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REGULATED GOLD - REGULATED GOLD COINS - COLONIAL AMERICAN COINS

 


Regulated Gold Coins - Article I, Section 8, Clause 5 of the Constitution gives Congress the power to “coin money, regulate the value thereof, and of foreign coin, and fix the standard of weights and measures.” This power was necessary in post-Revolutionary times because gold coins from many countries of the world circulated as legal tender in the United States. They were valued for their gold content not as specie. This cacophony of coins of the world would be an obvious source of confusion in domestic and foreign commerce. Coins from Brazil, Portugal, Spain, France, and England all circulated concurrently. However, each had a different weight and fineness making trade extremely inconvenient.

The problem was first dealt with in colonial times, when coins were “regulated.” This practice continued after Independence. A goldsmith or silversmith would drill a coin and add gold in the form of a plug to increase its weight. If it was then overweight, he would clip and/or file its edge. Thus, coins were “regulated” to certain standards. The plugs that were added were then stamped with a hallmark indentifying the regulator who guaranteed the gold content of the piece. Regulators, who were also jewelers and highly thought of members of the community, included John Bayley, John Burger, John David Jr., Lewis Feuter, Myer Myers, Thomas Pons, Thomas Underhill, and William Hollingshead. However, none was so prominent and famous in numismatic circles as Ephraim Brasher.

Thomas JeffersonWhen a gold coin circulates, its weight can change. Honest wear as well as dishonest practices cause changes in weight and therefore value. Coins were clipped and sometimes a bag of coins was “sweated.” It would be shaken and the resulting dust and other gold residue would be accumulated and later sold. So in addition to coins coming from different countries, they might have had to be regulated because of their diminished value as a result of wear, clipping, or sweating.

Usually numismatists are concerned about a coin’s pristine quality. In fact, today a “perfect” coin is given a grade of Mint State 70. Coins that are holed, clipped, filed, plugged, and counter stamped have considerably diminished value to most collectors. Most coins in these categories are considered undesirable and would not be certified by any of the major grading services except in the “details” category. However, in the realm of regulated gold coins, all of the previous notions of quality and appeal must be abandoned in favor of a different set of assumptions. Even counterfeit coins have been regulated and are highly collectible today. Obviously a regulated coin cannot be in Mint State condition. The host coin must be described in detail and, if possible, graded separately from the plug or plugs.

Ephraim BrasherRegulated coins have been found in collections of famous collectors and numismatists. These include Virgil M. Brand, Louis Eliasberg, John J. Ford Jr., John Work Garrett, Waldo Newcomer, and John L. Roper. Edward Roehrs had an excellent collection of regulated coins that was auctioned in 2010 at the ANA Boston World’s Fair of Money.

It seems unusual to modern sensibility that colonists and citizens of the early republic would have silver tankards, beakers, and porringers; however, it should be noted that these items represented a person’s surplus wealth. Since there were no banks where a colonist could keep hard money, they took all their surplus coins to a silversmith and had them melted and made into useful objects. Since paper money often depreciated, savings were safer if invested in silver plate where they could also be useful in the home. In case of a theft, silver could easily be identified by the hallmark and engraving and recovered. If cash were needed, the silver could be taken to a silversmith and be reconverted into money. The silversmith had to be a man of highest integrity because he was expected to turn a certain quantity of silver plate into coin or the opposite.

Ephraim Brasher of the famous Brasher Doubloon, was a New York goldsmith, sliversmith, and jeweler. He was also George Washington’s silversmith, neighbor and personal friend. In the late 1870’s he struck gold coins that were equivalent to $16 and equal in weight to the Spanish doubloon. His EB hallmark is punched on the coins.

Brasher was a respected and valued member of the community. In a Coinage magazine article, March 1978, “The Bicentennial,” David T. Alexander said: “In the late 1700’s, silversmiths and goldsmiths were particularly respected members of the community, often acting as bankers, assayers, and authenticators of the Babel of gold and silver coins of the world which circulated in the bullion-starved colonies and the new republic.”

William Hollingshead was a Philadelphia silversmith who conducted business at the corner of Arch and Second Streets from 1754 until 1785. He was born on October 11, 1728 in Rocky Hill, NJ. He married Elizabeth Harvey on February 26, 1748 in Philadelphia. Hollingshead advertised in Philadelphia’s Pennsylvania Gazette, offering his services to the public as a gold and silversmith. In March of 1776 George Washington purchased two dozen silver cups from Hollingshead and had his family crest engraved on each.

Hollingshead’s silver was simpler than the style that was prevalent in England, reflecting the sober, simple and rigorous life in America. It was beautifully proportioned with sturdy, clean lines. It was clearly designed for practical, domestic purposes.

An example of his silver is a sugar bowl which represents the inverted pear form which was fashionable shortly before the Revolution and persisted into the early classical period. He also made a little cream jug on three legs. Like the sugar bowl, it is pear shaped. It has a scroll-cut lip and double-scroll handle. Both pieces are engraved with the monogram R A T suggesting that the two pieces formed part of a tea set.

