MENOMINEE — The dream of many of a youngster came true this week for a 13-year-old boy who was combing for treasure at a Menominee beach. Armed with a metal detector, Logan Williams of Green Bay unearthed a rare 16th century copper coin.
“I borrowed the detector from my Uncle Mark and my friends and I took it down to Fat Ladies Beach (Tourist Park). After searching for about a half hour I got a good, strong signal. I dug down a few inches and found a coin,” he said excitedly. “It looked pretty interesting. At first I thought it was a token or something, I’d never seen a coin like it before. I didn’t know what it was but I knew it was old.”
The seventh grader, on spring break from De Pere Middle School, will have quite a story to tell when he returns next week. Curious about the coin, Logan and his mom took it to a coin shop in Green Bay to learn more about it. Mike Worachek, owner of Card and Coin-Packer City Antiques was amazed.
“It’s like winning the lottery,” he said. “We get a lot of coins in here but nothing that rare, usually in the $500 to $1,000 range.”
The coin, minted in 1793, is known as a Large Cent, wreath variety. According to numismatists, the coin was the first Large Cent put out by the US Mint and was the first one mass produced by the newly independent States of America.
Logan and Worachek speculated about how the coin ended up at the beach. Logan said he thought it came from pirates and that he was going to keep the exact location a secret so he could find the rest. Worachek meanwhile thought perhaps it had been lost years ago by a fisherman in the bay and that it somehow made it to shore. No matter how it got there, it now has a new owner.
“You’d have to go to a big coin show to even find a Large Cent like that,” said Worachek. “I’ve never owned one but I’ve seen them. In good condition it currently lists for around $3,000.”
That figure astonished the young treasure hunter who said, “When he told me what it was and how much it was worth I got really excited.”
Woracheck offered some savvy advice to Logan about preserving the coin and finding its true worth.
“I recommended he send it in to get graded, especially for a coin of that value because they’re really hard to find,” he said. “If he gets it graded, the company will secure it in an air-tight, sealed holder.”
At first Logan thought about selling the coin to purchase video games and put the rest in the bank. After talking to Worachek he decided to have the coin graded and then put it in the family’s safety deposit box at their bank for safe keeping.
When asked if any of his friends or family members wanted a slice of the new found wealth, Logan replied, “My uncle said he wanted half the money because it was his metal detector. I think he’s teasing but he keeps bringing it up.”
Logan said he’ll continue to hunt for treasure but that he plans to buy his own metal detector.
(His uncle said he was just pulling Logan’s leg like we’re pulling yours. Happy April Fool’s Day.)