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.


Best Space Saving Film Memorabilia

We aren’t all blessed with sizeable areas to store and display our collections, and it’s not always practical to pack our homes with wall to wall mannequins, display cabinets, or cover our walls with dozens of shadow boxes. Not that there’s anything wrong with that (I constantly tell my better half)! To most collectors, space is at a premium. And so, this is a major consideration when collecting anything! After all, I’m sure that “size” is one reason stamp collecting has remained popular! Here then are some ideas on the best space saving film memorabilia for collectors wanting more compact displays.

best space saving film memorabilia
Production used stamps. The Railway Man (2013)

With a little planning, movie prop and memorabilia collecting can offer much for the collector with limited space.

This is part four in my Definitive guide to screen used props. Here you will find more guides packed with helpful hints and tips.

When I first started collecting, I wanted absolutely everything! Size wasn’t an issue. I had storage to spare! Now, after four moves and lugging my collection along behind me, I accept that I could have planned it all better. And like most veteran collectors, I finally accept that forward planning and possibly refining your scope can pay huge dividends.

Collections should be seen and not interred!

Firstly, I strongly believe a collection deserves to be seen! I accept that storage of multiples, fragile and possibly valuable pieces is necessary. But basically, if I collect it, I want to show it!

Anyway, Here are some suggestions for some of the best space saving film memorabilia. These types of production props & cinema memorabilia take up very little room, display beautifully, and are easy to transport. Also, if you collect smaller pieces, you’ll likely save yourself a bundle in both shipping and display materials. Win win!

One caveat however, if you collect from just a certain movie or show, this may not work as well for you. But if you find a niche or category of props and memorabilia you like, this could be a perfect path to building an exceptional space saving collection.

Pint Size Props

Prop money is an excellent category to kick us off! Almost every film or TV show (whatever the genre) will have had prop money production made for it. Bank notes, coins, credit cards, checks, make for excellent collections and are some of the most popular items among collectors.

Prop money from The Dark Knight (2008), Chappie (2015), Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003), Elysium (2013).
Prop money from The Dark Knight (2008), Chappie (2015), Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003), Elysium (2013).

Similarly, any motion picture or television show featuring a casino or maybe a poker game (and there’s many) will have produced custom gambling “chips” and used playing cards. These are wonderful pieces to display in a compact space.

Rush Hour 2 (2001) Casino Chips.
Rush Hour 2 (2001).

Screen worn jewellery is another popular category, offering the collector a broad range because of the abundance of pieces available. If your collection comprises several necklaces, maybe steer away from the traditional mannequin style neck display in my pic. Instead, opt for a more compact style like this set of six at Amazon.

Screen used jewellery
The Promotion (2008). I, Frankenstein (2014).

I have seen some truly spectacular spectacle displays! It may be a little too “niche” for some. But a collector with vision could produce eye-catching exhibits! Terrible puns intended!

Far Cry (2008), The Railway Man (2013). Best space saving film memorabilia.
Far Cry (2008), The Railway Man (2013).

Watch for the mail!

Screen worn wristwatches are another splendid example of “display friendly” items. Virtually every production set in the last 120 years will have used wristwatches and even prior to that, pocket watches would have been used.

best space saving film memorabilia
Grace Beside Me (TV) (2018). The Railway Man (2013)

Mail! This is one of my personal favourites, simply because most any scene featuring a letter or hand written note etc will pause long and clear enough to allow for screen matching. I would also include any diagrams and forms. In fact, most documents fit here. Again, these types of props are in abundance.

screen used mail makes best space saving film memorabilia
Rebel in the Rye (2017)

Production made patches, badges, buttons and decals display great and require very little room. These include production used pieces or maybe even cast & crew items. For example you may not have space for a “Finse (Norway) crew jacket” from The Empire Strikes Back, but the “Vader In Flames” production patch featured on the jacket makes an awesome display!

Cloth patches from film production
A Country Practice (TV) (1981), The Empire Strikes Back (1980), North Dallas Forty (1979).

Pick a card

Business cards are another terrific choice. Not always easy to find but they feature in many iconic films and remain one of the smallest items to display..

best space saving film memorabilia
What to Expect when you’re Expecting (2012).

Production made cigarette packs, matchbooks, drink coasters etc. All relatively inexpensive (depending on the production), and great candidates for that small themed display.