Thomas Underhill was born on May 18, 1755 in Monroe, New York. He married Elizabeth Thorne in 1779. From 1775 to 1786 he worked in New York City as a silversmith. He was a partner in the firm of Underhill and Vernon with John Vernon from 1786 to 1787. Underhill died in 1824. A set of 6 teaspoons was recently auctioned. Made by Thomas Underhill of New York City, they are marked “TU” in a rectangular punch, much like the present coin.

Thomas Pons was a Boston silversmith and spectacle maker. In 1757 he married Sarah Fosdick in Boston. Pons worked from 1782 until 1811 and was listed in the 1800 city directory at 51 Newbury Street, the heart of Boston. By 1807 the Boston city directory listed him as a “spectacle manufacturer.” Three years later he declared his intention to make spectacles in the March 28, 1810 edition of The Massachusetts Spy and offered to lease or to sell his other business holdings. His PONS is the earliest known American spectacle maker marking. All of Pons’ regulated coinage is rare. He is one of the few known silversmiths who worked and lived in Boston in the post-Revolutionary period.

Lewis Feuter - Lewis Feuter’s father, Daniel, was a well known silversmith in New York who worked for the British making peace medals. Father and son worked together in 1769, but the son soon began running the business alone. F&G always marked at the center, often with a big lumpy plug. Feuter died in Jamaica in 1784 at the age of 38, just months after the end of the British occupation New York. He had left New York for Halifax, like many Loyalist evacuees, before ending up in Jamaica and meeting his early death.

John Burger was a New York silversmith who also regulated coins for the new United States government. In 1786 his address was listed as 207 Queen Street in New York City. John Burger was born in 1747 and died in 1828. He married Sarah Baker in 1767 in New York City. They had two children, Thomas and David. He was an apprentice to Myer Myers, a leader in the New York Jewish community and ardent supporter of the Patriot cause.

In 1775 he was a partner with Prichard, and from 1779 to 1783 he partnered with Myer Myers. From 1784 to 1805 Burger worked as a gold and silversmith in New York City. He was a member of the Gold and Silver Smiths Society of New York. Other members of this small guild included Myer Myers and Ephraim Brasher. In 1803 John Burger was also appointed as Corner in New York City. From 1805 to 1806 he worked with his sons, Thomas and David, at 62 James Street. In 1825 he was appointed as Regulator of Public Clocks in New York City.

The provision that allowed foreign gold and silver to be used as legal tender in the United States remained until the Act of 1857. It was then that the niche that foreign coins filled ended. It is clear that America’s dependence on foreign coinage was galling to Hamilton and other Federalists. However, the demographic and commercial success of the country in post-Revolutionary times made it dependent on the gold of Brazil and other countries of the Americas, and as long as these imports circulated, they had to be regulated.


1770-6 Lewis Fueter Regulated Gold US$6 Portugal 1714 4000 Reis, (KM 184), NGC VF25. This rare, unusual 1770-6 Lewis Fueter Regulated Gold piece was regulated by Lewis Fueter, a Royalist who worked in occupied New York prior to the Revolution. The host coin is a 1714 4000 reis coin from Portugal. Its yellow gold surfaces show light, even wear and certainly could have been graded higher than the VF25 assigned by NGC. The 1770-6 Lewis Fueter Regulated Gold coin is plugged and stamped LF for Lewis Fueter in a vertically oriented rectangular cartouche. It was built up on the obverse and was flush on the reverse. Some of the diagonal edge reeding is missing, indicating that the edge was filed. The 1770-6 Lewis Fueter Regulated Gold coin was regulated to the occupied New York standard of 6 pennyweights, 22 grains, which was the equivalent of six dollars.

Coins from Brazil, Portugal, Spain, France, and England all circulated concurrently in early America. However, each had a different weight and fineness making trade extremely inconvenient. The problem was first dealt with in colonial times, when coins were “regulated.” This practice continued after Independence. A goldsmith or silversmith would drill a coin and add gold in the form of a plug to increase its weight. If it was then overweight, he would clip and/or file its edge. Thus, coins were “regulated” to certain standards. The plugs that were added were then stamped with a hallmark indentifying the regulator who guaranteed the gold content of the piece. Regulators, who were also jewelers and highly thought of members of the community, included John Bayley, John Burger, John David Jr., Lewis Feuter, Myer Myers, Thomas Pons, Thomas Underhill, and William Hollingshead. However, none was so prominent and famous in numismatic circles as Ephraim Brasher.

The host coin, a 4000 reis of 1714 from Portugal, KM 184. The obverse shows the Maltese cross with quatrefoils in the angles and the date above; the reverse shows the crowned arms; to the left is the vertical value and King Joao (John) V’s titles are at the right.

Lewis Fueter worked for an old Tory firm that regulated coinage in occupied New York during the Revolutionary War. Edward Roehrs wrote a brief biography of Fueter in the December 2005 issue of The Numismatist. Fueter’s father, Daniel, was a well known silversmith in New York who worked for the British making peace medals. Father and son worked together in 1769, but the son soon began running the business alone. According to Roehrs, Lewis Fueter died in Jamaica in 1784 at the age of 38, just months after the end of the British occupation New York. He had left New York for Halifax, like many Loyalist evacuees, before ending up in Jamaica and meeting his early death. Most often his hallmark was F&G. Researchers do not know who “G” may have been.

