The much anticipated fourth installment of the D. Brent Pogue Collection auctioned by Stacks Bowers is now in the record books with total prices realized to the tune of $16,749,038. This brings the cumulative total of the collection to well over $85 million and there are still additional coins to be sold in the future. The many record prices started off early, with the eighth lot, the XF45 1839 Small Letters half dollar (a coin we featured in a previous writing) soaring past its high estimate to hammer for $76,375. Two lots later came the population one 1839-O half graded MS67 PCGS, which climbed to $211,500. The silver dollars began with the night’s first seven figure coin, the famed Garrett proof or specimen 1795 at $1,057,500. Shortly after that, the PCGS MS66 1795 Centered Bust nearly doubled its high estimate to sell for $646,250. The draw of the unrivalled quality of the Pogue early $5’s was evident with the first gold coin lot: the 1821 eagle graded MS66+ which brought $564,000. The $940,000 paid for the MS64 1825/4 $5 bested to previous record for this date by a quarter of a million dollars, and was more than four times what this exact coin sold for in the 1982 Eliasberg sale. The second million-plus dollar coin came at lot #4044 for the 1833 proof half eagle. Certified PR67 by PCGS, this coin realized $1,351,250 after being off the market for over a decade. The Classic Head half eagles were strong, with both die varieties of the 1838 easily beating their high estimates, with the MS66 McCloskey-2 in MS66 topping at $235,000. The 1838-C pedigreed to the Bass collection – which carried a high estimate of $90,000 and was graded MS63 – also reached $235,000 after the bidding was done, setting a record for this the only mint state example of this date.


At the end of the evening, 61 or 63 coins sold in the Pogue IV sale. The two “passes” were most conspicuous as they represented the famous 1804 dollar PCGS PR68 and 1822 half eagle PCGS AU50. We were present in the bidding room during this auction and witnessed the bidding in person. Both coins received extremely healthy bids via phone, but neither met the reserve set by the consignor. According to Stack’s-Bowers press release, “A world record sum of $10,575,000 was bid from the phone for the finest known 1804 dollar, the highest price ever offered for any coin, but it did not surpass the consignor’s reserve price. The previous world record of $10,016,875 was bid in the Stack’s Bowers Galleries sale of January 2013 for the finest known 1794 dollar. The only collectible specimen of the extremely rare 1822 half eagle, or $5 gold piece, received a phone bid of $7,285,000, a bid surpassed among gold coins by only the 1933 double eagle $20 gold piece that brought $7,590,000 in 2002. It was retained by the consignor after it did not meet their reserve price. Only two other examples exist, both in the Smithsonian Institution.” Think about this for a moment. The Pogue family turned down a world-record price – for any coin ever sold – at $10.5 million for their 1804 dollar. The offer of $7.3 for the 1822 $5 is equally astounding. One can only conclude that the consignor truly loves these two coins and found himself unwilling to part with them at the last minute. The actual reserve was never disclosed but the power of these two pieces must be truly incredible to turn down such profits. Time will tell whether these will ever be offered again via auction or private treaty, but the story only gets more interesting with this new chapter.