Brasher Doubloon

Last updated
1787 Brasher Doubloon 1787 Brasher Doubloon.jpg
1787 Brasher Doubloon

The Brasher Doubloon is a rare American coin, privately minted in and after 1787.



In 1787, Ephraim Brasher, [1] a goldsmith and silversmith, submitted a petition to the State of New York to mint copper coins. The petition was denied when New York decided not to get into the business of minting copper coinage. Brasher was already quite highly regarded for his skills, and his hallmark (which he not only stamped on his own coins but also on other coinage sent to him for assay proofing) was highly significant in early America. Brasher struck various coppers, in addition to a small quantity of gold coins, over the next few years. [2]

This coin, valued at eight Spanish escudos or sixteen Spanish dollars ($16), is of confusing English colonial nomenclature, called at first the "double doubloon" before settling as the "Spanish doubloon". In Continental Europe the doubloon is the two-escudo or $4 coin, while in Spanish America the $16 coin is disambiguated as the doblón a ocho, or doubloon of eight escudos. Explained under doubloon , es:doblón .

One of the surviving gold coins, weighing 26.6 grams and composed of 0.917 (22-carat) gold, was sold at public auction for $625,000 in March 1981. [2]

On January 12, 2005 Heritage Auction Galleries sold all three varieties of Brasher Doubloons as part of their Florida United Numismatists U.S. Coin Auction, Platinum Night Session. The coins realized $2,415,000 for the New York Style EB Punch on Wing NGC AU55, [3] $2,990,000 for the unique New York Style EB Punch on Breast NGC XF45 [4] and $690,000 for the rare but less iconic Lima Style Doubloon. [5] The unique Brasher Doubloon, the first gold coin made for the United States, was sold in December 2011 by rare-coin dealer, Steven L. Contursi of Laguna Beach, California, to Certified Acceptance Corporation (CAC) of Far Hills, New Jersey. An undisclosed Wall Street investment firm subsequently purchased it from Blanchard and Company of New Orleans, Louisiana for nearly $7.4 million, it was the most money ever paid for a coin minted in the United States. [6] This record was broken by a Brasher Doubloon sold in January 2021 by Heritage Auctions for $9.36 million, a world record for a gold coin sold in a public auction. [7]

The coin was the subject of Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe 1942 mystery novel The High Window ., [8] which was made into a film, Time to Kill , in 1942 - source: , and The Brasher Doubloon , in 1947. It is also mentioned in Lawrence Block's 1980 Bernie Rhodenbarr mystery The Burglar Who Studied Spinoza [9] and John Bellairs's 1992 The Mansion in the Mist. [10]

See also


  1. Ephraim Brasher
  2. 1 2 "1787 Brasher Doubloon". Archived from the original on 2006-10-28. Retrieved 2006-12-06.
  3. Mark Borckardt. "Brasher Doubloon EB on Wing, Auction Description and Photos".
  4. Mark Borckardt. "Brasher Doubloon EB Punch on Breast, Auction Description and Photos".
  5. Mark Borckardt. "Brasher Doubloon Lima Style, Auction Description and Photos".
  6. Brasher doubloon brings nearly $7.4 million
  7. Why the Brasher Doubloon is the most expensive coin of the world
  8. Raymond Chandler. The High Window. ISBN   0-394-75826-9.
  9. Lawrence Block. The Burglar Who Studied Spinoza . ISBN   0-06-087276-4.
  10. John Bellairs. The Mansion in the Mist. ISBN   978-0-14-240262-7.

Related Research Articles

The peso is the currency of Chile. The current peso has circulated since 1975, with a previous version circulating between 1817 and 1960. Its symbol is defined as a letter S with either one or two vertical bars superimposed prefixing the amount, $ or ; the single-bar symbol, available in most modern text systems, is almost always used. Both of these symbols are used by many currencies, most notably the United States dollar, and may be ambiguous without clarification, such as CLP$ or US$. The ISO 4217 code for the present peso is CLP. It is officially subdivided into 100 centavos, although there are no current centavo-denominated coins. The exchange rate was around CLP$730 to 1 United States dollar as of March 2021.

Spanish dollar Former coin of the Spanish Empire

The Spanish dollar, also known as the piece of eight, is a silver coin of approximately 38 mm (1.5 in) diameter worth eight Spanish reales. It was minted in the Spanish Empire following a monetary reform in 1497. It was widely used as the first international currency because of its uniformity in standard and milling characteristics. Some countries countermarked the Spanish dollar so it could be used as their local currency.

Nickel (United States coin) Current denomination of United States currency

A nickel is a five-cent coin struck by the United States Mint. Composed of 75% copper and 25% nickel, the piece has been issued since 1866. Its diameter is 0.835 inches (21.21 mm) and its thickness is 0.077 inches (1.95 mm). Due to inflation, the purchasing power of the nickel continues to drop, and currently the coin represents less than 1% of the federal hourly minimum wage. In 2018, over 1.26 billion nickels were produced at the Philadelphia and Denver mints.

