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The E-Sylum:  Volume 4, Number 7, February 11, 2001, Article 2

KOLBE'S FIFTH BASS SALE 

   NBS co-founder George Kolbe reports: "A featured lot in the 
   upcoming 25th Anniversary auction sale of rare and out of 
   print numismatic literature conducted by George Frederick 
   Kolbe/Fine Numismatic Books discloses, for the first time, the 
   true origin of the "Berg Specimen" of the 1804 dollar.  The sale, 
   featuring the fifth and concluding part of the Harry Bass library, 
   closes on March 10, 2001, twenty-five years and ten days 
   after the firm held its first auction sale of rare and out of print 
   numismatic literature on February 28, 1976. 

   In "The Fantastic 1804 Dollar," Newman and Bressett 
   wrote that "O. H. Berg is said to have obtained this dollar in 
   1875 from Messrs. Koch & Co., of Vienna." And in Q. David 
   Bowers recent work on 1804 silver dollars, he writes that the 
   pedigree for the coin "is conjectural before circa 1875." 
   That is no longer true. 

   Present in the March 10th final Bass sale is Captain John 
   Haseltine's personal copy of his March 30, 1876 "Centennial 
   Coin and Curiosity Sale."  Strange as it may seem today, the 
   presence of an 1804 dollar in the sale is not mentioned in the 
   catalogue title or introduction, and Haseltine devoted only four 
   lines of text to its description.  In the catalogue,  Haseltine 
   records all of the absentee bids and the bidders' names. 
   Several absentee bidders placed bids on the 1804 dollar but 
   Haseltine's handwritten notes in the catalogue indicate that it 
   ended up being purchased by Haseltine for $395.00 on behalf 
   of O. H. Berg.  This new information also corrects conjecture 
   concerning the origin of the Amon Carter 1804 silver dollar 
   sold by Stack's in 1984. 

   In all, the March 10, 2001 Bass sale features 1117 lots, 
   estimated to bring over $100,000.00, mostly pertaining to 
   American numismatics, including many seldom seen works 
   on American coins, medals, tokens, and paper money. 
   Catalogues may be obtained by sending $10.00 to the firm 
   [$5.00 to NBS members].  The catalogue is also available at 
   the firm's web site: http://www.numislit.com/" 

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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