But for lot 6, the 1806 Knob 6, No Stem, this would be the most important coin in the sale. Pre-turb specialist Paul Munson discovered the variety (on a holed specimen) in the 1970s, after Overton published his 2nd edition. If your BHNC membership number is lower than 70 you remember the variety as “1806 PM-1.” The Meyer coin is head and shoulders above other examples. Curt Biebel’s lovely XF appeared in MB 17 (May 1996), bringing $18,150; it remains second in line. Another nine or ten examples range from VG to VF. De Olden’s PCGS VF 20, ex Michael Summers, is considered third finest known. It brought $11,500 in Heritage’s 2008 FUN sale (lot 1397).
The Meyer “Wonder Coin” comes with a great story. It surfaced at one of Art Kagin’s auctions in the mid-1970s, not long after Munson identified the variety. Kagin reserved it too high and the coin did not sell. He tried again: same reserve, same result. He offered it a third time, on January 25, 1979. A cynical group of die variety collectors, anticipating another unrealistic reserve, boycotted the auction. Meyer, however, persisted – giving his agent a bid that was four times the bargain price at which he won the lot. It hammered at $1,150! His BHNC colleagues were slack-jawed and green with envy.
The coin was dipped to full brilliance 40 or 50 years ago. It has retained its flash while donning a delicate silver patina. The semi-prooflike surfaces show modest signs of brief circulation, and the coin is weakly struck along the left wing and ribbon, a characteristic of the die pair. PCGS probably docked the coin a few grading points for these peccadilloes.
The Overton Collection lacked the 1806 O.126. When Don Parsley prepared the 1990 3rd edition of Overton’s standard reference he looked elsewhere for a plate coin. Charlton Meyer was happy to help. The photo was reused in the 4th and 5th editions. After Meyer passed away I offered the coin in MB 34, Aug. 2009, lot 4, where Chris Merrill prevailed at $19,600. Merrill consigned his notable die variety collection to Heritage in early 2018. Heritage offered it in its Central States auction, April 26, 2018. Lot 4254 inexplicably sold for $9,600, barely double the price of a generic 1806. Steve Nomura was dumbfounded and thrilled. Estimate: $15,000 and up
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Sheridan Downey, Numismatist 4400 Keller Ave.,
Suite 140, PMB 398 Oakland, California 94605 firstname.lastname@example.org (510) 479-1585