Above: Disneyland Legend Don Edgren's Disneyland Doubloon
Earliest known "Silver" Disneyland Pirates of the Caribbean Stamper Medallion. This amazing piece of history from the Edgren Estate was shared with us by Monica C. in March of 2020.
The history of Disney Pieces of Eight dates back to the 1960s, preceding this article by more than half a century. Many of the people with first hand knowledge of the history of these beloved souvenirs have passed on and others have memories that have faded over the decades. However, starting in the mid-1990s the folks at ParkPennies had the privilege of interviewing people that shared first hand knowledge of related events of the time. Both Cast Members and ParkPennies visitors have also chimed in via emails over the years. Bit by bit we added those accounts to the ParkPennies guides and articles. Here, I have taken the liberty of reconciling those recollections, notes, research, and personal observations to attribute this latest piece of history. (Please share your welcome recollections, comments or corrections by contacting Boomer.)
As advanced collectors will note, this pirate stamper coin offers some unusual features that are unlike known medallions that were available to park guests. The lettering stamped on Mr. Edgren's piece of eight is exceptionally well-aligned and deep, as one would expect from a newly completed machine. The doubloon itself also appropriately looks the part of a very early casting by missing the "rope design" at the bottom of the coin. (A feature that became more and more prominent over the following years as can be seen in the progressive variations of the Pirates of the Caribbean medallions.) Probably also of equal interest is that this coin has been thoroughly tumbled to a soft finish; the finer details of the engraving are muted for an "antique look". (The tumbled / polished finish that is prominent in early medallions waned in later years to being nearly absent in the last issued souvenirs circa 1990s-2006.) Therefore, in our opinion, the extremes of design presented by the Edgren Piece of Eight, the very early casting combined with heavy machine tumbling, give this medallion an appearance "type" unlike any onstage medallions known to date. We believe the number of these coins to very scarce. However, we speculate, without any proof at this time, that similar personalized Pirates of the Caribbean Pieces of Eight stamper medallions may have been awarded to each of the other Cast Members named on the 1967 Pirates of the Caribbean dedication plaque.
As many Disneyphiles know, Mr. Edgren was a key person in many Disney projects on both coasts from 1954-1987 as well as being inducted as a Disney Legend in 2006. However, our focus of interest here is that Mr. Edgren led the Imagineering Engineering Team for the New Orleans Square and Pirates of the Caribbean Attraction at Disneyland. Based on our research, this very early Piece of Eight Doubloon stamped "DON EDGREN WED ENTERPRISES" was
most likely one of many items awarded to him for his contributions to the project. Being a Cast Member has its perks! :-)
Picture of The Pirates of the Caribbean dedication plaque 1967. -Soon- Which approximately reads: "30th Anniversary
Disneyland’s Pirates of the Caribbean"
"1967 – 1997"
"Honoring Walt Disney’s Buccaneer Crew"
X Arencio – Buddy Baker – Roger Broggie –
George Bruns – Harriet Burns – Collin Campbell –
Claude Coats – Alice Davis – Marc Davis – Don Edgren – Blaine Gibson – Yale Gracey – John Hench – Fred Joerger – Bill Justice – Bill Martin– Boomer Mountebank – Mathel Rodgers –
Herbert Ryman – Lee Toombs"
“Yo ho yo ho a Pirates Life for Me" "Dedicated March 7, 1997
New Orleans Square
Quote from Disney's Disney Legends Archives / Don Edgren: "Don led the Imagineering engineering team for New Orleans Square and Pirates of the Caribbean at Disneyland, while also participating in the initial master planning for Walt Disney World in Florida. Don was promoted to vice president, engineering in Florida in 1969, and relocated there in August of that year as head of field engineering efforts."