Lot 103: c. 1780, COLONIAL ERA LARGE SILVER SPOON, Produced by Ephraim Brasher
Historic Autographs, Civil War Encased Postage Stamps, Colonial, Revolutionary War, Federal Era, Coins, Currency, Medals
December 10, 2016
Rancho Santa Fe, CA, USALive Auction
"Ephraim Brasher" Made Colonial Era Silver Serving Spoon
c. 1780, COLONIAL ERA LARGE SILVER SPOON, Produced by Ephraim Brasher, NY, Choice Near Mint.
This is a very large and impressive 9" long, original coin Silver Serving Spoon, with fancy engraved initials on the handle end. There are two very sharp and distinct "EB" hallmarks stamped on the bottom side of the handle. Overall a most beautiful example. Brasher is listed in "The Book of Old Silver" by Seymour Wyler, as producing silverware out of New York, from 1766 onward. He was a prominent New York City gold and silversmith. In 1787 Brasher appears to have joined with the New York silversmith and noted swordmaker, John Bailey in requesting a franchise to produce copper coins for the State of New York. The legislative record for February 12, 1787 stated, "the several petitions" of Brasher and Bailey were filed with the state. Because of the ambiguous wording it is not known if the petitions were joint ventures or simply individual petitions that just happened to have been submitted on the same day. Their petitions, along with the petition of their competitors, were denied a few months later when the state decided to refrain from the minting of coppers (see the Machin's Patterns section for additional details). Soon after the unfavorable judgment Ephraim Brasher turned his attention from coppers back to designing and minting a few pattern gold doubloons. Apparently he had been working on a Lima style gold piece the preceding year.
Brasher was often asked to weigh and verify the authenticity of foreign gold coins for customers. Several examples of foreign gold have been discovered counterstamped with the initials EB in an oval (examples can be found in the the Roper auction catalog). Apparently his stamp on a coin was taken as proof the item was of the proper weight and fineness. Breen discovered that Brasher's address in 1789-1790 was listed as number five Cherry Street in New York City, which was next door to George Washington's residence. It has been reported that in Washington's now lost household accounts there was an entry under April 17, 1790 stating Washington purchased four silver skewers from Brasher for 8 8s6d in New York currency. Brasher had a substantial reputation as an assayer. In November of 1792 with the assistance of David Ott he assayed several varieties if gold coins for the new federal government. Thereafter Brasher assisted assaying gold for the U.S. Mint.
The above information is from the Notre Dame website and Louis Jordan: http://www.coins.nd.edu/ColCoin/ColCoinIntros/Brasher.intro.html