Brasher's EB CounterstampBrazil 1600 Reis [1 escudo]. 1727M. Fine to VF with minor surface problems. Lots 30011 through 30017 represent what is almost certainly the ultimate collection of coins related to Ephraim Brasher, the New York city gold and silversmith. Included are two colonial copper coins produced by John Bailey and punchlinked to the Brasher Doubloons, two gold coins from Brazil that each have an EB counterstamp, the important 1742-dated Lima Style Brasher Doubloon, the famous 1787 New York Style Brasher Doubloon with EB punched on the eagle's wing, and the unique 1787 New York Style Brasher Doubloon with EB punched on the eagle's breast.
Cleaned and now bright yellow gold with lilac toning in three prominent splashes on the obverse. Some light edge problems with a later void in the planchet at 8 o'clock. Plugged and counterstamped by Ephraim Brasher, with EB in an oval at the center of the obverse. Struck at the Minas Gerais Mint. Standard for the issue was 3.58 grams of .917 fine (22K) gold. This example weighs 3.48 grams, just a tenth of a gram light. This is the first date of issue for this type with the head of John VI facing right, and it is a scarce date among coins of this type.
Types of Coins in Circulation in Colonial America
Immigrants to America brought their possessions with them, which would have included any coinage they had, from their native lands. It is this coinage that became the base for a circulating money in the colonies, and this coinage would have been roughly proportional to the number of immigrants from any given country. Eventually, the export of goods to foreign lands resulted in additional gold and silver being imported to colonial America as well. In Money of the American Colonies and Confederation, Philip L. Mossman (p. 29) notes: "While the ready availability of hard coin fluctuated because of cyclical inflationary and recessionary periods, there was a chronic shortage of small denominational currency for daily business."
Even this small money supply often disappeared in earlier colonial times due to the existing trade deficit with England. In 1839, Joseph B. Felt published Historical Account of Massachusetts Currency. An entry dated March 6, 1719 discusses this trade deficit: "All the silver money which formerly made payments in trade to be easy, is now sent into Great Britain to make returns for part of what is owing there. We have been so deficient in farming and managing our own manufacture, lived so much above our abilities, spent so much of our imported commodities, that our money is gone, there is scarce a penny of it passing for a twelvemonth."
The most widely circulated gold coinage included that of France, England, Portugal, and Spain, while silver coinage was mostly from the Netherlands, France, and the Spanish colonies. In an article appearing in the March 1987 issue of Coinage magazine, David T. Alexander noted on page 22: "Most of the gold and silver coins circulating in this country in 1787 were struck in Spain or in her major colonial mints in Mexico, Lima and Potosi, plus a few minor mints, such as those in Bogota and Guatemala City." The 8 Escudo coin (Doubloon) was the largest gold coin circulating at the time, and with a weight of 407 grains, it had a value of $16.00. (NGC ID# 2AYX, PCGS# 801)
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