The Pogue Collection, Part One

The day we at Stack’s Bowers were chosen to offer the D. Brent Pogue Collection at auction was a great event in my numismatic life. Unquestionably among the finest collection ever formed by a single collector in my time in the hobby, the Pogue pedigree will be treasured now and in the future.

I have been active in numismatics and part of one of finest firms in the hobby for some 68 years and have had the honor and privilege of buying, selling and offering at auction many of the name collections formed in the past century. But, no collection that I have ever known exceeds the grades and quality of the D. Brent Pogue Collection. Once it is dispersed, it is extremely unlikely that a collection of this caliber will ever be offered on the market again

Seeing these coins, some of which I remember from the past, brings out some nostalgia in me. Some decades ago D. Brent Pogue (Brent) and his father, Mack, visited Stack’s on West 57th Street to look at coins. Brent was a very nice young man and it was a pleasure to have him in our gallery, viewing the displays of rare coins, of all types and in all grades and purchasing items for his collection.

By reading and studying numismatic publications, Brent had developed an understanding of how grade and strike affected the desirability of coins. Even at a young age he was a connoisseur, with the knowledge and expertise to pick out the best pieces. Over the years his collection grew in both quality and quantity. But Brent was patient, buying only the pieces that satisfied his discerning tastes.

He acquired important and rare coins from the many collections that were marketed over the past few decades. Even outstanding collections could offer no more than one or two items (or at best a few) that met the standards set forth by Brent. However, he was lucky that during this time, quite a few collections that had been built in the mid 20th century became available to a new generation of collectors. As noted, his criteria were very strict;  he wanted the finest available, but they also had to be well struck, with superior surfaces, no major impairments whatsoever, beautiful natural toning and great eye appeal. Only if a coin had all these characteristics would he consider buying it.

As I look through the catalog for Part I of the Pogue Collection, to be sold in two weeks in New York City, I am reminded of one memorable Stack’s sale that included a few of the rarities that will shortly cross the block — the John Whitney Walter “Mr. 1796” Collection sold by Stack’s in May 1999. The fact that all the coins in that sale were dated 1796 and were high quality, made it likely that a few would eventually reside in Brent’s collection, as he focused on the finest United States coins made in the early years of the Mint.

Coins offered in Part I of the Pogue Collection pedigreed to the “Mr. 1796” Collection include the finest known 1796/5 half dime (the Parmelee-Garrett-Hayes specimen), the finest known 1796 half dollar (the Brand-Rogers specimen) and the landmark 1796 No Stars quarter eagle (the Newlin-Garrett specimen) among others. It is a pleasure to see these coins again, and I congratulate in advance the lucky collectors who take them away from our sale on May 19.

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