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Harvey Stack Remembers the Early Days of Collecting

Harvey Stack Remembers: Growing up in a Numismatic Family, Part 55

By Harvey Stack, Co-Founder

Author: Harvey Stack / Wednesday, October 16, 2019 / Categories: Harvey G. Stack Remembers

From the very beginning of 1970, Stack's was awarded numerous collections for auction, so much so that we were able to have 10 different auctions in the 12-month period. Four of the collections we offered in 1970 were of great importance, as they had rare coins, extremely choice coins and offered the opportunity in each case to find items that were not often available.  These sale names would become pedigrees that would be attached to the coins and follow them to future collection. The other six sales offered vast quantities of choice and rare coins as well, some that were seldom seen at auction or scarcely available over the counter from dealers.

In May 1970 during the annual New York Numismatic Convention, we were pleased to offer the United States coins gathered by Gaston DiBello. We had sold the world gold coins collected by this avid collector in 1969. The United States coin collection contained so many rare and choice coins, that I cannot list them all. It contained 1,430 lots of U.S. gold, exciting and rare patterns, and a select group of silver pieces. He had minor sets from cents through five-cent pieces, as well as dimes, quarters half dollars and dollars. There was something for everyone!

U.S PATTERNS: Almost 250 covering all denominations in various metals from the small cent to Barber's $50 gold struck in copper, with most of the rarest half dollar and dollar patterns ever seen in one collection.

GOLD DOLLARS: Mostly Mint State, with many from the George Walton Collection .

QUARTER EAGLES ($2.50 GOLD ): A comprehensive collection from 1796 onward, featuring most early dates and rarities, most Charlotte and Dahlonega pieces and a number of Proofs.

THREE DOLLARS GOLD: A comprehensive collection, with virtually all of the dates from 1876 in glistening Proof.

FOUR DOLLAR GOLD STELLAS: Both the Flowing Hair and Coiled Hair types of 1879.

HALF EAGLES ($5 GOLD): An extensive collection, especially rich in early dates before 1834, with numerous rare later dates.

EAGLES ($10 GOLD): An extensive offering from 1795 to 1933, with most of the early dates, rare dates throughout the Liberty Head series, and a great number of Proofs. In the Indian Head series there was the 1907 Wire Edge and Rolled Edge in Mint State, plus a pair of 1907 patterns (attributed as Saint-Gaudens original strikes) both in Matte Proof.

DOUBLE EAGLES ($20 GOLD): Here again Gaston was very selective and favored, when he could, Proof Gold and rare Mint State examples. In Proof he had 1862, 1863, 1869, 1870, 1887, 1888, 1889. 1897, 1901, 1905, 1907, 1907 Saint-Gaudens flat edge, 1909 and most of the rare dates in the late 1920s and early 1930s. He no doubt would have bid on the 1933 if it was not withdrawn from the Farouk Sale.

PIONEER AND TERRITORIAL GOLD: Almost 50 different examples, including Bechtler, Assay Office of Gold, Wass, Molitor & Co., Kellogg, Mormon, and Clark, Gruber & Co. Among these were eight $50 gold pieces.

The 1970 Gaston DiBello Collection presented a very important opportunity for collectors of that generation to acquire many of the coins from famous old collections, including the massive King Farouk Collection.

Three other important , pedigree-type collections included the Frederic Knoblach Collection of Greek and Roman coins, the Famous ALTO Collection of U.S. gold, silver and copper coins (formed over 75 years before it was offered for sale), noteworthy duplicates including hundreds of Massachusetts silver pieces from the Massachusetts Historical Society. The last collection was started by the famous Adams family of colonial times, worked on by a number of descendants, and featured a wealth of early American Colonial coins.

These and the other estate and other collections and items we were able to present at auction made 1970 a very important year, not just for Stack's but for the buyers who were able to bid on items that were scarcely available. The arrival of these pieces on the market, some of which had been in collections for decades or even centuries, provided an opportunity not only for acquisition, but also for research and study. It was a great time for numismatics.