World Coins

Regulated gold coin brings $152,750 in Sedwick sale

A unique “regulated” gold coin, originally a 1741 Lima Mint gold 8-escudo piece in the cob style, realized $152,750, with 17.5 percent buyer’s fee, during Daniel Frank Sedwick LLC’s May 15 and 16 auction.

Images courtesy of Daniel Frank Sedwick, LLC.

A unique gold coin with a connection to Colonial America has realized more than 10,000 times its face value during Daniel Frank Sedwick LLC’s May 15 and 16 auction.

The unique example of a gold 8-escudo coin countermarked by Boston merchant Joseph Edwards Jr., circa 1780, sold for $152,750, including the 17.5 percent buyer’s fee. 

The coin is graded Extremely Fine 40 by Numismatic Guaranty Corp., and had an estimate of $100,000 and up.

A private collector bought the coin, to join a collection of other regulated gold coins, according to Augi Garcia of the auction house. 

Though he is overshadowed by names like Ephraim Brasher and Standish Barry, Edwards is on the list of known merchants or jewelers that hallmarked gold coins for use in early America. 

Both Brasher’s and Barry’s “doubloons” had a face value of $15. So too does the example plugged and countermarked by Edwards, on a 1741-V Lima gold 8-escudo coin, the only such host coin found in the regulated gold series.

British colonies in North America relied on international coinage, but the melange of issues meant that coins with an array of finenesses, weights and authenticity circulated together, so regulation by metalsmiths was the solution.

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“The weight standard to which these metalsmiths adhered was established in a practice known as ‘regulation,’ following a decades-old tradition that became a formalized standard just as the United States was becoming an independent nation,” according to Sedwick.

Metalsmiths verified the gold and ensured that the pieces met the standard, stamping their marks onto coins deemed acceptable. 

The Sedwick sale catalog presents an in-depth exploration of the weight standards and history behind regulated gold coins, along with a detailed narrative about this specific coin.

The coin offered has the earliest known genuine host issue of any regulated doubloon, the only nonimitation cob regulated at the $15 standard. 

Regulated gold coins were an important part of the early American economy, as the U.S. Mint did not strike circulating gold coins until 1795. Many gold coins of the era were melted and recoined, and only in recent years has the story of regulated gold garnered attention, Sedwick said.

The Sedwick sale’s example can be traced to the 1911 auction of the Julius L. Brown Collection, cataloged by S.H. Chapman. 

For the full history, visit the firm's website

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