Ex John Jay Pittman, Russell Logan, Dave Rutherford and Henry Hilgard. The provenance of this important offering dates to August 20, 1952 when John Jay Pittman paid $10 to free it from the cabinet of Jim Charlton. Pittman died in 1996, having assembled one of the great numismatic collections of the 20th Century. The Pittman family retained David Akers to sell the collection. The sale occurred in Baltimore, May 20-21, 1998. When I retrieved the dusty catalog from my bookshelf bidder card #182 fell to the floor. It is a reminder of one of the most significant nights of my numismatic career. The Pittman Collection included a complete set of the 1833-34-35 crushed lettered edge proofs. I bought them all! I also had eyes for lot 1453, the coin offered here. My handwritten notes were short and clear: “Nice. Buy!” Well, I didn’t get it. Russ Logan did. I wrote his name and the hammer price in red ink: Russ -- $1,800. Russ was BHNC member #33. He died in 2002, far too young. (Our birth dates are a few weeks apart.) Bowers & Merena auctioned his collection in November 2002. The Pittman 1807 Small Stars was lot 2210. Alongside the photo I wrote: “Sweet XF+. Nice!” This time I bought it. Sort of. I did so as agent for BHNC member Dave Rutherford, publisher of the Bust Half-Dollar Prices web site. When Dave bowed out of collecting in 2007, he sold the coin to our mutual friend Henry Hilgard. A year later Henry accepted an offer of $4,500 to part with his prize. This is its first auction appearance since the 2002 Logan sale. The coin enjoys deep antique grey toning and nearly immaculate surfaces (a sine qua non for Henry). The strike displays moderate weakness in the devices, typical of the variety. The stars sparkle with luster. The provenance? It doesn’t get better. The Pittman and Logan auction tags come with the lot. Est. $3,000 and up.
Sheridan Downey, Numismatist 4400 Keller Ave.,
Suite 140, PMB 398 Oakland, California 94605 firstname.lastname@example.org (510) 479-1585