W. David Perkins of
Centennial, CO published the following request in the July 2013 issue of the John Reich Journal. At my suggestion, we're republishing it here. He writes: "If NBS members and E-Sylum readers can’t solve this mystery, who can?".
The Lester Merkin Public Auction Sale – September 18, 1968 sale is a favorite sale catalog of mine. Most of my interest has been centered on the over 200 silver dollars consigned to this sale by the Ostheimers.
In this sale is a wonderful collection or group of early and Seated half dimes 1794-1873. I’ve always wondered who consigned all of these half dimes to this sale. The introduction reads,
EXTRAORDINARY COLLECTION OF HALF DIMES
Though basically a date and mintmark collection, the present offering is rich enough in rarities and finest knowns to rank with the Helfenstein cents, the collection of dimes in our April 1966 sale, and the Helfenstein /Judd half cents in our March 1968 auction. In researching the collection, we found that extensive offerings of half dimes have been very few in the past generation, the two most important (WGC, Milton Holmes) having a few more early varieties than the present lot but-like the rest-inferior condition in many dates and mintmarks. Because the small size of half dimes makes actual-size illustrations nearly useless, we are picturing the most important specimens in enlargement, the better to display their quite eyebrow-raising quality. To our minds, the 1801, 1803, 1805 and 1853 O No Arrows will not be excelled in the foreseeable future, and are not likely to be equaled in the next generation.
The only pedigree information provided was for Lot 127, the 1802 V-1 half dime: ex. George Walton:459, ex. Century sale:506. The other early half dime rarities mentioned in the introduction were the 1801 V-2 (R-5) in AU+; and the 1803 V-3 Small Date (Borderline R-7), AU; 1805 V-1, BU (Finest Known). There was also a 1794 V-2 (R-6) and a 1797 V-1 Thirteen Stars (R-6). Rarity ratings and commentary are that of the cataloger.
I’ve asked this question to many specialists, numismatists and bibliophiles in the past and will ask it here one more time – does anyone know who consigned this wonderful collection of half dimes to this sale? Can anyone help solve this mystery? Thanks.
Wayne Homren, Editor
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