By Doug Winter – RareGoldCoins.com ……
CoinWeek Content Partner
The first time I can recall interacting with Dale Friend was around 15 years or so ago.
I was setting up at a coin show, and he came up to my table asking to see a Proof 1864 gold dollar that I owned. He introduced himself and told me that he was working on assembling a complete 1864 Proof gold set (a challenge that seems impossible today!) and that he needed just the gold dollar to complete it. I remember laughing and telling him, “I’d have thought the gold dollar would have been the first coin you bought for the set, not the last.”
There was one caveat: the coin I owned was in an NGC holder and Dale would only buy PCGS-graded coins. I told him this wasn’t a problem and that I would try and cross the coin for him. I submitted the coin to PCGS at the show and 24 hours later I had it back, now in a PCGS holder. I paged Dale to the table and showed him the coin. Dale asked me the price and I told him I would honor what I quoted him when the coin was in its original holder, even though I could have easily raised the price by $2,500. He wrote me a check and went away happy. In fact, in every interaction I had with Dale, we both went away happy.
Dale was a man of his word and a collector’s collector, one of the few I have met who really understood the dynamics of the coin market and who appreciated choice, original coins – especially Barber and Bust half dollars and early silver dollars. Dale was more of a dabbler when it came to gold coins, but he did have a nice collection of early half eagles at one time, with many of the coins graded MS63 and MS64.
Dale was best known for his outstanding sets of Liberty nickels, Barber half dollars, and Bust half dollars. His Barber half dollar set was started in 1992 and, if I remember correctly, it was his first serious collection as an adult. His star coin was the awesome PCGS MS68 1892-O Micro O from the Eliasberg and Clapp collections, which is universally regarded as the single best Barber half dollar in existence. As he became a more sophisticated collector, he began collecting Bust half dollars and dollars by Red Book variety. All of these sets were exceptional and some of Dale’s halves were sold at the 2018 ANA auction by Heritage. If I’m not mistaken, his lovely set of Bust dollars remains intact.
Dale had a very good eye when it came to silver coinage. I always would kid him about his coins having “The Dale Friend Look” (DFL), which was a toning pattern where the centers were lighter than the borders and the deeper toned areas were boldly iridescent. Coins kept in certain old storage albums sometimes come with this appearance, but it is really hard to find many early half dollars/dollars with a DFL appearance. Funny story: to this day, I still mark a coin DFL in an auction catalog when I am viewing lots.
I always enjoyed talking coins with Dale. He was passionate and opinionated. If you were a dealer and you screwed Dale on a coin, you were placed on his Bad List but if you treated him well, he was loyal and generous. Dale vouched for me with a collector acquaintance of his who didn’t know me and I wound up representing this collector as an agent for well over $1 million worth of coins at the first three Pogue sales. Dale didn’t have to do that, and I was truly touched by his support.
Dale and his wife Stacy were really fun to be around. They truly loved each other and when my wife Irma and I were at shows with the Friends, good conversation and plenty of laughs were always involved.
I last spoke to Dale a few weeks ago. He was recovering from major heart surgery but he sounded great and told me he would see us soon. He also wanted to share that a Barber half dollar I had purchased for him at the Larry Miller collection sale earlier in 2021 had crossed from NGC66 to PCGS66 (as I had said it would), and that he was grateful for my advice.
Dale, I’ll miss you a ton. You were a great friend and you meant a lot to me, and to many others.
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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 10 years old, buying and selling coins at conventions in the New York City area.
In 1989, he founded Douglas Winter Numismatics, and his firm specializes in buying and selling choice and rare US Gold coins, especially US gold coins and all branch mint material.
Recognized as one of the leading specialized numismatic firms, Doug is an award-winning author of over a dozen numismatic books and a recognized expert on US Gold. His knowledge and an exceptional eye for properly graded and original coins have 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 “Red Book”) 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.