Treasure Hunting In Twin Falls...?


By Joey Martin

Twin Falls, Idaho ( KMVT-TV / KTWT-TV ) The possibility of buried treasure in your front yard isn't something anyone really thinks about.

We aren't talking big bucks here....

Mike Hannah enjoys spending his spare time traversing communities here in Southern Idaho.

And it's all because of one thing… treasure hunting.

A group of dedicated hobbyists have taken on the task of digging up some of our area's lesser–known local history.

And if they're lucky... Maybe they'll make a little money on the side.

Hannah goes door to door and lawn to lawn with his trusty metal detector looking for one item in particular.

"I look for the old coins and the old merchant coins. Most people don't know them; they're called the old trade tokens"
Said treasure hunter, Mike Hannah

Over a century ago, when this area was still considered part of the Wild West.

Local merchants would commonly issue trade tokens to loyal customers.

"Usually they were grocery stores that would give them out. Say.. if you bought like 5 dollars worth of groceries they may give you a 5 cent token that was good for the next purchase. And you could only use them at the grocery store you bought your groceries at."
Said Mychel Matthewes, Director of the Twin Falls County Museum.

"some were good for cigars, drinks, a loaf of bread, quart of milk or just a monetary value from 2 and a half cents to 6 and a quarter and then 5 cents, 10 cents...25, 50 and a dollar."

But now after 90 to 100 years, the businesses that issued these tokens are long gone....

So why bother searching for them now?

"For a collector these are highly collectable. You can find them say... 5 to 10 dollars on eBay. The more rare the coin is then... you know, you can look upwards to 2 or 300 dollars."

"Well I think the best token I've found so far this year was a place from Rochester Nevada, it was an old silver mining town, very rare, I think there is only 4 others known. And... I got some money for it" and you found that here in Twin? "I found it here in Twin."

According to Hannah, Twin Falls had more than 360 different tokens that were known to exist.

So, the next time you're working in your yard, consider slowing down and looking in the dirt.

"They're really good history of towns...."

If you do hapen to come across any old trade tokens in your yard.

The Twin Falls County Museum will be more than happy to let you know what exactly you have on your hands

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