The Eugene H. Gardner Collection contains, among other items, what some numismatists regard as one of the finest collections of American silver coins.
Gardner, 78, a collector from Pennsylvania, spent more than two decades assembling the overall collection. Now, he’s relinquishing ownership of his more than 3,000 coins to a new collecting generation, in four auctions in New York in 2014 and 2015.
Heritage Auctions’ June 23 sale in New York City is the first of those auctions, with nearly 640 lots to be offered. The second auction is to be set in October.
Following are some highlights:
1842 Seated Liberty, Small Date, Small Letters half dollar
One of the focal points of Gardner’s collection is Seated Liberty coins, with an emphasis on quality and completeness. His collection of circulation-strike Seated Liberty half dollars, for example, is considered the “all-time greatest,” notes Heritage.
The scope of Gardner’s collection is exemplified by such pieces as the 1842 Seated Liberty, Small Date, Small Letters half dollar, a pairing of design obverse and reverse subtypes known by just four examples.
The type was unknown until 18 years after the 1993 publication of Complete Guide to Liberty Seated Half Dollars by Randy Wiley and Bill Bugert. Heritage reported the identification of the type on April 4, 2001, with three more examples discovered since.
The type pairs the Small Date obverse with the Small Letters reverse design, also known as the “Reverse of 1839.” The Small Letters reverse was used from 1839 through 1842.
The example that became part of the Gardner Collection was discovered by New York dealer Anthony Terranova, unattributed, in an unnamed auction, according to the Heritage lot description.