In Apple TV+’s drama series ‘The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey,’ the admirable Ptolemy Grey undergoes a risky treatment under the supervision of Dr. Rubin to regain his memory. The treatment helps Grey to remember his past, especially to find his uncle-figure Coydog’s treasure. Grey eventually realizes that he has hidden the treasure in his apartment, leading him to retrieve it with the help of Robyn.
To a perplexed Robyn, Grey explains that Coydog’s treasure comprises fourteen gold coins, mainly doubloons, stolen from a White landholder for the betterment of their African-American community. Intrigued by the treasure’s history, one must be wondering whether doubloons are real. Let’s find out! SPOILERS AHEAD.
What are Doubloons? Are They Real?
Yes, doubloons are real gold coins minted in Spain and Spanish colonies, chiefly during the 17th and 18th centuries. A single doubloon was a two-escudo gold coin worth around four Spanish dollars. The doubloons were made using 22-karat gold, weighing 6.766 grams each. Apart from Spain, the coins were minted in New Spain (modern-day Mexico, several other parts of North, Central, and South America, and numerous Pacific Ocean archipelagos), Peru, and Nueva Granada (modern-day Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, and Venezuela).
Doubloons were a model for several European gold coins, minted in countries that range from Portugal to France. Doubloons were mainly used during the Golden Age of Piracy, between the 1650s and the 1730s. During the 17th Century, several pirates based in Jamaica and Tortuga attacked Spanish colonies and their shipments, most possibly to loot doubloons and other treasures. The pirates targeted Spanish galleons carrying doubloons for trade purposes, especially in the Caribbean Sea.
When Robyn enquires about the history of doubloons, Grey tells her that the coins were stolen by the pirates. Coydog’s treasure also includes a Saint-Gaudens double eagle coin, a twenty-dollar gold coin minted by the United States Mint from 1907 to 1933. Named after its designer Augustus Saint-Gaudens, the gold coin was chiefly used in international trade. The coin is regarded by many as one of the most beautiful U.S. coins. In the show, Coydog stole the coins from a wealthy White landholder named Clive Miller sometime in the early 20th Century, the period that witnessed the main circulation of the Saint-Gaudens double eagle coins.
Like the pirates, Coydog also stole the treasure but only for enhancing the living standards of his fellow human beings, who went through severe racial discrimination. Rather than using it for his personal affairs, Coydog made sure that the coins would reach his community through Grey before he died. Even though Grey hasn’t fulfilled Coydog’s aspiration yet, he still has two gold coins with him to reverse the mistake he made by using the coins for the good of his people.