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HomeCrime and FraudYale University Library Theft - Who Stole the Brasher Doubloon?

Yale University Library Theft – Who Stole the Brasher Doubloon?

Yale University Library and the McCoy Brasher Doubloon. Image: Adobe Stock / Heritage Auctions.
Yale University Library and the McCoy Brasher Doubloon. Image: Adobe Stock / Heritage Auctions.

By Charles Morgan and Hubert Walker for CoinWeek Notes …..
 

On this day in 1965, a group of thieves stole nearly $1 million worth of coins from the renowned Yale Numismatics Collection. Along with such rarities as a Brasher Doubloon, a Martha Washington Dollar, and a 1796 Quarter, nearly all of the gold British and American coins in the collection were taken.

The thieves appeared to know their coins; they also seemed to have knowledge about Yale University’s security system that was not available to the general public. The school reported that five or six men overpowered a night watchman at the iconic Sterling Memorial Library in the heart of campus, de-activated the alarm, cracked two safes, and stole 4,000 coins.

Sixty-nine of the coins (worth a total of $20,000) were sold to coin dealer John W. Riesen of Columbia Stamp and Coin Company in Chicago, who was eventually arrested and convicted of interstate transportation of stolen goods. No one else has been charged, let alone convicted and sentenced, in the case ever since. Yale University received an insurance settlement in April 1966. The Brasher Doubloon was returned to Yale two years later after the University hired a private investigator to recover it. It was in the possession of a Chicago collector, but may have been stored in Miami, Florida. Yale put the doubloon up for sale in 1981 for an asking price of $650,000 as part of a fundraiser.

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Sources

https://thenewjournalatyale.com/2023/02/coin-gate-who-stole-yales-doubloon/

https://www.nytimes.com/1981/01/04/nyregion/yale-to-sell-brasher-doubloon-to-help-finance-university-s-new-library.html

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CoinWeek Notes
CoinWeek Notes
CoinWeek Notes presents expert analysis and insights from Charles Morgan and Hubert Walker, the award-winning editors of CoinWeek.com.

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