The present coin is unique. Any coin regulated by Lewis Fueter alone is a great rarity, and this denomination is also extremely rare for a regulated coin.


Regulated Gold - 1774-76 Regulated Gold 3L/1S Thomas Pons (Thomas Pons Regulated Gold), Brazil, 6400 R, 1774-R, NGC VF35. This gold Portuguese Pica or 6400 Reis dated 1774, probably circulated briefly before the American Revolution and then was regulated afterwards by Thomas Pons. The host coin is a one Pica or 6400 Reis of Joseph I, King of Portugal that was struck at the mint in Bahia. The coin, assigned grade VF35 by NGC, clearly meets the grading requirements at that level. The coin has been slightly clipped at 12:00 and plugged TP, in strongly impressed block letters, for Thomas Pons in the center of the reverse. The large circular plug is smooth on the obverse and built up on the reverse. The plug and clip regulate the coin’s weight to 9 dwt 4 grains.

In the United States during the Confederation era, gold from Europe and South America circulated and was accepted for commerce. Since the coins varied in fineness and weight, certain jewelers were authorized to correct the coin weights to ensure equity. Among the various regulators were Ephraim Brasher, John Burger, Robert Cruikshank, William Hollingshead, Myer Myers, Thomas Pons, Joseph Richardson, and Daniel Van Voorhis. To raise the weight or gold content of the foreign coins, they applied gold plugs with punches. They clipped coins to reduce their weight. Coins came from Brazil, Chile, England, France, Portugal, Spain and other countries. The use of marked or plugged coins became commonplace throughout the new country and in the West Indies as well.

Thomas Jefferson spoke about regulated gold being like architecture where “putting up and pulling down is a favorite amusement.” Jefferson meant that gold coins’ values based on their weights and finenesses changed over time. For example a coin might lose some weight from honest wear. It would also lose weight from the unscrupulous practices of clipping and “sweating.” Sweating was shaking a bag of coins to gather the chips and dust that resulted. Consequently, it was necessary to adjust or “regulate” these coins by adding gold in the form of a plug.

The usual numismatic rules do not apply to these unusual and historic pieces. Under normal circumstances, a coin’s value is considerably diminished by counter stamping, drilling, and plugging. However, in the case of Regulated Coins, their value is greatly enhanced. Typically Regulated Coins were found only in the famous and advanced collections of Garrett, Eliasberg, Ten Eyck, Ford, Roper, Brand, Jackman, and Newcomer.

The host coin shows a bust of Joseph I, King of Portugal from 1750 to 1777. His name and title are inscribed around his portrait with the date and mintmark below. He was devoted to the Church and the opera and assembled one of the greatest collections of operatic scores in Europe. He placed the power of government in the hands of the Marquis of Pombal, and the history of Joseph’s reign was determined by Pombal who expelled the Jesuits, gained control of public education and church lands and brought the country from conservative Catholicism to the Age of Enlightenment.

Thomas Pons was a Boston silversmith and spectacle maker. He worked from 1782 until 1811 and was listed in the 1800 city directory at 51 Newbury Street. By 1807 the Boston city directory listed him as a “spectacle manufacturer.” Three years later he declared his intention to make spectacles and offered to lease or to sell his other business holdings.

The grading services do not publish population numbers for regulated coins; however, it is absolutely safe to assume that this coin is quite rare and probably unique.


1776-78 William Taylor, Regulated Gold, US $8.00, Brazil 1749 6400R, KM149, NGC VF20. This rare 1776-78 William Taylor Regulated Gold 6400 Reis or Half Joe has been clipped, re-edged, plugged, and stamped with the WT monogram in a rectangular cartouche for William Taylor of Philadelphia. The coin weighs half a grain less than the post-Revolutionary standard of 9 dwt or 215.4 grains. The coin was clipped around its circumference and then re-edged. The obverse shows a circular plug that is nearly flush at the center. The monogram is upside down within it. The reverse plug is also flush. The surfaces are a medium, yellow gold. The plug is slightly darker than the host coin. A cut in the obverse right field is a test mark.

The host coin is a 1749 Half Joe made in the Rio Mint. Its obverse shows a right facing portrait of King John V of Portugal, who was also known as Fidelissimus (in Portuguese Joao V) the Magnanimous, king of Portugal and the Algarves. He reigned from 1706 to 1750. Inscribed around the portrait are his name and title with the date below. The reverse shows the crowned coat of arms.

William Taylor appears in the Pennsylvania Evening Post of November 6, 1777 as someone who signed a petition with other merchants agreeing to accept Half Joes weighing 9 dwt at 60 shillings.

There are only 2 regulated gold coins known that have William Taylor as regulator. There’s one which is also double regulated and this specimen. The other specimen is held in a collection and is off the market. This coins esteemed provenance includes the John J. Ford Jr. Collection of West Indian Cut and Countermarked Coins and Edward Roehrs Collection of U.S. Regulated Gold.


