Welcome to The Rarities Auction

As a complement to our sale of the D. Brent Pogue Collection Part I held by us and Sotheby’s at Sotheby’s New York City headquarters on May 19, we present The Rarities Auction. Highlighted by the finest known specimen of one of America’s greatest rarities—the Ultra High Relief MCMVII (1907) double eagle—the sale comprises 109 lots. Within that group the items are very diverse, actually beyond diverse, as lot No. 1 is a uniquely historic example of the well-known 1918 24-cent “Inverted Jenny” airmail stamp—with a fascinating story. There is numismatic connection tangentially, as the leading character in the tale is none other than Col. E.H.R. Green, well-known numismatically as the owner of all five known 1913 Liberty nickels and thousands of other notable items. In the early 1940s we (Stack’s) handled major portions of the Green estate.

Our sale continues with coins led by a Chinese tael pattern of 1906, going on to include other rarities from that country. Next are spectacular notes, including incredibly high quality examples of bills listed high among the top vote getters in The 100 Greatest American Currency Notes, a best-selling book issued by Whitman Publishing. Our offering of bills continues with spectacular high-denomination $500, $1,000, $5,000, and $10,000 notes from the Holecek Family Foundation Collection, a holding recently introduced by us in our sale with the Whitman Coin & Currency Expo on Baltimore.

Lot 41 is a museum-quality specimen of “The Shepherd,” from the suite of Washington “Seasons Medals” struck in England during the second administration of the Father of Our Country. Lewis and Clark took a supply of these on their 1804-1806 expedition from St. Louis to the mouth of the Columbia River. Federal coins begin with a very special and historic 1793 Wreath cent that circled the earth 206 times in December 1965 in the company of astronauts Frank Borman and James A. Lovell aboard Gemini VII. Next comes one of the finest known examples of perhaps the most famous of all large cent die varieties: the 1794 Sheldon-48 with 94 tiny stars on the reverse, placed there for a reason unknown. Other scarce and rare coins in sequence include a Gem 1872 cent, a classic 1867 With Rays Shield nickel rarity in Gem Proof preservation, a premium Gem 1871-S quarter, and a Superb Gem Sand Blast Proof 1922 High Relief Peace silver dollar.

Gold coins are likewise remarkable, starting with several memorable quality dollars, followed by similarly important $2.50, $3, and $5 coins. Experts all agree that lot 63, a Superb Gem 1876-CC half eagle, is one of the finest and most desirable coins ever struck by the Carson City Mint. Eagles and double eagles keep up the tempo—including multiple Gem examples of perhaps the most historic “treasure coins” ever found, 1857-S double eagles from the S.S. Central America. Being involved with this treasure as author of the definitive book concerning it is one of the highlights of my life. Other double eagles include the earlier-mentioned MCMVII Ultra High Relief as well as several more affordable descendants, the regular High Relief pieces issued for general circulation beginning in December 1907.

The sale is rounded out by other double eagles (notable among them being the remarkable Gem 1890-S, the highlight of the Saddle Ridge Hoard), territorial gold coins—including one of the very finest known 1855 Wass, Molitor & Company $50 pieces—and a splendid Kellogg & Humbert gold ingot from the S.S. Central America treasure.

I invite you to come early, enjoy the sights and pleasures of New York City—the art and financial center of the world—and to participate in our sale of the D. Brent Pogue Collection Part I on Tuesday and the present Rarities Auction on Wednesday. I look forward to the possibility of seeing you here! If you are not attending in person, you can bid by telephone (by advance arrangement) or have a virtual reality “you are there” experience on the Internet—with our auctioneer and action in view in real time.

On behalf of the entire staff of Stack’s Bowers Galleries I thank you for your interest and possible participation.

All good wishes,

Q. David Bowers

Chairman Emeritus, Stack’s Bowers Galleries


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