The Incredible Collections of Reed Hawn, Part 8

The name of Reed Hawn has become legendary. Collectors were amazed that during his life he was able to amass a fine collection, sell it, and then start all over again with the goal of outdoing what he had accomplished before.

In this part of the story I will continue reviewing the collection he built in the 20 years after he sold his primary collection through Stack’s in 1973. Here I will focus on the silver dollar collection, which added greatly to his reputation as a numismatic legend.

As in the other series Reed amassed and that we discussed earlier, for the silver dollar collection he concentrated on rarity and quality. While he strived for completeness, his goal was to gather coins that met the standards he made for himself.

The Reed Hawn silver dollar collection boasted superb examples of both the 1795 Flowing Hair Two Leaf, and Three Leaf varieties, the 1795 Draped Bust type, 1798, and 1799. He also owned the famous Dexter example of the 1804 Class I silver dollar. This rarity was formerly part of the collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society, Wm. Summer Appleton, and Joseph Mickley. In the past, this coin bore some of the most famous pedigrees possible for a United States coin. It was indeed an historic rarity. To this list of famous names was now added that of Reed Hawn. At the 1993 sale Harlan White purchased it for a major collector of the time, who had also dreamed as a boy of owning an 1804 silver dollar.

The other silver dollar highlights that Reed Hawn had in his collection included seven Gobrecht dollars, issued between 1836-1839, an amazing holding in itself. Of later dates he had a handful, since these had been represented in his earlier 1973 collection.

He also assembled one of most beautiful and colorful collections of U.S. trade dollars 1873 through 1883 in glittering Proof, one the finest offered for sale. He did try to get 1884 and 1885 trade dollars, but never found examples that he was satisfied with.

To round off his collection, Reed Hawn assembled a great set of the types of the U.S. commemorative half dollars.

In the next part of our series on Reed Hawn, I will focus on the gold coins that were offered in the 1993 sale.


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