1776-83 Regulated John Bayley, Portugal 6400 Reis, 1747, KM # 221, NGC VF35. This regulated peca or half Joe, (1776-83 John Bayley Regulated) originally from Portugal, has been clipped, re-edged, plugged, and stamped with the IB goldsmith hallmark. The IB is for regulator John Bayley or possibly Jacob Boelen III. The edge was clipped and remade. It is a pleasing yellow gold with darker toning at the periphery. The plug, which covers the king’s ear, is flat with an oval shape and is raised above the surface of the obverse. It is centered on the reverse where it is round and convex. The initials IB are upside down with a dot between the letters. They are in a rectangular cartouche with rounded corners. The coin weighs 215.6 grains, which is within a half grain of the post-Revolutionary standard of 9dwt or $8.00. The coin shows very light wear more consistent with an XF grade than the VF35 assigned by NGC.

The host coin is a 1747 Half Joe made in the Lisbon mint. Its obverse shows a right facing portrait of King John V of Portugal, who was also known as Fidelissimus (in Portuguese Joao V) the Magnanimous, king of Portugal and the Algarves. He reigned from 1706 to 1750. Inscribed around the portrait are his name and title with the date below. The reverse shows the crowned coat of arms.

John Bayley was a silver and goldsmith who worked in Philadelphia from the 1750’s until the end of the Revolutionary War. Jacob Boelen III, whose father and grandfather were gold and silversmiths, worked in New York after the Revolution. The hallmark could belong to either man. Both were gold regulators who worked to a 9 dwt standard. It is possible that two different men were using similar punches at the time.

Although the grading services do not list regulated coins in their population reports, one can assume that this 1776-83 John Bayley Regulated coin is rare if not unique.


1776-94 Regulated John David Jr., $8.00, 1753-B Brazil Imitation 6400 Reis, NGC VF35. This imitation 6400 reis coin from Brazil was regulated by John David Jr. with a large plug in its center. The raised plug is oval shaped and covers the king’s ear. On the reverse it is more rounded and covers the center of the coat of arms. The JD is on the plug is strongly impressed in block letters. On the obverse the plug is moderate in size, but it is more spread out on the reverse and covers a larger portion of the design. The coin has been regulated to 8 dwt .23 g. which is equal to 12.4562 grams. The coin, which is very conservatively graded, shows abundant, subdued Mint luster much more in keeping with a grade of XF45.

The host coin is an imitation of a 6400 reis of Portugal. Since gold was valued for its metallic content, the fact that the host coin is an imitation was largely irrelevant. It portrays Joseph I, who was king from 1750 to 1777. His name and title are inscribed around his portrait with the date and mintmark below. The reverse shows the arms on a crowned ornate shield. Joseph was devoted to the Church and the opera. He assembled one of the greatest collections of operatic scores in Europe. He placed the power of government in the hands of the Marquis of Pombal, and the history of Joseph’s reign was determined by Pombal who expelled the Jesuits, gained control of public education and church lands and brought the country from conservative Catholicism to the Age of Enlightenment.

John David Jr. of Philadelphia (1736-1798) was the son and grandson of a sliversmith. John Jr. apprenticed with his father. After his father’s death in 1755, he continued the business at the corner of Second Street and Chestnut in Philadelphia.

The imitation 6400 reis coin regulated to $8.00 has been given the grade of VF35 by NGC. The grading services do not list regulated coins in their population reports; however, one can assume that this coin is extremely rare and probably unique. We believe that it is one of two known John David coins.


1777-83 Regulated Gold 3L/4S, F&G, Brazil 1749-R, 6400 R, KM-149, NGC XF45. This regulated peca or half Joe has been clipped, plugged, re-edged, and stamped with the F&G hallmark. The F&G is for the Royalist firm of Lewis Feuter and a partner whose initial was G. It is a light yellow gold with some remaining mint luster. The raised, moderately sized plug is rounded on the reverse and well centered on the coin covering the king’s ear. The hallmark on the plug is strongly impressed, covering almost the entire plug. The coin’s edge has been clipped and remade. The coin weighs 9 dwt, 3 grains which is the pre-Revolutionary standard under the British occupation of New York and is consistent with other regulated pieces by Lewis Fueter and by F&G. Its regulated value is 4 pounds, 3 schillings. The coin’s light wear is consistent with the XF45 grade assigned by NGC.

The host coin is a 1749 Half Joe made in the Rio Mint. Its obverse shows a right facing portrait of King John V of Portugal, who was also known as Fidelissimus (in Portuguese Joao V) the Magnanimous, king of Portugal and the Algarves. He reigned from 1706 to 1750. Inscribed around the portrait are his name and title with the date below. The reverse shows the crowned coat of arms.

Lewis Fueter and unknown partner “G” was an old Tory firm that regulated coinage in occupied New York during the Revolutionary War. Edward Roehrs wrote a brief biography of Fueter in the December 2005 issue of The Numismatist. Fueter’s father, Daniel, was a well known silversmith in New York who worked for the British making peace medals. Father and son worked together in 1769, but the son soon began running the business alone. According to Roehrs, Lewis Fueter died in Jamaica in 1784 at the age of 38, just months after the end of the British occupation New York. He had left New York for Halifax, like many Loyalist evacuees, before ending up in Jamaica and meeting his early death.

The grading services do not list regulated coins in their population reports; however, one can assume that this coin is extremely rare and probably unique.


