The Missouri Cabinet Collection of U.S. Half Cents brought nearly
$18.3 million at auction, led by two $1 million rarities and dozens of
other coins where estimates were wildly exceeded.
The Jan. 26 auction was held prior to the Long Beach Expo and was
presented by Ira & Larry Goldberg Auctioneers with Bob Grellman
and Chris McCawley. It was described as the only collection ever
formed that contains every variety of half cent struck for circulation
and struck in Proof.
Some coins sold for extraordinary prices. An 1803 Draped Bust half
cent graded Professional Coin Grading Service Mint State 66 red and
brown with a green Certified Acceptance Corp. sticker had an estimate
of $25,000 and up, and sold for $287,500, a huge price for a variety
that’s a common one for the date. It’s listed as Cohen 9 in the
reference American Half Cents: The “Little Half Sisters,” by Roger S.
A handsome example of the famed “High Relief Head” C-9 variety of
the 1794 Liberty Cap, Right half cent in MS-65 red and brown with a
green CAC sticker demolished its $75,000 estimate when it sold for
$402,500. It brought $2,300 when it was offered as the finest known
example at a 1970 Stack’s auction.
Some lots that had “problems” performed below expectations.
A 1795 Liberty Cap, No Pole with Thick Planchet half cent graded
PCGS Genuine, Uncirculated Details, Planchet Flaw carried an estimate
of $25,000 and up, and brought $12,075. It had a detailed provenance
and had been a part of the Norweb Collection, but the defective
planchet proved to be a problem for bidders.
Such crude, often defective planchets are regularly seen for the
thick planchet variety, and the catalog notes that the thick planchets
appear to have been harder and more brittle than normal. The crack was
inherent to the coin’s production.
Collectors looking for a souvenir of this great sale could find an
1854 Coronet half cent, C-1, in MS-64 brown with a green CAC sticker
Knowing the importance of the sale, the firm offered as the last two
lots “super-deluxe editions” of the auction catalog bound in full
Moroccan leather and including a special plate section. Proceeds of
the lots benefited the Early American Coppers club and the American
Numismatic Society. The catalogs sold for $6,325 and $6,038,