Dave Bowers Favorite Coin to Cross the Block

Question: Dave, What has been your favorite coin to cross the auction block? –W.F.

Answer: This is a difficult question, as does “favorite” equal “most expensive”? If the latter, then I have a smile on my face when I think of the finest known 1794 silver dollar crossing the block for over $10 million in the Cardinal Collection sold by us in New York City in January. However, on the other hand, although they are not coins, I dearly wish that I had purchased the set of three Washington Seasons medals that I cataloged and offered for sale in the 1980s as part of the Virgil Brand Collection. I believe the set sold for about $50,000.

I suppose the correct answer to this question is that I have favorite coins, as mentioned several weeks ago in this column, and when they cross the auction block they do not stop being favorites. I singled out the MCMVII (1907) double eagle as being a favorite. In one of our typical auctions we have one, two, or several, so the auction event itself is not a “favorite.” However, the coin is. Sometimes a collection can be laden with favorites. Just about anything in the John J. Ford, Jr. Collection was a favorite — from tokens to obscure paper money to anything else. Some of these were valued in the hundreds of dollars. On the other hand, I can also say that all of the coins in the Louis E. Eliasberg Collection were favorites — as this was the only complete collection of United States coins ever formed and I have memories associated with each of the several sales we held.

I am not sure that this answers the question, but at least it gives some thoughts.

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