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Urban Archeologist: Tank Full of Coins

You're never more than 20 steps from treasure.

 

If you are looking for adventure, you don't need to travel very far — this is something I often tell my daughter.

When we take family walks through a local park, we will stop where it has been heavily travelled and I will challenge my daughter, “You are never more than 20 steps from treasure.”  I want her mind to race (along with her feet) in all directions. It isn't long before she, or I, discover something unique — a pen, a penny, sunglasses, lacrosse, tennis, or softball, an odd piece of paper, etc.

We walk into sales the same way. Several months ago, we walked into a home that was being cleaned out. We decided to explore each room, empty or not. As we walked through the basement/playroom one of the sellers exclaimed how he and his brothers had played there as children for hours. I looked around and noticed a ‘60s drop-ceiling with a tile that was out of place, and behind it, something else (see the jar image above).

In front of the seller, I opened the jar that rattled as I brought it down. Inside were the coins you see above, along with a couple of Scrabble game pieces. 

“Yeah, we used to hide stuff all over the place when we were kids.” he confessed as he handed back the jar. “You can have them.” This discovery of buried treasure delighted my daughter (and I) immensely.

After the holidays, I finally got around to sorting these coins that I vaguely remembered while growing up. Gone are the days when gas stations give away premiums (glasses, coins, stickers, patches, etc) when you filled up your tank. Today, you might be entered in a sweepstakes, but no coins. Sunoco (Sun Oil Company) in 1968 and 1969, to promote their “DX” gasoline, gave away these coins featuring antique vehicles. There was also a card display with slots so you could track your way to collecting 'em all!

My daughter and I are happy with this complete set from series 1 and a few from series 2, about 93 in all. They held up well, hidden for over 40 years and they were only 12 steps away. Watch the video!

Speaking of 12-steps... can you guess the cookies from this 1961 Nabisco ad?... Choco-holics beware!

Greg Van Antwerp is a Brookfield resident and blogger, who can be found on the weekends in search of a good “dig” or a good story. You can read more about his adventures by visiting his blog.

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