The Eugene H. Gardner Collection of U.S. Coins, Part I, brought total prices realized of $19,627,872 at Heritage Auctions' June 23 sale in New York City.
The prices realized include the 17.5 percent buyer's fee added to the final closing hammer price of each lot won.
Realizing $881,250 to top the 637 lots offered, all of which sold, was a 1796 Draped Bust, Small Eagle dime, graded Mint State 66 by the Professional Coin Grading Service. The coin is an example of the JR-1 die marriage as cataloged in Early United States Dimes 1796-1837 by Jules Reiver, David J. Davis, Russell J. Logan, Allen F. Lovejoy, John W. McCloskey and William L. Subjack.
Heritage President Greg Rohan said Gardner was ecstatic with the results of the auction, which had an estimate of $12 million to $14 million.
"It was incredibly exciting," Rohan said. "There was so much bidding the sale didn't end until 9:45 p.m. EDT, 2 hours past when it was expected to conclude. Start time was 3 p.m."
1796 Draped Bust dime
Gardner’s 1796 Draped Bust dime was once part of the Jimmy Hayes Collection of United States Silver Coins, which Stack’s sold Oct. 22, 1985.
While PCGS has certified the coin MS-66, the lot description for the coin when it was part of the Hayes Collection identified its condition as “Gem Brilliant Proof.”
The Hayes sale lot description also added, “Undoubtedly struck for presentation. Deep mirror surface, fully struck stars and devices.”
Mark Borckardt, a senior cataloger for Heritage Auctions, said Feb. 5 the reason PCGS grades the piece as a Mint State coin and not Proof is that “PCGS does not recognize the Proof format for coins dated prior to 1817.”
However, “I believe that a strong case exists to call this piece a ‘Specimen,’ ” Borckardt said.
Numismatist John Dannreuther, a specialist in early U.S. coins and coinage production and a PCGS co-founder and consultant, said Feb. 5 that the coin could be considered by PCGS as SP, designating a Specimen strike.