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Extremely Rare Ephraim Brasher $1

Portugal. Joao V 800 Reis 1749. Lisbon mint. EB mark for Ephraim Brasher. KM218. VF. Clipped. Marked EB in oval for Ephraim Brasher, New York. Weight precisely correct for a 1/8 fraction of a 1784 New York standard 9 dwt 6400 Reis (26.9 grains). The tiny, careful clips were removed from their same location as almost always found on Brasher and Burger regulated pieces, in the southwest quadrant of the obverse rim. The original edge device is intact from 9:00 to 6:00, the remainder of the circumference. Marked at the base of the portrait bust, Brasher's usual location. This is the precise mark used on the Lima and New York style Brasher doubloons; indeed, every Brasher mark represented in this collection is from the identical punch.

A very rare Ephraim Brasher fractional Joe, equal to one Spanish Milled dollar. Fractional denominations are extraordinarily rare with any American regulation mark. There was an English quarter Guinea with a Brasher mark in the Garrett Collection, and an anonymously regulated (plugged, but not marked) 3200 Reis was present in Eliasberg. The Waldo Newcomer inventory notes a Brasher-marked 1728 400 Reis, but that date is not known on the denomination (which, in truth, at a value of just a half Spanish milled dollar, would be too small to bother regulating). We suspect the Newcomer piece was probably an 800 Reis, a twin to this one. The whereabouts of that piece have not been traced, but these two are, in all likelihood, the only Brasher marks on this denomination known. A 1727-dated 1600 Reis marked by Brasher was included in our 2005 sale of the Gold Rush Collection, the only example of that denomination regulated by an American smith known to this cataloguer.

Whereas major gold coins like 6400 Reis and 8 Escudos were often used in early America in payment of large transactions, smaller fractional gold coins for day-to-day transactions were scarce. A coin of this value, equal to a Spanish Milled dollar, was much more likely to be silver than gold. This one saw steady wear over the four decades it spent in various pockets it reached Brasher's shop in Lower Manhattan. Diminutive as it is, it remains an attractive and impressive early American gold coin.

Provenance: From Stack's 1976 ANA sale, August 24, 1976, Lot 2584.
From the Edward Roehrs Collection of U.S. Regulated Gold.

Service and Handling Description: Coins & Currency (view shipping information)

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Auction Dates
August, 2010
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 3
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