1777-83 Regulated Thomas Underhill, 3L/4S, Brazil 1745-B 6400 Reis, KM-149, NGC XF45. This extremely rare, regulated half Joe has been plugged, clipped, and stamped TU. The host coin, a gold Portuguese pica or 6400 reis circulated and was regulated prior to the American Revolution by Thomas Underhill. The host coin is a one pica of John V, King of Portugal. It was clipped from 7:00 to 9:00 o’clock, and the edge was remade.

There are file marks above the king’s ear on the obverse. The moderately sized, circular, raised plug is impressed over the ear and some of the file marks suggesting that the plug was added after the filing. The TU on the plug is strongly impressed in block letters. File marks are also present on the center of the reverse. The coin has been regulated to 9 dwt .3 g. which is equal to 14.0160 grams. It shows a bit of mint luster remaining and light wear in keeping with the grade of XF45 assigned by NGC.

The host coin’s obverse shows a right facing portrait of King John V of Portugal, who was also known as Fidelissimus (in Portuguese Joao V) the Magnanimous, king of Portugal and the Algarves. He reigned from 1706 to 1750. Inscribed around the portrait are his name and title with the date below. The reverse shows the crowned coat of arms.

Thomas Underhill was born on May 18, 1755 in Monroe, New York. He was a royalist who worked in occupied New York, and he fled when the British were driven out. He later returned and in 1779, he married Elizabeth Thorne. From 1775 to 1786 he worked in New York City as a silversmith. He was a partner in the firm of Underhill and Vernon with John Vernon from 1786 to 1787. Underhill died in 1824.

Although the grading services do not list regulated coins in their population reports, one can assume that this coin is rare if not unique. We believe that this is only the second known specimen of this coin regulated by Underhill; the other is a part of the Colonial Williamsburg Collection.


Regulated Gold - 1783 Regulated Gold $8 William Hollingshead NGC VF35, 23G Brazil 6400 R, 1746-B. This gold Peca of 1746 most likely circulated in the American Colonies and then was regulated by William Hollingshead after the American Revolution. The host coin is a one Pica or 6400 Reis of Joao V, King of Portugal that was struck at the mint in Bahia. The coin is graded VF35 by NGC, and it meets or exceeds the grading requirements at that level. The coin has been slightly clipped at 10:00 and plugged WH for William Hollingshead, in script, in the center of the obverse. The hallmark is strongly impressed and shows no wear on the obverse and is flat on the reverse. The plug and small clip regulate the coin’s value to $8.00.

In the United States during the Confederation era, gold from Europe and South America circulated and was accepted for commerce. Since the coins varied in fineness and weight, certain jewelers were authorized to correct the coin weights to ensure equity. Among the various regulators were Ephraim Brasher, John Burger, Robert Cruikshank, William Hollingshead, Myer Myers, Thomas Pons, Joseph Richardson, and Daniel Van Voorhis. To raise the weight or gold content of the foreign coins, they applied gold plugs with punches. They clipped coins to reduce their weight. Coins came from Brazil, Chile, England, France, Portugal, Spain and other countries. The use of marked or plugged coins became commonplace throughout the new country and in the West Indies as well.

Thomas Jefferson spoke about regulated gold being like architecture where “putting up and pulling down is a favorite amusement.” Jefferson meant that gold coins’ values based on their weights and finenesses changed over time. For example a coin might lose some weight from honest wear. It would also lose weight from the unscrupulous practices of clipping and “sweating.” Sweating was shaking a bag of coins to gather the chips and dust that resulted. Consequently, it was necessary to adjust or “regulate” these coins by adding gold in the form of a plug.

The usual numismatic rules do not apply to these unusual and historic pieces. Under normal circumstances, a coin’s value is considerably diminished by counter stamping, drilling, and plugging. However, in the case of Regulated Coins, their value is greatly enhanced. Typically Regulated Coins were found only in the famous and advanced collections of Garrett, Eliasberg, Ten Eyck, Ford, Roper, Brand, Jackman, and Newcomer.

The host coin shows a bust of Joao V, King of Portugal 1706 to 1750. His name and title are inscribed around his portrait with the date and mintmark below. Two years after he became king, he married Maria Anna of Austria, strengthening their alliance. He ultimately made peace with France and Spain and also became subservient to the clergy. Pope Benedict XIV gave him the title “Most Faithful King” in 1748. The reverse shows the crowned coat of arms.

William Hollingshead was a Philadelphia silversmith who conducted business at the corner of Arch and Second Streets until 1785. In March of 1776 George Washington purchased two dozen silver cups from Hollingshead and had his family crest engraved on each.

The grading services do not list regulated gold coins in their population reports; however, it is safe to assume that this coin is extremely rare and probably unique.


Regulated Gold - 1783-95 Regulated Gold $2 1/3 on Great Britain 1777 ½ Guinea (KM # 605) C/S Ephraim Brasher PCGS Genuine. This English gold piece has the mark of the celebrated goldsmith, Ephraim Brasher. It was regulated after the American Revolution by Brasher. The host coin is a 1777 ½ Guinea from Great Britain.

