CAC Brasher Doubloon, America’s First Gold Coin, Sells for a Record $7.395 million
Blanchard and Company places world’s most valuable gold coin – the Brasher Doubloon for a record $7.395 million
Blanchard and Company, Inc. has placed the world’s most valuable rare gold coin for a record $7.395 million, adding to its résumé and legacy as America’s leading numismatic and precious metals firm.
“While precious metals have been a hot news topic for the last several years, ultra-rare collectible numismatics have quietly continued to have strong investor demand as desired tangible assets,” says Donald W. Doyle, Jr., Chairman and CEO of Blanchard and Company, Inc. “This transaction will likely energize the market and has the potential to push it higher.”
Known as the “Brasher Doubloon” with the punch on the breast, this rare numismatic treasure is considered America’s first and most important gold coin. It was purchased from John Albanese, founder of Certified Acceptance Corp. (CAC), and the transaction is the single highest price ever paid for a coin in a private transaction. It is truly unique as there is only one known example.
“Not only is this the highest-valued gold coin in the world, but it is also one of the most iconic pieces in all of numismatics,” says Albanese, widely considered one of America’s leading numismatists. “It is not a stretch to call this the holy grail of all collectible gold coins.”
The Brasher Doubloon with the punch on the breast was minted in 1787 by Ephraim Brasher, a silversmith and goldsmith in New York City, and it contained $15 worth of gold at the time of its minting. Brasher made a small number of gold coins that historians today believe were intended for public circulation.
While Brasher worked as a regulator with the New York Chamber of Commerce certifying the weight and value of foreign gold pieces he established a solid reputation for his expertise, and his “E.B” hallmark counter stamp was esteemed in the area. He also stamped his own doubloons with his personal hallmark, but this is the single-known piece of his making that includes the stamp at the center of the eagle’s breast on the coin’s reverse rather than on its wing.
Why is it significant? Recent research has established that the Brasher Punch-on-Breast Doubloon is the first American-made gold coin that had a denomination in dollars and that was struck to the same standard that was later adopted for all U.S. gold coins, making it what is today considered the first truly American gold coin. No other U.S. Colonial or Federal coin can make that claim, putting Brasher’s first New York-style Doubloon in a class by itself.
“Blanchard specializes in all types of American rare coins serving investors and collectors of just about every budget,” Doyle says, “but when it comes to the rarest of the rare, the company has established itself through transactions like this and others as THE rare coin firm.”
Blanchard has owned and placed with its clients the majority of the published 100 Greatest U.S. Coins (Whitman Publishing), including the highly sought-after 1913 Liberty Head Nickel – one of five known to exist – which was a $3 million transaction. The company also has placed two of the 1907 Ultra High Relief $20 “Double Eagles” designed by Augustus St. Gaudens, two of the 1838-O half dollars, an 1804 silver dollar, two of the 1894-S Barber dimes, two of the 1927-D $20 St. Gaudens Double Eagles and the 1876-CC twenty-cent piece, as well as the heralded John J. Pittman 1843 gold proof set. Blanchard also placed the Morelan/Legend Seated dollar set for more than $10 million.
Blanchard selects only the finest quality products available, and all of the company’s numismatic inventory is procured by one of the country’s leading numismatists. In fact, Blanchard routinely rejects at least half of the rare coins the company inspects as it is committed to providing only the highest-quality American rare coins available.
Blanchard and its predecessor companies have called the New Orleans area home for more than 30 years, and is located at 909 Poydras St., Ste. 1900 in the New Orleans central business district. For more information about the company, visit BlanchardGold.com or call the company toll free at 1-800-880-4653. Join our Facebook group, or follow us on Twitter, by clicking each of the hyperlinks.
About The 1787 Brasher Doubloon with EB Punch on Breast
1787 DBLN Brasher New York Style Doubloon. EB Punch on Breast.
In the Garrett Collection sale, this coin was called “the single most important coin in American numismatics.” Today, its status is no different. Any coin that is unique can be considered an important coin. The importance also depends on the coin’s position in the numismatic world. A Colonial American gold coin, one of two varieties intended for actual circulation, maintains a higher position in American numismatics than another coin which might be part of a long series of coinage issues.
In his day, B. Max Mehl was fond of comparing certain rarities to that “King of American Coins,” the 1804 dollar. Today, we have other coins that can provide a comparison. Certainly, we feel this coin is the equal of the 1804 silver dollar in terms of importance. It seems far more important than the unique 1870-S three-dollar gold piece, or the 1870-S half dime, or other unique coins. Is it as important as the 1933 double eagle? In our opinion, it is. Is it worth as much, or will it sell for as much as that coin recently sold for? We certainly hope so. In fact, we whole-heartedly agree with Dave Bowers’ comments regarding the offering of this coin in the Garrett Collection. We feel that this coin is the single most important coin in American numismatics!
Obverse and Reverse
The surfaces have bright yellow gold with some peripheral weakness. The tops of most letters are merged with the border. On the obverse, the mountain and the sun show considerable weakness with the sun merely outlined. Unfinished or crude die work is visible in the central fields, in the form of horizontal and vertical raised die lines. Below the central reverse device, small letters of BRASHER are slightly disfigured. The entire design on both sides shows evidence of slight doubling, most likely from multiple punches to impart the appropriate detail to the coin.
