In all of my years of being a professional numismatist, I have met few collectors who “get it” the way Steve Duckor does. Steve is a generous, gracious individual who is easy to deal with and who has a great eye. When he decides to tackle a project he does it deliberately but aggressively, and I have seen him make very, very few mistakes in the years in which we have been friendly.
A few years ago, Steve was given the opportunity to acquire a group of superb gold dollars from his mentor David Akers. When he made the decision to purchase these coins, his newest collecting path was set: he would assemble a world-class collection of these small, historic issues. But Steve, being Steve, wasn’t going to assemble his set in the traditional way.
Instead of worrying about completeness, he was going to focus on coins which had superb eye appeal, were well-made and cosmetically appealing, had important pedigrees, and which represented intelligent value within the parameters of the series.
This meant that he would likely never finish the set as there were numerous issues (especially those from Charlotte and Dahlonega) which wouldn’t/didn’t exist with all these boxes checked. If, say, he wasn’t able to find a “Duckor-esque” 1851-D, he wasn’t merely going to fill a hole just to be complete.
Steve’s set is nothing short of incredible. The lowest graded coins in the set are four which are “only” MS64, while the majority of the cons range from MS66 to MS68 (and there are even five which grade MS68+!).
As someone who helped Steve build this set, I thought I’d provide an overview of Duckor Gold Dollars which are going to be sold in a few weeks at the 2015 Heritage ANA auction.
1849-O $1.00 PCGS MS65+ CAC Gold Sticker
The Type One issues (those produced from 1849 through 1854) are mainly focused on the Philadelphia and New Orleans coins. My favorite Philadelphia Type One coins in the collection include the second finest known 1850, graded MS67 by PCGS and approved by CAC and a PCGS/CAC 1851 in MS68. When we first began the collection, I told Steve that if the stars aligned properly, we’d be able to find a few appropriate New Orleans dollars, and Steve owns some superb pieces including a PCGS MS65+ 1849-O with a Gold CAC sticker, and a very rare 1852-O in PCGS/CAC MS65.
1849-C Closed Wreath $1.00 PCGS MS64 CAC
My two favorite Type One dollars in the collection are the finest known 1849-C Closed Wreath, graded MS64 by PCGS and approved by CAC, and the famous Pittman 1854-S, graded MS65+ by PCGS and likely the finest known example of this numismatically significant first-year-of-issue.
1855-D $1.00 PCGS MS64 CAC
The short-lived Type Two dollars were made from 1854 through 1856. I have always been attracted to the popular branch mint issues of this design and Steve was able to acquire two very important pieces for his collection. The foremost of these is the extremely rare 1855-D in PCGS/CAC MS64. This is a famous coin, pedigreed to the Harry Bass collection, which I believe is the finest known and is one of just five or six 1855-D gold dollars in Uncirculated.
Type Three gold dollars were made from 1856 through the termination of this denomination in 1889. This is the area in which the Duckor collection really shines. The Philadelphia date run is complete with no coins graded below PCGS/CAC MS65, and many of the keys in unheard-of grades. The short-lived but numismatically interesting San Francisco issues lack only two to be complete, and offer collectors unusual opportunities to acquire unusually choice examples.
1864 $1.00 PCGS MS68+ CAC
My three favorite Philadelphia Type Three gold dollars in the collection are the 1863 (graded MS68 by PCGS/CAC), the 1864 (a spectacular PCGS MS68+ with CAC approval), and the coveted low mintage 1875 which is pedigreed to the Bass collection and which is graded MS66 by PCGS/CAC.
1860-S $1.00 PCGS MS65 CAC
I’ve been a big advocate of higher grade Type Three San Francisco gold dollars for years and Steve’s collection contains some really special coins. These consist of a PCGS/CAC MS64 1858-S (likely the second finest known), the only 1860-S graded MS65 by PCGS or approved by CAC in this grade, and a wonderful Gem 1870-S, graded MS65 by PCGS and CAC. Collecting hint: buy all three of these coins and patiently wait for the right high-grade 1857-S and 1859-S and you’ve got a major, major set of coins.
I’ll be attending the Duckor Collection sale as a buyer and a market observer and I’m anxious to see what the new market for rare, high-grade gold dollars will be. Needless to say, the Duckor pedigree will become the new gold standard for this series.
About Doug Winter
Doug has spent much of his life in the field of numismatics; beginning collecting coins at the age of seven, and by the time he was ten years old, buying and selling coins at conventions in the New York City area.
Recognized as one of the leading specialized numismatic firms, Doug is an award winning author of over a dozen numismatic books and the recognized expert on US Gold. His knowledge and exceptional eye for properly graded and original coins has made him one of the most respected figures in the numismatic community and a sought after dealer by collectors and investors looking for professional personalized service, a select inventory of impeccable quality and fair and honest pricing. Doug is also a major buyer of all US coins and is always looking to purchase collections both large and small. He can be reached at 214-675-9897.
Doug has been a contributor to the Guidebook of United States Coins (also known as the “Redbook”) since 1983, Walter Breen’s Encyclopedia of United States and Colonial Coins, Q. David Bowers’ Encyclopedia of United States Silver Dollars and Andrew Pollock’s United States Pattern and Related Issues
In addition he has authored 13 books on US Gold coins including:
- Gold Coins of the New Orleans Mint: 1839-1909
- Gold Coins of the Carson City Mint: 1870 – 1893
- Gold Coins of the Charlotte Mint: 1838-1861
- Gold Coins of the Dahlonega Mint 1838-1861
- The United States $3 Gold Pieces 1854-1889
- Carson City Gold Coinage 1870-1893: A Rarity and Condition Census Update
- An Insider’s Guide to Collecting Type One Double Eagles
- The Connoisseur’s Guide to United States Gold Coins
- A Collector’s Guide To Indian Head Quarter Eagles
- The Acadiana Collection of New Orleans Coinage
- Type Three Double Eagles, 1877-1907: A Numismatic History and Analysis
- Gold Coins of the Dahlonega Mint, 1838-1861: A Numismatic History and Analysis
- Type Two Double Eagles, 1866-1876: A Numismatic History and Analysis
Finally Doug is a member of virtually every major numismatic organization, professional trade group and major coin association in the US.
If you are interested in buying or selling classic US coins or if you would like to have the world’s leading expert work with you assembling a set of coins? Contact Doug Winter at (214) 675-9897 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.