The Dexter specimen of the 1804 Draped Bust silver dollar
realized $3,290,000 on the evening of March 31 in Baltimore, during
Stack’s Bowers Galleries’ auction of the D. Brent Pogue Collection.
The coin was a highlight of the Pogue V auction and
indeed a highlight of the entire collection. It was the second 1804
dollar to be offered in the Pogue auctions but the first one to sell.
In the May 24, 2016, Pogue IV auction, the finest known 1804 dollar, a
Class I coin, did not meet its reserve and did not sell. That coin,
graded Proof 68 by Professional Coin Grading Service, was first owned
by the Sultan of Muscat, who received the coin as part of a diplomatic
gift set of U.S. coins struck circa 1834.
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The Dexter specimen is graded Proof 65 by PCGS.
The Dexter coin gets its name from one of its most prominent owners,
James V. Dexter. As Steve Roach reported in an article here, Dexter took special pains to declare his
ownership of the coin, in an act that would appall modern
numismatists. “Beyond its obvious rarity, it is noteworthy in that
collector James V. Dexter punched a small ‘D’ in a reverse cloud,
forever leaving his mark on the coin. It is one of the Class I
‘Original’ dollars struck in 1834 and its last auction offering was in
1989 where it traded for $990,000,” Roach wrote in October 2016.
Just eight examples of the Class I or “Original” 1804 dollars exist.
All were struck circa 1834 to 1835 for inclusion in sets of coins
intended as diplomatic gifts. Class II coins (of which one survives)
were struck several decades later to meet collector demand for the
coin. The Class II and III coins were struck from a different reverse
than used for the Class I coins. The Class II dollars were struck in
1857 or 1858, and the Class III coins could have been struck as late
as the 1870s.
Who bought the coin?
Dealers Kevin Lipton and John Albanese purchased the coin jointly,
according to a press release. Lipton commented on the purchase in the
April 1 statement:
“Somewhere over Topeka, Kansas Friday night, while I was flying back
to Los Angeles from Baltimore, John Albanese and I jointly purchased
the Dexter/Pogue 1804 Draped Bust dollar for $3,290,000. This is
actually the second time I’ve owned this historic rare coin. I
purchased it with Hugh Sconyers for a then-record price of $990,000 on
behalf of the American Rare Coin Fund at Auction ’89 in Chicago in 1989.
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“I bought the coin this time strictly the way I buy everything: on
a basis of opportunity. In my opinion, this was the best buy of a high
value rare coin in the last 20-plus years. It was a moment of
opportunity. I don’t have any customers for it, I just want to enjoy
“When opportunity knocks, you have to be there to answer. I was
expecting this coin to sell for between $4 and $5 million, and was
stunned at this kind of opportunity to acquire it for less than $3.3 million.
“John (Albanese) and I have been friends and have done business
together for decades. He is one of the most respected numismatists in
the world, and was an original co-founder of both PCGS and NGC as well
as CAC. We are both excited and happy now to own one of the world’s
most famous rare coins.”
Coin sells again within 48 hours
According to buyer Kevin Lipton, he and Albanese began receiving
offers for the Dexter specimen shortly after their acquisition of the
coin, and within 48 hours, sold the specimen to a new buyer. Here are
excerpts from an April 3 press release:
“The Class I Dexter/Pogue specimen 1804 Draped Bust U.S. silver
dollar purchased at auction on Friday night, March 31, 2017, for
$3,290,000 jointly by Kevin Lipton of Beverly Hills, California and
John Albanese of Bedminster, New Jersey, was sold by them less than 48
hours later. Graded PCGS Proof 65, it was bought on Sunday afternoon,
April 2, 2017, by Laura Sperber of Legend Numismatics in Lincroft, New
Jersey on behalf of well-known collector Bruce Morelan, owner of the
all-time finest set of early American dollars listed in the PCGS Set Registry.”
This article was updated a second time, with the statement about
the coin’s subsequent resale, at 11:03 a.m. ET April 3.