Pogue's 1804 dollar, 1822 half eagle head to auction

Coin World Managing Editor William T. Gibbs reports that for the first time in history, an 1804 silver dollar and 1822 gold half eagle will appear in the same auction. The May 25 sale from the D. Brent Pogue Collection offers the finest-known 1804 dollar, but it is the 1822 half eagle that may be the most exciting coin in the auction. Learn why in the video.

Full video transcript: 

Good morning. This is William T. Gibbs with Coin World's Monday morning blast. 

On May 25 in New York City, something unprecedented is going to happen. For the first time in history, an 1804 silver dollar and an 1822 gold half eagle will appear in the same auction, this being from the fourth sale from the collection of D. Brent Pogue.

Now, these two classic American rarities have never appeared in the same auction. The 1804 dollar is a gorgeous Proof-68 specimen, the finest known. But I'm going to focus this week on the gold half eagle, which is far, far rarer. Fifteen different examples are known for the 1804 dollar, but just three exist for the gold half eagle. And of those, two of them are permanently impounded in the National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian Institution. 

Now, the coin being offered in May is the only one available for collectors, and it has not appeared at auction since 1982, an entire generation ago. Bowers and Ruddy offered that coin in 1982 as part of what was billed as the United States Gold Collection. Now, it was pretty widely known at the time that the collection was from the family of Louis Eliasberg Sr., but they had requested anonymity. The coin brought a record $687,500 in that auction, a record for any U.S. coin at that time.

One of the interesting things to look at about this coin is its grade. In 1982 when Bowers and Ruddy sold it, company partner Q. David Bowers, one of the greatest of American numismatists of our era, graded it at Choice Very Fine 30 with claims to being Extremely Fine 40. Now, remember, this was before the advent of for-profit third-party grading. There were no grading services at that time. Some years later one of those grading services, NGC, graded the coin EF-40, reinforcing Bowers' interpretation of the grade at that time. 

More recently, the coin is now in a PCGS holder, with a grade of About Uncirculated 50. Now, when the coin comes up for auction in May, it will literally be a once-in-a-lifetime oppportunity. Collectors wanting to bid on this coin may never get another opportunity for decades to come.

Who will win the auction? We don't know, but we'd like to find out. All we know is that this is a great coin with a fascinating story. Stay tuned. It will be interesting.

Thank you.

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