US Coins

Gardner Collection sale realizes $19.6 million

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.

All of the 637 lots sold and 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 auction 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 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 a pre-sale estimate of $12 million to $14 million.

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.”

Mark Borckardt, a senior cataloger for Heritage Auctions, said 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.

1793 Flowing Hair, Chain cent

Gardner’s 1793 Flowing Hair, Chain, AMERI. cent,  Sheldon 1, is the plate coin from William H. Sheldon’s Early American Cents, later renamed Penny Whimsy.

Graded PCGS MS-63 brown, the coin sold for $440,625.

The Sheldon 1 variety is recognizable by the inscription AMERICA being abbreviated to AMERI. on the reverse. The first coins produced were those bearing the abbreviated inscription. Later strikes had AMERICA fully spelled out.

The production of all Flowing Hair, Chain cents was executed from Feb. 27 to March 12, 1793.

1802 Draped Bust half dime

The 1802 Draped Bust half dime is unknown certified in Mint State.

Gardner’s LM-1 variety, (Federal Half Dimes 1792-1837 by Russell Logan and John McCloskey), PCGS About Uncirculated 50, sold for $352,500.

Only one die marriage is known to have been used to execute the total reported mintage of 3,060 coins. Fewer than 40 genuine examples of the 1802 half dime are estimated extant. Altered date examples are known to exist.

All known 1802 half dimes were struck with a reverse die identified by the leaf that joins the center of the C in AMERICA at the base, an important diagnostic for the coin.

1822 Capped Bust dime

The 1822 Capped Bust dime, JR-1, PCGS Proof 66, Cameo, realized $440,625.

In Proof, the 1822 Capped Bust dime is known by just two examples. Just one die marriage is known for the year.

“The upper serif on the 1 in the denomination is defective, as seen on circulation strikes,” according to the Heritage Auction lot description of the coin’s diagnostics. “The existence of a single die pair known for the year reinforces the belief that much of the 1822 mintage was actually dated 1821 — a year for which 10 die marriages are known.”

Proof 1823/2 quarter dollar

The 1823/2 Capped Bust quarter dollar, Browning 1 (Early Quarter Dollars of the U.S. Mint 1796-1838 by Rory Rea, Glenn Peterson, John Kovach and Bradley Karoleff), PCGS Proof 64, stickered by Certified Acceptance Corp., brought $396,562.50.

The 1823/2 Capped Bust quarter dollar overdate issue is known by a single obverse and reverse die pairing. 

U.S. Mint records indicate that 117,800 pieces were struck of this year, yet it is one of the two rarest dates in the entire quarter dollar series. 

Aside from the essentially noncollectible 1827 25-cent coin, the 1823/2 is considered the key date to the Capped Bust quarter dollar series. 

Proof 1827/3/2 quarter dollar

All original 1827 Capped Bust quarter dollars, of which nine examples are confirmed known, were struck from the same pair of dies, and designated Browning 1 in author Ard W. Browning’s 1925 reference, Early Quarter Dollars of the United States 1796-1838.

Gardner’s original 1827/3/2 Capped Bust quarter dollar, PCGS Proof 64, CAC, realized $411,250.

The Browning 1 reverse features a Curl Base 2 in the denomination, while the reverse for the B-2 coins (considered restrikes) all display a Square Base 2.

According to the Heritage auction lot description: “The 1827 B-1 obverse die was produced by overdating the 1823/2 B-1 obverse, which had been used previously to produce the small mintage of quarters in 1823. All four digits show signs of overpunching. ... The 1827 B-1 reverse die was later used to strike the B-1 variety of 1828.

“All Original 1827 quarters show a die crack on the reverse, from ED in UNITED, across the banner, and through AME in AMERICA.”

The variety has been known as a great numismatic rarity since at least 1857, according to the auction lot description.

For more details about the Gardner auctions, of which at least three more are planned, visit Heritage Numismatic Auctions online; write the firm at 3500 Maple Ave., 17th Floor, Dallas, TX 75219-3941; or telephone Heritage either at 800-872-6467 or 214-528-3500.

Community Comments