Stack’s Bowers: Finest Prooflike 1811 Half Cent, Superb Gem Mint State

The Famous Collins Find Coin, Unique PCGS Grade

By Q. David Bowers - Stack's Bowers ....
 

If you would like to own a superb half cent of a quality that no one else will ever have (unless you opt to sell it), this coin is front row center as a candidate. A superb gem, prooflike in many areas, this is the finest graded of the variety.

The 1811 is the key date among early half cents of the Classic Head type, and by a large margin. The total population is estimated as fewer than 200 coins. In the marketplace, VF is a high grade, and a sharp EF is exceptional. True Mint State coins are rare, with perhaps a half dozen or so different examples known at various levels from MS-60 upward. Of these the Pogue Collection coin is the very finest.

This coin has a very interesting history, and the successful bidder will be a part of it.

This coin was discovered in 1884 by a woman in Alexandria, Virginia, whose name is not recorded. It was with a large group of half cents of this date, Mint State but in lower grades from a numerical viewpoint. At one time, perhaps dating back to 1811, this coin was singled out as being very special.

This coin was sold to the Chapman brothers--Samuel Hudson and Henry--who include it in their auction of June 1884. The purchaser was Robert S. Hatcher, of whom relatively little is known today. From there it went to Allison W. Jackman, one of the leading numismatists of the era, where it remained until Henry Chapman’s auction of the Chapman Collection in June 1918. The buyer was Henry’s brother, S. Hudson, who since the summer of 1906 had conducted his business separately.

The next owner was Howard Rounds Newcomb, one of the greatest figures in American numismatics. Starting as a teenager in the 1890s Newcomb, who lived in Detroit, jumped into the field with enthusiasm. He was one of the first to study Morgan silver dollars by varieties (such as the issues of 1878) and to collect Liberty Seated silver coins by mintmarks. He is best remembered today as author of the standard book on 1816-1857 late-date large cents, which we published in 1944.

From Newcomb it went to B. Max Mehl in Fort Worth Texas, who sold it to Col. E.H.R. Green. From the Green estate it was acquired by Burdette G. Johnson and went into the remarkable collection of Eric P. Newman, later transferred to the Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society.

Over three years ago in was showcased in Ira and Larry Goldberg’s Missouri Cabinet Sale, were it was purchased by D. Brent Pogue. Now, we are all set to add another name to this illustrious pedigree!
 

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