The coin shows wear consistent with a grade of VF. It is plugged EB for Ephraim Brasher, the famous gold and silversmith. On the obverse the Brasher hallmark is oval shaped and is the same mark used on the famous doubloons. It is placed horizontally in the center of the King’s head. It is flattened and flush with the reverse surface. Brasher also neatly clipped the coin horizontally below the bust. The plug and the clip on the coin done by Brasher regulated its value to $2 1/3.

The host coin shows a right facing laureate portrait of George III. He reigned from October 1760 to January 1820. He was the third British monarch of the House of Hanover. Unlike his predecessors, he was born in Britain and spoke English as his native language. Inscribed around the portrait are his name and title. The reverse shows the crowned four-fold arms with George’s full title abbreviated and the date, 1777, on either side of the crown.

Ephraim Brasher (1744-1810) lived his whole life as a resident of New York City. He married Anne Gilbert on November 8, 1766. She was a sister of a New York silversmith, William Gilbert. Some researchers believe that Brasher and Anne as well as Mary Austin, his second wife whom he married in 1797, had no children. Others suggest that he did since a great-great-great granddaughter named Deborah is mentioned in the literature. Ephraim and his brother Abraham both served as apprentices with a silversmith whose name is not know today. Beautiful silverware survives today with Ephraim’s hallmark on it. Little is known about Abraham or his work.

Ephraim Brasher was a respected and valued member of the community. His stamp on a coin was taken as proof that the item was of the proper weight and fineness as seen on the present coin. In a Coinage magazine article, March 1978, “The Bicentennial,” David T. Alexander said: “In the late 1700’s, silversmiths and goldsmiths were particularly respected members of the community, often acting as bankers, assayers, and authenticators of the Babel of gold and silver coins of the world which circulated in the bullion-starved colonies and the new republic.”

President Washington lived a next door to Brasher at Cherry Street in New York City. Cherry Hill was a fashionable section of New York in the 18th century. It is on the Manhattan side of the present day Brooklyn Bridge. Not only were they neighbors and friends, but Washington was a customer of Brasher. Many of Brasher’s silver pieces were used by Washington at state dinners to make a positive impression on his guests.

Brasher served in the New York Provincial Army from 1775 to 1776. He served as a grenadier and later as a major. He also was involved in local politics in New York, which were the equivalent to national posts at the time. Brasher was on the New York Evacuation Committee in 1783, which saw to the departure of British troops from New York City. In addition at different times, he was the Sanitary Commissioner, the Coroner, Assistant Justice, Election Inspector, and Commissioner of Excise. Along with his private business as a silversmith and goldsmith, he served the United States Mint doing assay work.

Although the grading services do not publish population reports listing regulated coinage, one can assume that this piece is unique. It certainly has great historical significance and numismatic interest and importance.


1783-95 John Burger Regulated $4-2/3 5 DWT 6G. G. BRITAIN 1734 GUINEA,( KM # 573.3), NGC VF20. This gold guinea of 1734 probably circulated in the American Colonies and then was regulated after the American Revolution by John Burger. The host coin is a guinea of George II King of England. It more than meets the grading requirements for the VF20 assigned by NGC. It is slightly clipped and plugged JB, in a script monogram, for John Burger across the bridge of the King’s nose, which is the usual place that Burger put his plug. The hallmark is strongly impressed and covers the entire plug. The plug and small clip regulate the coin’s value to $4-2/3. The weight is correct for the 1784 New York 5 dwt standard used at the time by the Bank of New York.

The host coin’s obverse shows a left facing portrait of King George II of England. He reigned from 1727 to 1760. Inscribed around the portrait are his name and title with the date below. George was the last British monarch to have been born outside of Great Britain. He was famous for numerous conflicts with his father and later with his son. He was also the last British king to lead an army in battle. The reverse shows the crowned coat of arms.

John Burger was a New York silversmith who also regulated coins for the new government. In 1786 his address was listed as 207 Queen Street in New York City.

Although the grading services do not list regulated coins in their population reports, one can assume that this coin is rare if not unique. In a national auction on August 12, 2010 the coin was uncertified and listed as a Fine. Subsequently it was submitted to NGC where it was conservatively graded VF20.


1783-95 Regulated John Burger Brazil $8.00 1748-R, KM 151, NGC XF45. It is likely that this 1783-95 Regulated John Burger $8.00, Brazil, Half Joe circulated in colonial America. It was regulated in the post-Revolutionary period by John Burger to the 9 dwt standard. The host coin is a half joe or 6400 reis of Joao V, King of Portugal from 1706 to 1750. It is clipped and plugged JB with a script monogram in a round cartouche. The plug covers the King’s eye and the bridge of his nose, which is the place where Burger usually put his plug. The plug is slightly raised on the obverse and flat on the reverse. The hallmark is strongly impressed; it tilts downward to the right, and covers most of the plug. The coin was clipped from the V to the O in PORT. The dentils are complete and strong on both sides of the rest of the coin. The light yellow-gold surfaces are original and choice with no individual marks worthy of description. The plug and clip regulate the coin’s value to $8.00.

The coin shows a laureate head facing right of Joao V, King of Portugal 1706 to 1750. His name and title are inscribed around his portrait with the date and mintmark below. The inscription reads IOANNES V D G PORT ET ALG REX, which translated means John V by the grace of God, King of Portugal and Algeria. Two years after he became king, he married Maria Anna of Austria, strengthening their alliance. He ultimately made peace with France and Spain and also became subservient to the clergy. The reverse shows the fourth variety of the crowned coat of arms.

