|The Jack Lee Collection, III
Heritage is privileged to present the incredible
The Jack Lee Collection, III as a cornerstone of our upcoming
Palm Beach Signature Auction, to take place on November 3-5, 2005.
There are few pedigrees in American numismatics that mean as
much to the collecting community as Ex: Jack Lee Collection. Those
four words convey volumes about the quality of the coin, its
eye-appeal, and its status as one of the premier examples of the
issue. That is a tremendous tribute to this friendly, unassuming
Above all, Jack is a dedicated collector, from a family of
collectors with wide-ranging interests. In the 1930s and 1940s, he
was an avid stamp collector, inspired by the famous hobby interest
of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. His interest in rare coins
didn't start until 1975, something iof a surprise in a hobby that
seems to capture the imaginations of so many in their youth.
Instead, Jack approached rare coins with an adult collector's
sensibilities and the mind of a businessman linked to the eye of a
Jack can no longer recall precisely why he initially developed
his interest in silver dollars, despite having achieved a worldwide
reputation as a leading collector and dealer. He recalls that he
enjoyed their size and look, but many collectors have said that
about many series.
Jack took his desires and insights to an entirely higher level.
He founded American Silver Dollars in 1976, after realizing that
being a dealer would provide greater insights into value and
quality from the sheer volume of coins handled.
Jack Lee's first collection, now known as Jack Lee I, was sold
in the early 1990s; it contained Morgan Dollars (business strikes
and proofs), Peace Dollars, and Walkers that were considered the
best at that time. He started collecting again immediately
thereafter, and he found himself rebuying and selling many of his
"Lee I" coins - some multiple times! His second collection was sold
five years later, and Jack Lee II pedigreed coins were as avidly
sought as those from Jack Lee I.
Following their sale, Jack was unable to resist once again
buying coins for his personal account. This time, however, he
adopted a very different approach - instead of seeking to complete
a collection, he only pursued coins that he really liked. Of
course, with his exceptional eye and exquisite tastes, you know
that every numismatist will love his selections as well. And yes,
the Jack Lee III Collection includes some coins from his first two
collections that he still finds irresistible!
Jack Lee understands that every collector approaches his
collecting with differing expectations and goals, so he is not one
to give blanket advice. But he does believe that "Buy the best that
you can afford" is the best general advice in numismatics or for
profits. Collecting is so personal to Jack that it becomes critical
to do and collect what you enjoy.
There are so many exquisite rarities in Jack Lee III that it is
nearly impossible to summarize them. Some will point to his
ultra-rarities, such as his
1884 Trade Dollar or his
1870-S Dollar. Others, thinking about buyers who will be
assuring themselves a place in numismatic history, will emphasize
the significant pedigrees on coins such as his
1794 Dollar (AU55 NGC): Ex: John F. McCoy Collection (W.
Elliott Woodward, 1864); Joseph Zanoni; James Ten Eyck; Mortimer
Livingston MacKenzie (Edward Cogan, 1869), lot 15; Lorin G.
Parmelee (New York Coin and Stamp, 1890), lot 681; H. O. Granberg;
William H. Woodin; Waldo Newcomer; Col. E. H. R. Green; Jerome
Kern; Clint Hester; W. G. Baldenhofer; Alfred J. and Jackie
Ostheimer; Cabinet of Lucien M. LaRiviere, Part II (Bowers and
Merena, 2001), lot 324; Jack Lee Collection, III. Others will
be astounded with quality such as his
1896-S Dollar, graded MS69 PCGS (and a veteran of Lee I, II,
& III), or his
1880 Dollar, certified PR68 Cameo by NGC. Whatever their
collecting priorities, Jack Lee II has something for every
Here are just a few of the many highlights from the fabulous
Jack Lee III Collection:
This auction is open for bidding now at HeritageCoins.com!
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Seldom Seen Selections: A
Fascinating Theodore Roosevelt Letter
One of the most fascinating
items that Heritage has ever been privileged to offer is a
spectacular and important letter written by President Theodore
Roosevelt on White House stationery to the Rev. Roland C. Dryer of
Nunda, New York defending his omission of the motto IN GOD WE TRUST
from newly minted $10 and $20 gold coins designed by Augustus
Saint-Gaudens. This letter will be offered as a part of the
Phillip H. Morse Collection of Saint-Gaudens Coinage, in
conjunction with Platinum Night in Palm Beach, on November 3.
Rev. Dryer protested the omission of the motto, which had
appeared on numerous U.S. coins since 1864. He was one of many who
protested its absence and pressured Congress to mandate the motto
be used on all gold and silver coins in 1908. Roosevelt's reasons
for opposing the motto were varied and nuanced and had nothing to
do with issues surrounding the separation of Church and State.
