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1804 dollar expected to bring millions


Starring in an upcoming Stack’s Bowers/Sotheby’s sale set for March 31 in Baltimore, Md., is the so-called King of American Coins, the Dexter Specimen 1804 silver dollar. Graded Proof-65 by PCGS, it is expected to bring $3,000,000-$5,000,000. (Images courtesy Stack’s Bowers Galleries/Sotheby’s)

History will be made on many levels when the legendary Dexter Specimen of the 1804 Draped Bust silver dollar is offered by Stack’s Bowers Galleries/Sotheby’s on March 31 in Baltimore, Md.

Comprising Part V of the firm’s series of auctions featuring the D. Brent Pogue Collection, the sale will take place in conjunction with the Whitman Coin & Collectibles Expo.

Headlining the auction is Lot 5045, the second-finest known Class I Original 1804 silver dollar graded Proof-65 by the Professional Coin Grading Service. One of just eight known examples, it was struck in 1834 from proof dies to distribute as an official gift from the United States to foreign heads of state.

In his popular Illustrated History of the United States Mint, published in the 1880s and 1890s in multiple editions, George G. Evans commented, “This coin among collectors is known as the ‘king of American rarities.’”

According to numismatic authority Q. David Bowers, three examples are located in museums: the National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian Institution (impaired Proof), the American Numismatic Association Museum in Colorado Springs, Colo. (VF-30) and the Durham Western Heritage Museum in Omaha, Neb. (Proof-64 with friction in the fields).

“For well over a century the possession of an 1804 silver dollar in a collection has bestowed an aura of glory upon its owner,” writes Bowers.

“The Dexter Specimen ... set a record price for a coin sold at public auction in 1989 when it just missed realizing a seven-figure price, the million-dollar barrier which would not be broken until 1996 with the sale of the Eliasberg 1913 Liberty nickel.”

The coin carries a pre-sale estimate of $3,000,000-$5,000,000.

Stack’s Bowers/Sotheby’s calls the Pogue Collection “the most valuable rare coin collection ever to cross the auction block, and the collection with the highest overall quality. Gathered over a period of many years dating back to the 1970s, many if not most of the coins have been off the market for decades. Virtually without exception, each coin is the very finest of its kind or is among the top several.”


Another rarity set to cross the block is the finest-known 1811 Classic Head half cent, graded MS-66 RB by PCGS. Pre-sale estimate is $600,000-$700,000. (Images courtesy Stack’s Bowers Galleries/Sotheby’s)

A second rarity of note is Lot 5067, the finest-known 1811 Classic Head half cent graded MS-66 RB by PCGS, which is estimated to bring $600,000-$700,000.

According to its catalog description, the only example of this variety that could rival the Pogue coin (the Norweb Cohen-1) does not appear to have been certified or offered publicly since 1987.

Additional highlights include:

  • Lot 5042, an 1802 Draped Bust proof restrike dollar, one of just four known, Proof-64 (PCGS), estimate $300,000-$350,000
  • Lot 5087, an original 1852 Braided Hair half cent with Large Berries reverse, finest of four known, Proof-65 RD (PCGS), estimate $350,000-$400,000
  • Lot 5090, a 1793 Liberty Cap cent, plated in Crosby, Early American Cents, and Penny Whimsy, AU-58 (PCGS), estimate $400,000-$450,000
  • Lot 5093, the finest-known 1794 Liberty Cap cent with Head of 1793, MS-64 BN (PCGS), estimate $500,000-$575,000

The Pogue Collection Part V sale will take place at The Evergreen Museum & Library, located at 4545 North Charles St. in Baltimore. Lots will be on exhibit in Room 307 at the Baltimore Convention Center prior to the sale, and bus service will be provided from the convention center on the afternoon/evening of the sale for registered bidders.

Complete lot and sale details may be found online at and at

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