1808 Spanish 8 Reales, 1943 Mercury Dime, etc.

UnderMiner

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Jul 27, 2014
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Found this Spanish pillar dollar today in the ocean. (Edit: I initially thought it to be too light to be genuine, weighing in at only 16.5 grams, but as many T-net users have pointed out, being exposed to salt water for 200+ years corrodes silver, and I can confirm the coin is much thinner than normal, likely due to this corrosion process, and so the weight reflects this accordingly.)

It was also under the sea long enough to become encrusted with sand deposits which I don't believe a base-metal alloy coin would have been able to survive long enough to be, not with the level of detail preserved as seen on this.
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The edge shows the classic milling pattern of a Spanish dollar, and appeared silver after I scraped it on a nearby rock.
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Here is a close up of the coin, the date is directly at the bottom and reads 1808, though very difficult to see in this picture. A T-net user also pointed out there is a notch taken out of the edge on the upper right side of the coin above the bust.
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Also found a 1943 mercury dime, a 1985 Peruvian Un Inti, and about $9.40 in clad USD.
Finds from today's hunt:
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Upvote 39
Nice find :) GREAT PICTURES !!!
 

I wish your 8R was real, but being so underweight, it's not. Had it been real, I would have added:
Your coin is rarer than many others of this type.
It was minted in Guatemala "NG"=Nueva Guatemala:
Mintmark-G or NG. The mint opened in 1733. The mint produced a hand cut pillar type coin (1733-1753) very similar to the later milled pillar coin but irregular in shape like a conventional cob. Minted next was the milled pillar - (1754-1771) followed by the milled bust - (1773-1817).
Don in SoCal.
 

Found this Spanish pillar dollar today in the ocean. It is too light to be genuine, weighing in at only about 16 grams. It was under the sea long enough to become encrusted which makes me wonder if it's a contemporary forgery that was cast overboard by some angry sailor some 200 odd years ago.
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The edge shows the classic milling pattern of a Spanish dollar, and appeared silver after I scraped it on a nearby rock:
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Also found a 1943 mercury dime, a 1985 Peruvian Un Inti, and about $9.40 in clad USD.

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Finds from today's hunt:
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Yes it could be a contemporary counterfeit which was not uncommon in those days. Congratulations
 

Dont count it completely out as being not real. Just because it lost some weight doesnt necessarily mean its fake as many spanish silver coins get exposed underwater and end up getting thinner and weighing less. I own several Atocha 8 reale coins weighing from 14 grams to 27 grams and all are original size in terms of roundness, but some have lost silver over the years of being pounded into the sand etc. Look at El Cazador coins too, many underweight examples that still show great detail too.
 

Tell me again why that's counterfeit? If it's got a silver wash on it with base metal underneath, sure. But like the previous post says, long exposure in marine environment is going to lighten it up. I've dug numerous 1/2 reales from 1700s in saltwater. All lite but good details - Spanish were making perhaps the best coins ever produced, so even super thin coins can have surprising detail. Only contemporary fake 8 I ever saw dug here in Virginia was a silver wash, sloppy.
 

Tell me again why that's counterfeit? If it's got a silver wash on it with base metal underneath, sure. But like the previous post says, long exposure in marine environment is going to lighten it up. I've dug numerous 1/2 reales from 1700s in saltwater. All lite but good details - Spanish were making perhaps the best coins ever produced, so even super thin coins can have surprising detail. Only contemporary fake 8 I ever saw dug here in Virginia was a silver wash, sloppy.
100% spot on. My $ says its real. I have another 1600's 8 reale that weighs 12 grams too, has a nice detailed shield on it too. Just worn down from elements, but unlike gold, silver will flake off pretty easy and get lost over time
 

I think it could be "reale", too. It looks like what a silver coin would look like if in the water a loooong time. What should it weigh? (I know, I could find out whilst on the internet)
 

Counterfeit or not that's a heck of a find UnderMiner. What detector were you using?
All eyeball finds. Recent storms washed away the top layer of sand so all the coins were sitting on top of the pebble layer. I haven't used my Excalibur II at this location yet, but have found two rings, over $15 in clad, and some early 20th century silver coins just with my eyes.
Tell me again why that's counterfeit? If it's got a silver wash on it with base metal underneath, sure. But like the previous post says, long exposure in marine environment is going to lighten it up. I've dug numerous 1/2 reales from 1700s in saltwater. All lite but good details - Spanish were making perhaps the best coins ever produced, so even super thin coins can have surprising detail. Only contemporary fake 8 I ever saw dug here in Virginia was a silver wash, sloppy.
I suppose it could be genuine, on closer inspection it appears to be much thinner than typical, exposure to the salt water for 200 years stripped away its girth. Would make more sense for it to be genuine actually considering the crust is on the coin but not a part of it, the metal being more durable to the salt water environment than whatever got stuck to it. Also there is the silver layer on the rim I uncovered, it's shiny under the black tarnish layer. I suppose it may just be genuine and my skepticism just overpowered me in the moment to assume it was fake.

It seems kind of a strange example to counterfeit also, instead of having the common mexico mint mark it has a Guatemala mark, as Mackaydon pointed out.

I suppose the only way to proove its authenticity is to show it to an expert on shipwreck coins.
 

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What's the date on it?
I can make out 18_8 and the monarch is Emperor Charles IV, based on the shape of his hair ribbon and overall profile. Charles IV reigned from 1788 to 1808, so the date must be 1808.
 

100% spot on. My $ says its real. I have another 1600's 8 reale that weighs 12 grams too, has a nice detailed shield on it too. Just worn down from elements, but unlike gold, silver will flake off pretty easy and get lost over time
The coin has a thick layer of patina on it that envelops the silvery metal beneath. I don't want to remove the patina as I think half the coin is just the patina at this point. Could this explain the low weight?

I want to keep this coin as is, in this encrusted state. If I can prove it is silver under the patina that's all I will need to confirm if it's genuine or not, as nobody 200 years ago would make a forged coin out of silver. I will keep you posted.
 

The coin has a thick layer of patina on it that envelops the silvery metal beneath. I don't want to remove the patina as I think half the coin is just the patina at this point. Could this explain the low weight?

I want to keep this coin as is, in this encrusted state. If I can prove it is silver under the patina that's all I will need to confirm if it's genuine or not, as nobody 200 years ago would make a forged coin out of silver. I will keep you posted.
Id leave it as it sits. If you ever want to get the encrustation off gently, instead of electrolysis where you risk overdoing it and ruining the character of the coin, use a bath made of olive oil and water. Let is soak for a few days and then gentle rub away the encrustations. Its a method Ive used for a while now and pick that over electrolysis so the coin keeps its character and patina. Again my $ says its real, looks the part, has a weight thats lighter yes, but thats normal. I dont have 1 shipwreck coin that is original weight as they all lose some silver weight over time under the water. One day Ill get around posting a bunch of picks of my collection of finds and acquisitions from the Atocha and El Cazador, but you would see the weights vary a large degree across the board.
 

Id leave it as it sits. If you ever want to get the encrustation off gently, instead of electrolysis where you risk overdoing it and ruining the character of the coin, use a bath made of olive oil and water. Let is soak for a few days and then gentle rub away the encrustations. Its a method Ive used for a while now and pick that over electrolysis so the coin keeps its character and patina. Again my $ says its real, looks the part, has a weight thats lighter yes, but thats normal. I dont have 1 shipwreck coin that is original weight as they all lose some silver weight over time under the water. One day Ill get around posting a bunch of picks of my collection of finds and acquisitions from the Atocha and El Cazador, but you would see the weights vary a large degree across the board
 

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