US Coins

Noted numismatist D. Brent Pogue dies unexpectedly at age 54

Noted collector D. Brent Pogue, whose extensive collection of high-quality, rare United States coins realized more than $106 million over a series of five auctions between 2015 and 2017, died unexpectedly at the age of 54.

A real estate developer, Mr. Pogue was found dead July 29 at his Corona Del Mar, California, home by a friend who had stopped by the residence.

Christine Karstedt, executive vice president of Stack’s Bowers Galleries, which along with Sotheby’s conducted the Pogue sales, said the medical examiner in Orange County, California, was conducting an autopsy to determine the time and exact cause of Mr. Pogue’s death.

Karstedt said Mr. Pogue’s family was venturing to California to await the results of the autopsy and make arrangements to bring his body back to his native Dallas for final rites.

The Pogue collection was one of the most prestigious ever assembled, with many finest known rarities acquired over decades of research and acquisition.

Mr. Pogue was introduced to coin collecting in 1974 at age 10 by his father, prominent Texas real estate developer Mack Pogue, who gifted his son with a bag of Lincoln, Wheat cents. Among the finds was a brilliant 1915 cent that Brent Pogue learned was then valued at $65.

That was enough to trigger his passion for numismatics from then until his death.

Mr. Pogue immersed himself in the hobby, researching all he could about each U.S. coin series to absorb as much knowledge as possible. He wound up assembling a comprehensive numismatic library to support his ongoing hobby education.

Brent Pogue managed to make his passion for coin collecting a shared pursuit with his father.

At the 1982 U.S. Gold Coin Collection sale by Bowers & Ruddy of coins held by numismatist Louis E. Eliasberg Sr., the Pogue family numismatic collection grew with the purchase of the only 1822 Capped Head gold $5 half eagle known in private hands and the only privately held 1854-S Coronet half eagle.

When the 1822 Capped Head half eagle, graded About Uncirculated 50 by Professional Coin Grading Service, was offered at auction May 24, 2016, it did not sell. 

The 1854-S Capped Head half eagle is graded PCGS About Uncirculated 58+. It is one of only four examples known from a reported mintage of 17, 796 coins.

To own one Class I, Original 1804 Draped Bust dollar is a stunning achievement by any numismatist. The Pogues owned two, and not just any two.

The finest known, graded PCGS Proof 68, was once part of a diplomatic presentation set delivered to the Sultan of Muscat by the United States circa 1834 to open trade relations in the Far East.

Offered for sale May 26, 2016, like the 1822 half eagle, the dollar, too, did not sell. The Sultan of Muscat coin received a world-record-setting bid for any U.S. coin ($9.2 million hammer, $10.81 million including the auction house commission), but the consignor’s reserve was not met.

The second Class I, Original, 1804 Draped Bust dollar held by the Pogues was the example known as the Dexter specimen, once owned by numismatist James Dexter. To forever identify his ownership, Dexter had a small, capital letter D punched into the second cloud from the right on the coin’s reverse. The March 31, 2017, Pogue V sale brought a price realized for the Dexter dollar of $3.29 million. The buyers flipped the coin two days later in a private transaction for an undisclosed price. 

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