The only collection of United States coins ever formed which was complete by denomination, date and mint was that of the late Louis Eliasberg, Sr. Building on the already immense collection assembled decades earlier by John M. Clapp, which included many coins obtained directly from the various mints in the year of issue, Eliasberg purchased the Clapp Collection in its entirety and worked with several dealers to fill in the remaining gaps. His quest began in 1925, and it wasn't until a quarter century later that Mr. Eliasberg secured the final coin needed, the unique 1873-CC No Arrows dime.
Following his death in 1976, Mr. Eliasberg's coins were divided between his two sons, Louis Jr. receiving the federal gold issues and Richard inheriting all the remaining coins. The gold pieces were sold at auction in 1982, and the balance of the collection was auctioned in 1996-97. NGC is delighted to have been selected by many of the purchasers of the Eliasberg coins to certify these pieces in holders bearing the vaunted Eliasberg pedigree.
1864-S Quarter Dollar
"By far the finest known" is how the cataloger for Bowers & Merena described this superlative gem when it was sold at auction. This specimen was further distinguished as having "Satiny, lustrous surfaces with light gray and gold toning. Sharply struck and boldly defined in all areas." The 1864-S quarter is an important rarity in any grade, but this coin simply defies belief. Numerals 18 in its date are repunched, while the mintmark is quite large and bold.
1795 Silver Dollar
Draped Bust Liberty
A virtually perfect coin, this wonderful silver dollar is certainly the finest known of its variety, and it may also be the finest known of its type. It received rave reviews within Bowers & Merena's catalog of the Eliasberg Collection: "Superbly, indeed, incredibly sharply struck, the very definition of the design. Brilliant surfaces with just a whisper of golden toning." This variety, with the head placed to the left, is the first variety of Draped Bust Dollar coined.
1891-CC Silver Dollar
Morgan Liberty Head
NGC MS-68 PL
Until the Treasury Department's hoard was dispersed in the 1970s, the 1891-CC silver dollar was a very rare date in mint state, and it still is in the higher grades. This specimen is an absolute gem, and it was described thusly in Bowers & Merena's catalog of the Eliasberg Collection: "a coin of stunning mirrorlike quality, one of the very finest in existence anywhere." Its surfaces are pristine and have acquired gentle toning of pale russet and blue.
1885 Trade Dollar
The growth of trade with the Far East after the Opium Wars of the 1840s led to a tremendous demand for Mexican Dollars, as this was the form of payment most desired by Asians. To compete with these coins, an American equivalent, known as the trade dollar, was initiated in 1873. Five years later, coinage of the trade dollar was discontinued with the exception of proof examples offered to collectors. Small numbers of these pieces were sold at a slight advance over their bullion value through 1883. As the value of silver had fallen so much since 1873, these proofs were actually sold at less than one dollar by the Mint! The existence of trade dollars dated 1884 and 1885 was not even suspected by the numismatic community at large, though there were those favored insiders who had access to such premier rarities. Among the most noteworthy purveyors of rare and unusual coins was John W. Haseltine. Son-in-law to the famous collector William K. Idler, Haseltine had connections at the Philadelphia Mint and is believed to have played a role in the distribution of these two dates. Among the coins most desired by collectors, the 1885 trade dollar is in a category all its own. Just five are known today, the same number believed to have been struck. This wonderful specimen is, by common agreement, the finest of these. A simply amazing coin, it is pedigreed to the famed Eliasberg Collection. Before that it was owned successively by Idler, Haseltine and William Cutler Atwater, from whose estate it was purchased at auction by Louis Eliasberg, Sr. When auctioned again by Bowers & Merena in April of 1997, it was described thusly: "Brilliant and beautiful . . . A glittering gem example of one of America's greatest numismatic rarities."