The Reed Hawn Collection of United States Coins was outstanding, an assemblage not duplicated for many years. The items were carefully acquired, after years of research, from the many great collections that were marketed during that time.
The Reed Hawn Collection featured a superb offering of U.S. coins from the small cent to the silver dollar with the half dollar series being among the choicest to be offered in that period. Included was a large variety of half dollars from 1794 onward, with dates and mintmarks and featuring many pedigreed pieces in top grades. There was also a superb offering of Proof coins including presentation pieces.
When the collection was assembled by Reed Hawn and his father, their goal was to acquire the finest known, from collections that were famous for quality and rarity. Many of these renowned collections were formed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. By reviewing the half dollars, I will demonstrate why the Reed Hawn Collection also became famous. Each coin was hand selected to complement the others so that, when it was sold, it would be considered outstanding as a collection. The Stack’s firm acted as a guide and its staff members were teachers stressing what to look for, what was available, what might be coming on the market, and what bidding ranges were most likely to be successful. The Stack family was pleased to build a relationship with the Hawn family and proud to help them build this collection. Later it was our honor to offer it at auction and the sale was a great success, attracting many more bid sheets than usually received, and presented to a standing-room-only crowd.
The half dollars started with a 1794 in Mint State, continuing with a 1795 Double Date, 1795 Small Date, and 1795 Two Leaves, all in Mint State. They continued with a 1795 Three Leaves, 1796 15 Star in Proof (ex Parmelee sale), 1796 16 Star in Proof (ex Allenburger sale), 1797 Mint State (ex Atwater sale), 1801 through 1806 with many varieties, all Mint State, the Unique 1806 Pointed 6 in Proof, and the 1807 in Proof. The Draped Busts halves 1807 to 1836 offered close to 90 specimens covering major varieties in Choice Mint State, and included the 1807, 1821, 1822, 1828 Small Letters, 1830 Small”0″, 1831, 1836 50 over 00, all in Brilliant Proof.
The Draped Bust Reeded Edge series included 1838 Proof as well as a magnificent Proof 1838-O, the rarity of the series (ex Atwater) and an 1839-O in superb Mint State.
The Liberty Seated series was outstanding with the following all in Brilliant Proof: 1839 No Drapery, 1840, 1841, 1846, 1847/6, 1837, 1848, 1850, 1853 Arrows and Rays, 1854, 1855, 1855-S (presentation piece from the Farish Baldenhofer sale), 1856, 1857 and all the rest of the Philadelphia half dollars, 1858 to 1891, also in Brilliant Proof condition. The other Philadelphia Mint coins were all choice Uncirculated.
Other half dollars featured Mint State and choice examples of the following rarities: 1844-O double cut date, 1845-O triple cut date, 1846/5, 1846 over horizontal 6, l846/5-O, 1846 over Horizontal 6, 1846/5-O, 1853 Arrows and Rays, 1853-O Arrows and Rays, 1854-O, 1857-S, 1858-S, 1859-S, 1866-S No Motto, 1869-S (ex. R.L. Miles), 1870-CC (Empire-Gardner), 1871-CC (proof-like), 1872-CC, l873-CC No Arrows, 1873-CC Arrows, 1874-CC, 1878-CC, 1878-S, and the 1879-1891 group in both Mint State and Proof. Some Mint State examples of these years can be rarer than the same years in Proof so Reed Hawn, wanting to acquire the finest and rarest available, bought both. The sale of his collection provided the opportunity for half dollar specialists to acquire some of the finest and rarest of these early date coins. The obvious rarity and quality of the pieces led to prices they realized that were very high for the period.
The Barber half dollar collection was one of the most complete high quality offerings to reach the market place in the early 1970s. Because the Mint sold Proof coins as part of Proof sets and individual coins that were issued at the time of striking, Reed Hawn decided to have both Mint State and Proof coins as part of his set. Therefore, there were Proof examples from 1892 to 1915, complemented by Mint State examples of the Philadelphia Mint years. Finding perfect Mint State Philadelphia issues was difficult and Reed enjoyed the chase.
Mintmarks of the Barber series were highlighted by some of the choicest examples to be offered on the market, and included such rarities as the 1892-O Microscopic O, 1896-S, 1896-O, 1901-S, 1903-S, 1904-S to mention a few.
Completing the half dollar offering was an extreme high quality Walking Liberty set, sold one coin at a time, all sharply and well struck, virtually free of bagmarks, and all mostly brilliant or attractively lightly toned. The series was highlighted by super examples of 1917-S mintmark on obverse, 1919-P-D-S, 1920-P-D-S, 1921-P-D-S to mention but a few.
More of the details of the Reed Hawn Collection will be discussed in Part 3.
Article originally published on StacksBowers.com. Reprinted with permission.