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Classic US Coins – A Unique Treasure, Wonderful Gem Proof 1833 Half Eagle

Only Proof Certified by PCGS

Pogue IV - Pittman 1833 gold $5 half eagle, PR67

By Q. David BowersStack’s Bowers Galleries ……

David Akers: “My favorite Pittman Collection coin

One of the most marvelous of the D. Brent Pogue Collection coins is this ultra-quality 1833 Large Date half eagle, Proof-67–the only Proof of this date ever certified by PCGS. The combination of high grade, beauty, and pedigree make it unique in American numismatics.


This superb half eagle was a highlight of the John Jay Pittman Collection and earned a two-page listing in that catalog. David W. Akers paid it the ultimate compliment:

Gem Proof. A magnificent, stunning coin that, in my opinion, is the premier coin in the entire Pittman Collection. It is certainly my favorite in the collection and, in fact, I consider it to be one of the greatest coins I have ever seen. The quality and beauty of this incredible Proof will amaze everyone.”

The D. Brent Pogue Collection is far and away the largest holding ever formed of superb early American coins. In fact, it has no competition. The Pittman 1833 half eagle could not have found a better home!

In the early 1830s half eagles were made in large quantities. Due to the price of gold on the international market it cost more than face value to produce them, a situation that had been affecting coinage since 1820. Accordingly, half eagles were considered bullion coins. Nearly all were shipped overseas to various countries, primarily to England, where they were melted. Today, all half eagles of this era are numismatic rarities.


Regarding Proofs, this 1833 and any other Proofs from this era are the stuff of which dreams are made. The National Numismatic Collection has a number of early Proofs from the Mint Cabinet. Those in private hands are few and far between. As noted, there is no equal to this 1833 anywhere.

The provenance or pedigree could not be finer. We trace it back to the George F. Seavey collection, acquired before 1864. Lorin G. Parmelee, the Boston numismatist who was the grand acquisitor of his era, purchased the Seavey Collection en bloc in 1873, extracting what he wished (including this 1833 half eagle) and selling the rest.

In June 1890 the Parmelee Collection was offered at auction by the New York Coin and Stamp Company. This coin appeared as lot 1021. From that point it may have gone to William H. Woodin, who at the time (and continuing into the early 20th century) was the foremost student of the half eagle series – his specialty.

We know that it was next in the collection of Baltimore banker Waldo C. Newcomer, and remained there until he sold his collection to B. Max Mehl in 1931. From there it went to Col. E.H.R. Green, in the early 1930s America’s leading buyer of rare coins and paper money.

By that time Green had the unique sheet of 100 24-cent “Jenny” airmail stamps with the Curtiss JN-4 flying upside down. His rare coins were marvelous and contained many rarities. We (our predecessors, Joseph and Morton Stack in 1943) bought this coin from the Chase National Bank in 1943, and sold it into the James W. Flanagan Collection, which we offered at auction in March 1944, then quickly into our sale of the J.F. Bell Collection in December 1944.

The buyer was His Majesty King Farouk of Egypt. It became part of his collection in Koubbeh Palace in Cairo. Farouk was ousted into exile in 1953, and in 1953 his coins and other items were sold at auction as the Palace Collection. Among those in the American contingent to the sale was John Jay Pittman, of Rochester, New York, who purchased it. In October 1997 it was cataloged and sold by David Akers as part of the Pittman estate. It went to Al Adams, then was sold by Heritage in January 2005 and acquired by D. Brent Pogue.

As noted above, David Akers considered this coin to be his very favorite of all of the Pittman coins.

The next owner will have a unique treasure and will join a marvelous roster of leading numismatists.

For Your Reading Pleasure

  • Treasures from the D. Brent Pogue Rare Coin Cabinet, by Q. David Bowers. 208 pages, color illustrated, quality hardbound. This tells the stories of 100 special coins from the collection. $39.95 plus shipping. Personally autographed by Dave on request.
  • The 1822 Gold Half Eagle: Story of a Rarity, by Q. David Bowers. 128 pages, color illustrated, quality hardbound. $39.95 plus shipping. This also contains a wealth of information about other coins, people, places, and things–a “you are there” experience. Personally autographed by Dave on request.

For more information or to order visit

To Learn More about Pogue Sale IV

For more information on the Pogue Collection, visit our dedicated website at

Limited-edition catalogs of the D. Brent Pogue Collection, Part IV will be available for purchase before the sale. Limit one per person. To order, call 800-458-4646.

Stack's Bowers
Stack's Bowers
Stack's Bowers Galleries conducts live, internet, and specialized auctions of rare U.S. and world coins and currency and ancient coins, as well as direct sales through retail and wholesale channels. The company's 90-year legacy includes the cataloging and sale of many of the most valuable United States coin and currency collections to ever cross an auction block — The D. Brent Pogue Collection, The John J. Ford, Jr. Collection, The Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr. Collection, The Harry W. Bass, Jr. Collection, The Joel R. Anderson Collection, The Norweb Collection, The Cardinal Collection, The Sydney F. Martin Collection, and The Battle Born Collection — to name just a few. World coin and currency collections include The Pinnacle Collection, The Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr. Collection of World Gold Coins, The Kroisos Collection, The Alicia and Sidney Belzberg Collection, The Salton Collection, The Wa She Wong Collection, and The Thos. H. Law Collection. The company is headquartered in Costa Mesa, California with galleries in New York, Boston, and Philadelphia. Offices are also located in New Hampshire, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Virginia, Hong Kong, Paris, and Vancouver.

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