NEW ORLEANS — An exceedingly rare 1787 gold Brasher doubloon has been sold for $7.4 million, one of the highest prices ever paid for a gold coin.
Blanchard and Co., the New Orleans-based coin and precious metals company that brokered the deal, said the doubloon was purchased by a Wall Street investment firm. Identities of the buyer and seller were not disclosed.
Minted by Ephraim Brasher, a goldsmith and neighbor of George Washington, the coin contains 26.66 grams of gold — slightly less than an ounce. Worth about $15 when it was minted, the gold value today would be more than $1,500.
It is the only known example of the doubloon with a distinctive hallmark punch on the eagle's breast; five other known doubloons have a punch on the eagle's left wing.
The Brasher doubloon is considered the first American-made gold coin denominated in dollars; the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia didn't begin striking coins until the 1790s, and foreign coins of various currencies were in use in the nation's early years.
The Brasher doubloon last changed hands in 2004 for $3 million.
"We have known about it and coveted it for years," said Blanchard CEO Donald Doyle Jr.
About six weeks ago, the doubloon was sent to John Albanese of Certified Acceptance Corp. for grading and authentication. Albanese is a consulting partner for Blanchard and well-established in the coin grading field.
Albanese said he offered $5.5 million for the coin more than three years ago — and the offer was rejected. He said the coin had seen light circulation.
"It's not a stretch to call this the holy grail of all collectible gold coins," said Albanese.
"It's a truly beautiful coin," he said.
The Brasher coin was called a doubloon because it is approximately the weight of a Spanish gold doubloon, a common coin in colonial America.