For a collection to have one 1818 half eagle would be an accomplishment. This date is known for its rarity, especially in high grades. The Guide Book of United States Coins lists the top grade for the 1818 as MS-63. And, indeed, such a coin all by itself would make headlines.
On February 9 in New York City our D. Brent Pogue Collection Part III sale will make history. Crossing the block at the international headquarters of Sotheby’s, our partner in the series of events, will be some of the most incredible coins in American numismatics. Formed beginning four decades ago, the Pogue Collection has no equal in the overall quality and rarity of its contents.
Half eagles of 1818 will be among the highlights that are front row center. Not one but three! Not MS-63 but MS-65 or finer! Each is the finest certified of its variety.
Lot 3150, Bass-Dannreuther 1, sets the scene. It is a lustrous Gem MS-65 (PCGS) from normal obverse and reverse dies. No other BD-1 has been graded finer than MS-63 by PCGS! Each of the 13 obverse stars has one “scalloped” ray, an unusual signature that conventional wisdom attributes to John Reich, assistant engraver at the Mint. But wait! Is that true? In the Pogue catalog John Kraljevich gives another view. Indeed, the entire catalog will furnish an evening of interesting and informative reading.
Lot 3151 is the famous STATESOF variety, BD-2, without a space between the two words. It is a Superb Gem MS-66 (PCGS). No other BD-2 has been graded finer than MS-64 by PCGS! Not only is the coin a landmark, its provenance is spectacular — tracing back to the remarkable type set of United States coins formed years ago by Norman Stack, author of a best-selling book on the subject.
Lot 3152, BD-3, is another Superb Gem, even better than MS-66 with an added plus mark as MS-66+ (PCGS), the reverse error variety with 5D over 50. It is the finest ever certified by PCGS. The engraver thought he was making a half dollar die, realized his mistake, and overpunched the 0 with a D. This amazing coin traces its lineage to the Harlan P. Smith Collection in 1906, to John H. Clapp, to Louis E. Eliasberg. Like many Pogue Collection treasures this is an old friend. We cataloged and sold it with the Eliasberg Collection in 1982. Now, 34 years later, it is available again. John Dannreuther traces this coin as the first to be discovered of the variety.
Recently, Coin World designated our auction presentation of the Pogue Collection as the Number 1 news event of 2015, an honor for which we are deeply appreciative.
At our sale of Part III, history will be made once again. We invite you to attend in person as a bidder and buyer or as an interested observer. On the next day, February 10, also at Sotheby’s, we will have our Rarities Auction offering many treasures in the American series — from colonial coins to half cents to double eagles to territorial gold.
All of us at Stack’s Bowers Galleries wish you and yours a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year. We will do our best to make it enjoyable for you — whether you are new to numismatics or have been a client for decades. An illustrious series of sales and other events beckons. We look forward to you being a friend and client in 2016.