American Brasher Doubloon gold coin struck in 1787 sold for more than $5 million 

A 1787 New York Brasher Doubloon, one of the first gold coins to be struck in the United States, has been sold for more than $5 million (£3.5 million).

It was the work of Ephraim Brasher, a silversmith who lived next door to George Washington in New York City following the American War of Independence.

The Brasher Doubloon is one of only seven known to be in existence and is regarded to be in the best condition of those coins that remain.

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On one side of the coin is the Great Seal of the United States, an eagle clutching an olive branch and arrows. Brasher’s hallmark – the letters EB – are inside an oval on the eagle’s right wing.

The reverse displays a version of the state of New York’s coat of arms, featuring a sun rising over a mountain peak and the sea surrounded by the words NOVA EBORACA COLUMBIA EXCELSIOR, which translates to “New York, America, Ever Higher.”

A poster for John Brahm's 1947 film noir 'The Brasher Doubloon'Credit:
Silver Screen Collection/MoviePix

Excelsior remains the state motto to this day.

Brasher lived at 3 Cherry Street and Washington at 1 Cherry Street in Cherry Hill, a fashionable part of Manhattan in the late 18th century, which lies just north of the present day Brooklyn Bridge.

The first American president was a loyal customer of Brasher’s, buying a number of other items including silver skewers.

More recently the coin entered popular culture thanks to Raymond Chandler, whose novel The High Window centred on the fictional theft of a Brasher Doubloon.

It was also featured in a film called The Brasher Doubloon made by 20th Century Fox in 1947.

The coin was sold to an anonymous collector on the US west coast in a private transaction brokered by Heritage Auctions, the world’s largest rare coin auctioneer.