Coinage Act of 1792 U.S. legislation establishing and regulating the national currency and mint

The Coinage Act of 1792, passed by the United States Congress on April 2, 1792, created the United States dollar as the country's standard unit of money, established the United States Mint, and regulated the coinage of the United States. This act established the silver dollar as the unit of money in the United States, declared it to be lawful tender, and created a decimal system for U.S. currency.

Coins of the Philippine peso

Philippine peso coins are issued by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas for circulation in the Philippines and are currently available in seven denominations. The Philippine peso has been in use since Spanish rule.

Doubloon Two-escudo or 32-real gold coin

The doubloon was a two-escudo gold coin worth approximately $4 or 32 reales, and weighing 6.766 grams of 22-karat gold . Doubloons were minted in Spain and the viceroyalties of New Spain, Peru, and Nueva Granada. As the Spanish escudo succeeded the heavier gold excelente as the standard Spanish gold coin, the doubloon therefore succeeded the doble excelente or double-ducat denomination.

This glossary of numismatics is a list of definitions of terms and concepts relevant to numismatics and coin collecting, as well as sub-fields and related disciplines, with concise explanations for the beginner or professional.

Spanish <i>real</i> Historical currency of Spain, used from the mid-14th century to 1868

The real was a unit of currency in Spain for several centuries after the mid-14th century. It underwent several changes in value relative to other units throughout its lifetime until it was replaced by the peseta in 1868. The most common denomination for the currency was the silver eight-realSpanish dollar or peso which was used throughout Europe, America and Asia during the height of the Spanish Empire.

1913 Liberty Head nickel Rare United States coin

The 1913 Liberty Head nickel is an American five-cent piece which was produced in extremely limited quantities unauthorized by the United States Mint, making it one of the best-known and most coveted rarities in American numismatics. In 1972, one specimen of the five cent coin became the first coin to sell for over US$100,000; in 1996, another specimen became the first to sell for over US$1 million. In 2003, one coin was sold for under three million dollars. In 2010, the Olsen piece sold for US$3.7 million at a public auction.

Silver center cent American bimetallic pattern coin

The Silver center cent is an American pattern coin produced by the United States Mint in 1792. As a precursor to the large cent it was one of the first coins of the United States and an early example of a bimetallic coin. Only 12 original examples are known to exist, of which one is located in the National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian Institution. Two more specimens exist but contain fabricated plugs added after minting.

Spanish escudo Former Spanish currency in use from 1535–1833 and 1864–1869

The escudo was either of two distinct Spanish currency denominations.

Heritage Auctions American fine art and collectibles auction house

Heritage Auctions is an American multi-national auction house based in Dallas, Texas. Founded in the 1970s and 1980s from a partnership between two rival collectors, Heritage is an auctioneer of numismatic collections, comics, fine art, books, luxury accessories, real estate, and memorabilia from film, music, history, and sports.

This article provides an outline of the currency of Spanish America from Spanish colonization in the 15th century until Spanish American independencies in the 19th. This great realm was divided into the Viceroyalty of New Spain, which came to include all Spanish territory north of Panama, the West Indies, Venezuela, and the Philippines, and the Viceroyalty of Peru, which included Panama and all Spanish territory in South America except Venezuela. The monetary system of Spanish America, originally identical to that of Spain, soon diverged and took on a distinctive character of its own, which it passed on to the independent nations that followed after.

Currency of Venezuela

The currency of Venezuela has been in circulation since the end of the 18th century. The present currency unit in Venezuela is the Venezuelan bolívar.

Currency in Colombia has been used since 1622. It was in that year, under a licence purchased from King Philip III of Spain, that Turrillo de Yebra established a mint at Santa Fe de Bogotá and a branch mint at Cartagena de las Indias, where gold cobs were produced as part of Colombia's first currency. Silver milled coins date from 1627. In 1831, Gran Colombia dissolved into Venezuela and New Granada. In 1836, in New Granada, new monetary laws were passed, to standardise the money produced in the country. From 1861-1862, due to financial instability, the United States of New Granada accepted British currency, the name of the country becoming the United States of Colombia in 1862. In 1880, Colombia pegged the peso to the gold standard due to the falling price of silver. In 1886, the paper peso was introduced. In 1931, Colombia abandoned the gold standard and switched to the current form of the peso.

Rare Coin Wholesalers is a rare-coin company that specializes in United States rare coins. Located in Irvine, California, Rare Coin Wholesalers buys, sells, appraises and trades rare coins and precious metals. Originally established as a S.L. Contursi company in 1990, the owners have bought and sold over two billion dollars' worth of rare coins.

National Numismatic Collection National coin cabinet of the United States

The National Numismatic Collection is the national coin cabinet of the United States. The collection is part of the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History.

Steven Contursi American numismatist

Steven L. Contursi is an American businessman and numismatist. He is the founder and president of Rare Coin Wholesalers. In the past 38 years, Steve Contursi has bought and sold over $1 billion worth of rare United States coins.

Blanchard and Company, Inc. is an investment firm specializing in rare coins and precious metals, including gold bars, silver coins and bars, platinum, and palladium.