In earlier blog posts, Ron Guth discussed his efforts to determine the current whereabouts of Barber Half Dollars once owned by collector Louis Eliasberg. In his latest article, Ron officially launches a larger project to track down all the former Eliasberg coins and bring their provenances and grades up to date. Here's an excerpt - see the complete article online. I added images and links to the Eliasberg sale catalogs on the Newman Numismatic Portal.
Louis Eliasberg, Sr. was (and remains) the only person ever to have completed a collection of United States coins. It is important to note that the concept of
completion is constantly evolving as new coins are discovered (the 1870-S Half Dime, for instance), and as new coins are issued each year by the United States Mints. However, based on the standards of completion during his lifetime, Eliasberg succeeded where no one else had.
My interest in the Eliasberg coins stems from my on ongoing research into the provenances of America's best coins. The Eliasberg provenance carries much weight in the market and collectors will often pay a premium for coins that originated with the Eliasberg Collection. What I've discovered over the years is that Eliasberg coins fall into three categories: 1) where the
modern grade is known; 2) where the
modern grade is unknown; and 3) where the
modern grade may never be known because these coins were not plated.
With that in mind, this is the official launch of The Eliasberg Project -- an ambitious attempt to track down the Eliasberg coins and bring their provenances and grades up to date. This is similar to my tracking of the Lord St. Oswald coins, which resulted in an award-winning series of blog posts on the PCGS website.
How will The Eliasberg Project help?
1. It will restore the Eliasberg cachet to many coins where the provenance has been stripped or forgotten.
2. It will give competing collectors a clearer view of the contents of the Eliasberg Collection.
3. It will provide accurate information with which the Eliasberg Collection can be updated in the PCGS Set Registry.
Last year, PCGS President Brett Charville was kind enough to provide a list of certification numbers for all coins in their database that carry the Eliasberg provenance. After a little massaging and with the addition of coins certified by the Numismatic Guaranty Corporation, I now show 962 certified coins that originated with the Eliasberg Collection. As provenance research continues, more and more Eliasberg coins are being identified.
1802/"1" $2.50 Ex-Eliasberg Image courtesy of Heritage Numismatic Auctions
For example, here is an 1802 Quarter Eagle that was identified recently as an Eliasberg coin. This coin has appeared at auction four times beginning in 2007 without a single mention of the Eliasberg provenance. Now that the coin has been identified as an Eliasberg coin, the updated provenance looks like this:
Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr. Collection - Bowers & Ruddy 10/1982:83 (as Raw AU58), $8,800.00 - Heritage 1/2007:3384 (as PCGS MS61 10882802), $29,900.00 - Aspen Collection - Heritage 7/2008:1888 (as PCGS MS61 10882802), $29,900.00 - David Lawrence 10/2010:4 (as PCGS MS61 CAC 10882802), $33,350.00 - Heritage 6/2021:3167 (as PCGS MS61 CAC 10882802), $38,400.00
Hopefully, the new owner will be excited to know that their coin is ex-Eliasberg and, hopefully, PCGS will update the grade in the Eliasberg Registry set.
If you are aware of an Eliasberg coin that has been certified and encapsulated but lacks the Eliasberg provenance, please contact me at
To read the complete article, see:
The Eliasberg Project: Where Are His Coins Today?
To read the Eliasberg catalogs on the Newman Numismatic Portal, see:
Bowers & Ruddy: United States Gold Coin Collection : 10/27/1982
Bowers & Merena : The Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr. Collection : 5/22/1996
Bowers & Merena : The Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr. Collection : 4/8/1997
To read the earlier E-Sylum articles, see:
LOUIS ELIASBERG'S BARBER HALF DOLLARS
LOUIS ELIASBERG'S BARBER HALF DOLLARS, PART II
LOUIS ELIASBERG'S BARBER HALF DOLLARS, PART III
Wayne Homren, Editor
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