Friday, July 1, 2016

7/1/16 Report - Portrait Eight-Reales Counterfeits. More On Fakes and Counterfeits. 900-year-old Oil Lamp Found.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

900-year-old Oil Lamp Found By Lifeguard
Source: ipost link shown below

Yesterday's post was about colonial counterfeits.  I just stumbled onto a book about counterfeit Spanish American portrait eight-reals, which were produced in Spain's new world colonies from 1772 to 1825,  The description on Amazon says, The book illustrates and describes literally hundreds of different types of counterfeits known to have circulated alongside the genuine versions. It specifically expands upon the Thirty-nine varieties noted by Dr. John L. Riddell as existing in circulation in New Orleans in 1845, and swells that number to some 589 varieties.  

Even if you never personally view a portrait eight-real and do not care to be able to identify a counterfeit of such a coin, I think you'll benefit from reading the book and inspecting the many examples.  It will help you learn how to more expertly inspect any coin for any of a variety of purposes, including evaluating the coin's condition, finding errors or  simply appreciating the aesthetics.  

Here is the link to the description of the book on Amazon.


Not all fake coins are what I would call counterfeits.  Here is one dictionary definition for the word "counterfeit" - made in exact imitation of something valuable or important with the intention to deceive or:defraud.

Some fakes are not made to deceive and some are not made in exact imitation.  Some are simply souvenirs and some are fantasy pieces or toys.

Some are clearly marked "COPY."  Others not so clearly marked.  The mark can be small or in some inconspicuous place.  And the mark can be covered by corrosion or worn off.

I've found a variety of fakes over the years.  Some were clearly fantasy pieces, and others were more realistic.

The worst thing is when you are not sure if it is something good or just a cheap fake, but there is so much corrosion that you have to do a lot of very careful cleaning before you can tell.  You can spend a lot of time only to eventually find out that you have a cheap fake.

There are a few things you can do that might help you.  Try a magnet.  A magnet won't stick to a silver or gold coin.

Another thing you can do is weigh the coin.  If you know what it should weigh, that might help.  The problem is that coins might not weigh what they should weigh for a variety of reasons.  We know that some were minted slightly off.  And someone could have cut, shaved or clipped a coin.  And of course, the coin could have lost weight because of corrosion.

Some fakes are pretty realistic, and might even be made of the correct material and be the right weight.  I saw one silver cob that was very convincing, but with magnification I found the remnants of the word "COPY."  It was originally marked with a very small inconspicuous mark, and I believe the mark was intentionally smoothed down to almost nothing.

By the way, my first find of a fake cob was at Jupiter beach.  It was very encrusted.  I took pains to carefully remove the crust.  Then I got to the point that I could see most of the surface.  The design was that of an escudo, but it didn't look gold at all.   That confused me at the time.  It was probably more than thirty years ago.   I eventually figured out that it originally had a gold-colored plating that was no longer present.


Meir Amsik, a lifeguard who works at the beach, said he came across the relic when he stopped to pick up planks washed from the Mediterranean onto the ancient southern port city’s shoreline.

“Suddenly, I saw part of a cliff deteriorating,” he said. “So I made my up way there and saw this intriguing oil lamp lying there in its entirety. I thought it might be an antique, so I picked it up.”

Here is the link for the rest of the story.

Notice where he found the oil lamp - sticking out of an eroding cliff.

I always check erosion.

It also reminds me of the Jupiter wreck and how it was located.  Silver cobs had been detected just south of the inlet for years.  I knew one detectorist that lived nearby and ran into him many times. He had found a lot of cobs there. Unfortunately a jar full of cobs was stolen from the trunk of his car while he was parked at the inlet one day.  That was some time in the 1980s I would guess.  Anyhow, one day the lifeguard was on his morning swim and looked own and saw a cannon that had been uncovered.  Not long after that the salvage of the wreck began.


Happy hunting,