The Brasher Doubloon: One of the World’s Most Expensive Coins

Brasher Doubloon

Only a few Brasher Doubloons exist today and you may need more than $5 million just to add one of them to your collection. Minted around 1787, it is still unclear why they were made in the first place.

In the 1780’s, U.S. coinage was at it’s beginning. The U.S. Mint at Philadelphia was still 5 years from being open and much of the circulating coinage were foreign or colonial tokens.

Ephraim Brasher was born in 1744 in New York, NY. He was a Goldsmith, Silversmith and Jeweller. He also lived next door to his good friend: George Washington. States were legally entitled to mint their own coins and in 1787 Brasher petitioned to allow him to have a franchise to mint copper coins for the New York State. The request was turned down as New York didn’t want copper coins.

Brasher was already used by New York as an assayer to proofing of the foreign gold coins in circulation at the time by clipping or plugging as necessary. Brasher marked the assayed coins with an “EB” counterstamp as a hallmark.

Brasher also wanted to design and make his own coins for circulation. He decided that it it would be a gold coin based on the Spanish doubloon, weighing 408 grains giving it a value at the time of about $15. His first effort was the Lima style doubloons which he made in 1786 although he dated the coin 1742.

 

Brasher Doubloon
1787 Brasher Doubloon Reverse

 

The first 1787 doubloon depicted an Eagle on one side and the coat of arms of New York on the other. The one above shows the Sun rising over a mountain with the sea in the foreground. Besides stamping his “EB” hallmark on the coin, Brasher wrote his name on it too. He made (just one) half-doubloon, which is now in the Smithsonian museum.

Prices are Astronomical

No-one quite knows for sure why Ephraim Brasher made these coins; maybe they were intended as patterns but they never reached production and the entire series is just 7 doubloons. Given that count and the history behind them, the Brasher Doubloon has become one of the most important, most famous and most sought-after coins on the planet.

 

Brasher Doubloon
1787 Brasher Doubloon Obverse

 

The 1787 Doubloon with “EB” on the wing was sold by auction in 2014 for $4,582,500. The 1787 Doubloon with “EB” on the breast would no doubt command the same price. Lima-styles (2 known) probably carry a $700,000 price tag. Even the assayed foreign coins hallmarked with “EB” go for $5,000+.

The coin is so famous that in 1947 there was a film/book “The Brasher Doubloon” based on it where Raymond Chandler’s private eye Philip Marlowe ties a stolen gold coin to blackmail and murder.

Image courtesy of Heritage Auctions.


View this item on:

UK On eBay UK:
2008-W PROOF American Eagle (1/10 oz) $5 GOLD Coin w BOX & COA LOOK | 12556
£78.50 (4 Bids)
End Date: Sunday Aug-26-2018 3:46:08 BST
Bid now | Add to watch list
1986 MCMLXXXVI 1/10 oz $5 AMERICAN GOLD EAGLE COIN BU
£117.74 (0 Bids)
End Date: Sunday Aug-26-2018 1:30:46 BST
Bid now | Add to watch list
2012 $5 1/10 oz Gold American Eagle
£84.38 (4 Bids)
End Date: Sunday Aug-26-2018 0:00:58 BST
Bid now | Add to watch list
American 5 dollar gold coins 1856
£350.00 (0 Bids)
End Date: Tuesday Aug-21-2018 22:15:17 BST
Bid now | Add to watch list
2001-W PROOF American Eagle (1/10 oz) $5 GOLD Coin w BOX & COA LOOK | 12550
£97.73 (4 Bids)
End Date: Saturday Aug-25-2018 3:06:07 BST
Bid now | Add to watch list
2007-W American Gold Eagle (1 oz) $50 Uncirculated Coin - Burnished
£1,074.07
End Date: Sunday Sep-16-2018 22:59:45 BST
Buy It Now for only: £1,074.07
Buy It Now | Add to watch list
2015 1/10 oz Gold Coin American Eagle Brilliant Uncirculated $5 Dollars
£127.12
End Date: Sunday Sep-16-2018 22:55:51 BST
Buy It Now for only: £127.12
Buy It Now | Add to watch list
USA 5 Dollar Gold Coin 1912 Indian Head American
£399.00
End Date: Sunday Sep-16-2018 21:07:54 BST
Buy It Now for only: £399.00
Buy It Now | Add to watch list
1996 1/10 oz American Eagle $5 Gold Bullion Coin w/COA & Box LOOK | 12436
£100.87 (8 Bids)
End Date: Friday Aug-24-2018 2:30:08 BST
Bid now | Add to watch list
2007 $5 Gold American Eagle NGC GEM UNC. Early Releases 1/10 oz Bullion Coin
£96.16 (4 Bids)
End Date: Monday Aug-27-2018 1:50:44 BST
Bid now | Add to watch list
2018 1/10 oz $5 AMERICAN EAGLE GOLD COIN BU
£117.74 (0 Bids)
End Date: Friday Aug-24-2018 1:30:17 BST
Bid now | Add to watch list
2017 American GOLD Eagle $5 Coin 1/10 oz, NGC MS69 ~ Amazing, Beautiful Coin!
£140.51
End Date: Saturday Sep-15-2018 17:57:59 BST
Buy It Now for only: £140.51
Buy It Now | Add to watch list
2005 1/10 oz $5 AMERICAN EAGLE GOLD COIN BU
£117.74 (1 Bid)
End Date: Thursday Aug-23-2018 1:30:32 BST
Bid now | Add to watch list
2013 Quarter Ounce Gold Eagle
£325.02
End Date: Friday Sep-14-2018 12:57:39 BST
Buy It Now for only: £325.02
Buy It Now | Add to watch list
1oz American Buffalo Gold Coin Best Value
£1,114.09
End Date: Friday Sep-14-2018 12:40:59 BST
Buy It Now for only: £1,114.09
Buy It Now | Add to watch list
2001 ISSUE AMERICAN USA GOLD 1/10 OZ EAGLE--BU COIN OF NATIONS NEW 21ST CENTURY
£113.81
End Date: Friday Sep-14-2018 4:19:34 BST
Buy It Now for only: £113.81
Buy It Now | Add to watch list

View this item on:

Share This: