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New York



The State of New York was officially opposed to issuing coppers. When the coining petition of Ephraim Brasher and John Bailey failed to move the legislature, Bailey proceeded to manufacture copper coins of his own which displayed a New York theme. They are known as the Nova Eborac (Latin for New York) coppers. Though rarer than the other state issues, these privately made pieces were evidently produced in enough numbers to remain collectable today.

Perhaps the most desirable of New York-themed coins are the gold Brasher doubloons. This issue has intrigued numismatists for generations, though the exact story behind their creation remains a mystery. The first example turned up in a deposit of foreign gold pieces made to the Philadelphia Mint in 1838. The depositor simply wished to have his metal restruck into federal coins or ingots, and it was the sharp eye of Chief Coiner Adam Eckfeldt that spotted the significance of the hitherto unknown gold piece. For some years, Eckfeldt had taken it upon himself to set aside curious specimens which came into the Mint for recoining, paying for them from his own pocket. To this assemblage he added proof specimens of the current year's federal coinage, and these items formed the nucleus of the U. S. Mint's own coin collection, since relocated to the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.

There's no common agreement on which side of the Brasher doubloon is the obverse and which is the reverse. Though the eye is drawn toward the side bearing the distinctive 'EB' hallmark, set within an oval cartouche, most scholars have classified the landscape design as this coin's obverse. Featured is a scene depicting the rising sun as it just clears the peak of a mountain. This is framed within a circle of small dots, while the name BRASHER appears below the landscape. Inscribed around the periphery are the legends NOVA EBORAC, COLUMBIA and EXCELSIOR, these separated by quatrefoils.

The reverse of this splendid coin is quite similar to that of the "EXCELSIOR" coppers of 1787, engraved by John Bailey, and it's possible that Bailey may have participated in executing Brasher's dies. The reverse is dominated by a heraldic eagle facing to the viewer's left and bearing an American shield on its breast. In its right talons it grasps the olive branch of peace, in its left the arrows of war. A constellation of 13 five-point stars is arranged about the eagle's head. A closed wreath encircles the eagle, and around the periphery is the legend E PLURIBUS UNUM, separated with six-point stars. Below is the date 1787, set apart from the legend by quatrefoils.


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NGC Auction Central Disclaimer

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