Two astonishingly rare and highly coveted coins — an 1822 Half Eagle $5 gold piece and an 1804 Silver Dollar — could each shatter the $10 million single coin record when they hit the auction block at Sotheby’s New York on May 19 and 20.
Both headliners are from the incomparable D. Brent Pogue Collection of early U.S. coins, a trove of 650 gold, silver and copper specimens expected to be the most valuable collection of currency ever sold at auction.
Mint records indicate that 17,796 Half Eagles were coined in 1822, but only three survive. The Half Eagle up for bid at Sotheby’s is the only privately held example in existence. The other two are part of the National Numismatic Collection in the Smithsonian Institution.
The 1804 Silver Dollar is frequently dubbed the "King of American Coins." Although they were dated 1804, the coins were actually made in 1834 or 1835 on behalf of President Andrew Jackson, who intended to use them as diplomatic gifts. The one offered for sale at Sotheby's is considered the finest known example of the coin. Only eight still exist.
“These two coins in particular, we think, have a possibility of being up around that $10 million mark," Brian Kendrella, the president of Stack's Bowers Galleries, told Reuters. If either coin eclipses the $10 million mark, it will overtake the record set in 2013 for a 1794 Silver Dollar.
(Stack's Bowers Galleries and Sotheby's recently announced a multi-year agreement to jointly present a series of numismatic auctions at Sotheby's global headquarters in New York City. The upcoming auction of the D. Brent Pogue Collection is one of them.)
Dallas real estate developer A. Mack Pogue and his son, D. Brent Pogue, began their famed coin collection in the 1970s, and patiently assembled top-notch rarities for the next 30 years. The collection’s primary focus is on the first coins produced by the United States between 1792, the year the Philadelphia Mint opened, and the late 1830s, according to the Sotheby’s website.
Reuters reported that sales of rare U.S. coins reached a record of nearly $536 million in 2014, but that record is likely in jeopardy with the D. Brent Pogue Collection hitting the market this year.
Photos via Sothebys.com