Through the Eyes of a Collector: A Glimpse of the Pogue Coin Collection at CAC
This "Lighter Shade of Grey" feature was originally published in the March 2020 Monthly Greysheet. CDN contributor, Chris Maisano, had the good fortune to personally view coins from the Pogue collection while on a visit to the CAC offices, where they were being reviewed for stickers. Chris was able to view some amazing items as both journalist and passionate collector.
With the start of the new year, I was met with an unexpected yet exciting and privileged invitation to visit the offices of CAC with the exclusive and unique pleasure of viewing 60 pieces of Part VII of the D. Brent Pogue Collection. Upon entering the doorways of CAC, I felt humbled to be in the offices of such a well-respected company in the industry. I was warmly welcomed by John Albanese, CAC founder, and Bill Shamhart. Filled with nervous excitement and anticipation, I was escorted to the coin viewing area. Before I continue, let me give you a little background on the Pogue Collection. It consisted of approximately 700 of the finest United States coins and if still intact would be valued at about $200 million. Interestingly enough, the face value of the entire collection is only $969.14. Mr. Pogue was a true numismatist with a keen eye for the freshest and most eye appealing coins on the market.
Of the 60 coins I had the rare opportunity to view, I selected a choice few that I wish to highlight in this article. Rest assured, this was a nearly impossible task as literally every coin I saw would be a standout in any major collection. Nevertheless, I narrowed it down to only those coins I felt were the most noteworthy. Much amazing and important U.S. coinage will go unmentioned here, including gorgeous gem examples of some key dates we all love. For instance, a 1877 Indian Cent, 1955 Double Die Obverse Lincoln Cent, 1937-D 3-Legged Buffalo, and the most beautiful 1916-D Mercury Dime I have ever laid my eyes on. Graded MS67 with Full Bands, this coin’s surfaces were not only pristine but the red and golden obverse toning was simply mesmerizing. There are so many incredible rarities in this collection that even 1915 Panama-Pacific $50 Round and Octagonal pieces pale in comparison. Before I dove deeper into the coinage, I was pleased to view two stunning Libertas Americana Medals, which hold such great historical significance. It was at this point that I began my detailed examination. With my hands shaking and in complete and utter awe, I picked up and carefully viewed 14 coins, each valued at over $250,000. All coins are graded by PCGS.
1796 Liberty Cap Half Cent, with Pole graded MS66RB. Only four red-brown examples are estimated to exist from a low mintage of just 1,390 coins struck; and this piece is the second finest known. This well-struck, high-grade example is notably lustrous on the obverse with a deeply toned reverse.
1878-S Liberty Seated Half Dollar, Very Small S graded MS66. Only 50 examples are estimated to exist from a low mintage of just 12,000 coins struck; and this piece is the finest known! This beautiful gem example is lightly rainbow toned with very nice underlying luster.
1841 Liberty Quarter Eagle Ex: Harry W. Bass, Jr. graded PR64CAM. Only two cameo examples are estimated to exist from a miniscule mintage of just 20 coins struck; and this piece is the finest known! This near-gem cameo example out of the Bass Collection is pristine in every sense with deep mirrored fields and beautiful frosted devices.
1879 $4 Flowing Hair Stella graded PR66CAM. Less than 200 examples are estimated to exist, from a low mintage of just 425 coins struck, in which there are just 21 pieces graded finer. This stunning gem example of this incredible Stella issue is simply immaculate as its cameo is strong and beautiful and no marks or hairlines are notable.
1854-S Liberty Half Eagle graded AU58+. Only four examples are known to exist of this very famous U.S. gold rarity, in which this piece is the second finest known. This example is dripping in remaining luster making it a lovely slider with no wear easily visible to the naked eye.
1848-O Liberty Gold Eagle graded MS66. Only 200 examples are estimated to exist from a low mintage of just 35,850 coins struck; and this piece is the finest known! This stunning gem displays blazing luster across gorgeous yellow-gold surfaces.
1852 Liberty Gold Eagle graded MS66+. Only 500 examples are estimated to exist from a mintage of just 263,106 coins struck; and this piece is the finest known! This pristine ultra-gem provides a noticeable lack of marks making it very high-end for the grade.
1907 Wire Edge Indian Gold Eagle graded MS67. From a low mintage of just 500 coins, there are just four coins graded finer across all grading services.
1907 Rolled Edge Indian Gold Eagle graded MS67. From a miniscule mintage of just 42 coins, there is just one coin graded finer across all grading services.
1869 Liberty Double Eagle graded MS66. Only 1,260 examples are estimated to exist from a mintage of just 175,130 coins struck; and this piece is the finest known! A great representation of the grade with fantastic luster and pretty olive green tinted gold coloring.
1875-S Liberty Double Eagle graded MS67. A true condition rarity, as over 1.2 million coins were minted and the survival estimate is relatively high, until the superb gem level where only one other exists alongside this rose highlighted lustrous beauty.
1907 High Relief Wire Edge Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle graded MS67+. From a low mintage of just 11,250 coins, there are just 3 coins graded finer.
1907 High Relief Flat Edge Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle graded MS68+. From an unknown mintage, this example is the finest known amongst the Flat Edge High Reliefs!
1927-S Saint-Gaudens Double Eagle graded MS67. A rarity, due to melting, as the original mintage numbers are over 3 million but the survival estimate comes in at just 225 in which this stunner is the finest known! The luster on this immaculate ultra-gem is incredibly beautiful and original with perfect eye appeal.
The common theme among all of these coins is their extreme freshness and originality. What I found most intriguing about the 60 coins I viewed was how Pogue collected one of every denomination from 1854 minted in San Francisco.
I want to express my sincerest thanks to John Albanese for giving me the opportunity to get a glimpse of this prestigious collection filled with some of the finest known rarities and collection pedigrees, such as Bass, Eliasberg and many more. This experience was and always will be a true highlight of my career. It was my pleasure sharing it with all of you. These coins will be presented at auction by Stack's Bowers as part of the March Baltimore Expo.
Author: Chris Maisano