Pogue III set for Feb. 9 in New York
- Published: Jan 8, 2016, 5 AM
The third installment of Stack’s Bowers Galleries and Sotheby’s auction of rare coins from the collection of Texas businessman D. Brent Pogue is set for Feb. 9 at Sotheby’s headquarters in New York City.
In total the first two sales have brought in excess of $50 million, with the last sale, held on Sept. 30, 2015, realizing an astounding $248,769 per lot for the 105 coins offered.
With 158 coins, the upcoming sale is the largest of the three Pogue sales. Two additional Pogue auctions are scheduled for 2016.
As David Redden, Sotheby’s vice chairman, noted in his catalog welcome, “For both past events the auction room was ‘live,’ the spirit buoyant, the atmosphere electric, punctuated with spontaneous applause many times. To have been there as a bidder, buyer, or observer was an experience that those in the audience will always remember,” adding, “I anticipate that Pogue Part III will continue this enthusiasm.”
Pogue Part III contains half cents, large cents, dimes, half dollars, gold $3 pieces and gold $5 half eagles.
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Precious early copper
The copper coins offered are all from the 18th century and include 11 half cents and five 1793 cents. One of the most handsome is a 1793 Flowing Hair, Wreath cent graded Mint State 67 red and brown by Professional Coin Grading Service.
Designated as Sheldon 9 in the reference to the series, it has the Vine and Bars edge and a surprising amount of rich Mint red color, especially on the obverse. As John Kraljevich wrote in the description, “This piece initially appeared in 1973, first handled by California coin shop proprietor Herman Engelhardt, who handled several important large cents during the era in which he flourished. While coins of this era found in Europe sometimes have no previous provenance within numismatic circles, those found in California have rarely been there since the 1790s, suggesting that this coin has some prior, if unknown, collector provenance.” It has an estimate of $400,000 to $500,000.
While the early ownership of this coin remains a mystery, its quality is undeniable and it is one of only three 1793 Flowing Hair, Wreath cents to have ever received a color designation other than brown by PCGS. A single example of the 1793 Flowing Hair, Wreath type is graded numerically finer: a PCGS MS-69 brown example that realized $481,750 at Stack’s Bowers Galleries’ 2013 American Numismatic Association auction.
Another highlight among the copper issues is the Earle-Atwater-Eliasberg 1796 Liberty Cap, Right, No Pole half cent graded PCGS MS-67 red and brown. As legendary collector and former owner Louis E. Eliasberg Sr. said in 1956, “This is the finest known specimen of the rarest half cent.”
It had previously sold at auction as part of Bowers and Merena’s May 1996 auction of coins from the Eliasberg Collection where it became the first half cent to top the half-million dollar price level at auction. At Pogue III it carries an estimate of $750,000 to $1,250,000.
19th century silver
The silver coins offered in Pogue III consist of Capped Bust dimes and half dollars.
While few coins in Pogue’s collections may be affordable by normal collector standards, an 1821 Capped Bust dime graded MS-64+ by PCGS has a tantalizingly low estimate of $3,000 to $5,000. The Large Date example is cataloged as the John Reich 6 variety and it has a rich ownership history that goes back to the mid-19th century when it was part of the Matthew Adams Stickney Collection. It passed to his descendants until it was offered at Henry Chapman’s sale of the Matthew A. Stickney Collection in June 1907. The piece later represented the design type in the Dr. Haig Koshkarian type set.Like many of Pogue’s coins, it has gorgeous toning, described in the catalog as “dramatic and distinctive, showing pale blue tones on the right side of the obverse, while the center and left side is dominated by peach and gold and the date is surrounded by deep violet. A circle of rose and peach centered on the eagle’s beak radiates into halos o fpastel blue and pale champagne over the silvery periphery on the reverse.”
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Gold coins in Pogue III consist of Indian Head gold $3 coins and early gold $5 half eagles. The $3 pieces represent an outlier in Pogue’s holdings, which generally focus on early Federal coins from 1792 to the late 1830s. But as the catalog notes, “when the opportunity presented itself to buy the three-dollar gold coins from the Great Lakes Collection en bloc, the temptation could not be denied.”
Pogue’s collection is complete save the 1870-S coin, which is known by a single example that is part of the Harry W. Bass Collection. The collection is on loan to the American Numismatic Association’s Money Museum in Colorado Springs, Colo.
One of the most attractive of Pogue’s collection of $3 pieces is his 1862 coin, graded MS-66 by PCGS. It is rather colorful as far as gold coins go with shades of orange and rose seen on both sides and is one of two certified in this grade, with none finer. On the eye appeal, the catalog adds, “The surfaces display deep sunset-orange iridescence tempered with soft olive in the fields and rose-gold in the protected areas.” It carries an estimate of $40,000 to $50,000.
A key rarity in the Indian Head gold $3 coin series is the Proof-only 1875 coin. From a reported mintage of just 20 pieces (although current population reports suggest that as many as 30 may be known today), Pogue’s gold $3 coin is graded Proof 65+ Deep Cameo and carries an estimate of $175,000 to $250,000.
Gorgeous 1807 $5 gold
The final lots in Pogue III consist of Capped Bust gold $5 half eagles. The first of these is an 1807 Capped Draped Bust half eagle cataloged as the Bass-Dannreuther 8 variety in the series reference and graded MS-67+ by PCGS. As the catalog notes, “The D. Brent Pogue half eagles occupy a special place in this collection, the heart of its rarity and the soul of its quality. No group of such completeness and such uniform high quality has ever come to market. Even among this remarkable assemblage, the present coin stands out.”
The quality is simply exceptional, with Kraljevich explaining in the lot description, “This specimen earns every superlative laurel an early U.S. gold coin can wear. It is the best preserved, the most original, and the most beautiful. Its aesthetic appeal is incomparable. No other half eagle struck in the 18th or 19th centuries has survived in a state of preservation that so closely resembles the precise moment of striking.” The trophy, from the first year of John Reich’s design, carries an estimate of $200,000 to $275,000.
About the collection
Assembled over more than three decades by Dallas real estate magnate A. Mack Pogue and his son, D. Brent Pogue, the overall collection focuses on copper, silver and gold coins from the early 1790s to the late 1830s, with many finest known coins.
Among the coins in the collection are two Class I (original) 1804 Draped Bust dollars; and an 1822 Capped Head $5 gold half eagle and 1854-S Coronet half eagle, both of which have been off the market since 1982.
The two gold coins were last sold at auction in the Bowers and Ruddy Galleries Inc. sale Oct. 27 to 29, 1982, of The United States Gold Coin Collection, the anonymous name given to the holdings of renowned Baltimore numismatist Louis E. Eliasberg Sr. Neither of those coins have been offered yet in the Pogue auctions.
The two 1804 Draped Bust silver dollars will also be offered in one or more of the future Pogue auctions.
The Walter H. Childs Class I 1804 dollar, graded Proof 68 by PCGS, brought a record $4.14 million when Childs’ collection was sold Aug. 30, 1999, by Auctions by Bowers and Merena Inc. The coin is believed to be the example delivered as a diplomatic gesture to the Sultan of Muscat on Oct. 1, 1835, as part of a presentation set of United States coins.
The other piece is the Dexter-Dunham coin, last sold at auction in Stack’s 65th Anniversary Sale Oct. 17 to 19, 2000, where it realized $1.84 million. The coin was offered graded and encapsulated by PCGS as Proof 64.
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