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Hot Topics: Wow! Eliasberg + Pogue Rare Coin Collection in my Lifetime… Some Thoughts

By Laura Sperber – Legend Numismatics Hot Topics

hot_topics_lauraSince hearing the news they are selling all I can do is think about the Pogue Rare Coin Collection – the ULTIMATE coin collection EVER formed. They took the best of the best and built something better. The collection is primarily Bust coins-but they have quiet “finest known” sets of other more later series. They did not need any set registry or public glory, they quietly built this set right out in the open. I still remember meeting a 15 year old Brent right after they had just paid an outrageous $700,000.00 (or something) for the Eliasberg $5 1822 back in the late 70’s. I sensed the huge collecting passion in him then, and today he still had tremendous love for coins as of my last contact less then 30 days ago.

I am starting to seriously wonder what is wrong with me. Look at the greatest collections and dealerships to have come out of DFW area: Bass, Pogue, and Simpson. Then there is Heritage the worlds largest coin company. I have a tiny condo 3 blocks from Heritage, why can’t I get any of this to rub off?? Sadly, DFW is really not an overall coin town. But it forever will have produced by far the three greatest collections ever formed-which if combined could be worth as much as 3/4 of a BILLION DOLLARS (Pogue and Simspon have the vast majority of $5 million dollar plus coins that exist)!!!!


Todays collectors maybe reveling in being #1 on the registries, but they really do not know what is out there. When the Pogue coins surface they will be given the numismatic education of a lifetime! If you think you know what quality is Bust coins-just wait. You will see what REAL quality is! Ask any “old time” dealer, they will immediately tell you the Pogue Collection is the “best of the best”.

Brent quietly used to come to Long Beach with a small brief case. In that case would usually be tow trays of coins. One day it was his Bust Dollars, another was his PR Bust Quarters, and so on. My guess is today, EACH TRAY would be worth $5-$10,000,000.00!!! I was lucky he liked me-he would always show me the coins and let me hold them. It was such a treat to see them. Now, I’ll have chance to buy them!!! OMG!

Mack and Brent Pogue for the past 30+ years were the ultimate father son team. Don’t think they did alone. They ferreted out the best advisor of the time: The late David Akers to help them build this incredible collection.

They developed contacts that brought them entire collections just so they can get one or two coins.

All of this was done quietly, except when a great coin appeared at auction.

I can tell you, the worst thing to see was Akers and Brent at a sale. If they really wanted something, price was not the object! When it came to buying quality-they went right for the VERY VERY best with NO exceptions.

My favorite memory was the Childs sale of the $1 1804. We all knew Jay Parrino would be a player, but I sort of forgot about the Pouges. It was Mack, Brent, and Akers all quietly sitting waiting to bid. I think I remember Akers raising his hand for the final bid-but after it was hammered I vividly remember Mack making a humorous gesture to Q David Bowers who was the auctioneer as they fled the room. That was one of the ultimate moments in numismatic history.

There are so many lessons to be learned from the Pogues and from their great collection. You do not have to be a zillionare in order to have the ultra success they are going to enjoy. Next time your looking at a GEM PR Dime thats say $3,500.00 looks ok and is not CAC and are comparing it to a wildly colored CAC piece for $5,500.00-take the wild one. IT WILL PAY OFF. The other thing-the Pogues rarely sold. They did not try to act like dealers or coin market geniuses.

I am sweating just thinking about the dupes they will have in the sale. I will say I was once very fortunate that Brent offered me two small coins that did not fit in his set: both were MONSTER MS68 Barber Halves! Of course I bought them. I could never get much more out of him. They just loved their coins!

All I can to say to every one is start saving up now. Also, if you have too, buy every catalog Stack’s makes for each sale. Absorb all the information you can about this collection. The Pogue Sales will make Newman, Gardner, and even Eliasberg sales passé!

From the bits and pieces I know of or have seen, I estimate the collection well in excess of $350 MILLION DOLLARS!

The number of million dollar coins they have is mindboggling. Records WILL be smashed. The quality and grand rarities they have is equalled nowhere else. I can only hope that this collection inspires others to form great collections as well (just like Eliasberg did). I am sad that this incredible collection is destined to be sold. However, we’re all just temporary custodians of these great rarities. The Pogues should be congratulated for their accomplishment!

P.S. I promise, I will be the last person you’ll want to see at the sale with a cell phone!!!

Laura Sperber
Laura Sperberhttps://www.legendnumismatics.com/
Laura Sperber is one of the owners of Legend Numismatics. She is a passionate and outspoken dealer who says what she believes and is a strong proponent of numismatic standards. Since 1987, Legend Numismatics has built an unequaled reputation among casual collectors and avid investors alike by locating and procuring top-quality rare coins.

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  1. Is it correct that the Eliasberg collection is still the most complete one ever formed, but the Pogue collection is of higher quality, and is likely to end up being even more valuable despite being smaller and more focused?

  2. Louis

    You are correct. Pogue’s collection was more focused on high grade early issues. The 1854-S half eagle is an outlier with regard to the collections primary focus.

    With regard to the early gold, only the Smithsonian and Bass Foundation collections rival it. The Bass Foundation is probably more complete with regard to die variety although it is missing the 1822 and 1825/4 which Pogue includes. A grading comparison between Pogue, Bass and the Smithsonian should prove interesting.

  3. It will be interesting to see if the forthcoming Pogue sales, starting in 2015, for which the author says people are starting to save their finances, will impact the prices realized for the Gene Gardner sale. Some of the Gardner coins were purchased at top market price in the past couple of years. We’ll know in a day! There’s only so much money out there in the numismatic marketplace.


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