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FUN hosts ‘first gold coin’ exhibit

Standish Barry  imitation 8 escudos obv.jpgNever before have all of America?s first gold coins appeared together in the same place.

That?ll change at the Florida United Numismatists convention in Orlando, Fla., Jan. 5-8, 2006.

A joint exhibit of three Brasher doubloons and the recently discovered Standish Barry doubloon will be displayed together for the first time ever at the convention. 

The exhibit will be the first complete type set of $15 gold coins ever publicly displayed. The multi-coin exhibit, ?America?s First Gold Coins: The Brasher & Barry Doubloons,? will be insured for over $10 million. 

Standish Barry  imitation 8 escudos rev.jpgThe gold pieces are owned individually or jointly by Steven L. Contursi of Rare Coin Wholesalers, Dana Point, Calif., and Dr. Donald Kagin of Kagin?s, Tiburon, Calif.

Three of the coins in the exhibit were struck by New York City gold and silversmith, Ephraim Brasher. They include: the unique 1787 doubloon with the ?EB? punch mark on the eagle?s breast; one of only two 1742-dated Lima-style doubloons; and one of the six known 1787 New York-style doubloons with Brasher?s countermark on the eagle?s wing. 

Joining the three Brashers is the unique Standish Barry doubloon, discovered a year ago in the collection of Louis E. Eliasberg Sr.

Made to resemble a Peruvian 8 escudos, this coin follows the same $15 standard that Brasher stuck to when making his doubloons. It was produced by Baltimore silversmith Standish Barry sometime between 1784 and 1795.

?This will be the first time these historic early American gold pieces have ever been publicly displayed together,? said Contursi. ?Don Kagin and I believe these coins are national treasures and should be displayed for collectors and the general public to see. So, we have prepared an educational exhibit to showcase the first gold coins struck in the United States.?

The three Brasher doubloons were included in the Heritage auction at the 2005 FUN convention in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The Standish Barry piece was purchased last April in New York at the American Numismatic Rarities auction of Eliasberg?s world gold coins.

?When we purchased the three Brashers at FUN a year ago they already were considered the most historic, important and perhaps the most valuable coins in the world, but we knew there was more to the story,? said Kagin. ?After a year of additional research and the astonishing discovery and purchase of the Standish Barry doubloon, the full story can now be told for the first time.  These are, indeed, the first American gold coins and this is the first time they have ever been displayed together as a complete set.?

The three Brasher doubloons and the Standish Barry gold piece are now housed in Professional Coin Grading Service holders with the denomination of each listed as $15.

The coinage standards of weight and value established by the Bank of New York in 1784 indicated that doubloons weighing 17 pennyweights were valued at $15. The Brasher and Barry doubloons are each 17 pennyweights (approximately 26.5 grams) and, therefore, would have been valued at $15 apiece at the time.

Up until very recently, it was thought the denomination was $16.

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