US Coins

Wealth of rarities in Pogue Collection continues to wow hobby

Stack’s Bowers Galleries is busy preparing for its Part VI and Part VII offerings of the D. Brent Pogue Collection at its March 18 to 20 auctions held during the Whitman Baltimore Expo.

The March 18 session presenting Part VI focuses on his paper money collection of approximately 230 notes encompassing the areas of large-size type notes, small-size type notes and national bank notes. Part VII on March 20 includes the coin series “which Brent collected quietly for his own enjoyment.” Stack’s Bowers adds, “This sale presents these areas of interest and displays far more diversity than has come to be expected from this collection.” See Page 149 for more on this segment.

The sales will build on the $106,720,432.25 realized over the course of five auction events held from 2015 to 2017 by Stack’s Bowers Galleries and Sotheby’s featuring the collections of father and son Mack and Brent Pogue.

Among the popular key date cents in the March 20 session are an 1877 Indian Head cent graded Mint State 65 red by Professional Coin Grading Service with a green Certified Acceptance Corp. sticker; a 1909-S Lincoln, V.D.B. cent in PCGS MS-66 red and brown; and a 1955 Lincoln, Doubled Die Obverse cent in MS-66 red and brown, also with a green CAC sticker. 

An always-popular low mintage 1916-D Winged Liberty Head dime in MS-67 full bands, certified by PCGS and bearing a green CAC sticker, is presented alongside a condition rarity: a 1955-D Roosevelt dime in PCGS MS-68 full bands, offering a taste of the numismatic diversity in this session.

Top-graded 1878-S Seated Liberty half dollar

Some fantastic Seated Liberty half dollars are in Pogue VII, including the finest-known 1878-S Seated Liberty half dollar graded PCGS MS-66 with a green CAC sticker. The San Francisco Mint issue is a key in all grades, with a low mintage of 12,000 coins struck from a single pair of dies, of which an estimated 50 to 60 survive today in all grades. 

Of these, Pogue’s coin is the finest, with the cataloger observing, “Beautiful pearl gray and silver-mauve patina and iridescent undertones can be seen on both sides of this extraordinary Gem,” adding, “Razor sharp detail is noted throughout and the surfaces are lovely and frosty.”

Each example shares the same diagnostic raised lump at the top left of the first open stripe on the reverse shield, and this trait survives even on low grade examples. For those who love minutia, the cataloger states, “For those patient enough to count them, all 1878-S half dollars have 147 reeds on the edge, different from the edge reeding used at the other mints that year.” 

The handsome half carries an estimate of $200,000 to $250,000.

Around a dozen known

Another legendary rarity is an 1854-S Coronet gold $2.50 quarter eagle graded PCGS About Uncirculated 50, “deeply toned in shades of warm maize yellow, contrasting with clear blue near the obverse rims, and deeper copper-peach and violet around the central reverse and the lower obverse device.” 

Today around a dozen exist from an initial mintage of only 246 examples, and it’s considered the key date of the entire quarter eagle denomination. Most examples show evidence of circulation.

The cataloger explains, “Struck without acclaim or numismatic interest, the entire mintage slipped into circulation to serve a dire need for circulating small change around the gold fields of California, anything more easily handled than pinches of gold dust and more convenient than foreign silver.”

The offered coin, considered the finest-known, has a long provenance that traces back to the F.C.C. Boyd Collection and Numismatic Gallery’s sale of the World’s Great Collection, January 1946, where it was offered as lot 242. Among its noteworthy recent sales was its offering in Bowers and Merena’s 1999 sale of the Harry W. Bass Jr. Collection, where it brought $135,700. Offered again by Superior in 2004, it realized $178,250 and has been off the market since. In Baltimore it is estimated to bring $300,000 to $400,000.

Beautiful toning

Beyond obvious key dates, some coins were selected because of their attractiveness. A 1919 Standing Liberty quarter dollar graded MS-68 with a green CAC sticker is stunning, with rainbow toning circling the rims. It is one of three like-graded examples at PCGS with a single MS-68+ example finer. Stack’s Bowers adds in the pre-sale press release that Pogue had a particular attraction to quarter dollars and, “The offering of Standing Liberty quarters is extensive, though not quite complete, and includes coins in a wide range of value from a 1929-S in MS-66+ (PCGS) to the famous 1918/7-S overdate in MS-65 (PCGS).”

The 1921 Peace dollar is not rare in an absolute sense, but its high relief is distinctive from later issues in the Peace dollar series and it is sometimes collected as a one-year type coin. Pogue’s is, again, among the finest surviving, a frosty PCGS MS-66+ piece with a green CAC sticker, that shows “extremely beautiful iridescent toning in pastel pink, gold, apricot, powder blue and olive.” 

The entire mintage of just over 1 million dollars was struck between Dec. 26 and 31, 1921, and Anthony de Francisci’s high relief was relentless on dies. Most examples show weakness at the center of the obverse, but the strike on Pogue’s dollar, while not full, is much better than typically seen.

“It is an exciting opportunity for collectors who desire this important American provenance, but found many Pogue coins financially out of reach,” notes the auctioneer, highlighting the lower price points seen for many of the coins in Part VII, before concluding, “the one guiding principle that will be evident in this presentation, as it was in prior Pogue offerings, is a commitment to quality.”

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