Alabama historian delivers presentation on lost artifacts

Published 7:00 am Friday, May 24, 2024

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Alabama historian and treasure hunter Jim Phillips captivated an audience at the Butler County Public Library on May 14 with his presentation on lost artifacts in Alabama. Known for his humorous and engaging storytelling, Phillips shared tales from his adventures and displayed a collection of pre-Civil War coins and money.

“He’s very popular. We’ve had him here several times. I think it was in 2017 that he did a Halloween program on ghost stories. But this one was more focused on history and specifically Alabama history,” said Butler County Public Library Director Kevin Pearcey. “It was very well received. I think everyone enjoyed it.”

Phillips, who holds a Master of Arts degree in educational media from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, as well as a Bachelor of Arts in broadcast communications from the University of Alabama, has been an avid treasure hunter for several years. His passion for history led him to metal detecting, which opened up a new world of historical videography. 

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Over the years, Phillips has unearthed numerous historical objects, including old coins, store tokens, buttons, and eating utensils from the 1800s.

“We’re doing a talk called ‘Lost and Some Found: Treasures of 1800s Alabama.’ I’m going to show some artifacts that have been found by me and others of pre-Civil War buried treasure, mainly coins,” Phillips said. “We’re talking about bottles that date back to the 1800s. And the most valuable soda bottles in the history of the United States are the 1901 Coca-Cola Hutchinson style bottles, which start at $5,000 each and go up. We’re also talking about true stories…stories about lost treasures. We discuss things that have been found. And things that are still missing that you could find.”

In addition to his presentations, Phillips hosts a podcast titled “Truth and Treasure in Alabama,” which delves deeper into his treasure hunting adventures and the history behind the artifacts he discovers. The podcast is accessible through his website,

The event carried the underlying message about the importance of preserving and understanding Alabama’s rich history. Through his work, Phillips hopes to inspire others to explore and appreciate the past.