Friday, May 12, 2017

5/12/17 Report - Custom-Made and Hand-Struck Fine Cob Replicas. Great Information On Gordon Cooper and the Cooper's Treasure TV Show.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Yesterday I mentioned that you can get cobs made according to your specifications.  The die and cobs are made using the same methods used in colonial days.  The result is a very nice hand-struck replica.

The name of the business making these replicas is the St. Augustine Mint.  I'm not sure where it is located though.

Here is the link where you can learn about either buying replica cobs or having your own made.

There is also a YouTube video that shows how these replicas are made from an ingot or planchet.

Here is that link.

I wondered about this, but towards the end of the YouTube video it is said that a small "COPY" mark is added.

I've seen fake coins (not from this business) on which the COPY mark was so small or well disguised that it was very difficult find.  COPY marks can also be reduced or removed.  I've seen that before too.

These replicas are beautiful, and if one ended up on the beach or in your scoop, you might not recognize it as a fake at first glance, especially if it was out there long enough to corrode a little. Otherwise it would look too good, perhaps still showing lustre.

I recommend that you check out the YouTube video.

I can't fault anyone who wants to make a replica for any of a variety of good honest reasons.  As a metal detectorist it is possible to dig up the real thing, but you might also pick up a very good replica or very poor copies or even what you might call fantasy pieces or play money.

It is sometimes fairly easy to identify a cast copy, but a well made and aged hand-struck replica might be more difficult.  It would not present some of the tell-tale signs common to a cast copy, such as a seam.

Replicas, such as those sold by the Mel Fisher museum, have been found on the beach.

If you found one of these fine mint replicas on a beach, the first indication you might notice is that it looks to good too be real.  It could be too shiny, and the ones I've seen in the pictures are more complete than what you will likely find on a beach.  They mentioned that the die for one replica required referring to several different real examples because any single real cob, unless it is a "royal" will be missing some of the design.  Real cobs typically do no show the complete design because of low spots in the surface, or because of the irregular shape of the cob or poor striking.  And corrosion can reduce a real beach cob by 30 percent or more.

The weight of these replicas is not what a genuine newly minted cob should be either.  They tell you that in the video.

By the way, as I've said before, although beach found cobs are often not the correct weight, weighing a found cob can still help you determine if it might be real or fake.  It should fall within certain limits if it is real and made of either gold or silver.

I think I am fairly good at identifying a newly dug cob in the field at first glance.  The last one I found showed absolutely no detail.  It was totally encrusted, yet it just looked like a cob to me.

If not totally encrusted, silver beach cobs will typically have a very characteristic grey or black color. They will clearly show the effect of weathering and salt water.

It might be worth looking at the web site and video, especially if you do not know how cobs were originally made.


It never ceases to amaze me.  I hear from real experts all the time, and they provide really great information.

As you know, I've been mentioned the Cooper's Treasure TV show a few times lately and conducted a poll to see how people felt about that TV show and a few other shows.

I just heard from James Oberg, a retired rocket scientist and author, who was a colleague of Gene Kranz, who I mentioned yesterday.

James wrote two articles about Gordon Cooper and the TV show.  Both articles were published in The Space Review.  Below are the links.

“The magic MacGuffin of Mercury 9”

I think you'll enjoy reading both of those.  They are packed with good information.

The first article debunks the "secret sensor" and the "five thousand photos" claims.

The second bears the title, Loss of Faith -- Gordon Cooper's post-NASA stories.  

I really enjoyed both.

James Oberg also pointed out that "Cooper's flight-annotated ‘flight plan’ was sold at auction last year,
there is no mention of any latitude/longitude observations of any surface anomalies in the catalog description."

The following was posted by James on various comment threads.  So far he has recieved no substantial reply.

I need some help figuring out how Cooper did the map. This is the best I can do reconstructing the scenario but I must have missed or misunderstood something important. As I see it, Cooper’s only opportunity for a near-overhead daytime view of the Turks & Caicos area was on the 4th orbit, when he was talking to the Cape Canaveral Capcom [Wally Schirra] between 04:40:04 [HH:MM:SS] as he passed over Houston, to 04:45:52, for 5m 48 s [traveling about 1740 miles] or slightly more…. The ‘as-the-crow-flies’ distance of Houston to ‘Turks and Caicos’ is 1530 miles, so by the time the comm link was lost he was hundreds of miles past the islands. As the voice transcripts show, he was busy talking about spacecraft systems and experiments [such as a flashing beacon sub-satellite just jettisoned for visual tracking tests] the entire pass. He turns the in-cabin television camera on. They discuss emergency landing opportunities, how much he had eaten, and medical samples. Towards the end of the pass Cooper describes the view of Florida, indicating his small window is pointed north rather than straight down as would be needed to be eyeballing the islands passing beneath him. The suggestion he ALSO has secretly turned the window down and is surreptitiously scribbling hidden notes about what he observes near the islands doesn't seem to fit in. A day later he follows the same track but is deep into preparations to fire retrorockets to return to Earth, so no sightseeing either. When did he spot the anomalies and log them?

Thanks much James.  I appreciate the information.  I also think I'll become a reader of The Space Review.


I've noticed that the Cooper's Treasure posts in this blog are still popular and get a lot of readers.

We're still having a small surf on the Treasure Coast.

It won't be long until the salvage season heats up.  I hope things go better in the water than they have on the beach so far this year.

Happy hunting,