US Coins

Collector selling long-time collection series by series

New Jersey psychologist Dr. Nathan Sonnheim has been collecting United States coins since the age of 7. That was 74 years ago.

Having amassed what he refers to as a “Mini Eliasberg Collection” of multiple complete coin series containing one of each regular strike by date, Mint mark and denomination, Dr. Sonnheim is slowly divesting himself of his numismatic holdings, series by series.

Currently being liquidated is an assemblage of 85 U.S. quarter dollars, primarily Seated Liberty issues of 1838 through 1891, and also including a 1796 Draped Bust coin and the Capped Bust issues of 1804 through 1838.

The 85 coins, all graded and encapsulated by Professional Coin Grading Service or Numismatic Guaranty Corp., with the majority also stickered by Certified Acceptance Corp. for being exceptional within the grade, are being offered online through GreatCollections.

The auction has a March 8 closing date.

Numismatic bug bites

Sonnheim was bitten by the collecting bug as a youngster, introduced to the coinage of the native countries of his grandfathers, one an emigre from Russia and the other from Germany.

He said he began collecting U.S. coins from the change used in trade at the luncheonette his Russian grandfather established in the Philadelphia enclave of Fishtown.

Among Sonnheim’s finds was a 1922-D Lincoln, No D cent that fascinated him because of its missing the D Mint mark. He still retains that coin today.

After a hiatus from collecting while earning his college degrees and establishing his practice, Sonnheim returned to the numismatic fold in 1973 with renewed vigor.

With the support of his wife, Barbara, also a psychologist, Sonnheim began the quest to build a “great” collection of United States coins, maneuvering the financial wherewithal to finance his collecting tastes.

Along the way, in his younger years, he encountered Albert Einstein, who imparted a message that, whenever he was asked what his religion was, he replied that it was a “mosaic” of all religions.

Hence, Sonnheim references the 85-coin offering as the Mosaic Collection.

Sonnheim also was introduced along the way to Seated Liberty coinage expect Kamal Ahwash, author of Encyclopedia of United States Liberty Seated Dimes 1837–1891, who steered Dr. Sonnheim into collecting Seated Liberty dollars.

Sonnheim eventually extended his reach in Seated Liberty coinage to include quarter dollars, and broadened the focus to include the Draped Bust and Capped Bust issues as well.

Most of the coins in the quarter dollar collection were acquired en masse from an unnamed Philadelphia attorney, and from that, Dr. Sonnheim continued to add to the collection.

Included are two coins that once resided in the collection of Baltimore businessman Louis E. Eliasberg Sr.

The collection’s 1854-O Seated Liberty, Huge O quarter dollar, graded PCGS About Uncirculated 58, CAC, and its 1856-S Seated Liberty quarter dollar graded PCGS AU-58, CAC, both hold the Eliasberg pedigree.

The  PCGS Fine 12, CAC, 1870-CC Seated Liberty quarter dollar, acquired from numismatist Thomas Becker, was an upgrade from an About Good 3 coin being replaced.

Also among the 85 coins are an 1871-CC Seated Liberty quarter dollar, PCGS Very Fine 35, CAC; an NGC Good 4 1872-CC quarter; and a PCGS VF-20 1873-CC Seated Liberty, With Arrows quarter dollar.

Among the older pieces in the collection, the 1796 Draped Bust quarter dollar grades PCGS Fair 2 and bears a CAC sticker.

Some of Sonnheim’s sets of earlier silver issues of U.S. coin series have already been dispersed to new owners, with the proceeds of those sales financing the acquisition of gold issues.

Sonnheim said his final offering will comprise his set of Carson City Mint-struck Coronet $10 gold eagles.

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