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Is This Reale Real?


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I found this heavily encrusted item on a beach in Bermuda last week while on vacation. A friend there removed some of the encrustation revealing what appears to be a Spanish reale of some type - however it appears that it was once gilded as there are still traces of gilding on both sides. Is there any way to tell whether it's real or an old counterfeit or just a cheap copy? Thanks for any help!



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There is a really good chance it isn't, mainly because it was gilded. Many fakes are made of aluminum, tin, or zinc, or any combination of those metals, and your item was most likely a fake that was gilt, and then lost by someone on the beach. The fake gold surface is the first clue, and the fact that it was thin enough to come off makes me think it was electroplated. The next reason is because the type of corrosion your coin shows, it's very white and chalky looking, which is typical of those three metals I listed as they oxidize/corrode. Another reason is how well it's "struck" or in the case of most fakes, cast, and how round it is. Most fakes are pretty round, thick, and have just enough detail to trick anyone who finds one. It's still an interesting item, and a fun story to tell people, and maybe even fool your kids with. Also, do you happen to know how many g/Oz it is? Welcome to CP as well!

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Hi Vfox,


Thank you for your very thoughtful reply. I forgot to mention that it was found with my metal detector in the dry sand part of the beach - so it's definitely a metal of some type - if a repro, probably zinc. I'll run it by my detector again as it registers a relative conductivity and inductivity which kind of tells me what metal class it's in. Coins and relics in the Bermuda waters tend to build up quite a thick layer of a whitish encrustation which I believe is due to the nature of the sand there and the reef which I believe is its source.


Yes, the gilding was the first thing that I noticed and so I originally did not think I had found a real coin. I'll try a calcium remover to try and remove more of the encrustation (probably this weekend) and will repost some pics.


I'll also weight it on a precision electronic scale that I have - at present it weighs approx the same as an English silver shilling that I also found there inland, but the encrustation may be adding to the weight. There was about 1/4" of encrustation on it when it was found which a friend (fellow detectorist) on the island cleaned off for me.


It was quite exciting thinking that it might be real, but even as a counterfeit or repro it's still kind of a neat find, especilly for the first time I ever detected on the beach - I have detected for seveal years now, but only inland.


Anyway, thanks again for your sage comments and I hope to be reporting back soon.


Best, Erik

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