Stack’s Bowers Galleries is set to host the official auctions of the
Whitman Coin and Collectibles Expo, taking place Nov. 9 to 12 at the
Baltimore Convention Center.
The 253-lot Rarities Night session Nov. 9 features several
noteworthy consignments and will present offerings from the Cardinal
Collection Educational Foundation, The Alexander Collection, The
Murray Hill Collection — the latter consisting of just 17 coins but
containing rarities like one of the finest known 1879 $4 Stella gold
patterns — and several choice selections from the estate of dealer
Catherine E. Bullowa.
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Q. David Bowers, co-founder of Stack’s Bowers Galleries, wrote in a
preface, “If anyone wants to define a leading lady in the profession
of numismatics, the story of Cathy Bullowa would be a good place to
start.” Bullowa’s Philadelphia business, Coinhunter, hosted many
mail-bid sales and was active at coin shows across the country, as she
maintained an active presence in numismatics nearly until her death on
May 15, 2017.
Astute collectors find that buying a ‘problem
coin’ can be a bit of a balancing act, but the rewards can be great.
Also in our Nov. 6 issue, Michael Fahey offers some tips on
grading Mint State Barber half dollars.
Classic Early Dollars
Among the selections from the Bullowa estate are several quality
early American dollars, including a 1798 Draped Bust, Heraldic Eagle
silver dollar graded About Uncirculated 53 by Professional Coin
Grading Service, with a gold Certified Acceptance Corp. sticker that
indicates that the coin could at least easily upgrade to the next
grade level. The Bowers-Borkhardt 105 variety, with a Pointed 9 in the
widely spaced date, is described as potentially among the finest known
of the variety, with the description observing, “Vivid peripheral
toning frames lighter gold and silver centers,” and “ample satin
luster evident throughout as the surfaces rotate under a light.” In
characterizing the softness in detail as a striking characteristic
rather than wear from circulation, the description observes, “The
focal features are softly defined, typical of the variety, but the
detail sharpens appreciably toward fully and uniformly denticulated borders.”
The finest early dollar in the sale comes from the Cardinal
Collection, a 1797 Draped Bust silver dollar graded Mint State 64 by
PCGS that is the sole Mint State survivor of the BB-72 variety. The
variety is the rarest of three known die pairings of the 1797 Draped
Bust dollar and has 15 obverse stars (nine to the right of Liberty and
seven to the left) with small letters in the inscriptions on the reverse.
The description points out, “Both sides exhibit lovely multicolored
peripheral toning that frames brilliant, frosty white centers,”
adding, “The strike is near-perfectly centered with full denticulation
around both sides that is particularly bold on the obverse.”
It was most recently offered at Heritage’s November 2013 sale of
Part II of the Eric P. Newman Collection where — then graded MS-64 by
Numismatic Guaranty Corp. — it sold for $381,875. Newman acquired it
in the mid-20th century for $125 as part of his acquisition of the
E.H.R. Green estate.