NEW YORK (May 22, 2015) Collectors bid over $25 million to purchase just 128 coins Tuesday night at the sale of the D. Brent Pogue Collection, presented by Stack’s Bowers Galleries and Sotheby’s in New York City. The single finest known example of the 1808 quarter eagle, graded MS-65 (PCGS), realized $2.35 million, a new world record for any coin of the quarter eagle denomination. It also became the most valuable 19th century U.S. gold coin ever sold at auction. The 1808 quarter eagle is the single rarest U.S. type coin, a design coined only in 1808, and has always been prized by collectors. The example in the D. Brent Pogue Collection was earlier in several of the most famous collections of U.S. coins ever assembled, including those of Lorin G. Parmelee (sold 1890), John Story Jenks (sold 1921), Col. E.H.R. Green (sold in the 1940s), Dr. J. Hewitt Judd (sold ca. 1962), and Congressman Jimmy Hayes (sold 1984). Its sale began with a triumphant call by famed Sotheby’s auctioneer David Redden of the opening bid of one million dollars, and continued at $100,000 increments from one side of the room to the next until $1.9 million had been bid. A phone bidder offered a cut increment of $1.95 million before the final bid, placed by Vicken Yegparian of Stack’s Bowers Galleries, came in: $2 million hammer, bringing the first of what will be seven sales of coins from the D. Brent Pogue Collection to a resounding end.
Two more coins saw high bids over $1.5 million. Closing at $1,527,500, the James Ten Eyck – Milton A. Holmes 1796 quarter tied the world record for any United States quarter and outpaced its $750,000 to $1,000,000 estimate. Graded MS-66 (PCGS) and one of the finest known examples of this famous first-year-of-issue rarity, it led off the Pogue collection of quarters from 1796 through 1838, the most extensive and important collection of high grade early quarters ever sold. The Pogue quarters were complete by date and major variety, included several important Proof rarities, and their sale was widely anticipated by specialists in the series. At $705,000, the finest known example of the classic 1827/3/2 Proof quarter also joined the ranks of the 250 most expensive U.S. coins ever sold. It set a record for this famous issue and topped the high pre-sale estimate.
The next seven-figure coin from the D. Brent Pogue collection was a very rare 1797 half dollar, earlier from the cabinets of Virgil Brand and Lelan Rogers. It set a brand new world record for any U.S. half dollar, netting $1,527,500, surpassing the $1.38 million mark Stack’s set with a different 1797 half dollar in 2008. Several other half dollars topped the quarter-million dollar mark, including the finest known 1794 half dollar ($705,000), a MS-65 (PCGS) 1795 Overton-117 ($411,250), the Specimen-63 (PCGS) 1796 Overton-101 ($587,500), a MS-62 (PCGS) 1796 Overton-101 ($258,500), and the finest known 1796 half dollar ($822,500), a magnificent MS-66 (PCGS) that formerly resided in the collections of Virgil Brand, John Whitney Walter, and others.
Just 13 gold coins were included in the sale, all quarter eagles struck in the early years of the denomination from 1796 through 1808. These 13 coins brought a total of $6,797,375, an average of more than a half million dollars each. While the 1808 is considered one of the rarest of all U.S. gold coins, a pristine 1798 quarter eagle was the biggest surprise. One of the finest and most original specimens of the entire type, the D. Brent Pogue 1798 quarter eagle was graded MS-65 by PCGS. Estimated at $200,000 to $325,000, it opened at $350,000 and was fought to a final realization of $763,750, more than twice the highest pre-sale estimate. Every single quarter eagle from the D. Brent Pogue Collection topped its highest pre-sale estimate, making this the most avidly sought portion of the collection last night. Leading the pack were the Garrett specimen of the 1796 No Stars (PCGS MS-62) that sold for $822,500, the George Earle 1796 With Stars (PCGS MS-62) that realized $440,625, the discovery specimen of the very rare 1804 13 Star Reverse (PCGS AU-53) that brought $499,375 and the) 1807 (PCGS MS-65) that sold for $587,500.
The sale began with the D. Brent Pogue collection of half dimes, including a 1792 half disme, the first official coin of the United States. With a face value of just $1.65 when they were minted from 1792 to 1837, this handful of tiny silver pieces brought a total of over $3.26 million. The PCGS MS-64 1792 half disme, struck at the personal request of Thomas Jefferson before the United States Mint was even built, was the most valuable coin of the denomination, selling at $440,625. The 1792 just edged out the MS-67+ (PCGS) 1796 LIKERTY, called “the finest known half dime of the 1790s,” which saw active bidding from its $180,000 open to a total price of $411,250. This price exceeded the high estimate and indeed was more than seven times the next highest price ever garnered by a 1796 LIKERTY half dime.
The D. Brent Pogue Collection of Draped Bust dimes was also offered, including some of the finest known specimens that survive from the 1796 to 1807 era. The highest price realized of the group was $329,000, paid for the Eliasberg specimen of the 1804 14 Star variety, a coin that was sold in the 1907 David S. Wilson sale before disappearing for a century. It was rediscovered in the Eliasberg family holdings in 2006.
“World-class quality set new world records last night,” said Brian Kendrella, president of Stack’s Bowers Galleries. “While collector interest is high in all coins across the board, we saw tonight that collectors were willing to compete strongly to own the very best condition coins in existence. The D. Brent Pogue Collection was built with the very highest quality as the goal, so it’s no surprise that the modern generation of collectors was willing to set new world record prices to acquire them.”
The total price realized exceeded the highest pre-sale estimates, with a net realization of $25,312,731.25. Six more offerings of coins from the D. Brent Pogue Collection will be brought to auction by Stack’s Bowers Galleries and Sotheby’s in 2015, 2016, and 2017. The next Pogue sale, including Capped Bust half dollars (1807-1822), Flowing Hair silver dollars (1794-1795), early quarter eagles (1821-1839), early half eagles (1795-1807), and early eagles (1795-1804), will take place at Sotheby’s New York headquarters on September 30, 2015.
About Stack’s Bowers Galleries
Stack’s Bowers Galleries conducts live, Internet and specialized auctions of rare U.S. and world coins and currency and ancient coins, as well as direct sales through retail and wholesale channels. The company’s 80-year legacy includes the cataloging and sale of many of the most valuable United States coin and currency collections to ever cross an auction block — The John J. Ford, Jr. Collection, The Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr. Collection, The Harry W. Bass, Jr. Collection, The Norweb Collection, The Cardinal Collection and The Battle Born Collection — to name just a few. World coin and currency collections include The Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr. Collection of World Gold Coins, The Kroisos Collection, The Alicia and Sidney Belzberg Collection, The Wa She Wong Collection, The Guia Collection, The Thos. H. Law Collection, and The Robert O. Ebert Collection.
Topping off this amazing numismatic history is the inclusion of the world record for the highest price ever realized at auction for a rare coin, the 1794 Flowing Hair Silver Dollar graded Specimen-66 (PCGS) that realized over $10 million, part of their sale of the famed Cardinal Collection. The company is headquartered in Irvine, California, with offices in New York, Wolfeboro, Hong Kong, and Paris. Stack’s Bowers Galleries is an Official Auctioneer for several important numismatic conventions, including American Numismatic Association events, the New York International Numismatic Convention, the Professional Numismatists Guild New York Invitational, the Whitman Coin & Collectibles Spring, Summer and Winter Expos, and its April and August Hong Kong Auctions.