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Reflections on the First Three Pogue Collection Sales

Every now and again an event happens in numismatics that is pivotal, that captures the attention and imagination of the whole nation, sometimes the whole world, and is not likely to be ever repeated. As I reflect on the excitement generated by our recent D. Brent Pogue Collection Part III sale at Sotheby’s, I can count my long-time association with Brent Pogue and our recent showcasing of the collections as such an event — added to such memories as the 1962 Treasury release of rare silver dollars, our sale of the Louis E. Eliasberg Collection (the only complete collection American coins ever formed), the Norweb family and their collection, Harry W. Bass, Jr. and his coins, and the incredible distribution of treasure coins from the S.S. Central America. This, of course, is a short list — I could add many more people, places, and things.

I first met Brent Pogue and his father in the 1970s when they were just starting to collect coins. Fast forward through the years, and they were familiar figures at auctions and other events as well as being fine friends. It was a unique honor in 2014 when Stack’s Bowers Galleries was selected to showcase the Pogue Collection at auction. As we have done before when an occasion merits it, I and the entire SBG staff set about creating not a series of auction sales, but a worldwide program to include the auctions, but also to include reference books (two in print so far, with the third in progress as you read these words), educational forums, displays of selected Pogue coins far beyond the borders of the United States, media interviews, and more.

Many examples come to mind — such as the British Broadcasting Corporation featuring the Pogue coins, Forbes magazine publishing a multi-page color spread on Brent Pogue and the collection, exhibitions and sales at the international headquarters of Sotheby’s and more. It was a team effort. I have had the easy part, in a way, from the comfort of my desk doing a lot of research, writing, and editing. Others have traveled widely—such as Larry Stack and Melissa Karstedt in Europe, Brian Kendrella making countless arrangements, program manager (as I like to call her) Chris Karstedt traveling here, there, and everywhere, constantly interfacing with the Pogue family, bidders and buyers, and more. John Kraljevich as the main cataloger has created dynamic paragraphs of useful information, whereas some others might have thought a quick sentence would have sufficed.

This effort has paid off. While the world changes and swirls around us, buyers and bidders worldwide have tapped into the excitement and dynamism of the Pogue Collection sales. Strong, often record prices and wide participation have put the first three auctions in the record books. Added to this, those who have been a part of the program, including the Stack’s Bowers Galleries staff as well as bidders, buyers, and interested observers, have had once-in-a-lifetime experiences.

The above said, now I go back to working on the third of the Pogue Collection books: the Sylloge or definitive text listing and describing each of the coins, to be published after the final sale. The first part of the book will tell of numismatics and life in America, with emphasis on the years from 1792 to the mid-19th century, the era of specialty for most of the Pogue coins.

All good wishes,

Dave Bowers

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