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Treasure chest of precious coins to be auctioned in NYC

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This "Flowing Hair Silver Dollar" from 1794 is expected to sell for $3 million to $5 million when it goes up for auction at Sotheby's on Sept. 30. Its metallic value exceeded its face value and many were melted down and fewer than 200 are thought to be in existence, said Anthony Terranova, a private coin dealer in Manhattan. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Sotheby's

The remaining half of a father and son's coin collection filled with breathtaking rarities is expected to fetch as much as $20 million when it's auctioned off at Sotheby's Sept. 30.

"This is the best collection that has ever been assembled in the country -- and it's all 110% vetted" for authenticity, said Anthony Terranova, a private coin dealer in Manhattan, of the Brent D. Pogue Collection, presented by Stack's Bowers Galleries in association with Sotheby's.

Brent D. Pogue enticed his father, Dallas real estate developer A. Mack Pogue, into coin collecting more than 35 years ago, and the duo had the passion, the knowledge, and the cash -- lots and lots of cash -- to assemble a stunning stockpile of American coins to appeal to "the connoisseurs of connoisseurs," Terranova explained.

One of the collection's standouts is a "flowing hair silver dollar" minted in 1794. Only 1,758 of these silver dollars were made and only 100 or 200 survive, according to Terranova, in part because their inherent metallic value exceeded their face value at one time and were worth more melted down, Terranova explained. Sotheby's estimates the coin will sell for between $3 million and $5 million. "It's the first silver dollar made in this country. It will probably sell for the estimate," because it is in, great (if not sterling), condition, said Terranova.

Another treasure destined for the auction block is a 1795 $10 gold piece. "They call it an eagle. It was the first gold piece minted in this country after the half-eagle ($5 gold piece)," said Terranova.

A total of 670 coins will be up for sale in this auction. The first half or so of the Pogue collection was auctioned off by Sotheby's in May. Terranova outbid others at that auction for an 1804 twenty-five cent piece he subsequently sold. "I did OK," on it, he said.

The most passionate coin collectors in the world will be bidding Sept. 30, said Terranova, who hazarded that recent stock market gyrations would not affect bidding. "When you buy these coins, you're buying the story," behind them, and into a part of history of a time when money was not an abstraction. "Now your money is just backed by promises," he said.

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