The Lord St. Oswald Coins – Where Are They Now? – Part III

Posted on November 5, 2015 by

The Lord St. Oswald 1794 Silver Dollars

The Lord St. Oswald Collection contained two 1794 Silver Dollars, both of which appeared as the first two lots of U.S. coins in the 1964 sale. Both were described as Mint State and both sold for exactly the same price – 4,000 British Pounds, or the equivalent of $11,200 each.

The cataloger of the Christie’s 1964 sale described the first 1794 Silver Dollar (lot 137) as follows:
“U.S.A., DOLLAR, 1794 (Bolender p. 17) – in mint state and showing original planchet marks, very well struck for this rarity.”

The official, post-sale list of prices realized named A.H. Baldwin & Sons as the buyer of the coin. However, Q. David Bowers later listed the buyer as the American coin dealer, Lester Merkin, acting as agent for the American collectors Ambassador and Mrs. R. Henry Norweb. In November 1988, Bowers and Merena sold the Norweb 1794 Silver Dollar as lot 3741, where it was described as “MS60/63…believed to be the second or third finest known.” The price realized in 1988 was $242,000, a substantial advance over the original purchase price. It is believed that this example is currently in a PCGS MS64 holder and is still owned by the buyer at the 1988 sale. Thus, this coin has not only one of the longest continuous pedigrees of any U.S. coin combined with the least number of owners.

Next up was lot 138, a second 1794 Silver Dollar described as follows:

“U.S.A. DOLLAR, 1794 – a similar coin, in mint state and with fewer planchet marks than last, but slight scratches on obverse and some rim damage on reverse, very well struck.”

This lot was purchased by Alfred Ostheimer and his wife, Jacque. The Ostheimers sold the coin privately in 1969, and then the coin passed through various collections, auctions, and dealer’s hands throughout the 1970’s and the early 1980’s. Superior Galleries sold the coin at auction in 1973 for $110,000. Bowers & Ruddy auctioned the coin in 1975 for $75,000, the only publicly recorded loss in this coin’s history. Dealers Julian Leidman, Phil Herres (of DollarTowne), and Leon Hendrickson (of SilverTowne) owned the coin at various times. In 1983, the coin entered the collection of Jimmy Hayes via dealer John Dannreuther. However, Hayes retained the coin for less than three years, selling it in Stack’s 50th Anniversary Sale in October 1985. There, dealer David Akers purchased the coin as agent for D. Brent Pogue and his father, in whose collection the coin remained for just shy of thirty years. In 2013, the Pogues submitted the coin to PCGS, where it received a grade of MS66+. In September 2015, this remarkable coin made a grand re-appearance in a joint Stack/Bowers and Sotheby’s sale, where it realized $4,993,750.

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