By John Feigenbaum – David Lawrence Rare Coins (DLRC)….
The first of six installments of the famous D. Brent Pogue Collection has now crossed the block at Sotheby’s, courtesy of Stack’s-Bowers Galleries. The Pogue Collection is one of the most exciting assemblages of United States coins to ever be offered at public auction. Certainly, it is the best since the famous Eliasberg Collection was broken up (in the 1970’s-1990’s). A couple great coins from this prized offering…
I viewed every coin the first sale personally, and felt that if I were careful and meticulous, there would be a few opportunities to pick up some great coins at reasonable levels. From a total of 128 lots, we were able to secure only two coins at such levels: a 1792 half disme; and 1795 half dollar. Both graded PCGS MS64, and now both with CAC stickers, these coins represent a massive effort on my part to identify value without over-paying. Keeping in mind that it’s always easy to overpay for coins in a collection like this, the art is to target a few great items that represent rarity and opportunity.
1792 Half Disme
The 1792 half disme is one of my all-time favorite issues, and I was literally stopped in my tracks when I examined this coin in person. For starters, I had to look at it multiple times to understand the grade of MS64. Why? The surfaces are positively Gem with mint frost and colorful toning of MS65-MS66 coins of the era. There are a few minor adjustment marks on Liberty’s cheek but these do not usually factor into a coin’s grade. I am certain this coin will eventually be in a higher grade holder. Additionally, I felt that the first lot in a major production like the Pogue sale was likely to go under-market because bidders don’t usually get settled in their chairs for the first lot. It’s a common strategy of mine to be ready early while others miss these lots. In this case, I felt the 1792 sold for 25% less than it would have later in the sale!
The 1795 Half Dollar
Between lots #1001 and #1098, I missed out on a winning bid on a number of wonderful Gem Bust coins. I tried in vain, sometimes missing by a single increment and sometimes by 50%. But I feel strongly that one should be disciplined at auction bidding and I don’t like to stretch from my original bids. I specifically targeted lot #1098 for a few reasons.
For starters the coin is amazing. I’ve never seen a flowing hair half dollar with this much luster and eye appeal. Second, Stacks strangely offered (2) other examples of this same type in MS65 and MS64 in the prior two lots and I felt that bidders might already accomplish their goals by the time this beauty came up for bidding.
Boy, was I right. Of the three examples, this coin is by far the most eye-appealing and of course was awarded a CAC sticker and I was able to obtain it for about 20% less than I was willing to pay! If you collect early half dollars, or simply love type coins, this is the coin for you. She’s a beauty, and as John Albanese of CAC told me (after), it may be 10 years before another CAC-MS64 example of this type comes on the market again.
If you would like to discsuss one or either of them, I am available to discuss them personally by phone at (757) 962-7468, or email at [email protected].