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Is My 1732 Pillar Dollar Real?

 
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 Posted 06/10/2013  9:03 pm Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add dcap47 to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
I was given a 1732 pillar dollar from a family member many years ago. He has since passed away. Don't know much about it and the person who gave it to me never really admitted how he came about it, but he always assured me it was legit. It's been sitting around my place for years now, and I always did want to know more about what I have, as I have heard that this coin could be quite valuable, but also that there are a lot of fakes of this coin, especially for my coins year of 1732. If anyone can offer their opinion to its authenticity, it would be greatly appreciated!

The coin measures 4 cm across, and when I weigh it the weight flashes between 26.9 and 27.0 grams for a couple seconds, before finally setting on 26.9 grams. I will include pics of both sides, as well as the edging pattern that meets on the exact two opposite sides of the coin. Let me know what you guys think! Any other questions, just ask. Thanks guys!








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1612 Posts
 Posted 06/10/2013  9:15 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add jfransch to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Sorry to say it is a counterfeit.
"Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself."
-Mark Twain
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 Posted 06/10/2013  9:23 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add dcap47 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
How are you so sure? Any particular reason why you say this?

Here is a link of a verified real 1732 I found on another topic post.... mine looks very similar, especially the edging.

http://www.columnarios.com/images/1732mo_f.jpg
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Singapore
23 Posts
 Posted 06/10/2013  11:03 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add frank110119 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
co-ask, from what place can tell it is a fake one?
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 Posted 06/10/2013  11:36 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add jfransch to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Assayers Manuel de Leon and Francisco de La Pena were not hired as assayers for the Mexico City mint until 1733. Your 1732 coin bears their assayer mark. There are no 1732 Mo "MF" coins. All 1732 8 reales bear an "F" assayer mark for Felipe Rivas de Angulo.
"Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself."
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 Posted 06/11/2013  11:02 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add wonghinghi to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Also fake to me, the edge is wrong.
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France
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 Posted 06/11/2013  11:48 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add MathieuMa to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I agree, fake.
That's not the kind of coin you give like that without info - if genuine (one of a such quality would be worth A LOT)
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 Posted 06/11/2013  2:11 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add realeswatcher to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Jfransch... Very curious that this piece would appear to have the same die arrangement as Mel Fisher's infamous 1732 Mo MF pillar 8Rs (supposedly from the 1733 Fleet), yes? I've attached a comparison pic of (3) known Fisher pieces vs. this one - same detail placement, etc., no? A discussion of these Fisher pillars is at this forum thread:

1733 Fleet - Mel Fisher Pillar Dollar
colonialcobs.com/forum/index.php?topic=125.0

Be sure to download and read the file attachment in that post... a detailed writeup about these pieces from a now defunct website called Mexican Coin Magic. Not exactly sure who wrote the article... reference to a FoxLair Partners at the bottom along with a phone number, should be easy enough to figure out if you were curious. It reads a little like another fanciful Fisher tale, but there's a lot of actual detail interspersed in there. Interesting to note that the 1732 Mo F pillar 8R photo dcap47 linked from Carl Clegg's Columnarios.com website is the EXACT coin shown in the Mexican Coin Magic article as one of the other pieces Fisher procured along with the "1732 Mo MF" pieces. The Mex. Coin Magic article captions its photo of the piece as "Unlisted" (at the end of the article, the author clarifies that he owns that piece and the 1732 Mo MF he also showed). However, Clegg's page uses the pic of this piece as an example of Gilboy 1732-M-8-1. Can someone with the Gilboy book clarify this? If that's correct... does that mean that one type of these Fisher pieces IS an accepted die variant (if not necessarily legitimate examples thereof)... but the 1732 MoMF (which show the same style of environmental impact as that 1732 Mo F) is not? So, if the 1732 Mo MF pieces are indeed fabrications, does that mean a later MF reverse style was muled with a 1732 pillars-side to produce them?

