One of the first gold coins struck in the United States, a 1787 New York Brasher Doubloon, has been sold for more than $5 million in a private treaty transaction involving Heritage Auctions, Monaco Rare Coins and an anonymous West Coast collector. The more than $5 million deal sets one of the highest prices ever reported for an American coin.
Terms of the transaction remain confidential by a non-disclosure agreement between buyer and seller, said Todd Imhof, Executive Vice President at Heritage, who brokered the coin on behalf of Heritage and the anonymous collector.
"The Brasher doubloon is truly one of the greatest numismatic rarities in the world," Imhof added. "We are grateful to both Adam Crum at Monaco and to the prominent collector who purchased the coin for the opportunity to place this numismatic treasure in a new home. It is certainly one of the most exciting transactions I’ve ever been a part of."
The 1787 DBLN Brasher Doubloon, MS63 NGC. CAC., is the finest certified of seven such coins known to exist. Heritage Auctions sold the coin in January 2014 for $4.58 million, then a record auction price for the coin.
Doubloons were the first truly American gold coins, struck by silversmith Ephraim Brasher, George Washington’s New York City neighbor. The era’s most famous doubloons are those with Brasher’s original design, which adapts New York’s state coat of arms on one side and the Great Seal of the United States on the other. An eagle clutching an olive branch and arrows bears Brasher’s distinctive hallmark, the letters EB inside an oval, on the eagle’s right wing.
The front of the coin features a sun rising over a mountain peak and the sea, with Brasher’s name spelled out below the waves and the words NOVA EBORACA COLUMBIA EXCELSIOR, which translates to "New York, America, Ever Higher." Excelsior remains the state motto to this day.
The coins entered pop culture in the 1940s after novelist Raymond Chandler based one of his popular Philip Marlowe mysteries on the fictional theft of a Brasher doubloon in 1942. Chandler’s novel, The High Window, inspired a major motion picture called The Brasher Doubloon by 20th Century Fox in 1946.
"We have had the honor of owning this amazing piece of history since 2014," Crum said. We "take pride in knowing our firm will be forever etched into its provenance," he added.
Heritage Auctions (HA.com) is the largest fine art and collectibles auction house founded in the United States, and the world’s largest collectibles auctioneer. In addition to its headquarters in Dallas, Heritage has offices in New York, Beverly Hills, San Francisco, Chicago and Palm Beach, Paris, Geneva, Amsterdam and Hong Kong.
What a gem, museum quality coin…now in someones personal vault.
I always have conflicting feelings about this type of situation. I’m somewhat of a public-access-oriented type of person who typically finds more reason to celebrate when special, rare, beautiful objects of art of any sort find their way into museums (instead of “closed-off” private collections) for all to view, ponder and appreciate.
Old Collector* – you should have jumped it with a *bid of $5,500,000.00!*smile, & could have stayed here on the *east*coast, at a *musesam of your liking,*grin.
Joe Brown – Honestly, if I ever were to have that kind of money I would instead put it right into a dedicated account fund to provide for the college educations of my five grandchildren; after all, by the time they all reach that point in their lives the given amount will be just about enough to cover the cost of fours years each X five grandchildren at what will be standard-priced institutions of higher learning.
Old Collector- Yes, that would be the *wise & right thing to do! *I would do the same, unless they are clever*enough, among other things, & use there 1,million & make it grow,$$, & go to a community college, for a trade of their liking*I got the winning ticket* in my back pocket!
Joe Brown – As the reality clearly is that I don’t now nor ever will have that kind of money, my “little ones” will have to fend for themselves as best they can. Community college or generous scholarships; those are the choices.
Old Collector – Come on now! Money an’t everything, but a few extra buck*$ so you can help someone get a head*start,if you feel they will be honest* & do the right by it! *I know the odds are stack against us, but that is so for most*everyone!But never say never*, a little *faith & a $2*bill once a week, ain’t goner brake you *i hope!*smile, slap done a *tom*jeff, on a quick*pick today,, win* or lose, a least a small % will help rebuild our infostruckcha & what ever else *i hope they put to *good use, can*t lose,… Read more »
Joe Brown – Like I’ve said before and now I have yet another reason to say it, you do have the best stories. 😳
Lots of rarities on display at the Smithsonian. I wonder if they have one of these?
Chris – The Smithsonian has one on display. Piece of American history, like many, some collectors have them as well…in their vault.
The cool thing about this coin is that there are some modern / NGC graded remakes out there / exact same design / hand – screw pressed as per the originals. Collectors can appreciate the design and unique quality of the coin for a fraction of the cost. Not the same piece of history, but same beauty and minting process.
Mouse – I clearly understand the desire to be able to own a representational reproduction of a prohibitively expensive historic original coin, but other than not being intended for commerce isn’t such a copy a counterfeit by any other name?
The coin design is owned by the US government and the Smithsonian had obtained consent to re strike a small few as they were minted back in 1787 / screw pressed. Totally legal – obtained consent. They are for the love of the design and historically made – no two are the same – and gold value. All graded by NGC / dated appropriately – modern date / and labeled. Would never be viewed as a counterfeit, as it is a re strike not counterfeit.
Mouse – Now I understand. I tend to start with scepticism and only gradually work my way toward comprehension as additional relevant and pertinent facts are made available. That, of course, is was what you just did in a completely illuminating manner. Many thanks for describing and explaining this very interesting process so thoroughly!
hello, can anyone recommend a good place to identify a coin? i have some family heirlooms that i’d like evaluated, but i do not know who to trust. Thank you!