US Coins

Pogue 1822 gold $5 returns to Stack’s Bowers auction

The very top end of the rare coin market will be tested when Stack’s Bowers Galleries offers the Pogue 1822 Capped Bust gold $5 half eagle at its March 23 to 26 auction in Las Vegas. It is the only collectible example of three known.

Images courtesy of Stack's Bowers Galleries

Coin auctions continue to thrive, despite the cancellation of nearly all major coin shows due to COVID-19, as collectors have extra time to indulge in their collecting.

Stack’s Bowers Galleries announced that its auctions originally set to coincide with the Whitman Baltimore Expo have been moved to Las Vegas, to be held March 23 to 26 as part of the Professional Coin Grading Service Substitute Members Only Show.

Stack’s Bowers is going to try its luck again in offering the 1822 Capped Bust half eagle from the collection of D. Brent Pogue. It went unsold at its last offering, at Stack’s Bowers and Sotheby’s May 24, 2016, Pogue IV auction, where it failed to meet its reserve, and bidding stopped at $6.4 million. It is the sole collectible example of just three known, with two others in the Smithsonian collection. At that same auction, the finest-known 1804 Draped Bust dollar also failed to sell, passing at $9.2 million.

Heritage’s January auction of the Partrick Collection’s 1787 New York-Style Brasher gold doubloon for $9,360,000 set a record for the most expensive gold coin at auction, and likely gave the Pogue family confidence to try again. That the doubloon sold to a bidder who had not previously purchased a rare coin suggests that (as seen with other rising collectibles markets, including sports cards and comic books, where top examples have set records) the pandemic has given well-heeled folks time to explore new hobbies.

The 2016 catalog for the Pogue IV sale called the 1822 Capped Bust half eagle “the most legendary rarity in American numismatics” and “one of America’s most noteworthy historic collectibles in any form. It is graded About Uncirculated 50 by Professional Coin Grading Service.

That cataloger also summarized that, unlike pristine examples of other coins, which often fetch record prices, “This is not a gem, nor does it glitter like a jewel. This piece displays antiquity. It shows wear and use. Its surfaces suggest its life before collectors and cabinets and fame. Within the shadows of contrast between a coin worth $5 and a coin worth millions, this coin hides a story whose earliest details will forever remain unknown.”

Previously offered at Bowers and Ruddy’s October 1982 sale of the Louis E. Eliasberg Sr. Collection, there it realized $687,500.

Stack’s Bowers ended its 2016 offering writing, “The phrase ‘once in a lifetime’ is perhaps the most abused of the long list of numismatic clichés. Nearly all rarities surface at least once a decade. Some seemingly swim through auctions once a year or more. A specimen of the 1822 half eagle has sold at public auction on precisely two occasions, no more and no less.” Now bidders will get another chance to win this prize.

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