Anyway, the coin dcap47 posted shows no real sign of any "sea corrosion" (natural or otherwise)... just some slight roughness which sort of looks like that seen on many of the recent Chinese fakes. It COULD just be a fairly recent fake... but depending on when/where the piece emanated from, almost makes me wonder if we aren't maybe seeing some kind of "pre-treatment" version of one of these Fisher pieces... which would be evidence that they were indeed all modern fabrications. However, dcap's piece has an edge pattern that seems pretty obviously imperfect for normal pillars. Dcap's pics showed both "reversals" in the edge pattern clearly... and neither shows a true "overlap", but rather an exactly spaced transition. This is sort of similar to the what's seen on the reversal visible in the first edge pic of that Fisher-type 1732 Mo F on the Columnarios.com site... That said, I don't like the overall look of the edge pattern on dcap's piece (has no "relief"... looks flat).

On the topic of the edge pattern... I wouldn't think that if Fisher WAS trying to "pass" these that he would use a blatantly incorrect edge style... Can anyone here confirm if known genuine examples of these first few years of milled/security edge pieces in Mexico involved a slightly different style of edge pattern execution as described above? Does Gilboy say anything on this, and/or has Bob touched on this at all? Jfransch, you have a few early pillar 8R, yes? What do the edge patterns show? Anything along these lines?



Edited by realeswatcher
06/11/2013 2:57 pm
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United States
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 Posted 06/11/2013  3:52 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add dcap47 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Interesting stuff realeswatcher brings up. I'm not sure what to think anymore haha. If it is a fake, then it's certainly not a recent fake. I've had the coin for about 10 years now and I think the family member who gave it to me said he had it for almost 30 years. Years ago he did mention it being different to regular 1732 pillars in regards to the edging, assayer, etc. Over the years the exact details have become a little hazy to me, but I seem to recall him saying that this coin was one of the rare imperial coins for the royal family, or something along those lines. Apparently, the vast majority of coins at the time were for the common folk, but according to him, there was also a rare variant intended only for the immediate royal family that very few people knew about. That is what he told me back then. As far as the legitimacy to his claims, that's obviously up for debate. I have never heard anything along those lines anywhere else, only from him.... Still an interesting concept though, and perhaps MIGHT explain a variation in the edging or even might explain the Assayer MF. I know its a major reach, a story like that, but was just wondering if anyone else has ever heard of anything like that.

He also gave me a 1733 MX F in similar condition. Unfortunately, don't have any pictures of it at the moment, and my camera is broken. Those pics of the 1732 I had saved on my computer from a while ago. Maybe I can get a new camera and upload the 1733 MX F. I'm really interested in the 1732, though, as I heard that is the date that is worth the most, if real. Any other thoughts? Thanks for the info and speculation so far, it has really been insightful.
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 Posted 06/11/2013  5:44 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add realeswatcher to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
"Apparently, the vast majority of coins at the time were for the common folk, but according to him, there was also a rare variant intended only for the immediate royal family that very few people knew about."

The notion you are referring to refers to a different style of coinage altogether and does not apply specifically to what we're discussing... There do exist "Royal" presentation versions done of the earlier, cruder cob coinage (cobs, in layman's terms, were cruder non-round hunks of metal, struck by hand). The mint would sporadically use specially made dies to strike carefully prepared round (or nearly so) planchets as presentation gifts or similar to royals, dignitaries, and such - these coins are informally called "Royals" for that reason.

Forget about that concept, though... has nothing to do with these normal milled pillar 8 Reales.

On a related note, I would also say to not to let what you read here skew or blend your memory of what you may have been told about this piece. After what I wrote, you're now bringing up the edging and that you sort of recall hearing that the edging was different than regular pillars, speculating that maybe that derives from it being a "Royal" (which as I explained is unrelated) and/or a different assayer... You MAY very well have been told something about the assayer being different (MF vs. just F), b/c it's the immediately obvious and notable difference... However, I would think it highly unlikely that your relative would have gone into any detail to you about relatively minute differences in the edge pattern that a non-coin person would know nothing of nor care anything about...

