US Coins

Gardner II auction brings nearly $14 million

A 1796 Liberty Cap cent once owned by Dr. William Sheldon, who literally “wrote the book” on the large cent series, graded MS-62 brown brought $47,000 at Heritage’s Oct. 27 sale of the Gardner collection.

Image courtesy Heritage Auctions.

Heritage Auctions’ second sale of the collection of Eugene Gardner brought $13,753,523 in New York City on Oct. 27. It is the second of four sales featuring the numismatist’s holdings.

The first auction, on June 23, brought $19.6 million.

The collection is noteworthy for the depth of its early U.S. coins, and while quarter dollars were a favorite of the collector, the collection has depth across a wide range of denominations, from half cents to Trade dollars. (For related Coin World coverage, see "What's the price of perfection?" and "Two rarities each bring $282,000.")

Many coins with famous previous owners

As one would expect considering the scope of the collection, Gardner purchased many of his coins from public auction, and he participated in many noteworthy auctions over the past decade. Several of his large cents came from Heritage’s February 2008 sale of Walter Husak’s collection, including a 1796 Liberty Cap cent graded Mint State 62 Brown by Professional Coin Grading Service. 

It is one of 10 large cents of 1796 offered at this auction. When offered in 2008 it sold for $43,125, and this time around it brought $47,000.

The piece is noteworthy in that the obverse of this example is plated in Dr. William H. Sheldon’s seminal texts on the series, Early American Cents and Penny Whimsy. It’s the finest known example of the variety — Sheldon-83 — and has an ownership history tracing back to several prominent collections and dealers including Virgil M. Brand, R.E. Naftzger, John Whitney and Anthony Terranova. 

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