Old Time Collection Part 5

The Important Collection of Gold Coins formed by Milton Holmes


The Milton Holmes Collection of United States Gold coins contained over 1,000 lots; this was a massive number to be offered in a single sale at the time. While his gold collection was not complete, it contained many denominations, dates and Mint State examples.


The quarter eagle ($2.50 gold) collection included a 1796 and an 1808 for early rarities, and ten others dated before 1834. There were numerous examples dated 1834 and later, with items from the Charlotte and Dahlonega mints. Among the quarter eagles there were many Mint State pieces. The three-dollar gold collection lacked only four to be complete and likewise contained many Uncirculated coins.


Among half eagles ($5 gold), 30 coins were dated before 1818, an impressive number of early and rare dates. (At this point, only collectors like Col. Green — whose collection was sold privately in 1953 — had an extraordinary number of early date coins.) The Holmes collection of Liberty Head half eagles had a number of rare "C and D" mint pieces as well as scarce Philadelphia dates


The eagles ($10 gold) contained eight different dates before 1804, and an extensive number of dates and mints of the Liberty Head and Indian Head series.  The double eagle ($20 gold) collection offered some 200 examples, including many of the rare dates as well as coins from New Orleans and Carson City.  


In order to add some other rarities to his collection, Mr. Holmes had a Panama Pacific set, which included both $50 gold pieces, a complete set of smaller commemorative gold coins, and 15 different examples of pioneer and territorial gold.


During his lifetime, Milton A. Holmes assembled what has been defined in this multi-part essay as an “old-time collection.” It was diversified in scope, contained coins that were in circulation at different times in America and showed how coins were used as a means of doing business. Many early collections had this type of variety, and though most were broken up in the last century, this great variety offered later generations opportunities to fill the many different kinds of collections that are being formed today. Were it not for collectors like Mr. Holmes and the old-time collections that were formed, collecting would be more difficult (if not impossible in some cases) for today’s numismatists.

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