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Pogue collection shows us how it's done

A popular daydream is asking someone what they would do if they won the lottery.

Would a coin collector dash out and buy all of the coins of his dreams?

If only it were that easy.

To be able to acquire certain coins, you need more than money. You need to be in the right place at the right time.

Some of the most famous American rarities as well as the little know ones come on the market infrequently.

If a coin is not available, the matter of money is simply a mental exercise in possibilities.

For those collectors who do have money, it is time to circle May 19 and 20 on the calendar.

For it is then that possibilities can become realities for the right buyers.

Those are the dates of the first sale of the D. Brent Pogue Collection by Stack’s Bowers Galleries and Sotheby’s in New York City.

Pre-sale estimates indicate that when all the more than 650 coins in the collection are sold, the total prices realized will exceed $200 million.

That is a large sum.

Even many lottery winners cannot afford such a figure.

It probably has more impact if I write out all of the zeroes:


Can you imagine?

It is such a large sum of money that even British newspapers are picking up the story.

Ultimately, there will be seven auctions to disperse the collection.

The first sale will offer something over 100 pieces.

Anyone who goes to an auction knows that the sale of 100 lots can occur in half an hour or so if the auctioneer is very good and the coins going under the hammer are routine.

But how long will this particular auction last as it offers American rarities one after another?

Even if every coin is actively competed for with multiple bids flying around the room, this particular auction will not be particularly long, but it will be one to savor.

To use an old phrase, it will be a happening – a numismatic happening.

We collectors will be talking about the results for many years.

Even if you cannot afford the lots, and I know I certainly can’t, look at them as well as the lot descriptions.

The catalog will become a reference.

There are also emailed treats from Stack’s Bowers written by Q. David Bowers about individual pieces.

Visit the firm’s website to become a witness this historical event.

Then if you happen to win a lottery, you will be well prepared to bid.

If you don’t win a lottery, you will simply become a much more knowledgeable numismatist.

Either way, you are a winner.

There will be seven auctions in New York City. The last one will be in May 2017.

That means there is plenty of time to learn, to appreciate and to daydream.

Buzz blogger Dave Harper is winner of the 2014 Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog and is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."