Monday, February 9, 2015

2/9/14 Report - Souvenir Or Fake Reale Recently Found On The Treasure Coast & Not A Fake.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

I just received an email from a reader who had been trying to clean what appeared to be his first cob find.   He did his research and learned how to clean cobs.  Then he carefully cleaned it so he could see the details.  Then he did some research only to find out it was a fake or souvenir reale.

Most of us have found fakes.  I'd say I've found about a half dozen fake cobs over the years.  My first fake was really confusing.  It was encrusted very much like a real cob might be.  As a result I carefully cleaned it, first carefully removing some of the crust with a dental pick.   When I finally got it to where I could see some of the detail I was even more confused.  The design didn't match the  color I was seeing.  Remember, that was my first cob (I thought) and I didn't know much about them at the time.  I did more and more research until somehow (I don't remember exactly now) I finally learned that it was a fake.  What a disappointment!

Today I can usually identify a fake pretty quickly, often as soon as I see it or pick it up.  Sometimes they can be identified by feel.  Some are way too light.  Sometimes you can tell by appearance.

Some fakes are made out of lead.  Some, like like the one below, are plated with a gold color plating  Some are marked "COPY," but often the marking will be small or covered by dirt or sand.

I've seen some convincing fakes.  I'm sometimes hesitant to scratch a possible cob for metal testing, and that can be a bit of an obstacle.

Often I can identify a cheaper metal by look or feel, but I have seen fake cobs actually made of silver.

I usually remember where I found the better fakes because at first sight I thought they were real.

One thing to consider is where it was found.  If you find a cob on top of dry sand in a public park where no cobs have been found before, most likely it is a fake.   It isn't likely that one will show up in a place like that, but strange things can happen.  I've found a lot of things where I still wonder how in the world they got there.   Some kid could have taken dad's prized possession for show-and-tell and lost it.  Things like that are possible.

The first fake cob that I ever found (the encrusted one I talked about above) was found probably ten yards from where I found a genuine cob, so you can't always tell if it might be fake by location, although that might be your first tip off.

Replica 8-escudo.
Here is a "replica" coin.  There is no intention to deceive.  It is sold with the packaging clearly marked "replica."  Nonetheless, if you dug one up you might get excited at first glance.

One very big Florida retailer includes these with some of the detectors they sell.

After a while you'll get to know what cobs should look like.   Real cobs will often be black.  They aren't perfect either.  They can be a little bit like diamonds.   If they look too perfect, maybe they are fake.

With experience you'll have a better idea of what a real cob should look like.  That first sight of a fake in the scoop can get you excited until the disappointment settles in.

I once found a genuine Spanish silver coin that I thought was a fake at first glance (See photo below.).  It is shown here as it looked after it was partially cleaned.

When I dug it up I saw what appeared to be a cross on one side and quickly assumed it was a fake reale and put it in my pocket without getting excited at all.  I assumed it was fake.  It looked too perfect.  It was perfectly round.  It was not worn.  It did have enough sand on it that the design was not clear.

I didn't really take much time to inspect it.  I didn't expect to find anything very old where I was and quickly slipped it in my pocket.

Since that time I've learned that old things do show up at that location on rare occasion, including 18th and 17th century items.

This particular coin, showing a cross and a lion and castle on one side, in my judgement was probably a fake.  Anyhow, I knew that I could inspect it later, so slipped into my pocket and continued my hunt.

After cleaning it off and doing the research, I eventually learned that this coin was a 1966 100 pesetas silver bullion coin.  The same coin is shown cleaned at the top of this post.  Not exactly a fake.

Fakes can be disappointing, especially if you thought you just found your first reale.  The one thing good about them is that you generally learn a lot from them.  All of the cleaning and research pays off to some extent.  You will probably learn more about cobs from your first fake than your first real cob.


The surf on the Treasure Coast is supposed to be calm Monday and Tuesday.  Wednesday we are supposed to get somthing like a five to seven foot surf.  That could do us some good if the other factors line up.

Happy hunting,