Roosevelt defended the removal of the phrase citing legal
precedent: "When the question of the new coinage came up we lookt
[sic] into the law and found there was no warrant therein for
putting 'IN GOD WE TRUST' on the coins. As the custom, altho [sic]
without legal warrant, had grown up, however, I might have felt at
liberty to keep the inscription had I had approved of its being on
the coinage. But as I did not approve of it, I did not direct that
it should again be put on. Of course the matter of the law is
absolutely in the hands of Congress, and any direction of Congress
in the matter will be immediately obeyed. At present, as I have
said, there is no warrant in law for the inscription."
Roosevelt continues on a personal note, citing his own reasons
for disliking the motto on coinage. "My own feeling in the matter
is due to my very firm conviction that to put such a motto on
coins, or to use it in any kindred manner, not only does not good
but does positive harm, and is in effect irreverence which comes
dangerously close to sacrilege. A beautiful and solemn sentence
such as the one in question should be treated and uttered only with
that fine reverence which necessarily implies a certain exaltation
of spirit. Any use which tends to cheapen it, and, above all, any
use which tends to secure its being treated in a spirit of levity,
is free from every standpoint profoundly to be regretted. It is a
motto which it is indeed well to have inscribed on our great
national monuments, in our temples of justice, in our legislative
halls, and in buildings such as those at West Point and Annapolis -
in short, wherever it will tend to arouse and inspire a lofty
emotion in those who look thereon. But it seems to be eminently
unwise to cheapen such a motto by use on coins, just as it would be
to cheapen it by use on postage stamps, or in advertisements."
To bolster his argument,
Roosevelt cites numerous examples of the misuse and denigration of
the motto: "As regards to its use on the coinage we have actual
experience by which to go. In all my life I have never heard any
human being speak reverently of this motto on the coins or show any
sign of having appealed to any high emotion in him. But I have
literally hundreds of times heard it used as an occasion of, and
incitement to, the sneering ridicule which it is above all things
undesirable that so beautiful and exalted a phrase should excite.
For example, thruout [sic] the long contest, extending over several
decades, on the free [silver] coinage question, the existence of
this motto on the coins was a constant source of jest and ridicule;
and this was unavoidable. Everyone must remember the innumerable
cartoons and articles based on phrases like 'In God we trust for
the other eight cents'; 'In God we trust for the short weight'; 'In
god we trust for the thirty-seven cents we do not pay'; and so
forth and so forth. Surely I am well within bounds when I say that
a use of the phrase which invites constant levity of this type is
However, Roosevelt concedes that he is prepared to act according
to the will of Congress: "If Congress alters the law and directs me
to replace on the coins the sentence in question the direction will
be immediately put into effect; but I very earnestly trust that the
religious sentiment of the country, the sprit of reverence in this
country, will prevent any such action being taken. Sincerely yours,
[signed] Theodore Roosevelt."
The phrase "In God We Trust" first began appearing on American
coins in 1864. According to the Department of the Treasury, in the
early days of the Civil War, Secretary of the Treasury, Salmon P.
Chase received numerous appeals that the United States recognize
the Deity on U.S. coins. On November 3, 1863, the Rev. M. R.
Watkinson of Ridley, Pennsylvania appealed to Chase: "Dear Sir: You
are about to submit your annual report to the Congress respecting
the affairs of the national finances. One fact touching our
currency has hitherto been seriously overlooked. I mean the
recognition of the Almighty God in some form on our coins. You are
probably a Christian. What if our Republic were not shattered
beyond reconstruction? Would not the antiquaries of succeeding
centuries rightly reason from our past that we were a heathen
nation? What I propose is that instead of the goddess of liberty we
shall have next inside the 13 stars a ring inscribed with the words
PERPETUAL UNION; within the ring the all seeing eye, crowned with a
halo; beneath this eye the American flag, bearing in its field
stars equal to the number of the States united; in the folds of the
bars the words GOD, LIBERTY, LAW. This would make a beautiful coin,
to which no possible citizen could object. This would relieve us
from the ignominy of heathenism. This would place us openly under
the Divine protection we have personally claimed. From my hearth I
have felt our national shame in disowning God as not the least of
our present national disasters. To you first I address a subject
that must be agitated."
Seven days later Chase wrote to James Pollock, Director of the
Mint in Philadelphia: "Dear Sir: No nation can be strong except in
the strength of God, or safe except in His defense. The trust of
our people in God should be declared on our national coins. You
will cause a device to be prepared without unnecessary delay with a
motto expressing in the fewest and tersest words possible this
national recognition." In order to do this however, they had to
alter the laws passed in 1837 regulating coinage. That law mandated
that "...upon the coins struck at the mint there shall be the
following devices and legends; upon one side of each of said coins
there shall be an impression emblematic of liberty, with an
inscription of the word LIBERTY, and the year of the coinage; and
upon the reverse of each of the gold and silver, there shall be the
figure or representation of an eagle, with the inscription United
States of America, and a designation of the value of the coin; but
on the reverse of the dime and half dime, cent and half cent, the
figure of the eagle shall be omitted."
