Stack's Bowers

As America's oldest coin auction house, Stack's Bowers has had the privilege of auctioning many of the rarest coins and most valuable collections ever assembled. Now, 83 years after we held ​our first coin auction, our tradition of success carries forward into the 21st century as we continue to sell rare coins and currency for collectors across the world. Our knowledgeable staff offer unsurpassed expertise in all areas of numismatics, as well as commitment to excellent personal service.

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Objects "Stack's Bowers"

1823 Matron Head Cent. Newcomb-2. Rarity-2. Mint State-66 BN (PCGS).

A Second Landmark Gem 1823 CentTied for Finest Known1823 Matron Head Cent. Newcomb-2. Rarity-2. Mint State-66 BN (PCGS)."The copper of this emission is pure and soft, hence the cents are much worn, and can be rarely found in a condition worthy of preservation." - Dr. Montroville W. Dickeson, 1859The collections that have contained a Mint State 1823 Newcomb-2 cent are few and far between, even considering many of the greatest ever formed. Convenient cases in point of recent times may be found in the cabinets of the Garrett family, the Norweb family, Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr. and John J. Pittman. None had one, even though in these cases the collections were built over many decades and supported with sufficient financial means to acquire just about anything desired. The exception to the rule tends to be specialized collections of early coppers but even then, some collectors are never able to secure one. The great collection of Dan Holmes and our own recent sale of the Twin Leaf Collection were both missing this coin in Mint State. Even Floyd T. Starr's coin was called AU-55. In contrast, Ted Naftzger and D. Brent Pogue are the notable exceptions, each owning both of the two finest known coins, of which this is one. Of all the magnificent coins in the Ted Naftzger Middle Date Collection, this one commanded the highest price realized at auction in the February 2009 sale of these holdings. It was the highlight of the sale.Both sides are dominated by lovely light steel brown while generous faded red undertones and accents of gentle blue iridescence add considerably to the aesthetic appeal. Strong lustrous cartwheels are seen on both sides and there are almost no handling marks worthy of mention beyond a blunt nick between stars 8 and 9, which is a useful identifier of this specimen. A few very faint hairlines may also be detected on the reverse, but this coin remains truly exceptional.This piece was struck from slightly later states of the dies than seen on the coin in the previous lot. The obverse exhibits fusing of the five dentils near star 5. Those right of star 6 do not seem to be connected, though Noyes describes them as part of the first die state advancement, so this one is his State-B, but very early. The fields are slightly more flowlined in this state while the inner circle and dentil tips have lost some definition. The reverse is also State-B, showing slightly more die wear. It aged better than the obverse, however, so the signs are minimal and mostly confined to light flowlines in the fields. Nicely struck and showing the small center dot on the reverse that is only present on the sharpest examples.For the 1823 perfect date rarity, this is as good as it gets. It is tied in the Noyes Census with the above coin for the CC#1 position. PCGS has judged it just slightly finer and it stands alone as the finest graded by them. One of the most important Middle Date cents, not just of the D. Brent Pogue Collection, but also of all.Abe Kosoff's source for this coin is a bit unclear. William Noyes reports it as "Ezra Cole," while it was reported in the Naftzger sale in 2009 as from "Earle M. Cole." The only original source material is Naftzger's original envelope. It was written lightly in pencil, with part of the leading "E" and part of what appears to be "Cole" still visible. It was overwritten later by Ted in his green ink, "Earl Cole." Earl Cole was a collector in Des Moines, Iowa, as evidenced by a couple of Burdette Johnson invoices of 1941 included in the Newman Archives, but little is known about him. Ezra Cole was a prominent stamp collector and dealer who also collected a few coins. He was the leading supplier of stamps to Josiah K. Lilly and would have been in a prime position to turn up a great coin like this. As coins were of secondary interest, it is easy to imagine that such a coin might be simply sold to Abe Kosoff, into a market that better appreciated it. Ezra Cole was the leading named consignor to Auctions by Bowers and Merena's January 1986 sale.PCGS# 36757. NGC ID: 225A. PCGS Population: 1, none finer. (All 1823 varieties)Publications: Noyes, William C. United States Large Cents 1816-1839, 1991.Provenance: Ezra or Earl Cole; Abe Kosoff; R.E. "Ted" Naftzger, Jr. Collection, by sale; R.E. "Ted" Naftzger, Jr. estate, October 2007; Ira and Larry Goldberg Auctioneers' sale of the Ted Naftzger Collection, February 2009, lot 140. Est. $180,000-$200,000Read more

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