Stack’s Bowers Galleries is proud to present the first offering of the E. Horatio Morgan Collection at our forthcoming official auction at the ANA World’s Fair of Money in August. The auction will take place in Rosemont, Illinois at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, August 13-16, 2019.
As collectors, we all have times in our lives when we push the hardest to build up our collections. For E. Horatio Morgan, that time was the late 1980s and early 1990s, when the market was abuzz. Major collections were coming to auction at a breakneck pace, coin shows were packed with collectors and dealers, memberships in specialty organizations were de rigueur among specialists, and PCGS and NGC were first born. The last development helped drive the coin market to new, short-lived highs for common, high grade coins, while amazing rarities like 1894-S dimes and 1876-CC twenty cent pieces could be had for well under $100,000. E. Horatio Morgan (a pseudonym used to provide privacy to the surviving family of this now deceased collector) ignored all the buzz and hype, instead focusing on select type coins, major rarities, silver dollars and especially half dollars and dimes from the 1790s to the 1890s. He pursued the dimes, and especially the half dollars with singular zeal, building a set nearly complete not only by date but also by die marriages. In the 1794 to 1836 period, the collection is missing just a dozen or so Overton varieties (chiefly Rarity-7 and Rarity-8 varieties and not including the unseen 1795 O-118 and the Crushed Lettered Edge Proofs), and his zeal for varieties both major and minor also spread into the Liberty Seated series. Offerings of the circulation strike and Proof half dollars will commence in our November 2019 Baltimore auction, but included in the current ANA Sale are his patterns of varied denominations—an offering of a diversity and quantity not seen for years. Over 100 pieces are concentrated in his beloved half dollars, but the offering also includes significant dollar, dime, and twenty cent patterns as well. The finest graded 1852 ring half dollar in gold is joined by 1872 Amazonian half dollars in both silver and copper, complemented by one of about a dozen known 1872 Amazonian dollars in silver. Later issues include a selection of George Morgan’s uniformly rare pattern 1878 half dollars, an 1882 Shield Earring half dollar in silver, and two exquisite patterns for Weinman’s 1916 half dollar.
Although the collection does not stray too far from the 1792 to 1891 time period, nor very far from the half dollar and dime denominations, E. Horatio Morgan also found numismatic and financial value in classic numismatic rarities, which were coming to market with great regularity in the most fruitful period of his collecting. Among the first major rarities he acquired is one of fewer than 20 known 1876-CC twenty cent pieces, recently graded MS-65 by PCGS and offered here for the first time since its January 1988 Stack’s auction appearance. A few months later, in June 1988, opportunity knocked again, and an 1894-S Barber dime—the Dr. Jerry Buss specimen—entered the Morgan cabinet, a coin that E. Horatio Morgan enjoyed raw for 31 years before it was recently graded Branch Mint Proof-63 by PCGS.
E. Horatio Morgan, despite the rarities gathered here, remained a very low key collector, enjoying his collection at home, while building it via mail order purchases and bidding through agents at auction. He relished every coin, whether a well-worn common variety Draped Bust half dollar or one of his pride and joys, the 1894-S Barber dime. Though by his own design, his collecting activities went mostly unnoticed, his efforts will be memorialized in a series of auctions planned to return his coins to the hands of collectors equally as passionate as he was.
To order your copy of the catalog or to receive more information, contact us today at 800-458-4646 or emails us at [email protected].