On behalf of Stack’s Bowers Galleries and Sotheby’s, I
welcome you to Part V of our auction program of the D. Brent Pogue Collection
of early United States coinage.
Never before and never again will there be such a
combination of great rarity and superb condition. It took Brent and his father
over 40 years to assemble this collection. The time frame included the
opportunities to bid and buy in the Garrett family, Norweb family, Louis E.
Eliasberg, Harry W. Bass, Jr., Virgil M. Brand, and other sales when these
old-time holdings crossed the block. Today even in theory, few such properties
exist to be sold.
The venue for this sale is special as well. Evergreen
House was the ancestral mansion of the Garrett family. The two most important
acquisitors – T. Harrison Garrett and his son Ambassador John Work Garrett –
called this their home. In these halls one of the greatest of all American
collections was formed. We give a warm nod to the Johns Hopkins University and
Evergreen House curator Susan Tripp for the opportunity to be here. A finer,
more appropriate setting could not be imagined!
Part V of the Pogue Collection again comprises a group
of ultra-rarities without equal. As a bidder, buyer, or interested observer you
will have a rendezvous with numismatic history.
The auction court is filled with numismatic royalty –
including one of the most famous specimens of the King of American Coins, the
Dexter 1804 silver dollar. Other early dollars from 1798 onward complement
those we sold earlier. Ultra-high grades are the rule, not the exception. How
Half cents begin with the first year of the Draped Bust
type, 1800, and continue through the end of the series in 1857, highlighted by
the finest known specimen of the rare 1811. Large copper cents, the most
popular and most enduring numismatic specialty, are offered in a
rarity-spangled galaxy beginning with multiple examples of the 1793 Liberty
Cap. Memorable issues continue, with the rarest of all dates in the series –
the 1799 – represented by the famous Henry C. Hines coin, a Mint State example
that stands today (and has for many years) as the very finest known Into the
next century the parade continues with rarity and quality combined. To these
are added at the beginning of the sale many fine half dimes, dimes, quarters,
and half dollars with emphasis on the first years of the Liberty Seated design.
Our Pogue Collection sales have been primarily
cataloged by John Kraljevich with participation by others on our team,
including John Pack and James McCartney in the present sale. The events have
been coordinated by Christine Karstedt, Larry Stack, and others at Stack’s
Brent Pogue began the careful study of early American
coins as a teenager in the mid-1970s. Soon after, he and his father, Mack, were
familiar faces in auction galleries whenever the most significant or finest
known examples were crossing the block. Always perceptive, Brent had many
discussions with me and with others as he and his father sought advice. Since
then, whenever we have had a world-class collection, including the great sales
mentioned earlier, the Pogues have been buyers.
Brent placed emphasis on the early, formative years of
the Mint, beginning with 1792 and continuing into the late 1830s. This was the
era of hand craftsmanship of dies, of striking the coins on presses powered by
two men tugging on a lever arm, and of ever-changing political and economic
challenges. This was before the age of steam-powered presses and the mechanical
repetition of dies. Each coin has its own characteristics; no two are alike. In
the pages to follow many listings include insights as to the surfaces, minting
characteristics, and other features of the items offered – adding to the coin
descriptions themselves to put the icing on the last of a unique series of
catalogs that will forever stand as valuable references.
Welcome to our sale. Our entire team looks forward to
having you on the scene – at the Evergreen Museum & Library in Baltimore or
in virtual reality on the Internet.