This article from Forbes magazine profiles collector D. Brent Pogue. The upcoming sales of his landmark collection of U.S. coin
rarities is expected to bring over $200 million dollars. -Editor
D. Brent Pogue
The 650 coins in the Pogue Cabinet, amassed over 35 years, are “going to sail past the nine digits,” Bowers says confidently. According
to presale estimates, the auctions are expected to bring in more than $200 million for what New Jersey coin dealer Laura Sperber recently
described as “the ultimate coin collection.”
The 50-year-old Pogue is the first to admit it didn’t start out like that. In 1974, when he was 9 years old, his father, Dallas real
estate developer Mack Pogue, brought home a sack of old pennies and a price guide to give the boy a hobby. Mack told his son he had paid
$100 for the bag, and Brent had a seven-day option to purchase it for $110. “My business instinct kicked in,” Brent recalls. He picked out
a 1915 cent that he appraised at $80 because it was so shiny. “I exercised my option within 20 minutes.”
As Pogue’s knowledge broadened and his connoisseurship deepened, his focus narrowed to the first
half-century of American coinage, when dies were still engraved by hand. By 1982 his father trusted his judgment enough to buy an 1822 $5
gold piece (above) at auction for $687,500. (It was one of three known to have survived; the other two are in the Smithsonian.) “I knew we
had to buy the coin because it would let us put together a complete set,” Pogue says. “It’s the kind of coin that could go away for 50
years once it’s sold.”
Pogue has managed the family holdings ever since, spending four decades patiently gathering the full run of early federal coinage in the
best available condition–”a collection representing our country’s economic birth,” as he describes it–driven by his modern business sense.
“You have to be opportunistic, and you have to have guts,” he says. At one auction that meant bidding $4.1 million on the legendary 1804
silver dollar–in the finest condition of eight known–spending more than twice as much as had ever been paid for any coin at auction.
That was in 1999. The following year another 1804 dollar came up for sale. Still stunned by how much he
and his son had splurged the first time, Mack Pogue wanted nothing to do with it–yet Brent prevailed upon his father to spend another $1.8
million. “I thought he was going to put his hands around my neck,” Brent recalls. “I told him he had to protect his investment.”
From that point forward the Pogues just kept going, with Brent increasingly thinking of the hobby as a business and himself as a
manager. “I regard myself as the steering wheel of this collection,” he says. “My family is the gasoline.” The combination has been
formidable, overcoming even the toughest of obstacles: fellow collectors who have no intention of selling.
One recent transaction took more than three years of bartering with a World War II veteran living in Ingalls, Ind. “He had metal
fragments all through his body and an amputated leg, and the last thing you want is to negotiate with a man who survived all that,” Pogue
says. But the vet’s collection of 200 coins included a few key pieces that the Pogues needed, such as a 1793 chain cent–the nation’s
earliest penny–in gem mint state, the finest in existence.
So why sell the family’s core holdings now? “In my mind the collection is complete,” Pogue says. “Some of these coins have been off the
market for 35 or 40 years. It’s time to share them with the numismatic community.”
“These sales will be very good for the coin market,” Bowers says. “Very, very few people in numismatic history have ever put together a
collection like this. It will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to own some of these coins. A record price now will be a bargain in ten
To read the complete article, see:
The $200 Million Pogue Coin
Collection Comes Up for Auction (www.forbes.com/sites/jonathonkeats/2015/03/25/pogue-coin-collection-auction-stacks-bowers/)
Wayne Homren, Editor
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