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The MHS Collection

Written by Q. David Bowers, Chairman Emeritus

Author: Q. David Bowers / Tuesday, November 01, 2011 / Categories: Crossing the Block
Stack’s Bowers Galleries is pleased to include in our November Baltimore auction the MHS type collection of copper, nickel and silver (1792 - 1964), a set currently ranked sixth by PCGS with a combined ranking of 53.88. The set, with the exception of the 1821 and 1834 Capped Bust quarters have been submitted for auction. The majority of the 19th-century coinage is in choice and gem Mint State condition.
Our consignor started collecting in the early 1960s along with his father. His father was a superior technical grader, never believed in paying anything higher than “5% back of bid,” and would delight in purchasing a coin from one dealer only to walk it across the bourse floor and sell it to another dealer for a small profit. The assembly of the MHS collection required stretching on the price, in some cases, significantly. Our consignor’s father, who had passed away, would not have approved.
The collecting interests of our consignor continued into the early 1970s with the completion of a 12- piece gold type set, mostly in Mint State except for the Type II gold dollar and the three dollar gold piece. Saturday afternoons during this period were also spent in the back office of a local coin shop searching through original rolls for high grade blast white Roosevelt dimes, Washington quarters and Franklin halves. The consignor stills collects with the same 15x loupe. This partially explains why the 12-piece gold type set is still a work-in-progress given his dislike for obvious surface marks, which are common even with high grade gold.
After attending a few of the FUN shows in the early 1980s (following the retirement of his parents to Florida), our consignor exited from collecting due to career demands. After encouragement from his wife (“you need a hobby!”), in 1997 he began a serious effort to complete a U.S. type set, which morphed into obtaining the pieces required for a PCGS registry set. He notes that his wife, who does not collect, can readily see surface flaws with an unaided eye; marks he would occasionally miss when using a 15x loupe. She prefers bright coins with “flash”, as does our consignor. Many of the coins in the collection are lustrous, with original toning, exceptional surfaces and terrific eye appeal. The set was completed in early 2009 with the purchase of the 1792 half disme in VF-25 and the 1839 Gobrecht dollar in Proof-45. The half disme is very difficult to find in an affordable grade with nice surfaces; the 1839 Gobrecht Original is one of 19 certified by PCGS. These were the two most difficult pieces to locate, a fact he realized well into the acquisition process.
Our consignor would like to thank those in the numismatic community who have helped in the completion of the collection: Gary Adkins, Katy Duncan, George Huang, Harry Laibstain and Mike Printz. Further, he is grateful to Gus Serematis, of Acropolis Coins, who purchased the majority of the consignor’s duplicates, thus permitting continued upgrading of the collection. Also John Pack of Stack’s Bowers Galleries has greatly assisted our consignor with prior and current auction submissions and with bidding recommendations for the Ex Loring/Rasmussen 1793 Liberty Cap cent in VF-20 and the 1839 No Drapery half dollar in MS-62. Finally, the consignor thanks his friend and colleague, Jon, from whom he learned the importance of date rarity; and of course his wife for her encouragement and support in this wonderful adventure. Our consignor plans to now focus his collecting efforts on a date set of small-size Bust quarters in Mint State 63 or finer grades and, of course, his 12-piece gold type set, which continues as a 40 year work-in-progress.
Tags: MHS