It may sound like a headline from the Pirates of the Caribbean, but in actuality, a gold Brasher doubloon from 1787 sold at auction in New Orleans just this year.
Rare coins have been known to sell for high prices, but a gold coin of this caliber sold for $7.4 million, making it one of the highest
prices any coin has ever fetched. The gold coin left the hands of Blanchard and
Co., in New Orleans, who sold the doubloon to a Wall Street investment firm.
Historical Gold Coins
What’s most important about the value of the coin is its
rich history. The Brasher doubloon has long been a historical mystery. Named
after Ephraim Brasher who was a goldsmith, silversmith, and jeweler, there is little known about
the making of the coin. Brasher minted the coin as one of the first pure gold
coins in circulation, but there is little to no documentation to explain how
the coin emerged. What is known of Ephraim Brasher is little, but what is known
of the doubloon that bears his mark, EB, is even less.
The word “doubloon” often refers to Spanish coins, yet this
gold coin was minted in the United States. In fact, the Brasher doubloon is
fated as the first American-made gold coin. It had a dollar amount and was
intended for use. However, when measured against the fact that the original
mint in Philadelphia didn’t start making coins until 1790, the $7.4 million
sounds like a drop in the hat to the inestimable price of history.
Today’s Gold Value
The mystique behind the coin is enough to give it great
value, not to mention its numismatic value. The significant amount of gold in
which it was forged – 26.66 grams, or about one ounce – certainly adds to the
monetary value of the coin.
Upon minting the coin, the gold value for use was $15, but
by today’s standards the coin would value at more than $15,000. That’s a big
jump in price, which tells you something about the value of gold today.