It doesn’t necessarily require a fortune to buy a piece of numismatic
history from Eric P. Newman’s nine decades of collecting.
While purchasing a counterstamped 1787 Brasher gold doubloon, should
one become available, will likely take millions of dollars, a
collector can acquire for far less money a coin in the Newman
Collection that bears the familiar EB hallmark of noted New York
goldsmith Ephraim Brasher.
Heritage Auctions will offer the fourth auction of the Eric P.
Newman Collection in sessions scheduled for May 16 and 17 in New York City.
One of the 687 lots presented is a 1760 British gold half guinea
bearing Brasher’s EB hallmark or counterstamp. The EB, within an oval
cartouche, is punched into the portrait of King George II on the obverse.
The counterstamped coin is graded Very Fine 30 by Numismatic
As Brasher was arguably the most well-known and respected of the New
York goldsmiths and silversmiths, the appearance of his counterstamp
on foreign coins circulating in 18th century America assured the assay
or quality of those coins, according to the Heritage auction cataloger.
The lower edge of the EB counterstamped half guinea offered is
clipped, presumably contemporaneously, according to the cataloger, to
reduce its weight to slightly below the New York standard of 5
pennyweight, 6 grains for one guinea, or 63 grains for a half guinea.
Brasher wasn’t the only New York goldsmith and silversmith
counterstamping coins to attest to their meeting the standard of the day.
Goldsmith and silversmith John Burger punched his script JB monogram
on coins meeting the coinage standards.
The Newman IV auction offers an NGC Extremely Fine 40 1772 British
gold guinea bearing Burger’s counterstamp in an oval cartouche punched
into the eye of the portrait of King George III.
At 125 grains, the coin is one grain below the accepted standard for
a gold guinea.
One wonders how a Massachusetts silver coin can survive in
approximately the same condition it appeared when struck more than 360
Among the examples offered in the Newman IV auction are a 1652 Pine
Tree, Large Planchet shilling, cataloged as Noe 7 in The Silver
Coins of Massachusetts by Sydney P. Noe), graded NGC Mint State
64, and a 1652 Oak Tree, IN at Bottom, shilling, Noe 4, graded NGC MS-65.
According to Christopher J. Salmon, author of the 2010 reference
The Silver Coins of Massachusetts: Classification, Minting
Technique, Atlas, the variety is sometimes referred to as the
“Tall Tree” variety. Salmon attributes the Noe 7 Pine Tree shilling as
Salmon 6-Dii in his cataloging system.
According to Salmon, “The tree is beautifully and realistically
rendered with a narrow tapering trunk arising from a ground line that
appears to consist entirely of roots which abundantly fill the foreground.”
Salmon writes that the reverse of the Salmon 6-Dii Pine Tree
shilling is recut from the reverse die used to strike the Salmon 5-Di variety.
Newman’s 1652 Oak Tree, Noe 4 shilling is identified as one of the
finest known examples.
Although dated 1652, the silver Oak Tree coinage was actually
produced between 1660 and 1667.
The Newman IV auction’s offering of Connecticut coppers includes one
1786 piece with an unusual name and a 1788 error bearing two obverse portraits.
The first coin is a 1786 Connecticut, Mailed Bust Right, Scholar’s
Head copper in NGC Very Good 8. It is attributed as the Miller 3-D.1
variety in State Coinage of Connecticut by Henry Miller.
Only five obverse dies for the 1786 Connecticut coppers show the
obverse portrait facing right. Each exhibits separate punctuation,
making identification easier.
Obverse 3 is known as the “Scholar’s Head,” a moniker coined by
numismatic researcher and cataloger Michael Hodder.
The 1788 Connecticut, Draped Bust Left copper, Miller 16.4-L.2, is
double struck with a brockage. It is graded NGC MS-62 brown.
The obverse exhibits two side-by-side profiles. On the reverse, the
right portion of the reverse design appears to the left. On the right
is an elliptical indentation, a brockage image.
The double-struck, brockage error was acquired more than 70 years
ago from the estate of prominent collector Col. E.H.R. Green.
The May 16 and 17 sale is to be held at Heritage Auctions’ New York
City galleries at 445 Park Ave., 15th Floor, in Manhattan.
For more details about the auction, visit Heritage Auctions online
at www.ha.com; write
the firm at 3500 Maple Ave., 17th Floor, Dallas, TX 75219-3941; or
telephone Heritage either at 214-528-3500 or toll free at 800-872-6467.