YORK, Pa. (AP) — York County brothers Chris and Darin Rosier know people walk over hidden treasures every day.
Together, they've been metal detecting as a hobby — for five and 10 years, respectively — and recently made their biggest find yet: two charms that might be gold and could date back to the 1800s.
The adventure started in March, when the brothers decided to take their gear to Coin Beach in Delaware.
The one-mile stretch of coastline near Indian River Inlet gets its name from the thousands of coins that have washed ashore from the 1785 wreck of the Faithful Steward, a ship carrying hundreds of barrels of coins.
After several hours of finding only clad coins — those with multiple layers of metal in them — the brothers started to wrap up their trip.
But when they scanned the entrance of the beach, Chris Rosier had a big hit — just 5 feet away from Coastal Highway.
Darin Rosier scooped up the treasure: a round, gold-toned pendant with what appeared to be a religious figure on it.
"He said, 'Dude, you found your first piece of gold,'" recalled Chris Rosier, 46, of Dover Township.
Thirty seconds later, Darin Rosier, 47, of York City got his own hit — another charm, with two fish in a circle.
The next day, the brothers contacted Dale Clifton Jr., director and owner of DiscoverSea Shipwreck Museum on Fenwick Island, Del., for a little insight.
Since the charms were freshly recovered, they were corroded, but Clifton had a few estimations that excited the brothers.
The round one had a mark on it similar to the broad arrow mark used to denote Royal Navy property during the reign of King George II and III, he said.
The pieces might have been fashioned after the English medallions and could date back as far as the mid- to late 1800s, said Clifton, a maritime archaeologist. He said he doesn't believe the pieces came from a shipwreck, but they appear to be gold or high-quality bronze.
"It's hard to determine," he said. "No matter what, it was a wonderful find — especially to find two."
Because they were found so close together, Clifton said he has a hunch they broke off the same chain or bracelet. The pieces were fairly heavy, and if they're gold, that could make the find profitable, as well, he said.
"I know people who have hunted for five years metal detecting and haven't found something that nice," he said.
Before Clifton's analysis, Chris Rosier said he had no idea the pieces were so old.
"It was just basically surreal — I couldn't really believe it," he said. "It's just one of those jaw-dropping moments."
And Darin Rosier, who has dug up treasure from bottle caps to wedding bands, said it was like walking away with a piece of history.
"That was probably the oldest piece I've ever found," he said. "It kind of makes me wonder how it got from there to here."
Chris Rosier said the brothers' story shows how anyone can find historical treasures.
"They're out there to be found," he said.
Although Chris Rosier is proud of his find, he said he wants to go out and find bigger and better relics, such as sunken treasures, gems and jewels.
"I do cherish it, and that's one thing that's going to propel me into looking harder for things of this nature," he said.
Chris Rosier also searches local spots, such as Kiwanis Lake, basketball courts and schools, and he said he wants to get permission from York City to explore more locations.
"I find it interesting just to be able to find things that normal people every day walk over all the time," he said.
Although efforts to appraise the pieces have been unsuccessful, at least one potential buyer is interested, he said.
The brothers recently submitted their story to Garrett Metal Detectors in hopes of being Vaughan Garrett's Favorite Find of the Month and winning a new metal detector.
"Even if we don't get selected, we basically already found a prize," Chris Rosier said.
Information from: The York Dispatch, http://www.yorkdispatch.com