to the 1840’s, researching to find exactly what all has been on that property and things that have happened on the property. I hope more of this mystery is uncovered.

Something I was thinking about just today as I write this is whenever I find an old coin I can’t help but wonder what kind of story it could tell. Each one of the 67 coins so far have a story to tell then, after sitting in the ground for probably more than 160 years they have an interesting story to share of how they all got there. Some have holes, often holed by Indians and worn for jewelry, a few have letter scratched into them and one even has USA stamped on it!


I am looking forward to hearing from Tom after research has begun and new information becomes available. I think there is much more to this story including possibly more caches of coins found but for now all we can do is wait and see!

You can listen to the podcast episode HERE where we interview Tom and Todd and discuss the hoard.
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