John Burger was a New York silversmith who also regulated coins for the new government. In 1786 his address was listed as 207 Queen Street in New York City.

Although the grading services do not list regulated coins in their population reports, one can assume that this 1783-95 Regulated John Burger $8.00, Brazil, Half Joe is rare if not unique. In a national auction on August 12, 2010 the coin was uncertified and listed as a XF. Subsequently it was submitted to NGC where it was graded XF45.


1783-95 Regulated John Burger $4 2/3, 1773, KM # 600, English Guinea PCGS XF45. This gold guinea probably circulated in the English colonies, perhaps shortly after the time of its issue in 1773. After the American Revolution it was regulated by John Burger. The host coin is a guinea of King George III. It is clipped and plugged JB in a script monogram in a round cartouche across the bridge of the King’s nose and covering his eye, which is where Burger usually placed his plug. The hallmark is strongly impressed and covers much of the plug, which is flat on the reverse. The plug and large clip regulate the coin’s value to $4 2/3. The weight is correct for the 1784 New York 5 dwt, 6 grains standard used at the time by the Bank of New York. A brownish-gold colored encrustation is present on both sides of the coin, which is predominantly yellow gold. Otherwise the surfaces are clean and free of marks worthy of individual description.

The coin shows the third laureate profile bust of King George facing right. The inscription GEORGIUS III DEI GRATIA, which means George III, by the grace of God, is separated by dots and surrounds the portrait. The reverse shows the crowned quartered shield of arms. The reverse legend is F D B ET L D S R I A T ET E M B F ET H REX, which means King of Great Britain, France and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, Duke of Brunswick and Luneburg, Arch-Treasurer and Elector.

John Burger was a New York silversmith who also regulated coins for the new government. In 1786 his address was listed as 207 Queen Street in New York City.

Although the grading services do not list regulated coins in their population reports, one can assume that this 1783-95 Regulated John Burger English Guinea is rare if not unique. In a national auction on August 12, 2010 the coin was uncertified and listed as a Choice VF. Subsequently it was submitted to NGC where it was graded XF45.


1783-95 EB/F&G Regulated US $8 9DWT. EPHRIAM BRASHER, F&G Portugal 1739 PECA, NGC VF35. (KM # 221). This unusual and outstanding gold piece is an exceptionally rare double-regulated coin bearing the mark of the celebrated Ephraim Brasher. It was first regulated by the Royalist firm of F&G in 1783 (occupied NY) and then re-regulated after the American Revolution by Brasher in 1795.The host coin is a 1739 one peca from Portugal made at the Lisbon Mint.

It is also known as a 6400 Reis or “Half Joe.” It shows light overall wear more in keeping with an AU 50 grade than with the VF35 grade assigned by NGC. The coin is plugged EB for Ephraim Brasher and F&G for Lewis Feuter and a partner whose initial was G. The F&G plug is at the center of the reverse. The hallmark on the plug is strongly impressed, covering the entire plug. On the obverse the Brasher hallmark is oval shaped and is the same mark used on the famous doubloons. It is placed horizontally near the base of the bust. Brasher also neatly clipped the coin horizontally below the date. The plug and the clip on the coin done by Brasher regulated its value at $8.00. The weight is correct for the 1784 New York 9 dwt. standard used at the time by the Bank of New York, and hence by Brasher.

The host coin’s obverse shows a right facing portrait of King John V of Portugal, who was also known as Fidelissimus (in Portuguese Joao V) the Magnanimous, king of Portugal and the Algarves. He reigned from 1706 to 1750. Inscribed around the portrait are his name and title with the date below. The reverse shows the crowned coat of arms.

Lewis Fueter and unknown partner “G” was an old Tory firm that regulated coinage in occupied New York during the Revolutionary War. Edward Roehrs wrote a brief biography of Fueter in the December 2005 issue of The Numismatist. Fueter’s father, Daniel, was a well known silversmith in New York who worked for the British making peace medals. Father and son worked together in 1769, but the son soon began running the business alone. According to Roehrs, Lewis Fueter died in Jamaica in 1784 at the age of 38, just months after the end of the British occupation New York. He had left New York for Halifax, like many Loyalist evacuees, before ending up in Jamaica and meeting his early death.

In numismatic circles, Brasher is probably most famous for a few pattern gold doubloons. One dated 1742 but made in 1786 is called the Lima Style. It has his hallmark in the center of the reverse. The second type, the New York gold doubloon of 1787, shows an eagle on one side and the arms of New York on the other. On one of the coins, the EB hallmark is on the eagle’s breast and the other it is on its right wing. Researchers are not certain why Brasher produced these patterns.

The present coin is unique. In a national auction on August 12, 2010 it was uncertified and listed as an XF. Subsequently it was submitted to NGC where it was conservatively graded VF35.


