David Redden, Auctioneer, Sotheby’s; Q. David Bowers; John Kraljevich, Stack’s Bowers
Interviewer: David Lisot, CoinWeek.com……..
The first part of the D. Brent Pogue Collection was auctioned by Stack’s Bowers-Sotheby’s in New York on May 19, 2015.
Highlight of the sale was the finest known 1808 quarter $2.50 gold coin described as a “breathtaking gem specimen”.
See the coin being sold and hear remarks from numismatists at the sale.
Copyright © CoinWeek May 2015
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The description below is from the Stacks Bowers Catalog
1808 Capped Bust Left Quarter Eagle. Bass Dannreuther-1. Rarity-4. Mint State-65 (PCGS).
The Best 1808 Quarter Eagle
“If you’re doing an extraordinary gold type set, this is THE piece.” — Jimmy Hayes
The single finest example of this issue, a breathtaking gem specimen of the rarest U.S. type coin. While grades are important, ordinal numbers occasionally communicate the desirability of a coin even better. In the circumstance of this piece, the relevant ordinal is “first.”
Numerically, this is the best example by a wide margin, the best preserved and the most beautiful. A halo of deep coppery toning surrounds both sides, richest on the obverse where it incorporates hints of dark violet. The overall tone is dark yellow, bright with satiny luster. Both sides show intact cartwheel that is as impressive at arm’s length as it is under a glass. The borders, never sharp on this design type, retain some of the pre-striking planchet adjustments, particularly above stars 4 through 7 and stars 8 and 9. Only the most trivial marks are seen, with no trace of the thorough coat of hairlines many lightly handled high grade early gold coins attract over time. We could point out a little scuff on Liberty’s jawline or a thin hairline scratch inside star 12, but that would be petty. The detail is complete and definitive, and the low relief borders are present more often than not. The eye appeal of this coin is stupefying.
It is almost inconceivable that an example like this could exist. The die state is the typical one, with a crack over the cap that joins all stars on the right side of the obverse.Celebrated by numismatists for over a century, this coin has been lavished with an embarrassing array of superlatives.
Abe Kosoff called it “a dream coin, out of the famous Col. Green Collection,” further saying “to own this gem is to own a prize, indeed.” Its virtues have been sung by David Akers, Jimmy Hayes, and John Dannreuther (who broke his arm while accompanying Jimmy Hayes to buy this coin in 1983; luckily, the seller, Dr. Herbert Ketterman, was capable of setting the fracture).
David Akers kept a framed photograph of this coin on his office wall. PCGS CoinFacts records 12 offerings of PCGS-graded Mint State coins, dating back to 1992, almost of which would not have been considered Mint State in previous decades, but grading has become more forgiving over time. All three offerings at the MS-63 level are of the same coin, the Oliver Jung specimen, and no coin graded finer than that one has been sold since the presently-offered piece was last auctioned in 1989.
No authority has ever challenged the primacy of preservation of this example among the survivors of this important issue. The 1808 quarter eagle is the single-rarest United States gold type coin, in great demand as the only year of the design type, and most survivors are circulated and flawed. This piece, to borrow David Akers’ phrase, “is a numismatic treasure, a coin that will be the highlight of any collection, no matter how advanced.”
Pedigree: Publications: Plated in Abe Kosoff’s Illustrated History of United States Coins (1962), featuring the Judd Collection. Plated in Walter Breen’s monograph, Varieties of United States Quarter Eagles (1964). Plated in Walter Breen’s Complete Encyclopedia of United States and Colonial Coins (1988). Plated in Jeff Garrett and Ron Guth’s 100 Greatest U.S. Coins (2003). Plated in R.S. Yeoman’s Guide Book of United States Coins (multiple editions).
Provenance: Lorin G. Parmelee Collection, before 1890; New York Coin and Stamp Company’s sale of the Lorin G. Parmelee Collection, June 1890, lot 856; John Story Jenks Collection; Henry Chapman’s sale of the John Story Jenks Collection; December 1921, lot 5792 (plated); Col. E.H.R. Green Collection; Col. E.H.R. Green estate to Burdette G. Johnson, via Eric P. Newman; B. Max Mehl’s Golden Jubilee sale (Jerome Kern), May 1950, lot 11; Dr. J. Hewitt Judd to Dr. Herbert Ketterman; Dr. Ketterman to Jimmy Hayes in Kansas City, Missouri, via sale, 1982; Stack’s session of Auction ’84, July 1984, lot 1372; David W. Akers Inc.’s session of Auction ’89, July 1989, lot 1361.