If you are a longtime reader of my column, you know that I enjoy
inexpensive coins that have stories.
On my list of the top 10 are the 1909 Lincoln, V.D.B. cent and the
1883 Liberty Head, Without CENTS 5-cent coin. If anyone would listen I
could hop on the proverbial soapbox, close my eyes, and spend at least
a half hour, perhaps more, telling of their fascinating history.
Beyond that, I have enjoyed collecting large copper cents
counterstamped with advertisements, obsolete bank notes of New
Hampshire, Civil War tokens and many other such things. None of these
would make headlines.
That said, I also enjoy landmark rarities. I do not own an 1804
Draped Bust silver dollar, but I have delved into their history in the
course of auctioning a number of pieces, and I even wrote a book about
this famous coin. Of the five known 1913 Liberty Head 5-cent coins, I
have handled three of them and was responsible for a fourth, the
Norweb example, being donated to the National Numismatic Collection at
the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum of American History.
Recently in company with other Stack’s Bowers Galleries staff I
have been cataloging rarities for the impending Whitman Baltimore
Coins & Collectibles Expo, the key being a superb gem Proof 1907
Saint-Gaudens, Ultra High Relief, Roman Numerals gold $20 double
eagle. I could declaim for an hour about this coin, too.
The Battle Born Collection headed for the American Numismatic
Association World’s Fair of Money auction has another old friend, the
unique 1873-CC Seated Liberty, Without Arrows dime.
While I have enjoyed handling great rarities and landmark
collections, closest to my heart are the people involved. I have great
memories of good times spent with Louis E. Eliasberg Sr., and his son
Richard keeps in touch. Recently, he came to Wolfeboro just to say “hi.”
Harry W. Bass Jr. was one of a kind — a consummate numismatist of
the rocket scientist type while also a warm friend.
After Bowers and Merena sold the Norweb Collection, the Norweb
family invited our entire staff to their seaside home in Boothbay
Harbor, Maine, for a boat trip and lobster fest.
From 1909 cents to million-dollar rarities, nice memories are made
of such things.
Q. David Bowers is chairman emeritus of Stack’s Bowers Galleries
and numismatic director of Whitman Publishing LLC. He can be reached
at his private email, firstname.lastname@example.org,
or at Q. David Bowers, LLC, Box 1804, Wolfeboro, NH 03894.