Aargh! Don't Ye Dare Plunder Me Pieces of Eight
In honor of the 50th anniversary of the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction at Disneyland, I present to you my collection of “Pieces of Eight” medal stamper token doubloons or whatever you call ‘em!
A rare sign topper that I own from what I believe to be a more recent model stamper machine found at Disneyland or Walt Disney World.
Growing up, I always took note of the stamped Disneyland pirate coin on my dad’s keychain. It read, “Chuck at Disneyland 1978”. I always thought it meant to be silly, as if the pirate skull and crossbones in the center circle on the face of the coin was sort of meant as a visage of my dad.
On a few of our family trips to Disneyland, I would always excitedly run into the Pieces of Eight souvenir shop after riding the Pirates of the Caribbean. I would turn right into the closest entrance after hurrying down the sloped pavement, hang an immediate right and dart to the back right corner of the shop to try to take home my own pirate doubloon souvenir, customized just like my dad’s. Most of the time, my elation quickly subsided into disappointment as the machine was often down. I then resorted to picking up a few loose and unstamped tokens as a memento, but it barely scratched my itch. I seem to remember being successful at some point though because I could swear I had one stamped “Danny at Disneyland” with the year next to it, but I can’t seem to find it. If i come across it I will update this post, but perhaps it is just wishful thinking.
Fast forward to the New Millennium - the year 2000. My wife was then a mere 16 years old and myself a mere 18. We had decided to go on our first Disneyland date, and was I ever so thrilled when we got off the POTC ride and I again darted into the shop to find the stamper machine fully functional! I commemorated our romantic occasion by stamping “Dan & Amber Disneyland 2000” on a shiny new pirate coin. I seem to remember it being slightly tricky deciding what to stamp with a limited number of characters.
Now, as an all-out Disney enthusiast who collects a variety of Disneyana, I find myself fascinated with the vintage Walt Disney Production era. All of the older medals at the time were stamped with ©WDP which abbreviates Walt Disney Productions. There was an attempt at a newer version of the coin that instead of a skull and crossbones had a friendlier large pirate head instead. However after being produced it was quickly
discovered that the border didn’t have enough room to stamp. This new style of coin then was relegated to being sold as a standard keychain in the shop and wasn’t never able to be stamped. It may have also been the case that the machines were so problematic that Disney intended to do away with the ability to personalize this souvenir and intentionally designed this one to be sold as a regular keychain souvenir instead. Not sure which explanation is the accurate one - take them both with a grain of salt.
In the early days of these token stamper machines appearing at Disneyland, a metal chain was sold in the shop to attach your new shiny, personalized pirate doubloon to your keys. I love the packaging on these, as the chain itself follows the outline of a skull and is sealed tight by plastic to the card. I was lucky enough to find both the Disneyland and the Walt Disney World keychains unopened, still sealed on their “skull” cards. The Disneyland keychain is © 1968 Walt Disney Productions and the Walt Disney
World one simply says © Walt Disney Productions. These are amazing examples of how wonderful vintage Disney souvenirs were back in the day.
When these souvenir stamper medals were first designed, it was intended for Disneyland to have silver colored coins and for Walt Disney World to have brass colored. However, the story goes that when the machines were first delivered to Disneyland
it still had some brass colored Disneyland branded doubloons inside of them that perhaps had been used in a testing phase. It was said that Disney Imagineer Marc Davis caught this occurrence before they were released into the public and had them removed, perhaps going home with a few cast members. This is why the brass colored
Disneyland doubloon is extremely elusive and at one point was seen as entirely “mythical” - until one had shown up on eBay. As of this writing I know of only two samples of these golden Disneyland pirate doubloons, and I own one of them The other one I believe is owned by the editor of parkpennies.com - a wonderful resource website for pressed penny collectibles as well as these stamper tokens.
Back in 2006 for Disneyland’s 50th anniversary, a Pirates
of the Caribbean themed trinket box was released (you can read about it hear) that included an homage to the elusive brass colored Disneyland coin. This trinket box came with a pirate doubloon that had the same back design as these vintage treasures but had a different beautiful design on the front in honor of the POTC attraction. This coin is very hard to find also as it often not included when the trinket
box is sold on the secondary market.
WHAT AM I MISSING?
The one piece I am currently missing is an unstamped brass colored version of the Walt Disney World doubloon. Once I obtain this, I plan to masterfully frame this collection in a shadow box at which point I will update this posting. Any leads as to obtaining the doubloon I am still looking for are much appreciated!
ENJOY THE SLIDESHOW BELOW!