Monday, April 20, 2009

Coin Monday: Another Central States Auction, Another 1804 Dollar, or The Thrill Lives On…

April 20, 2009
Posted by John Dale

Though it’s been a year since Heritage set a company record with its auction of the Mickley-Hawn-Queller 1804 dollar, the experience of holding it (and helping to catalog it!) is still fresh in my mind. Another year, another April, and another Central States Numismatic Society auction have brought many changes, but as it turns out, history has an echo…

I asked the chief cataloger, Mark Van Winkle, for some information about the cataloging schedule. After he gave me the breakdown, I noticed that he’d left out a name.

“What about him?” I asked.

“Oh,” Chief said, “he’ll be busy cataloging the 1804 dollar.”

Wait, what?

I tracked down the 1804 dollar. I wasn’t in a time loop – this was a different 1804 dollar, a Class III and not a Class I, the Carter-Adams specimen and not the Mickley-Hawn-Queller – but the similarities were a touch eerie.

Being in the presence of an 1804 dollar once again was a thrill. This one inspired some different thoughts, many of them centering on local history. Since Heritage has its headquarters in Dallas, I’ve learned plenty of Texas lore by osmosis, particularly stories involving numismatics. Two of the most prominent coin titans from bygone days are B. Max Mehl, coin dealer and promoter, and Amon G. Carter, Sr., who was by turns businessman, philanthropist, and collector.

As it happens, this 1804 dollar passed directly from the first man to the second. It was offered in B. Max Mehl’s Golden Jubilee Sale of May 1950, with the senior Carter (his son Amon G. Carter, Jr., who inherited the piece, was also a well-known businessman-philanthropist-collector) the winning bidder for $3,250. B. Max Mehl kept his offices in Fort Worth, and Amon G. Carter, Sr. was practically synonymous with the city; many have credited his efforts with cementing the “cowboy mystique” of Texas and Fort Worth in particular. As a result, the 1804 dollar did not have far to travel. Mehl and the Carters aren’t its only Texas connections, either; L.R. French, Jr. of Midland County also owned the coin for several years in the 1980s.

The Carter-Adams 1804 dollar has strong ties to Ohio, as well, that will soon become stronger. Its other “name” owner – businessman Phillip Flannagan – hails from the Buckeye State. He once sold it to pay for construction of a school and youth camp near his home. The other Ohio connection is Cincinnati, where this year’s Central States Numismatic Society convention and associated auction will take place.

If you’re planning on coming to the convention, don’t forget to stop by our table and say howdy or hello!


  1. Has the news of swine flu affected the attendance this year?

  2. So far we've heard nothing to this effect, given that the auctions start today, with PLatinum Night tomorrow. I wouldn't imagine this will be a serious issue, as Ohio has yet to report any cases of the flu - as of this writing.

    Even if some folks stayed away from Cinci for the auction I still can't imagine it would take a toll on bidding or prices, as our real time Internet bidding makes it easy to bid from wherever you choose.

    If we hear anything we'll pass it along ASAP.

    - Noah

  3. John Beety here.

    $2.3 million with Buyer's Premium after some Heritage Live action. It started at $1.7 mm on the Internet. A Heritage Live bidder went for $1.8, but the previously placed Internet bid kicked in at $1.9 million. The Live bidder tried a cut bid at $1.95 million, but the Internet bid went to $2 million, and the Heritage Live bidder declined to jump in for the full increment. The $2 million hammer, plus 15% buyer's premium, makes it $2.3 million. It's a new auction record for the Class III 1804 dollar.