Is is a coin or a medal?
It's supposed to be a coin. It is in the design of an early shilling of Queen Victoria (1837-1886).
In the light of this object, I've been doing some interesting reading. In 1862, a four-volume treatise on the life and times of London's underclass, "London Labour and the London Poor" - kind of an anthropological examination of deepest, darkest London - included a chapter on counterfeiters, or "coiners". This was the age when counterfeiters, if caught and found guilty, would have likely been transported to Australia. The following points may be of interest.
- The London districts of Westminster, Clerkenwell, The Borough, Lambeth, Drury Lane, Seven Dials, Lisson Grove and "other low neighbourhoods" were known hotbeds of coining.
- Moulds were made of plaster of paris. A genuine coin would be washed clean, then smeared with a thin layer of grease so the plaster doesn't stick to the coin. Several impressions would be made in the mould, so multiple coins could be cast at once. The plaster had to be thoroughly dry before casting, otherwise the mould exploded on contact with hot metal. Moulds could be re-used multiple times before becoming unusable.
- All silver coins were typically counterfeited - crowns, halfcrowns, shillings and sixpences were the most common. A mixture of small and large coins on the same mould was the most stable configuration.
- Raw metal for the fake coins was usually pewter, often from melted-down "britannia metal" spoons.
- "Coiners" were often a two-man team, or, far more often than not, a husband-and-wife team, with the man holding the mould clamped together with tongs, while the woman poured in the molten pewter. One person doing the job single-handedly was almost unheard of, but a larger gang could be responsible. One anecdote related in the book states how a pair of police officers sprung what they thought was going to be a small husband-and-wife coining operation, only to be jumped on by a gang of five hefty men, plus a couple of women.
- Once removed from the mould and cooled, the "gat" - the casting sprue - had to be clipped off with a pair of tin-snips, then filed down flat. This clearly hasn't happened yet with the OP's coin.
- Primitive silver electroplating was known at the time, and often employed by the counterfeiters to give their coins a realistic look. The electroplating solution contained cyanide, as well as nitric and sulfuric acid, so was probably not entirely safe to be around. As a final treatment, the plated coins were often given a fake tarnish using a mixture of lampblack and machine oil.
- The people who made the coins weren't usually the same people actually using, or "uttering", the coins. The typical black market going rate for buying fake coins, between the coiners and the criminal gangs who worked with them, was one genuine penny per shilling-face-value of fakes, with bulk discounts usually available.
- Coiners, on being discovered by the police, typically went to great lengths to try to destroy the evidence - smashing moulds, and tossing any unfinished coins back into the melting pot. Constables were often assaulted by having vats of acid, cyanide or molten metal hurled at them. It seems likely to me that the OP's coin may have been lost in the affray of a police bust. It probably wasn't deliberately buried, as burying coins takes time that a coiner wouldn't have had in the middle of a raid.
Don't say "infinitely" when you mean "very"; otherwise, you'll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite. - C. S. Lewis