Ear: Penny

"I usually don't dig in the winter time, but due to the king tides we had last week, I decided to hit a certain spot that might lead to some good finds," metal-detecting enthusiast and Astorian Don Kelly of the Northwest Artifact Recovery Team (fb.me/NorthwestDiggers) noted in a Jan. 19 Facebook post.

"Well, besides digging tons of trash I decided to dig along the tide wall, and sure enough all my experience paid off as I unearth my first ever flying eagle one cent piece, dated 1857. Just speculating, but I think it washed up against the tide wall during the king tides. Shifting sands smoothed it out, I'm thinking." Don's photos of his find are shown.

According to CoinValues.com, the coin was designed by James B. Longacre and made of copper-nickel; 17,450,000 coins were minted in the two years the penny was issued, 1857 and 1858. By the way, 1 cent in 1857 would be worth 30 cents now.

"It's more about the history to me," Don explained, "but in the condition it's in, (it's worth) around $30 to $50. Uncirculated coins fetch $450, and if a proof coin is ever found, it's worth $30,000."

"If you heard a loud scream about 10 a.m. this morning," he added, "I'm sure it must have been me. Gotta love dirt fishin' — I know I do! Bucket lister for sure!"

Elleda Wilson is an editorial assistant for The Astorian and author of the award-winning In One Ear community column. Contact her at 971-704-1718 or ewilson@dailyastorian.com.

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