The regulated 1744 6400 reis appearing in lot 1008 of our August 2018 ANA Auction is an incredibly significant offering in the field of United States regulated gold coinage. It represents the unique survivor of this distinct IS touchmark. The surfaces display rich yellow and honey-gold color, with traces of deep burgundy patina in the protected areas. A massive plug protrudes from the central obverse.
Each end of the central plug features the characters IS punched within a rectangular cartouche, with a bold period suspended above the lower serif of the S. Its prominent placement has caused most of the S to wear smooth, save for the lower serif. The reverse mark is well positioned but inverted 180 degrees and doubled, having been punched first to the north then corrected to the south. Wear and distortion from their application has left the punches slightly obscured, though their identification as the characters IS remains certain. We have not discovered a perfectly congruent match to the punch displayed on this piece, though current research leads us to Massachusetts goldsmith Jeremiah Snow III, whose I.SNOW touchmark is very similar.
This particular specimen was included in two of the most important collections of countermarked gold coinage ever assembled. It was first offered as part of the sale of the incredible John J. Ford, Jr. Collection of West Indian Cut and Countermarked Coins, presented by Glendining’s in October 1989. As lot 267, it was placed under the heading of "Miscellaneous and North America" but denied a specific regulator. The cataloger references an IS punch associated with the island of St. Vincent in Ralph Gordon’s seminal 1987 reference, though admits there is no resemblance to the current mark. Called "very rare," this piece earned a strong bid of £3,400 against a high estimate of £2,000.
It would be another two decades before this piece emerged onto the market once again, this time as part of the historic Edwards Roehrs Collection of U.S. Regulated Gold. Featuring 73 examples of U.S. regulated gold coinage, it was an unprecedented display of metalworking from the American Colonies and included six specimens from New York regulator Ephraim Brasher. In cataloging this piece, researcher John Kraljevich suggests Boston silversmith Joseph Smith (died 1789) as the potential regulator, though he admits that "the identity of the maker is far from certain." He goes on to call it "an exciting piece, undoubtedly unique on this regulator." Nearly a decade later this distinction remains the same.
Our current attribution of Jeremiah Snow III as the regulator builds upon nearly 30 years of examination and research into this piece. Snow III spent most of his career working in the western Massachusetts town of Springfield, where he was identified as a goldsmith as early as 1759. Springfield was settled at the intersection of four rivers and became a significant trade route between the cities of New York, Albany, Boston, and Montreal. It was the bustling commerce between these metropolises that would have brought this piece to the shop of Jeremiah Snow III for adjustments.
The present specimen is a unique and pedigreed representative of this IS mark, whose brethren have been lost to history. For advanced collectors of U.S. Regulated Gold coinage, this offering is extremely significant.
This historic Jeremiah Snow III regulated 6400 reis will be presented in lot 1008 of the Rarities Night session of our August 2018 ANA World’s Fair of Money Auction in Philadelphia. It will be sold alongside such incredible rarities as the finest known 1913 Liberty Head nickel (Proof-66 PCGS CAC) in lot 1096 and a Gem 1895-O Morgan dollar (MS-66 PCGS) in lot 1225. The sale is available for viewing and bidding on our website www.StacksBowers.com, or you may contact our offices to secure a printed catalog. To speak with a numismatic representative, please call 800-458-4646 or email Info@StacksBowers.com. Also, download our mobile app to view and participate in our auctions via your Android or Apple device.