Collectors and dealers alike are gearing up for Stack’s Bowers Galleries’ and Sotheby’s auction of the collection of Texas entrepreneur D. Brent Pogue, subtitled, “Masterpieces of United States Coinage, Part I,” scheduled for May 19 at Sotheby’s headquarters in New York City.
In his introduction, Q. David Bowers calls Pogue’s collection the most valuable collection of U.S. coins ever sold. The collection was started in the 1970s and continued to be refined in recent years, with many of the coins coming out of auctions over the past decade.
Pogue’s coins are noteworthy for their quality, with Bowers writing: “The Pogue Collection is built on a foundation provided by those who have gone before — great collectors from the mid-19th century to the modern era who formed high-quality cabinets. Nearly all of the Pogue coins have provenances tracing their ancestry to earlier numismatists.”
The May 19 auction is the first in a series of auctions of the Pogue Collection, which includes more than 650 coins. Future auctions are scheduled through May 2017. The next sale is scheduled for Sept. 30 to Oct. 1.
Pogue’s early half dollars from 1794 to 1807 offered in the May 19 sale are described as “the very finest ever gathered in a collection and the very finest ever offered at auction.”
Several of the half dollars are positioned to sell for more than $1 million at the May 19 auction, including a 1797 Draped Bust, Small Eagle half dollar graded Mint State 66 by Professional Coin Grading Service. PCGS graded all of the coins in the Pogue Collection and created special Pogue labels.
The catalog puts it succinctly, calling the coin “the finest known 1797 half dollar, the finest example of a Small Eagle half dollar, and perhaps the most valuable half dollar in existence.”
Visually, it’s a treat, described with effusive praise, with the description stating: “Both sides are alive with color, the obverse radiant gold and violet framed in pale blue and champagne, the reverse lavender and blue suffused with pale gold. From arm’s length, this appears to be the most beautiful coin imaginable, lightly reflective but still showing full lustrous cartwheel.”
It is offered with a 1796 Flowing Hair, Small Eagle, 16 Stars half dollar that has been its long-term mate, which is similar in appearance and also graded MS-66. This example is the variety with 16 obverse stars (Overton 102 in the series reference).