NEW YORK, 20 May 2015 – Collectors spent $25.3 million to purchase just 128 coins Tuesday night at the sale of the D. Brent Pogue Collection, presented by auctioneers Stacks Bowers Galleries and Sotheby’s in New York. A small gold coin from 1808, called a Quarter Eagle and worth just $2.50 when it was minted, realized $2.35 million – a new world record for any coin of the quarter eagle denomination. It also became the most valuable 19th-century U.S. gold coin ever sold at auction. Two more coins fetched prices over $1.5 million: a Mint State example of the first United States quarter dollar, struck in Philadelphia in 1796, and the finest known example of the very rare 1797 half dollar. Each sold for a total price, including buyer’s fee, of $1,572,500 million, matching a world record for the most valuable quarter dollar ever sold and setting a brand new world record for the most valuable half dollar ever sold.
“World-class quality set new world records tonight,” said Brian Kendrella, president of Stack’s Bowers Galleries. “While collector interest is high in all coins across the board, we saw tonight that collectors were willing to compete strongly to own the very best condition coins in existence. The D. Brent Pogue Collection was built with the very highest quality as the goal, so it’s no surprise that the modern generation of collectors was willing to set new world record prices to acquire them.”
Just 13 gold coins were included in the sale, all quarter eagles struck in the early years of the denomination from 1796 through 1808. These 13 coins brought a total of $6,797,375, an average of more than a half million dollars each. While the 1808 is considered one of the rarest of all U.S. gold coins, other coins also saw active bidding, including a pristine 1798 quarter eagle that brought $763,750, more than twice the highest pre-sale estimate.
The sale began with the D. Brent Pogue collection of half dimes, including a “half disme” of 1792, the first official coin of the United States. Worth just $1.65 when they were minted from 1792 to 1837, this handful of tiny silver coins brought over $3.26 million. The high grade 1792 half disme, struck at the personal request of Thomas Jefferson before the United States Mint was even built, was the most valuable five-cent coin in the sale, selling at $440,625.
The total price realized exceeded the highest pre-sale estimates. Six more offerings of coins from the D. Brent Pogue Collection will be brought to auction by Stacks Bowers Galleries and Sotheby’s in 2015, 2016, and 2017.