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Carnival doubloons are less common now than they were in the 1960s and '70s, making them of more interest to modern collectors.
DOUBLOON COMEBACK: Before you throw out or recycle last year's Carnival throws, you might want to take a second look at
those doubloons. A parade mainstay since the Rex organization introduced it in 1960, the common aluminum doubloon has become
increasingly valuable to collectors in recent years, particularly as Carnival organizations are making and throwing fewer of them. who
struck the first lightweight aluminum doubloon that could be safely thrown by float riders into a crowd. Soon after Rex debuted the
doubloon, other Carnival organizations began designing and producing their own versions, until the faux coins were being thrown at
given as favors, and have become valuable collectibles. Doubloons are also minted for parades on other holidays, such as St. Patrick's
nearly every parade. Krewes designed their doubloons in various colors and thicknesses, some with renderings of specific floats or
Day.perhaps the images of that year's royalty. Other special coins, sometimes in real gold or silver, were also made in limited quantities
to be given as favors, and have become valuable collectibles. Doubloons are also minted for parades on other holidays, such as St.
SUPPLY AND DEMAND: Over the years, doubloon collecting has waxed and waned. The doubloon craze was at its height from
the mid-1960s to the late '70s, said Rafael Monzon, Web master of cointradingpost.com, a doubloon information and trading site.
"There were so many doubloons that everyone was collecting them," he said, adding that some krewes enthusiastically minted as
many as 40 varieties for a single Carnival season. By the mid-1980s, however, the doubloon had fallen out of favor with both
collectors and the public. "There were simply too many of them, so they became almost worthless," Monzon said. "People just
stopped picking them up, and collecting them became a chore." As the demand for doubloons waned over time, Carnival
organizations began to produce fewer of them -- leading, ironically, to renewed interest and increased value.
WHAT THEY'RE WORTH: Because aluminum doubloons, the type thrown from floats, are inexpensive to
produce, their only real value lies in their rarity. Doubloons dated 1965 to 1985, when so many were
available, are usually worth only a few cents each. Common doubloons made since 1985 can be valued at
$1 or more each. "It's just a matter of supply and demand," Monzon said. "At one time, there were 32
shops in the city that offered doubloons for sale; today there are only three. That makes them much harder
to find." Take, for example, the rare "Blue Dog" doubloons made for the Krewe of Argus parades in 2002
and 2004. "The 2002 Blue Dog doubloon is worth $35, while a 2004 Blue Dog goes for between $5 and
$10," Monzon said.*
HOW TO COLLECT THEM: Catching doubloons yourself is the easiest (and certainly least expensive) way to begin a collection. If
you don't snag the ones you want, you can buy or trade with other collectors, either online or in person at doubloon swap meets.
Monzon and other collectors buy, sell and trade through the Crescent City Doubloon Traders, an organization of nearly 200 members
that holds several events each year. The group will hold its next Doubloon Swap on Jan. 25 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Oakdale
Playground in Marrero. Admission for members is free; nonmembers pay $5, which can be applied toward the $10 annual dues for