Treasure Hunters chasing treasure, in all its wonderful forms …!

The Sultans Army

From: November Issue

We all dream of finding gold nuggets to make us rich, sovereigns to dazzle our eyes, priceless coins to turn our lives around and rare relics to take us back to a time long ago and lost in the sands of time. However, what would you do if you uncovered an actual part of the worlds history?


That very dilemma recently faced Marc and Lisa Russo, the dynamic husband and wife detecting duo out of Western Australia when they uncovered a once in a lifetime find – an ultra rare original Turkish soldiers belt buckle from WW1. Who knows, maybe from Gallipoli itself?


“We were out in the Wheatbelt area on a private permission. I was searching an area in a field away from Lisa with my NOX 600 when a swarm of bees attacked. Being allergic, I took off and jumped over a paddock fence to get away from them. Unfortunately, I got stung so I radioed Lisa to come over and help me get the stinger out. At the time, I saw her kneeling and taking photos of something. Whilst running over to me she came across a round embossed metal disc laying on the ground, about the size of a tennis ball and embossed with a star. She quickly scooped it up and put in her bag. After all the excitement died down she showed me what she’d found and we both agreed it looked pretty cool. At that time we had no idea what it was, only that it was metal and we liked the design so in the finds pouch it went.


On the way home Lisa started Googling the image on the disc and it was only then that we realized what we’d found, a WW1 belt buckle from a Turkish soldier. We both couldn’t believe what we were reading and seeing online. What were the chances of finding something so rare as this in the middle of a paddock, let alone outback Australia. It was at this time when Lisa mentioned how freaky it was that it was related to WW1 as she’d also found a photographed a single red poppy growing in the paddock and that’s what she was photographing when I called her. To be honest it freaked us out a bit, a single red poppy and a dead soldiers buckle.


After arriving home, we put it up in a military collector’s group and sure enough back came the answer we already suspected – WW1 Turkish belt buckle, probably around 1915-17. We also found out that there was actual an inscription on it – “Asakir-i Sahane” which translates to “Sultans Army-Ottoman Army”. What we didn’t realize was that the backing plate was missing, the part that actually fits onto the leather belt itself. We have to go back tomorrow and try to find it I told Lisa.


The next day Lisa couldn’t make it so I headed out to the site by myself. I didn’t hold out much hope of finding it, however, I knew I had to give it my best shot. Once onsite I started gridding the area around where Lisa said she’d found the buckle. A few hours later when I was about to call it quits, up she came. A beautiful big square buckle plate, a bit mangled but fully intact. I couldn’t believe I’d managed to pull off a miracle. It seemed like the old soldier was looking over my shoulder and guiding me the way.


When I got home and showed Lisa, she couldn’t believe her eyes. We got the first piece we’d found the day before and it fitted perfectly onto the backing plate. It really was a magical moment neither of us will ever forget .


You really have to love this hobby!” – Marc & Lisa Russo (WA)


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