US Coins

Finest-known gold Brasher doubloon to lead January Partrick sale

Heritage will offer the finest-known example of the “World’s Most Famous Coin” at its Jan. 21 offering of the Partrick Collection in Dallas: a gold 1787 New York Style Brasher Doubloon graded MS-65 Star by NGC and bearing a green CAC sticker. When it sold for $725,000 in 1979 it set a then-record for any coin at auction and inspired a 1946 film.

Images courtesy of Heritage Auctions

Heritage will continue its offerings of the Donald G. Partrick collection on Jan. 21 in Dallas as part of its rescheduled auctions originally set for the now-canceled Florida United Numismatists show.

The session will follow Heritage’s traditional Platinum Night offerings. Partrick’s collection was formed over 50 years and across a wide range of numismatic areas, with Heritage observing that the collector “displayed an amazing capacity to learn and focus on his goals. His interests were wide-ranging within the challenging colonial spectrum, broadening into federal half cents and specialized Americana.”

Partrick was anonymously recorded as a “Long Island Specialist” in many pedigree records; he led an extremely successful real estate and development business in his home state of New York

Leading the Partrick session will be a 1787 Brasher gold doubloon, New York Style, EB on Wing, graded Mint State 65 Star by Numismatic Guaranty Corp. and carrying a green Certified Acceptance Corp. sticker.

Heritage calls the Brasher doubloon “arguably the world’s most famous numismatic rarity.” The Dallas auction marks this particular example’s third public offering since 1848. It set a record-price for any coin offered at auction its two prior offerings, realizing $6,200 in Henry Chapman’s sale of the Stickney collection in 1907 and bringing $725,000 at Bowers & Merena’s auction of the Garrett Collection in 1979, where Partrick acquired it.

It is the finest-known example of seven known Brasher doubloons. As Heritage notes, “The coins have been popularized in detective novels and motion pictures, like The High Window, by Raymond Chandler, and The Brasher Doubloon, produced by 20th Century Fox, 1946.”

These impressive gold coins were produced by New York goldsmith and jeweler Ephraim Brasher with an obverse adapting the state coat of arms of New York showing the sun rising over a mountain peak, and the reverse depicting an eagle with outstretched wings similar to that used on the Great Seal of the United States. Brasher’s mark — an EB in an oval — is seen on the eagle’s right wing (at viewer’s left). The gold pieces Brasher made were valued at $15 in New York currency at the time, the approximate value of a contemporary Spanish doubloon, which was worth 16 Spanish dollars.

The “Red Book” devotes a page to the Brasher issues and notes, “It is uncertain why Brasher produced these pieces,” but the “EB” punchmark is seen on contemporary circulating coins of the era, providing evidence of his testing of a coin and verifying its gold content and value.

Partrick shared in Q. David Bowers’ 1985 book Abe Kosoff: Dean of Numismatics, that he was encouraged by Kosoff to add this coin to his collection, even though Kosoff hoped to buy it for his own holdings. Partrick said, “That night, I remember Abe’s comment was that in his opinion the numismatist who was fortunate enough to own a Brasher doubloon would have a treasure he would contemplate for the rest of his life.”

Heritage concluded, “The New York-style Brasher doubloon in this sale combines beauty, history, eminence, and rarity. This is the finest example of the world’s most famous coin. Once ensconced in the prestigious cabinets of Stickney, Ellsworth, Garrett, and Partrick, it is now being made available to the public for only the third time since Ephraim Brasher minted it in 1787. Many will vie for this nonpareil prize, but it will elevate the cabinet of only one fortunate collector.”

Connect with Coin World:  
Sign up for our free eNewsletter
Access our Dealer Directory  
Like us on Facebook  
Follow us on Twitter

Community Comments