From the Fleet Society Archives — February 21, 1970

On Saturday, February 21, 1970 this story appeared in the Florida Today section of the Tampa Tribune News:

Members of the Real Eight Company cautioned buyers of Spanish treasure fleet coins to be aware of counterfeits that were being sold as genuine treasure coins. Counterfeiters make copies of silver coins called “cobs” because they are easy to produce. Why? The answer lies in how they were originally produced in Spanish colonial mints. When the Spanish made these coins they were not machine made like today. Rather, they were all hand made and very crude. No two were alike. Consequently, they are easy for counterfeiters to copy.

Dan Thompson, Director and Vice President of the company, advised that the best way to get a genuine coin is to buy from an established treasure firm. He also said that the best way to detect a counterfeit coin is when “some guy tries to sell you something for nothing”.

(NOTE:  This is still good advice today. There are many fake treasure coins that to the untrained eye appear to be authentic. It takes a real expert in this to tell them apart. I personally have seen genuine silver cobs from which copies have been made. When comparing the original with the counterfeit it was difficult to tell them apart. They looked the same and were both made of silver. However, the dead give-away was the weight. The genuine weighed a respectable 25.4 grams while the counterfeit weighed 22.0 grams. Many fakes are underweight. So, if you see a coin that does not look corroded but is underweight, then you should be very cautious.)

Ben Costello, President

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