A Guide To “Pirates Of The Caribbean” Screen Used Treasure

Pirates of the Caribbean screen used treasure props

The Pirates of the Caribbean film franchise offers prop collectors a literal treasure trove of collecting opportunities. With a broad variety of prop treasure coins, gold bars & paper ephemera, these pieces make for impressive displays, are ideal for limited space collections, and they are relatively inexpensive to buy. So here’s the first installment of A Guide To “Pirates of the Caribbean” Screen Used Treasure.

Before we have a look at some of these pieces, I understand this is not an exhaustive list. I’m only featuring pieces from my collection that I can attest to. So, please consider this a work in progress with updates ongoing.

Some POTC prop coin designs have understandably been used in several productions (which can confuse). However, subtle visible differences in the molds and castings can offer clues when attempting to screen match these pieces.

The Curse of the Black Pearl

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003) probably offers collectors the widest selection of prop treasure coins.

The most common is the cast metal, gold-colored coin seen in the caverns of Isla De Muerta. This coin features a stylized cross on the obverse with a crest on the reverse. It’s found in several hues, including a silver variant. It measures approx. 4cm across.

Here’s a “mid size” version (below left) of the above type of coin. Measuring just under 3cm with similar features. See pic of coin in comparison to the larger aforementioned prop coin. This coin was also from the Isla De Muerta scenes. In my experience, these coins are significantly harder to find.

The “smallest” I have found are these (slightly larger than 2cm) coins. Again, they’re similar in design to the above examples.

These two thicker & heavier type prop treasure coins (below) from Isla De Muerta feature very sharp detail. Depending on how the coins were struck, you’ll find a slight convex appearance on either the “coat of arms” side or the “shield” side. This becomes important when screen matching these coins. These two coins have the slight ‘convex’ occurring on the “coat of arms” side. I love the detail on these pieces.

At World’s End (2007)

This is the “Gallows” and opening credits coin (piece of eight). We can see this coin in the cabin boy’s hand (see screen grab below) and also in the opening titles sequence.

Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017)

First, a production used prop gold bar from the bank safe with heavy production wear, paint flaking & color loss. These were hard to identify on screen as the top of the bar was only visible in the blink of an eye as these fell out of the safe.

Prop gold bar

Here are two production made & used metal prop coins. These appear to be based on actual George II “Five Guinea” coins from 1746. Some production wear is present showing clear paint loss.

This pair (below) are “stunt” versions of the above coins. Production pieces made of plastic and used in the bank heist scene. They display light wear.

A Guide To "Pirates of the Caribbean" Screen Used Treasure. Plastic stunt coins
Stunt coins

These “plastic” coins (below) look to have been commercially available “generic” pieces that had been production modified (possibly around the edges). Hundreds of these were used (tossed) as Captain Jack Sparrow was dragged along behind the ever emptying bank safe. Understandably, there is lots of wear on these pieces.

A Guide To "Pirates of the Caribbean" Screen Used Treasure. Stunt coins.
Bank heist “stunt” coins

A production used “Royal Bank of Saint Martin” check (cheque) from the bank safe. A hard to find item (at least, this is the only one I’ve seen).

A Guide To "Pirates of the Caribbean" Screen Used Treasure
Prop bank cheque

Another hard to find piece is this “warrant of payment” paperwork, complete with faux wax seal (damaged). These were used as part of the bank stationery and vault contents.

The last coin in the safe! The coin that Captain Jack Sparrow secretly “pockets” from the otherwise empty bank safe. This coin is a re-working of the “Black Pearl” coin, but with a unique shape.

A Guide To "Pirates of the Caribbean" Screen Used Treasure
Last coin in the safe

Please share

So, that’s the first installment of: A Guide To “Pirates of the Caribbean” Screen Used Treasure. I hope this post provided some helpful information towards identifying some of your Pirates of the Caribbean treasure. As noted, I have only included items I have in my collection. There are lots more pieces out there and I’d love to see what you have in your own collections. Please share your thoughts & comments.

If you’d like an inexpensive and effective solution for displaying your POTC coins, please check out this post.

For hints and tips on collecting motion picture and television memorabilia, why not check out my guides? I am always updating and adding to the information contained.

Finally, here’s my “YourProps” link where you’ll find these (and many more) items that make up part of my collection.


Beginner’s Guide To Screen Used Props

Part one of my Definitive guide to screen used props.

By Stuart D. of Showreel Relics 1st June 2020

Starting out

So, you’ve decided to buy that prop from your favourite movie or tv show? Any beginner’s guide to screen used props, must help you address the following questions…

Do you know if you are buying a screen used, screen matched piece? Is it a production used, production backup, a production made prop? Is it a hero, background, stunt piece? Or something else?

Collecting props from our favourite motion pictures and television shows can be a rewarding and fun hobby. It can also at times be a bit of a challenge!
With often scant information about the prop we are considering buying, we need to invest in doing some due diligence! We will want to know some important things about our prop and it’s part in the movie or television show it came from.

