While I have not heard of the brass stars, I have heard that a gilded trommelstok was an indication there was no mortgage on the skûtsje. Also, having a barrel-shaped brass tontsje was supposed to mean the same thing. Zonder Zorg has both the gilded trommelstok and the barrel-shaped brass tontsje.
I have just been given fro Christmas a pair of very handsome brass bow stars for my ex-sailing 100 yr old Skutsje. The supplier/maker, a DBA member, thinks such things were fixed on the bows of barges just ahead of the name in order to indicate that the capital cost of the barge had been paid off.
Does anyone know any more or what evidence there is for this?