The expected stars in the fourth installment of the D. Brent Pogue Collection — the finest known 1804 Draped Bust dollar and the only collectible 1822 Capped Head $5 half eagle — both failed to meet their reserves and did not sell.
The Pogue auction, subtitled “Masterpieces of United States Coinage, Part IV” and a joint venture between Stack’s Bowers Galleries and Sotheby’s, took place at the latter firm’s New York City headquarters on May 24. The total for the first three auctions now stands at $68,577,182, with totals from Pogue IV adding to the record for a single collection sold at auction.
Lot 20 was Pogue’s 1804 Draped Bust silver dollar graded Proof 68 by Professional Coin Grading Service. The Class I Original dollar is named the Sultan of Muscat-Watters-Brand-Childs-Pogue 1804 dollar and is well-known as “the finest known example of the King of American coins.”
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It opened with auctioneer Melissa Karstedt looking for a bid of $7.6 million. It slowly moved to $7.8 million and Karstedt said, “We’ve got a thinker on the phone.” A cut-bid increment of $7.9 million was next, then $8 million, followed with the auctioneer asking, “Anyone want to yell anything out?” Bids of $8.2 million, $8.4 million, $8.5 million, $8.6 million came next with Karstedt adding from the podium, “Don’t forget any of you can bid while we’re waiting.”
The bids continued to a final bid of $9.2 million, after which Karstedt dropped the hammer and said “Passed” to a surprised audience. The famed dollar failed to meet its reserve.
Had it found a new bidder at that level, with that 17.5 percent buyer’s fee it would have realized $10.81 million and set a record for a coin at auction.
It was last offered at auction at Bowers and Merena’s August 1999 sale of the Walter H. Childs Collection, where it sold for $4,140,000. As the lot description in the Pogue IV catalog began, “No other coin so singularly symbolizes the ultimate levels of rarity and desirability in American numismatics as does an 1804 dollar. It would be out of character for this august cabinet to settle for any 1804 dollar other than the finest one extant, the most beautiful and best preserved example, the one whose provenance is filled with the most history and mystery.”