"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/"