The security edge pattern (tulips or whatever they are) seen on yours IS essentially the same design used up through 1771 on the Mexican... the question is whether this slight variation we see here would be perfectly and absolutely correct for that first few year or two. Again, any discussion of this is just not something I see your great-great-grandcousin bothering to explain - that would really fall under the purview of relatively advanced numismatic analysis.

An observation on the edge you may have been told is that there WAS an edge design at all, as opposed to the immediately prior cob coinage (the transition occurred from 1732-34). Cobs were essentially just lumps with no edging... thus they were prone to losing some of their silver due to clipping (shaving some silver off off around the ends).
Edited by realeswatcher
06/11/2013 5:54 pm
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 Posted 06/11/2013  5:51 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add realeswatcher to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Oh, and pic of the 1733 MX F would be interesting.

Will someone message swamper on this? He must be somewhat familiar with the Fisher pieces and their potential origins. This piece here does look to be the same exact die that is seen on the Fisher pieces, so there is at least some connection (though could be as simple as this one was fabricated from a transfer die/mold made from a Fisher piece).
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 Posted 06/12/2013  01:59 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add jfransch to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Realeswatcher
I have 10 1733's in my collection ( one being my avatar) and can vouch for the authenticity of 8 which are salvage pieces 1733 Mo F and 1733 MX F, all brought up from Coffins Patch Wreck by my friend Stefan Sekora. I had an additional MX but I sold it several years back.
The two 1733 Mo MF pieces are coins I bought from dealers years ago and while I believe they are real, the two pieces vary enough to make me wonder if one is not a counterfeit.
I would be happy to have my coins submitted to non damaging inspection by someone with an XRF machine to see what the trace metal make up is, and whoever has the "Fisher Pillars" could do the same.
"Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself."
-Mark Twain
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 Posted 06/12/2013  6:33 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add dcap47 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Now that you mention it, I believe you are correct when you say the man was talking to me about the old cob edging. He was saying that's the reason the mill pressed coin came about with the security edging, because like you said people were shaving silver from the edges, and up until that point, it was very hard to tell. That is why they started having designed edge. And I think he was also mention the cobs when he was talking about royal versions of coins, and not the pillar dollars. It may have confused me at the time, and the years haven't cleared things up any better until hearing your explanation.

Also, I was able to borrow a camera and took a couple pics of the 1733 MX F. Let me know what you think. I guess it's safe to say that my 1732 is probably a Fisher "fake" given the incorrect assayer, and the same guy who gave me that also gave me this 1733, so I'm not sure whether that may effect the credibility of the 1733 I have, being that both coins came from the same person. Still, it would be interesting to get some more opinions on the 1733 I have. It has the same edging, weight, etc. as my 1732.

As far as any kind of metal testing.... it would be interesting to see how my 1733 compare's to your verified 1733's





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 Posted 06/12/2013  11:07 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add jfransch to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
In my humble opinion, the original poster's 1732 is a counterfeit, the "Fisher"coins posted by Realeswatcher are counterfeits including the 1732 example(which by the way does not match the Gilboy coins at all), and the original poster's 1733MX is a counterfeit as well. None of these coins match the lettering on an original and even though the location of the letters varies from die to die, the letters themselves would match. I would not pay good money for any of the pictured coins.
"Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself."
-Mark Twain
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 Posted 06/13/2013  12:11 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add swamperbob to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
I am jumping in a bit late on this discussion.

I agree that the original example shown is a forgery. I can recall having a very similar discussion at least 10 years ago (because I was still living in New England). It also had to be after 1996 when I first got computer access. So that gives a time frame.

The coin is simply wrong for the year of manufacture. The issue has always been proving that because so many have over the years come to be accepted as real.

It reminds me of the situation with the micro-O dollars. I was told by a man that I consider to be my mentor with regard to forgery that the micro-O dollars were fakes. That was while I was still in High School. It happened about the same time the micro-O's were first published as a variety (ca 1963) and they were becoming popular.

