First US Gold Coin Sold for Record $7.4M


"'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. It is not a stretch to call this the holy grail of all collectible gold coins.'"

While perhaps not that significant in the overall gold price pattern, U.S. coin dealer Blanchard & Co. Reports that it has placed the world's most valuable rare gold coin for a record $7.395M.

"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."

The coin concerned is 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. The transaction is the single highest price ever paid for a coin in a private transaction. The coin is thought to be 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 John 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."

According to the Blanchard release, the gold coin in question was originally 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. At 26.4 grams of 22 carat gold this would now be worth perhaps around $1275 in its gold content today. It was called a doubloon because it was similar in weight to the Spanish gold coins with that designation. 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 on the obverse, and this is the single-known piece of his making that includes the stamp at the centre of the eagle's breast rather than on its wing. There are believed to be six examples of the coin stamped by Brasher on the eagle's 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.

In January 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 coins and the single Punch on Breast coin sold for $2.99 million thus this latter coin has more than doubled in value in just under seven years. However, to put this into perspective, over the same time the price of gold has quadrupled in value which shows that gold coin collectables, however rare, do not necessarily outperform the metal price itself.

Lawrence Williams, Mineweb

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