Mardi Gras Doubloons and Recent Changes

by blackspanielgallery

Mardi Gras constantly evolves, and collecting Mardi Gras doubloons is always changing as well.

Mardi Gras doubloons are collectible objects made of metal initially in the shape of a coin. The first doubloons became a feature of Mardi Gras parades in 1960 with Rex being the first Mardi Gras parade to toss these to the public.

Parade doubloons, the most common of Mardi Gras doubloons are often of fifteen-gauge aluminum. These light-weight doubloons are designed to not cause harm if tossed correctly. Some parades desired to set themselves apart with different edges such as scalloped, others tried different geometrical shapes. In some cases ten-gauge doubloons would be special, such as doubloons reserved for the captain, lieutenants, king, queen, or grand marshal. Before going too far, let it be clear that there are no restrictions placed on size of doubloons. Some parades do their own thing. Orpheus uses larger diameter doubloons that look like old records.

On one side of each doubloon is often the image associated with the parading organization. On the other side is usually the image of the parade theme, there usually is a theme that unifies the topics covered by the floats. Celebrity grand marshals sometimes have their image superseding the parade theme, as also might the king or queen.

Color is sometimes added by anodizing the aluminum. A parade might have some doubloons anodized, others not, and those anodized could be in an array of colors. Some parades deliberately limit the mintage of one color doubloon to add to the interest. Unfortunately, the color does not penetrate the doubloon to much depth, so scratches show easily.

Collectible Doubloons

Some doubloons are more collectible than parade doubloons, and since they were not thrown, they likely have not been damaged by scraping on the ground.  These include such doubloons as oxidized silver, bronze and antique bronze, multicolor, and silver.  Many of the silver doubloons are fine silver, although there is no requirement.  Others are Sterling silver, and possibly other purities, such as ninety percent silver.  The silver doubloons often have about an ounce of silver.

Multicolor Mardi Gras Doubloons


A Modern Twist

For years doubloon popularity waned.  A few people still collect them, but that number is much lower than it once was.  Now, fewer parades toss parade doubloons.  However, some Mardi Gras organizations that do not have a parade still make special doubloons available to members which adds to the difficulty of people not in the organization to collect these doubloons. 


One twist is to make the doubloons in the form of something other than a geometric figure.  One parade tossed aluminum in the form of purses.  This is but a single example, other designs are also now being used.  The collectors do not know what they are looking for before they see one of these special doubloons, and the image can change year to year.

Special Shaped Mardi Gras Doubloons

Purse Mardi Gras Doubloons

Accidentally Special Mardi Gras Doubloons

Advertising doubloons that once could be used as a coupon now are collectible.  These were often thrown from a sponsored float in the suburbs.  New Orleans does not allow throwing objects with a value, such as a coupon. 


One short series that lasted about three years featuring Blue Dog, the iconic image of George Rodrigues' art, now commands a nice value. One interesting fact is Blue Dog was intended to be a Rougarou, a mythical creature similar to a werewolf.  

Argus parade Blue Dog Doubloons

Mardi Gras Bag Featuring Parade Doubloon Image

The Value of Silver Doubloons

Silver doubloons have had higher prices than the price of an ounce of silver, but now many are being caught by the price of an ounce of silver plus a slight premium.  This makes them easier to justify buying. 


One problem with silver doubloons being more collectible is people often refer to the uncolored aluminum doubloons as silver.  One must be careful when buying.  Silver doubloons are heavier than aluminum doubloons.  And there is a distinction in the lusters of the two metals.  But when buying from an image online, be careful.

Silver Mardi Gras Doubloons

Mardi Gras Doubloons

Mardi Gras doubloons for a current year can be obtained free from parades. But, there are better, more collectible Mardi Gras doubloons that one should consider collecting.

This article contains links to affiliate programs and Adsense advertising.  These must use cookies to allow for proper crediting. As a Zazzle and an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


The introduction image is a Zazzle product from my Zazzle creations, and the image on the product is my own.

Updated: 11/15/2020, blackspanielgallery
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blackspanielgallery on 11/18/2020

The doubloons do go into catch basins, just like beads do. They are smaller, and their shape allows them to not get snagged. The purse doubloons are about 2 inches by 1 inch, and no thicker than any other doubloon. This is one of many shapes that now exist, most from recent years. My doubloon reference book is only printed with a new edition every several years, so I cannot look up the current variety that exist.

DerdriuMarriner on 11/17/2020

blackspanielgallery, Thank you for the practical information and product line.
Do doubloons get caught in drains and gutters the way wear-and-toss beads once did?
It's intriguing that you mention aluminum as a purse. It must be sized quite small since otherwise wouldn't it in a way operate as a projectile?

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