Set of Five Matching Silver Table Spoons Made By NYC Silversmith Ephraim Brasher Each Double Hallmarked "EB"
c. 1780-90 Colonial / Revolutionary War Era, Set of FIVE (5) Matching Coin Silver Table Spoons, Each Engraved and Double Hallmarked Punch "EB" by Ephraim Brasher Silversmith of New York City, Choice Very Fine.
Ephraim Brasher was a prominent New York City Gold and Silversmith. This Set of Five (5) Matching Hand-Engraved, 7.25" long, Coin Silver Table Spoons, each have bowls measuring about 2.25" long and there are two exceptional clear "EB" Hallmarks punched in the bottom side of each handle. The front side of each handle is Engraved with the Script Stylized Initials "GCB". There is light overall wear consistent with use, and some expected natural tone to the silver surfaces. They are sharply detailed examples of this historic Silversmith's Hand-Engraved work. Ephraim Brasher is listed in "The Book of Old Silver" by Seymour Wyler, as producing silverware out of New York City from 1766. This "EB" style hallmark punch being the most famous, and is well recognized for its numismatic related importance amongst Colonial America and most numismatists. In 1787 Brasher appears to have joined with the New York silversmith and noted sword maker, John Bailey. They requested 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 Copper Coins (see the Machin's Patterns section for additional details).
Ephraim Brasher then turned his attention from Coppers back to designing and Minting a few Pattern Gold Doubloons. Known to numismatists as "Brasher Doubloons," one example more recently selling for about $8 million. Apparently he had been working on a Lima style Gold piece the preceding year. Any Gold coin bearing Ephraim Brasher's Hallmarked "EB" is highly prized by numismatists, typically selling for well into five figures, while his Gold Hallmarked "EB" Doubloons sell well into seven figures! An important, rarely encountered Matched Set of Five Double-Hallmarked "EB" Silver Table Spoons. (5 Spoons).
Ephraim 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 Roper auction catalog). Apparently his stamp on a coin was taken as proof the item was of the proper weight and fineness.
Numismatist Walter 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 of gold coins for the new Federal government. Thereafter Brasher assisted assaying gold for the U.S. Mint.