1784-89 Ephraim Brasher Regulated $8 Brazil 1747R 6400R NGC F15. Missing Plug 12.63GM. This outstanding 1784-89 Ephraim Brasher Regulated gold piece is a rare double-regulated coin bearing the hallmark of the celebrated gold and silversmith Ephraim Brasher. The plug of the first regulator is missing leaving a hole in the middle of the coin. More than likely the coin was regulated by one of the Royalist firms in occupied NY and then re-regulated by Brasher. The coin shows some wear, but much less than the assigned grade would indicate. The coin is plugged and stamped EB for Ephraim Brasher in an oval shaped cartouche. The plug is strongly impressed with the same hallmark found on his famous doubloons. It is placed horizontally near the base of the bust. Brasher regulated the coin’s value at $8.00. With the missing plug the weight would be correct for the 1784 New York 9 dwt. standard used at the time by the Bank of New York, and hence by Brasher.

The host coin shows a laureate head facing right of Joao V, King of Portugal 1706 to 1750. His name and title are inscribed around his portrait with the date and mintmark below. The inscription reads IOANNES V D G PORT ET ALG REX, which translated means “John V by the grace of God, King of Portugal and Algeria. Two years after he became king, he married Maria Anna of Austria, strengthening their alliance. He ultimately made peace with France and Spain and also became subservient to the clergy. The reverse shows the fourth variety of the crowned coat of arms.

Brasher’s stamp on a coin was taken as proof that the item was of the proper weight and fineness as seen on the present coin. In numismatic circles, Brasher is probably most famous for a few pattern gold doubloons. One dated 1742 but made in 1786 is called the Lima Style. It has his hallmark in the center of the reverse. The second type, the New York gold doubloon of 1787, shows an eagle on one side and the arms of New York on the other. On one of the coins, the EB hallmark is on the eagle’s breast and the other it is on its right wing. Researchers are not certain why Brasher produced these patterns.

The present piece is unique. Any coin handled by Ephraim Brasher is a rare historical artifact and certainly worthy of consideration in a fine numismatic cabinet.


1790 Regulated Joseph Callendar $2.33 Great Britain, KM # 608, NGC XF45. This gold half guinea (1790 Regulated Joseph Callendar $2.33 Great Britain) circulated in the early years after the Constitution became operative and was regulated by Joseph Callendar. The host coin is a half guinea of King George III of England. It has been graded XF45 by NGC because it shows light wear on the high points. The surfaces are original and clean for the grade with no abrasion marks worthy of individual mention. Callendar’s initials, JC in script are strongly punched at an angle to the right just below the King’s ear. The impression, which is slightly raised on the obverse, caused a slight flatness on the reverse partially obliterating the center right portion of the spade arms. Unlike most regulated coins, this specimen was not clipped because it was 63.6 grains or 4.1212 grams, which equaled $2.33.

The host coin is a 1790 half guinea from Great Britain (KM# 608). The name originated from the Guinea region of West Africa, where a good deal of the gold used to make the coins came from. The guinea was the first machine made gold coin and was originally worth one English Pound Sterling, which is equal to twenty shillings. However, because the price of gold continued to rise sometimes as high as thirty shillings, the guinea’s value was fixed at twenty-one shillings from 1717 to 1816.

After that, with the gold standard adopted, guinea stopped being used as a monetary term and became colloquial. The coin shows the third laureate profile bust of King George facing right. The inscription GEORGIUS III DEI GRATIA, which means George III, by the grace of God, is separated by dots and surrounds the portrait. The reverse shows the crowned quartered shield of arms. The reverse legend is F D B ET L D S R I A T ET E M B F ET H REX, which means King of Great Britain, France and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, Duke of Brunswick and Luneburg, Arch-Treasurer and Elector.

Joseph Callendar (also spelled Callender) of Boston, Massachusetts (1751-1821) was a silversmith who was active from 1771 to 1821. He was both a silversmith and engraver, who trained under Nathaniel Hurd and Paul Revere. In the Boston Independent Chronicle of September 23, 1784 Callendar announced that he had moved from “Cornhill to the shop formerly improved by Mr. N. Hurd at Half Square, back of Mr. Shipman’s school, State Street, where he carries on Engraving, Seal Cutting, and Copperplate Printing in all its Branches.” Callendar is listed in the 1800 Boston city directory as an engraver at 14 Federal Street. He engraved at least twenty-two bookplates and in 1784 made the seal for the Bank of Massachusetts.

The 1790 half guinea coin regulated to $2.33 has been given the grade of XF45 by NGC. The grading services do not list regulated coins in their population reports; however, one can assume that this coin is extremely rare and probably unique.


1790's Brasher Regulated US$15 "EB" EPHRAIM BRASHER C/S ON CUT 1780NR JJ 8R, 26.19g. NGC VF25.

Brasher’s stamp on a coin was taken as proof that the item was of the proper weight and fineness as seen on the present coin. In numismatic circles, Brasher is probably most famous for a few pattern gold doubloons. One dated 1742 but made in 1786 is called the Lima Style. It has his hallmark in the center of the reverse. The second type, the New York gold doubloon of 1787, shows an eagle on one side and the arms of New York on the other. On one of the coins, the EB hallmark is on the eagle’s breast and the other it is on its right wing. Researchers are not certain why Brasher produced these patterns.

The present piece is unique. Any coin handled by Ephraim Brasher is a rare historical artifact and certainly worthy of consideration in a fine numismatic cabinet.

 



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