Can anyone identify this coin?

Coin found in Spain

Other side

Other side of coin found in Spain

Width: 25mm, edge: 3mm; found on rocks by the sea on east coast of Spain.

  • 2
    Can we also get measurements and info on the exact where & how 'found'? Aug 10, 2021 at 15:28
  • Width 25mm edge 3mm found on rocks by the sea on east coast of Spain
    – oner
    Aug 10, 2021 at 16:08
  • 2
    You informed the Town Hall of the nearest town of the coin found, didn't you? Spain labels all the historical treasures as public propierty so all of them are appraised and bought. Aug 11, 2021 at 5:12
  • Hi Carlos I have no monetary interest in the coin and would gladly pass it on to relevant institution/authority but it might just be a decorative trinket just looking for advice really as to what it could be.
    – oner
    Aug 11, 2021 at 6:14
  • 2
    @LangLangC I don't know if you can read Spanish, but it's the article 44 and following ones of the Law 16/1985 from the 25th of June, called "del Patrimonio Histórico Español". It's the law that develops the article of "finding a treasure" in the Spanish Civil Code (explaining what is a treasure, who gets the money, etc.). Aug 11, 2021 at 14:11

1 Answer 1


After a good amount of research I am pretty confident this coin is not real. It is made to look like a coin minted between 1000 and 1300, possibly by King William the Conquerer or maybe William Rufus, its imitating a silver penny hence the legible part of the script that says PILEM R?E?(X) but all legit coins would have two L's. If it is PILEMEL as suggested then that matches no known inscriptions. The crown (or what I am guessing is an attempt at a crown) is very crude and again not like any coin in the database. The obverse of this coin has basically gibberish for letters instead of the location or earl who minted it. It also appears to be silver plated over base metal, see the bottom right edge of the first picture and bottom of the second picture, this looks like plating that has worn off.

The back cross is a plain cross pattee without fleuries, trefoils, stars, crescents, or piles.

As to why P instead of W, The P was a late usage of the letter wynn, a P-shaped rune which had the sound value of a "w"

enter image description here

This coin is also about 5mm larger than this coin should be, all known examples are 18mm - 20mm give or take 1mm at most. I am also assuming this coin will weigh more than 1.3 +- .1 grams, but it would be appreciated if the OP weighs the coin and posts its weight in grams. It is also too thick, most of these are about 1.5mm thick. A legit coin would be able to be bent in your hand with a decent amount of pressure.

I have also gone through every known coin from both Williams and other Williams of this time frame like William of Holland and none match or are even close to matching. I also searched all coins with a reverse cross patee and a front inscription of I L E M (as that seems to be the part everyone agrees with) and again no matches. I also searched all coins with a cross and arab inscription, being that the unintelligible part of the reverse could possibly be arabic, if someone knows arabic that would help, again no matches, and these types with both islamic and christian parts are quite rare and well documented.

There is also a lot that just doesnt look right with the coin. The bulge around the edges of obverse. The thickness of the coin. The strange looking crown or maybe castle on the front. The gibberish writing around the pattee cross on the reverse. The writing that goes over the flan on the reverse. The odd patina or plating wearing off on both sides. Also the Cross in the inscription on the obverse would be the top of the coin making the crown? castle? be upside down.

So that leaves two options, either an ancient forgery or a modern fantasy piece, both could be possible, a metallurgic test would confirm which of these is most likely.

https://www.britnumsoc.org/publications/Digital%20BNJ/pdfs/1916_BNJ_12_4.pdf https://www.britnumsoc.org/publications/Digital%20BNJ/pdfs/1905_BNJ_2_8.pdf

  • Currently, not convinced at all: which original coin would come closest to this (pics plz), the "plating off" can just as well be patina coming off revealing original metal, is the +Pillem really a P, does it read pilemel [I see no chance for 'rex'] and so on. Please include how you decipher the individual characters. (perhaps explain why 'William' would be lettered starting with P—the PDFs are nice, but their most relevant content seems valuable in the answer) Aug 11, 2021 at 16:21
  • 1
    I added why P instead of W, The R?E? are labeled that way because that is a guess, could be those letters but several of the lower ones are degraded and difficult to decipher. I searched all combinations of the inscription through a database and the only matches were William coins. None matched a PILEMEL search. No coins in the db match this inscription or details and several things wrong with it besides the inscription, like the reverse inscription, width, and thickness. I sent a picture to my friend at the ANS for his opinion, when he replies I will update. A weight of coin would help.
    – ed.hank
    Aug 11, 2021 at 16:54
  • @ed.hank Who was the King William whose coins you think this is a cheap imitation of? You should have specified it in your answer.
    – MAGolding
    Aug 11, 2021 at 16:55
  • Much appreciated to everyone that looked into this coin. Particular thanks to LangLang and ed.hank for your research and knowledge, unfortunately it does not seem to be anything of any interest or significance but I will keep my eyes out when on holiday for treasures washed up on the shore. Good luck to all.
    – oner
    Aug 12, 2021 at 8:20

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