The two most expensive coins in Heritage's second auction of the
Eugene Gardner Collection, which took place in New York City on Oct.
27, 2014, each sold for $282,000. The auction realized nearly $14
million in total. (For more highlights, see "What's the price of perfection?" and
"Ten 1796 Liberty Cap large cents show depth of
The first was an 1842 Seated Liberty, Small Date quarter dollar
graded Proof 65 by PCGS. It is the second finest known of seven for
the date, and the offered example was part of the Eliasberg Collection
where it was described as “one of the greatest of all American classic
When last offered as part of Heritage’s 2013 sale of the Greensboro
Collection it sold for $258,500. The digits of the date are much
smaller than those used on regular-issue Seated Liberty quarter
dollars in 1842 and the Small Date design is seen only on Proof
strikings. However, Proof quarters of this year come in both Large and
Small Date versions.
The other piece to bring $282,500 was a 1796 Draped Bust, Small
Eagle, 15 Stars half dollar graded NGC MS-62. It is numbered Amato 107
in Jon Amato’s book The Draped Bust Half Dollars of 1796-1797.
The issue is popular with type, date and variety collectors. Two
obverse dies struck 1796 half dollars: one with 15 stars and another
with 16 stars. The Draped Bust, Small Eagle half dollar was produced
for just two years and of the 3,918 pieces struck, perhaps 400, or so,