by Shelley Inon
They are “world famous in Geraldine” for their discoveries, but twin brothers Richard and James Koia have not been metal detecting for very long.
Richard said the practice had always been something that interested him, but it was not until “just before Covid hit” that he bought his first metal detector.
He and James soon became “very addicted”.
James said friends had asked the twins if they had thought of creating a Youtube channel, but the pair were “too busy finding stuff”.
Of all the weird and wonderful things the duo had found, a British King George III half crown from 1816 stood out for them, as well as some Queen Victorian coins.
Along with the somewhat peaceful walks along the beach searching he loved researching what they had found, James said.
The pair opted for detecting along the beach in summer and going through parks in winter, when the ground was wetter, because wet ground conducted better and digging for treasure through sunbaked soil was quite arduous.
After a storm was the best time to find coins along the beach, as often they had either been washed up or unearthed from the thick clay.
While the brothers had found plenty of treasures in the past two years, they had also found many sinkers, and some days all they found was rubbish.
James said he and Richard were happy to take the rubbish home and pop it in the recycling bin, because it was good just to get out and walk.
The brothers have a hot tip for amateur treasure hunters: searching under the clothesline, as things drop from pockets when clothes are hung up.
James said they were quite happy to check under clotheslines for people, and they were also happy to help people who were looking for missing things.
The two were often tagged into posts on community social media pages when someone mentioned losing a ring, they said.
Richard said their approach was to go and find it for the person “for free” as they just liked to help.
They still had one treasure they were trying to find descendants for: a fob medal found under some trees at the Geraldine Domain last year.
“From the hallmarks we can tell it was made by Joseph and Richard Griffin in Chester, England in 1902. The initials on it are HJB,” James said.
It was made of silver and rose gold.
Medals a surprise for family
After finding one of William Husband’s war medals at Browns Beach last year, the metal-detecting Koia brothers have stumbled upon another of his medals almost 2km away.
Geraldine twins James and Richard Koia used the internet to track down Sergeant Major William Joseph Husband’s name and descendants.
Born in 1888, Sgt Maj Husband served in World War 1, and died in 1969 at the age of 82.
The soldier’s granddaughter Marj Irving said she was surprised by the find, especially as she was not aware the two medals had been missing in the first place.
“They were news to us.”
Mystery still surrounds the find whether the medals had been lost as a result of flooding or if they were dropped somehow.
Mrs Irving said her grandfather had been a “keen fisherman”, and had trained the Home Guard there during World War 2.
He also “biked everywhere”, so she wondered if any of those things could have been the reason for the medals’ loss.
Richard Koia said the top bit of the nine carat gold medal had been damaged somewhere along their journey.
Mrs Irving said the twins had told her “the first one wasn’t far off washing back into the sea”.
While another person might sell the medals off, or make the family pay a small ransom to be reunited with their treasures, the Koia brothers simply wanted to return them, she said.
“They’re pretty special guys.”
She felt guilty because the twins did not want anything even after all the effort they had made to find them and then find their owner.
After the first medal was handed over the twins left with whitebait, and after the second medal she gave them freshly caught salmon.
Her family had been excited by the discovery.
“Our family is ever so grateful.
“They’re real neat guys. Goodness knows what they’ll find next!”