Filming Miniatures such as figures, buildings, vehicles etc, are so often discarded after production and so tend to be hard to find. Very often surviving pieces are damaged, many are only remnants of the original. These very sought after pieces display great. Generally, the $ per square foot value on miniatures is very high and well worth a place in your display cabinet.

Filming miniatures
Ghost Ship (2002), The Great Raid (2005).

Trading cards containing production used wardrobe swatches, relic fragments or autographs are a great option to save space. They’re reasonably priced too and so represent very good value.

Collector cards
Trading Cards.

Cinema “Compact” Collectables

Maybe your passion is for “Movie theatrecollectables! Many of the following items of cinema ephemera have now become obsolete within an industry increasingly delivering these pieces digitally.

I’m a big fan of film posters but again, if you don’t have the wall space to display them, maybe look at some of these alternatives.

Mini posters / handbills, often used in cinema foyers prior to a film’s release. These are terrific to display, taking up a fraction of the space of regular posters. Often, they are “double sided” so consider how best to display them, maybe get two if possible (side by side).

Mini posters best space saving film memorabilia
Cinema Foyer Promotional Mini Poster Handbills.

Original media press kits offer some great “compact” display options. Usually packed with press photos, production notes and sometimes even containing A4 size mini posters. All contained in a folder usually featuring the film’s original artwork. Lot’s to work with there and in a small package. Be aware though that more recent press kits tend to be “digital” offering little display value.

Media press kits
Press Kits.

Movie premiere advanced screening “guest invites” make awesome displays. Again, a thing of the past, now delivered digitally and increasingly hard to find.

advanced screening guest invites
Special Advanced Screening Guest Invites.

Shining a light.

Digital cinemas and the phaseout of 35mm film projection have seen increased interest in collecting 35mm movie film stock over the last decades. Film snippets or cells display great if back-lit and take up little space.

The Shining (1980) Film trailer
The Shining (1980) Original Cinema Trailer.

Things to try to avoid when collecting 35mm movie film:

  • Vinegar Syndrome and I would probably avoid the highly flammable Cellulose nitrate type film which was used until the 1950s.

Things to look for:

  • Preview and trailer reels are great as they feature many key scenes and the film’s highlights. Rarities are out there if you keep a lookout. For example, the “pulled” theatrical teaser trailer for Spiderman (2002). The trailer featured a bank heist getaway chopper caught in Spidey’s web that spanned the World Trade Centre’s Twin Towersreflected in Spider-Man’s lens. This was hurriedly pulled from movie theatres immediately following 9/11 (along with the poster showing the same image).
35mm rare film cells
Film cells from a pulled trailer. Spider-Man (2002).

Magic lantern “coming attraction” slides are but a distant memory. Before big budget teaser trailers and previews, “glass slides” were projected in cinemas to advertise coming attractions. Quite rare now due to their vulnerability. With a backlit display, they look superb!

Coming attraction slides
Cinema Coming Attractions Slides

I hope this provides a few ideas for collectors looking for the best space saving film memorabilia. Let me know of some smaller pieces in your collection.

At the time of writing, several of these items were available in my Ebay Store.

Thank you and enjoy.

Best Cheap Coin Frames

The best and cheapest prop coin frame!

I have long been a believer of not spending more on a display than I paid for the actual prop I’m displaying! So, it thrilled me to find these excellent cheap coin frames!

Often in this hobby, getting a display right, means outlaying serious cash, especially for larger items. But let’s face it, even the cost of small shadow boxes and neat perspex cases will add up if you have multiples of smaller pieces you want to show off.

I love collecting production used prop coins, and I’m proud of the number and variations I have acquired. However, with the exception of a few very special ones, the rest have been sitting unceremoniously in cigar boxes. I never got around to doing much with them. This has changed since discovering these “floating” suspension frames.

Best Cheap Coin Frames
My POTC coins in “floating” frames. Best cheap coin frames.

Maybe you already know about them (I’m usually late to the party). To me, they’re a revelation when it comes to displaying coins and small jewellery pieces. The flexible membrane is surprisingly strong and once snapped shut, will hold pieces even with considerable depth. For coins, they’re brilliant! Check out the pic (above) with some of my “Pirates of the Caribbean” coins safely housed & ready to display.

The frames can be used over & over, but best of all, they’re so cheap! So if your collection has small items that you really want to display with both sides visible, these could be just what you need!

*As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Check out my guides to collecting props for lots more hints and tips.

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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