The Brasher Doubloon
The 1787 Brasher Doubloon is the first gold coin minted in America.
The rare Brasher Doubloon--the first and only American doubloon-- is today the world’s most valuable coin and has been offered in the marketplace only twice in more than a century.
Until 1793 when the new U.S. Mint began producing the first American coins for circulation, English and Spanish coins were the primary circulating coinage in the new world. A shopkeeper in colonial America would have a scale on his counter to weigh the various foreign coinage presented for payment to determine its exchange value for the store’s goods.
Ephraim Brasher, the maker of the doubloon bearing his name, was a historical figure in his own right. A respected gold and silversmith, he was also the next door neighbor to George Washington at the first White House, 3 Cherry Street in New York City. Brasher made the first silverware for the White House, some of which is in the permanent collection there. Brasher’s initials, “EB” counterpunched in an oval, were the hallmark of Ephraim Brasher,and served to guarantee the source, authenticity and intrinsic gold value of his coins.
Brasher’s design for the doubloon is aesthetically pleasing and patriotic.
The obverse depicts a sunrise over mountains with a body of water in the foreground. It’s motto, “NOVA EBORACA COLUMBIA EXCELSIOR,” translates to “New York and America, ever upward,” reflecting loyalty to both his state and the new nation.
The reverse includes many of the elements incorporated into the seal of the United States in 1782 and later used on federal coinage. The eagles breast is covered by a shield with stripes representing the 13 states. It’s left talon holds arrows, the symbol of preparedness for war, and it’s right an olive branch, symbolizing peace. The motto, “UNUM E PLURIBUS” appears in the seal and many regular issue coins as “E PLURIBUS UNUM.” This translates to “One out of many.”
A fictitious theft of the legendary Brasher Doubloon was the subject of a Raymond Chandler novel, later made into a movie bearing its name by 20th Century Fox in 1946. Following this-more then 20 years later- two of the seven known specimens were in fact stolen, only to be returned years later in an intrigue that began with their mysterious disappearance and ended with their safe return.
The historical significance of the Brasher Doubloon cannot be overstated. It is the first American gold coin made in the New World by a man of historical distinction in his own right, Ephraim Brasher.
The Brasher Doubloon had a currency value of $16 in colonial times. Today, the rare Brasher Doubloon--the first and only American doubloon--is the world's most valuable and famous coin. It is also the worlds most viewed coin with more than 2 million people having personally seen it on display.
Why? Because no other coin has been so immersed in romance, surrounded by intrigue, and shrouded in mystery. Although we are certain of its origin, no one can be certain of the reason it was made.
The auction sale of this coin in 1979 shattered all world record prices for coins regardless of metal content, country of origin, or age and created world wide news. The then world record was held by a Greek Tetradrachm of Alexander the Great minted over 300 years prior to the birth of the Christian Era. his Brashers sale will again set records and create an international media event.