The reverse is similar with the bottom of the date and tops of the letters slightly merged with the border. EB punch in an oval on the eagle’s breast is actually on the shield which covers the breast. This shield is lacking nearly all of its horizontal and vertical lines and is nearly flat.
Breen Encyclopedia 982.
Weight: 26.41 grams (per Walter Breen).
Die Alignment: 180 degrees, or coin-turn alignment.
The NGC Photo-Proof lists a different set of specifications, and they are recorded as the same for both specimens. As those specifications are the same as the general specifications recorded by Walter Breen in his Complete Encyclopedia, it is likely that they simply copied this information from his work.
The unique Brasher Doubloon with punch on the breast reportedly was in the Parsons and Bushnell Collections.
Charles Ira Bushnell was an uncle of the Chapman brothers. He was born in New York City on July 28, 1826 and died there on September 17, 1880. He wrote articles for the New York Sunday Dispatch, and also studied law but did not practice. After his death, Bushnell’s collection was offered for sale for $10,000, and Lorin Parmelee paid $8,000 for its acquisition. Once he had removed needed pieces, Parmelee consigned the collection to the Chapman Brothers who offered it for sale under the original Bushnell name. The sale was held June 1882 and Ed Frossard paid $505 for the Doubloon.
Edouard Frossard was born in Switzerland circa 1837 and died in Brooklyn, New York on April 12, 1899. Frossard saw active service in the Civil War, and was wounded in a battle at West Point, Virginia on May 7, 1862. Ed Frossard was the publisher of Numisma, a magazine that also served as his own sales vehicle. This was also the platform for his literary jabs at W. Elliott Woodward, he returned blows in the pages of his own auction catalogs. Frossard sold this Doubloon to T. Harrison Garrett, patriarch of the Garrett family of Baltimore.
John Work Garrett was the son of T. Harrison Garrett of Baltimore. He was born on May 19, 1872 and lived 70 years until June 26, 1942. His father served as President of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. Other members of this family had their own talents, and his brother, Robert, participated in the 1896 Olympics, winning America’s first Olympic gold medal (shotput). John Work Garrett served in the diplomatic service. His collection was donated to the Johns Hopkins University of Baltimore, and was sold by Bowers and Ruddy Galleries in four sales held from 1979 to 1981. This Doubloon was sold as lot 2340 in the fourth sale, held March 1981, where it realized $625,000.
About Ephraim Brasher
Ephraim Brasher (pronounced Bray-zher) lived just a few feet from President Washington in New York. Washington resided at 3 Cherry Street and Brasher lived next door at 1 Cherry Street. Some sources give the address of Brasher as 5 Cherry Street. Cherry Hill was a fashionable section of New York in the 18th century, located just north of the Manhattan side of the present day Brooklyn Bridge. His business address was 77 Queen Street, not too far north of his home.
Brasher was born in 1744 and lived to 1810, the entire 66 years a resident of New York City. He was married to Anne Gilbert on November 8, 1766. Ann was a sister of another New York silversmith, William Gilbert. Some sources state that Brasher did not have any children with Anne, or with his second wife, Mary Austin, whom he married in 1797, sometime after Anne’s death. Other sources suggest that he did. Indeed, an article by Richard Bagg and Q. David Bowers in the February 1980 issue of The Numismatist, “Ephraim Brasher, Originator of the Famous Brasher Doubloon,” mentions Ephraim’s great-great-great granddaughter, Deborah. This alone would suggest that he did have children. Ephraim and Abraham Brasher both served their apprenticeship with a silversmith, whose name (or names) are not known today. Ephraim took his studies seriously, and today there is beautiful silverware that survives with his counterstamp. Little is known about Abraham or his work, but Ephraim did excellent work and many pieces of his craft are seen in New York and New England museums.
Brasher was also a respected member of the community. In his March 1987 Coinage article, “The Brasher Bicentennial,” David T. Alexander noted: “In the late 1700′s, silversmiths and goldsmiths were particularly respected members of the community, often acting as bankers, assayers, and authenticators of the Babel of gold and silver coins of the world which circulated in the bullion-starved colonies and the new republic.”
Not only were Washington and Brasher neighbors, but Washington was also a customer of Brasher. He owned numerous silver pieces made by Brasher, including a number of silver skewers with a surviving receipt. It was certainly important for Washington to make a good impression at state dinners, which he did with the assistance of his Brasher silver.
Ephraim Brasher was a member of the New York Provincial Army in 1775 and 1776, serving the role of grenadier. He retired from the militia in 1796 with the rank of Major. Later, he served local politics in New York, almost like serving national posts at the time. New York was the leader of banking and foreign trade, and was also the new national capital. Brasher served on the New York Evacuation Committee in 1783, marking the departure of British troops from New York City. He also served as sanitary commissioner from 1784 to 1785, coroner from 1786 to 1791, assistant justice from 1794 to 1797, election inspector from 1796 to 1809, and commissioner of excise from 1806 to 1810. In addition to all of his service, and his private business affairs, Brasher served the United States Mint in the early 1790s. This is known from a Treasury Warrant in the amount of $27, paid to John Shield as “assignee of Ephraim Brasher.” This warrant was specifically identified as a payment for assaying work that Brasher performed in 1792 for the Mint, following instructions of the Secretary of the Treasury.