The Numismatic Bibliomania Society



The E-Sylum: Volume 17, Number 40, September 28, 2014, Article 9


This week Stack's Bowers Galleries announced a major sale of U.S. colonial and other important coins. Here's the press release. -Editor

For many decades, a private collector quietly assembled one of the finest collections of American colonial coins ever formed. Capably facilitated by legendary dealer Lester Merkin, and ably assisted by the Stack family, the collection grew to include over 120 pieces of Massachusetts silver, outpacing the Boyd-Ford Collection to become the most complete grouping ever offered. The collection is now sold on behalf and under the name of the Henry P. Kendall Foundation, an American philanthropic enterprise that has been focused on environmental issues for more than fifty years.

Undated (1652) NE Shilling. Noe II-A
Undated (1652) NE Shilling. Noe II-A, Salmon 2-B. Rarity-7. Ex: Winsor.

The heart of the Collection is the early American coinage, led by the foremost assemblage of Massachusetts silver coins ever brought together for auction. Six different NE shillings, along with the Crosby Plate (1875) - Bushnell (1882) - Garrett Collection NE Sixpence, leaves the Collection complete by die variety among NE pieces, aside from the unique NE threepence permanently impounded in the Massachusetts Historical Society. The Willow Tree pieces are also practically complete, with five of the six known shilling varieties, a superb Willow Tree sixpence, and the only Willow Tree threepence in private hands. More than 50 examples of the Oak Tree type are included, led by the unique Noe-15 Oak Tree sixpence, called a “pattern” by Noe. A similar number of Pine Tree coins will be offered, including high grade pieces, extremely rare varieties, and coins with legendary pedigrees.

1652 Oak Tree Sixpence. Noe-15
1652 Oak Tree Sixpence. Noe-15. Unique. Struck over Cut Down Oak Tree Shilling.
Ex Bushnell-Stickney. Noe Plate.

Other colonial and early American coins accompany the Massachusetts silver, including the Crosby plate examples of both the Maryland Lord Baltimore groat and the Standish Barry threepence, an extremely rare God Preserve New England Elephant token, a landmark 1670 Gloriam Regni 15 sols of Nouvelle France, and five Sommers Island coins, representing each denomination, twopence through shilling. 1787 New York Excelsior coppers were collected in detail, featuring very rare Standing Indian and George Clinton coppers.

1792 Birch Cent
1792 Birch Cent. Judd-4, Pollock-5. Rarity-7-. Copper.
Lettered Edge: TO BE ESTEEMED * BE USEFUL. Ex: Bushnell-Parmelee-Jenks-Col. Green.

This magnificent collection’s many post-Colonial rarities are led by several rare 1792 patterns. The highlight is undoubtedly the choice 1792 Birch cent acquired privately in 1975 from Stack’s and the finest example offered since the 1979 Garrett I sale. A 1792 silver center cent, one of fewer than 15 known, showcases a design conceived by Thomas Jefferson and was among the first pieces struck at the Philadelphia Mint. Examples of the 1792 disme in copper and the 1792 half disme will also be offered.

1861 Confederate Half Dollar. Original
1861 Confederate Half Dollar. Original. Breen-8000.
The Riddell Specimen. One Of Only 4 Known.

An abiding interest in the history of the American South also inspired a focus on the coinage of the Confederacy. The 1861 Confederate States of America half dollar, one of just four original examples struck, will be sold publicly for the first time after having been a part of the Cabinet since its acquisition from Lester Merkin in 1971. A rare original 1861 Confederate States of America cent will also be offered, along with ca. 1874 restrikes by John Haseltine. These Confederate rarities are counterbalanced by three examples of the extremely rare Union 1864 Colored Troops Army of the James medal, commissioned by General Benjamin Butler to be awarded to African-American soldiers distinguished by their bravery in the attack on Newmarket Heights.

Mostly assembled from the late 1950s through the 1990s, with a few notable additions within the last 15 years, the Collection features many coins with famous provenances, including pedigrees to Bushnell, Parmelee, Winsor, Stickney, Jenks, Stearns, Groves, Garrett, Roper, Ford and more. Coins from the Collection have served as plate coins in Crosby’s Early Coins of America (1875), Noe’s monographs on Massachusetts silver, Breen’s Encyclopedia, and other standard references. Many others have not been offered publicly in a century, if ever.

The collection will be offered at public auction in Baltimore, Maryland, as part of Stack’s Bowers Galleries Official Auction of the Whitman Coin & Collectibles Expo in March 2015. Printed catalogs will be available prior to the sale and the Collection, along with the entire Stack’s Bowers Galleries March 2015 auction, will be available for viewing and bidding at

If I were British, I might say I was 'gobsmacked' by this announcement. Colonial collectors have been having a field day with the great material coming to auction in recent years. And as important as Massachusetts silver is in U.S. numismatic history, the Birch cent and Confederate Half Dollar are iconic rarities, the centerpieces of any major collection of U.S. coinage. I've owned a restrike Confederate Half, and can only dream of having one of the four originals. Wow! -Editor

To read the complete press release, see:
Stack’s Bowers Galleries Announces Historic Sale of World-Class Collection of Massachusetts Silver, Colonial and Early Federal Coins, and Issues of the War Between the States (

Stacks-Bowers E-Sylum ad 2014-09-19

Wayne Homren, Editor

NBS ( Web

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