For example, was it used, held, carried, or worn by a principal character? Did it appear on the screen? Was it used by an extra in the crowd? Is it a stunt piece? Was it used by the stunt team? And did it even make it on to the set?

Standard industry terms.

By understanding some key terms and descriptions used by prop collectors and sellers, you will feel more confident in making that purchase. Knowing its intended use will help enrich your prop’s history and potentially add to the value of your prop. This beginner’s guide to screen used props will focus on these industry terms.

Most studio prop departments (as a part of their inventory management) will often label or tag some props as “hero” or “stunt” and may include a character’s name. But the vast majority of props that make it to the market, bear little or no studio markings or identification. Original tags do not always remain with the props, which can lead to confusion, assumptions, and interpretations. Third-party prop sellers will likely not have the full history of the item or had enough time to research the prop you are considering purchasing. So, do not accept on face value, a cobbled-together description that misses some basic and often easy to assert information. The marvellous news is that most experienced collectors and sellers will be able to classify your prop into one (or more) of the categories we’ll discuss shortly.

Very few one-offs!

First, (and importantly) without exception, almost every prop will have multiples! Imagine the massive cost involved in halting production to replace a damaged or missing “one-of-a-kind” prop! That said though, production do not make props to last beyond their purpose, and since they’re often destroyed or discarded, attrition means you may end up with the “last of the remaining…..” which can make that piece rare and special.

So, what are these categories and terms? In other words, how did the prop fit into the production, and did we see it? Who was likely to have used it? In place of studio tags & official identification, let’s explain these common terms and categories used by collectors and sellers to describe their props.

What is it?

A “screen matched” prop is one you can point to on the screen and match it (by way of imperfections or unique markings) to your prop! Ideally, you will have identified scratches/color imperfections, etc. to enable the match. Any props can potentially be screen matched whether hero, stunt, or even background!

Screen Matching A Hero “Sonic Pistol” Terra Nova (2011).

A “screen used” prop (unless it is screen matched) is hard to label as “screen used”! I prefer the term “production used” which is easier to categorize because most production used props will display some obvious wear, consistent with use on set. Not every production used prop will enjoy screen time, or be easy to spot.

A “Production backup” may be any hero, stunt, or background prop sitting on the bench waiting to join in. In other words, the production may never have used it, but they made it just in case!

“Production made” relates to any prop created specifically for that single production, irrespective of whether it was used during production!

So who used it?

A “hero” prop is generally a more detailed & realistic looking piece and will appear in close-ups. It may have moving parts allowing for greater interaction with the actor, and the principal characters will more likely have used it. “Hero” props will always be the most expensive props to buy.

“Stunt” props are usually (but not always) less detailed & generally static, made mainly of rubber and foam to minimize risk. These fall into two user categories: Members of the stunt crew used it, or the principal characters used it for the sake of safety. “Stunt” props will be less expensive to buy than hero props.

“Background” props aren’t made to feature in close-ups and thus require less detailing and subsequently not finished as well. Often, seams from molds, etc. are more obvious. Prop makers will mostly use combinations of rubber, resin, and foam to fashion background props. Background props are the least expensive props to buy.

As a prop collector, you can expect to come across these terms and classifications in many descriptions relating to props. As a seller, it is important to include these descriptors in your listings to accurately represent the prop. A buyer should understand the different terms and ask the seller for clarification whenever necessary.

Any beginner’s guide to screen used and production used props must explain these terms and their meaning

A couple of things to consider.

If you aim to own a prop used by the lead actor and you don’t want to pay a fortune for the “Hero” prop. Consider a “Stunt” version used by the actor instead! After all, if it’s an action film, the main cast would likely have spent more time with the stunt props than with the hero versions!

Also, if you want to own an inexpensive item that probably had lots of screen time and likely to be a one-of-a-kind piece, consider a piece of set decoration!

Set decoration is often overlooked, but it offers some benefits for the collector. For example, static sets in a film or television show are usually one-offs since nobody is touching (damaging) them. It likely will have had a lot of on-screen use. For instance, think about the frequency your favorite television shows used apartment/diner/school sets!

Likewise, and as a personal example, one of my favorite items is a barrel I acquired cheaply. It is unique, one-of-a-kind, and visible in “Executioner’s Square” in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. I have plenty of great props from the film, however, this piece of set decoration is the only one in existence… and I have it! So, with this hobby, don’t always equate dollars spent to the satisfaction gained!

Have fun!

Prop collecting offers anyone a chance to collect and connect with just about any of their favourite movies or television shows. It caters for most budgets, depending on what items interest you most.

I hope you found the Beginner’s Guide To Screen Used Props [part one] helpful. Thanks for reading and enjoy this wonderful hobby!

If you’ve read this far, please leave a comment, share your own story. If you disagree with anything or believe I have missed something, please let me know, I would love to hear from you.



Don’t forget to check out my Definitive guide to screen used props. Here you will find more guides packed with helpful hints and tips.

Want to see more of my props & relics? Click here for my “YourProps” page. Please consider subscribing to receive periodic news and updates. Stay informed of exclusive members draws.

Beginner's Guide To Screen Used Props
Screen used barrel