US Coins

Gardner collection tops 19 million dollars at auction

Eugene H. Gardner's PCGS MS-66 1796 Draped Bust dime brought $881,250 at auction June 23.

Images courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

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.

Dannreuther said the coin would have to be sent back to PCGS for re-examination to be considered for Specimen status.

Heritage catalogers identify Gardner’s JR-1 1796 dime as “one of three or four known examples without the obverse die break” at the first star left of the date.

Other highlights

Among additional highlights in the Gardner Collection are:

??1793 Flowing Hair, Chain, AMERI. cent, Sheldon 1 (Penny Whimsy by William H. Sheldon), PCGS MS-63 Brown, $440,625.

??1802 Draped Bust half dime, Logan-McCloskey 1 (Federal Half Dimes 1792-1837 by Russell Logan and John McCloskey), PCGS About Uncirculated 50, $352,500.

??1800 Draped Bust dime, JR-2, PCGS MS-66, $352,500.

??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 Secure Proof 64, stickered by Certified Acceptance Corp., $396,562,50.

?1827/3/2 Capped Bust quarter dollar, original, Browning 1, PCGS Proof 64, CAC, $411,250.

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. 

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