That expression of certainty, that the micro O dollars were fakes, was not confirmed by the "experts" until 2000. But they were fakes all along. Some people just KNEW it from day one while others took years to convince.

That is essentially what has happened with this one variety of 8R. It came to my attention in the very late 1980's. I can not recall exactly when, but it looked wrong. I came back to it on and off for a few years never really figuring out why. It was a puzzle to me. But it "felt" wrong.

At this point I would like to introduce one other story. In my first years of retirement - about 2000, I looked up one of Mel Fishers early business associates. I has occasion to talk to him at some length about the "stories" I had been hearing also since the late 1980's that some of the coins being sold by Mel were actually reproductions made using silver salvaged from the wrecks. The coins were so badly corroded that they could not be sold in their original condition. This man confirmed that the stories were in fact true. Some of the "discovered coins" were actually fabricated.

I am not able to positively link the two subjects, but I have always harbored a suspicion that the situation and timing were very coincidental.

So who made these coins and why they were made is uncertain but they have been around since at least the late 1980's. If anyone can find an example with a solid pedigree that goes back before 1985 I would really like to hear about it. It might clear at least one person of suspicion.

My book on Counterfeit Portrait 8Rs is available from Amazon http://ccfgo.com/TheUnrealReales or from me directly if you want it signed.
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 Posted 06/13/2013  07:52 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add realeswatcher to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Bob, Fisher (apparently he alone?) "procured" the 1732 Mo MF (plus some 1732 Mo F - including the exact piece I posted a pic of here - plus 1733 dated specimens) back in the early 1970's. It seems like this scandal achieved some notoriety at the time... apparently Virgil Hancock wrote about it in The Numismatist. Read the cache of the "Mexican Coin Magic" web article I attached in the discussion on the other forum:

colonialcobs.com/forum/index.php?topic=125.0

scroll to the attachment "Fisher 1732MoMF.mht"..........

I don't have access to the pics right now (on the desktop, which is out of commission for a few more days), but last year I had randomly run across an eBay listing for what turned out to be the catalog for a Schulman auction which I believe is the one referred to in that article... the auction Fisher consigned (tried to consign) a few of these pieces to. The ad happened to show the pillars page, and as it included one of the 1732 Mo MF (along with a 1732 Mo F and a 1733 MX MF), these had to be the Fisher pieces in question. The article I mention indicates that Schulman withdrew the pieces from the auction (I guess after the catalog was printed) under pressure from Hancock and/or Clyde Hubbard. I want to say the auction was 1973? Somewhere around there... At any rate, these Fisher pieces were around since at least then (though probably not much longer than that!!).

Seeing that 1733 which was just posted... clearly it and the 1732 Mo MF he posted have notable physical/planchet similarities (odd pillars-side denticles, almost wire-rims) More interestingly, they have amazingly similar surfaces (tone, texture)... similar to the degree that they MUST have come out of the same exact batch, no? That alone pretty much damns them... no way two different genuine pieces would display such similar surfaces as non-wreck pieces after 280 years.

Again though, given that the 1732 posted definitely matches the die of the Fisher 1732 Mo MF, I really do wonder if these might not be "pre-treatment" versions of the "1733 Fleet" pieces Fisher was offering (and thus, somewhat historically notable numismatic forgeries).


Quote:
I had been hearing also since the late 1980's that some of the coins being sold by Mel were actually reproductions made using silver salvaged from the wrecks. The coins were so badly corroded that they could not be sold in their original condition. This man confirmed that the stories were in fact true. Some of the "discovered coins" were actually fabricated.

You've alluded to this before... that's quite the claim. Of course, the Fisher outfit openly has used melted-down Atocha bars (and I would bet some slug coins) to make "official reproductions" (advertised as such)... but obviously trying to pass replicas as individual, original "discovered coins" would be bad. I would say this - IF something like this were done, even if they varied things up in terms of planchet shape and imparted design (let's say even hand-hammering hand-cut pieces using the original method), they would have to be very careful to limit the amount from each mold/die so no one would notice any pattern.
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