Last week CDN was privileged to attend the final installment of the Pogue Collection auction held by Stacks Bowers. This session was held in the historic setting of Evergreen House near the campus of John Hopkins University. In remarks prior to the start of the sale, Q. David Bowers accurately noted that there was an “old school” feel to the event, as the room was packed with nearly every seat taken, reminiscent of important auctions held prior to when online bidding became commonplace.

Despite the crowd on hand, the jewel of the session, the PCGS PR65 Dexter 1804 dollar went to an internet bid (placed by Kevin Lipton and John Albanese), and sold for $3.29 million. There was spirited bidding for two other early dollars, with the gem 1802 Narrow Date bringing $329,000 and the 1802 Proof at $352,500. A prior lot, the Pogue gem 1839 No Drapery half dollar, brought in a strong $141,000. There were fireworks aplenty once the copper lots began. The clear top lot was the finest-known 1811 half cent, graded PCGS MS66RB, which sold for $998,750. One of the few circulated half cents in the sale, the finest known 1802/0 graded PCGS XF45, blew away its estimate to sell for $199,750. This auction contained two AU 1793 Liberty Cap large cents, both of the Sheldon-13 variety. The PCGS AU58 coin brought an eye popping $940,000 while the PCGS AU53 sold more reasonably for $376,000. Arguably the most visually appealing large cent in the sale, the PCGS MS67RB 1794 Apple Cheek brought down $446,500. The finest known 1796 Liberty Cap cent of any variety, the PCGS MS66+RB, exceeded even the most optimistic of estimates at $705,000. Among the later date cents, the only known mint state 1839/6, PCGS MS65+BN sold for a record $376,000. All together, the cents brought more than $12 million.

A special moment occurred a little over halfway through the sale when the announcement was made that the Pogue collection had surpassed the $100 million mark. All told, the fifth part of the collection totaled a bit over $21.4 million for a grand total of $106.72 million. Despite the fact that the Pogue coins are beyond the budget of many collectors, there are benefits and lessons to be drawn here that are important to recognize. First, the sale of coins on this level attracts the attention of individuals willing to enter the market with substantial funds, because they see the solid foundation of the coin market and do not have to worry about long-term stability. The Pogues did very well financially on many of the coins in their collection, and a savvy individual will recognize this. One of the greatest and underrated aspects of the rare coin industry—when compared to other collectibles—is the amount of research data on prices and price performance available to the buyer. Nowhere else can one find this type of transparency and market driven pricing in the spectrum of collectible objects.

THIS WEEK’S MARKET

Morgan Dollars: We wrapped up our three-week review of Morgans with updated pricing on 1900-1921 issues.

BLUESHEET

Mercury Dimes: Prices reviewed from 1916-1926 based on recent auction performance. Gainers and losers are equally mixed with base-line performance of the bell-weather 1916-D showing higher levels.
Buffalo Nickels: Prices reviewed from 1913-1919 and the 1937-D 3-legged, based on recent auction performance. More gainers than losers in this series as high grade Buffalos are rebounding nicely over the last few months.