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The Archangel Collection of Colonial Coins and 1792 Coinage

By Stack's Bowers Galleries

Author: Stack's Bowers Galleries / Wednesday, October 03, 2018 / Categories: Events

It has been long  hiatus—exactly 12 years—since we last offered a portion of the Archangel Collection, the amazing assemblage of Territorial gold coins that were featured in Stack’s November 2006 Norweb Collection catalog. The private collector who formed the cabinet was a friend to many at Stack’s, and after his recent passing, his family decided to make these coins available to the next generation, enabling them to be curators of these monetary relics of early America.

Formed with the eye of a connoisseur and the able assistance of consummate numismatists Lawrence R. Stack and John P. Burnham, the Archangel Collection brings forth superb type coins not seen at public auction in at least three to four decades, and sometimes over a century. One could not have gotten better advice. One of Larry’s longtime loves and specialties is colonial coins. John is a numismatic polymath who served as one-time curator of the Yale Numismatic Collection and as a numismatist for Stack’s for over 35 years, starting in the early 1970s. The superb collection was formed over the course of just a decade from 1974 to 1984, an era that was rich in private treaty opportunities and numismatic auctions that disgorged colonial rarity after colonial rarity, allowing the building of the previously unheralded collection presented in this catalog.

The delicacies to follow are generally reminiscent of the Kendall Foundation Collection we sold in March 2015, although Archangel focuses on a slightly more selective group of major types and has several lacunae that may be excused in the light of what is present.

 More than compensating for these lacunae is coin after coin of astounding rarity, quality and pedigree. Every major colonial coin auction of the Archangel collector’s era was taken advantage of. These included acquisitions at Stack’s sales of the Donald Groves (1974), David Spence (1975), Essex Institute (1975), Laird Park (1976), Robison (1982), Roper (1983), and Picker (1984) collections, as well as coins from the Massachusetts Historical Society (many ex William Sumner Appleton) offered in the Stack’s 1976 ANA Auction. Private acquisitions from Stack’s, purchases of cherries in non-name Stack’s auctions, as well as a few purchases from other auction houses filled out the 155 pieces in the set.

In a collection of this sort, picking favorites is a mine field, as all coins stand tall on their own merits. Several are worthy of note just for the rarity of opportunity to acquire an example. The collection opens with a knockout NE shilling, the first of many pieces of choice Massachusetts Bay Colony silver. What is perhaps the finest known Martlet variety Saint Patrick farthing is a highlight of the other 17th century issues. The near Gem 1733 Rosa Americana twopence carries an unbroken provenance stretching back at least 150 years and includes Parmelee, Garrett, and an appearance on the Crosby plate; in the 19th century, it sold for more than rarities that command multi-million dollar prices today. A superb set of Elephant tokens is headlined by the Choice Mint State Carolina type with PROPRIETERS spelling, ex Garrett. The top quality Brand-Robison silver Immune Columbia is soon followed by Appleton’s own 1785 Inimica Tyrannis Americana Confederatio copper.

Collectors of the coinages of the 1780s will not be disappointed by the quality presented in the Archangel Collection. The only 1787 Massachusetts half cent certified RB by PCGS, ex Essex Institute, is a coin that probably never left the state of Massachusetts until 1975. The finest known 1786 New Jersey Immunis Columbia is succeeded by none other than the finest known 1787 New Jersey Maris 6-C with which it shares the “Pattern Shield” reverse and the stupendous MS-63 BN grade. An astounding 1786 Vermont Landscape copper graded MS-63+ BN is the finest certified by PCGS and may well be the best extant Vermont Landscape; it is simply perfect in every way. New York issues will turn heads, led by William Sumner Appleton’s 1787 George Clinton copper, second finest known, and including a superb 1787 Standing Indian copper with New York Arms, now graded AU-53 by PCGS and also ex Appleton. The 1787 UNITED over STATES Fugio is graded MS-66 RB by PCGS and is the single finest graded Fugio copper, period.

Washington pieces are numerous, and include a comprehensive set of 1792 Getz patterns and 1792 Washington President and Washington Born Virginia patterns by Perkins, which are the perfect segue into the finale of the sale: a type set of U.S. patterns of 1792 missing only the Wright Eagle on Globe pattern. The 1792 half disme is a gleaming Choice Mint State coin, while the unique Plain Edge Birch cent is nearly Mint State. The Judd-1 Silver Center cent is Choice EF and comes from Judd’s own collection, and the 1792 disme  in copper is a perfect, trouble free example that is a hair’s breadth from Mint State.

The pages to follow describe one of the last great fresh-to-the-market collections of superb quality early American coinage assembled before most current collectors of colonial coins had discovered the field, and before slabbing was invented in the form we know today. We encourage you to look closely and bid wisely, as the opportunity to obtain some of the rarities to follow may not come again for another 30 or 40 years!


Click here to download a free copy of the catalog to your computer or mobile device This collection will cross the block beginning October 26, at 6:30PM ET in Room 308 of the Baltimore Convention Center. Click here to view the lots online.