Thursday, March 23, 2017

3/23/17 Report - Mystery Pillar Dollar Recently Found on Florida Beach. Bigger Surf Today.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Find by Daniel M.
Daniel M. found this coin.  He said that if it is real it is the first time he found anything that old on a SW Florida beach.

The date is obvious enough, but what is that mark between the two threes?

Dan tested it and found it to be silver.  He is still unsure if it is genuine.

Other Side of Same Coin.

The legend reads "REX PHILIP V D G HISPAN ET IND."

The mint mark is F for Feipe Rivas Angulo, assayer from 1730 to 1733.

It is from the Mexico mint.  You can see the mint mark (o over M) on either side of the date in the top photo.

Here is more information that Dan sent.

Thank you for the info on the items to look for. I put it on a scale and its weight is 25.4 grams and I silver tested it and it is silver as for purity I can say. Unfortunately I found what looks like a seam line in some areas of the edge. It’s not a raised seam like you see on plastic. This looks like two pieces that have been pressed together and didn’t fuse cleanly on the edge. I have included a link from the Heritage Auctions to what looks like a real one that has the same marking as the one I found. I also included pics of the edge of mine. My wife congratulated me as she told me it was a very high end souvenir. It was fun while it lasted. At least it’s a nice hunk of silver. Maybe some time I’ll get the purity tested.

Here is the picture of the edge that he sent me.

Edge of Above Pillar Dollar.

I also asked him about making the find, and he described it as follows.

Anyway I was working the dry sand area along the dune line between the public beach and a large upscale hotel. I was watching a bunch of kids digging these massive hole in the sand along the dune line. When I say massive I’m talking 4 to 5 feet deep and 5 to 6 feet in diameter at the bottom. There were three different holes and I noticed the change in sand texture and color. When they left I went and checked out the holes. The first one gave up nothing and after trying to get out of the first one I was hesitant to climb into the others. The possibilities of finding something worthy of needing climbing gear to get back out was too much to resist. So in I went. Then came a very faint hit. A couple scoops and the tone got better. 18 inches of digging and I was turning down the volume on the excal. Then came the happy sound of rattle rattle in the scoop. What I found was a very dark sand crusted item the size of a silver dollar. In the water the sand came off very easily and the black started to rub off also. Then the OMG stated. Anyway thank you again the info and your time.

I'm curious about the edge.  It isn't what I was expecting to see.  It isn't what I expected to see on a fake and not what I expected to see from the real thing.

The coin is heavily worn.  If it was a real Pillar Dollar, the edge should show a design around it.
The picture of the edge makes me think the coin is fake.

1733 would be just the second year they were making coins with the screw press technology in Mexico, so I wonder it the look of the edge might actually be due partly to a mint error.  I would think that would be highly unlikely, but perhaps possible.  What do you experts think?

I have a good bit of experience with cobs, but almost none with Pillar Dollars and would like the opinion of those of you who are more familiar with Pillar Dollars, maybe Ernie R. or another expert.

Thanks Dan.  Very interesting find, and very good photos!


I already received one theory on the coin from Larry.  Here it is.

Could be an old sand-cast counterfeit? That could account for the recessed seam, which can occur in sand casting, and the grainy texture and poor detail. It may have some value as a collectible counterfeit.

But if it's a counterfeit, it should have significantly less silver in it, which I think should have caused it to corrode more, if it were old. Unless it was buried deep enough early enough to have inhibited corrosion. 

Thanks much Larry.

And here is a good link Larry provided.

I considered the possibility of it being what I would call a reproduction, perhaps even made of salvaged silver by someone like the Fishers.  I don't know if that is a possibility or not.

Interesting mystery to be solved.  Congratulations and good luck.


Unfortunately I had other things I had to do and couldn't take a look at the beach today, so can't say how they are progressing.

Happy hunting,