To provide for the addition of
"In GodWe Trust" to U.S. numismatica, Congress passed an amendment
to an 1857 act "Relating to foreign Coins and the Coinage of Cents
at the Mint of the United States." The amendment empowered the
Director of the Mint, with approval of the Secretary of the
Treasury, to determine "...the shape, mottoes and devices of said
coins..." In December 1863 Pollack presented two proposed mottos:
"OUR COUNTRY; OUR GOD" and "GOD, OUR TRUST". Chase wrote in reply,
"I approve your mottoes, only suggesting that on that with the
Washington obverse the motto should begin with the word OUR, so as
to read OUR GOD AND OUR COUNTRY. And on that with the shield, it
should be changed so as to read: IN GOD WE TRUST."
The first U.S. coin to appear with the motto was the two cent
piece in 1864. In 1865, Congress passed similar legislation
regarding the three cent piece which allowed "the director of the
mint, with the approval of the Secretary of the Treasury, to cause
the motto 'In God We Trust' to be placed upon such coins hereafter
to be issued as will admit of such legend thereon." "In God We
Trust" was placed on numerous circulating coins in subsequent
While Theodore Roosevelt's objections to use of "In God We
Trust" were based on principle, there was also an issue related to
aesthetics. In 1903 Roosevelt commissioned Augustus Saint-Gaudens
to design his inaugural medal. The finished product was so
impressive, Roosevelt commissioned the artist to design new coins.
The President held the opinion that American coinage was of poor
artistic quality. Saint-Gaudens spent eighteen months producing
various designs, in particular the $10 and $20 gold eagles.
According to his son, Homer Saint-Gaudens, the inscriptions for the
coins proved the most vexing. He solved most of the issues: "...by
placing upon them the previously milled edge of the coin, in one
case, the forty-six stars, in the others, the thirteen stars with
the 'E Pluribus Unum.'" Saint Gaudens, however found "The motto 'In
God We Trust' an inartistic intrusion... he wholly discarded [the
motto] and thereby drew down upon himself the lightning of public
comment." The controversy was already brewing before the first $10
and $20 coins entered circulation on November 18, 1907. Roosevelt
likely felt pressure to respond before the first coins entered
circulation; perhaps it was even a fairly hurried response in light
of the typographical errors in this letter.
Congress forced the issue on March 8, 1908 by passing "An Act
Providing for the restoration of the motto, 'In God We Trust' on
certain denominations of the gold and silver coins of the United
States. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of
the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the motto
"In God We Trust," heretofore inscribed on certain denominations of
the gold and silver coins of the United States of America, shall
hereafter be inscribed upon all such gold and silver coins of said
denominations as heretofore..."
Roosevelt, in a letter to Senator Thomas Carter, called the
legislation "...not necessary, it is rot; but the Congressmen say
there is misapprehension as to the religious purport of it--it is
easy to stir up a sensation and misconstrue the President's
motive--and that the Committee is agitated as to the effect of a
veto, I repeat, it is rot, pure rot; but I am telling the
Congressman if Congress wants to pass a bill re-establishing the
motto, I shall not veto it." True to his word in his letter to Rev.
Dryer, Roosevelt signed the act into law on May 18, 1908. The motto
has continued in use to this day on most U.S. coinage and in 1957
began appearing on U.S. currency as well.
This is an important Roosevelt letter illustrating his position
on a lightning-rod issue. The government's use of the motto "In God
We Trust" still sparks controversy to this very day. The debate
over the oft-convoluted line between Church and State remains a
divisive discourse in today's society. This exceptional content
letter represents remarkable insight--and brilliance--in the
thinking of one of our greatest presidents.
This incredible letter is in
fine condition with mailing folds. The original envelope is
included, showing a November 13, 1907 Washington, D.C. postmark on
the front and a Rec'd Nunda, N.Y. postmark on the verso dated
November 14, 1907. Both are enclosed with a Roosevelt engraving
inside a handsome archival binding in quarter-leather with marbled
boards. In gilt on the spine is "Theodore Roosevelt - Typed Letter
Signed - 'In God We Trust' - November 11, 1907."
Published in Elting E. Morison ed., The Letters of Theodore
Roosevelt, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass., 1952.
Text also found in Hermann Hagedorn, ed, Memorial Edition, Works
of Theodore Roosevelt, 24 vols., Charles Scribner's Sons, New
Sold at Sotheby's, June 1, 1995, lot 327, where it brought
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Auction Exceeds Expectations!
Galleries & Auctioneers (HGA) held our latest Music and
Entertainment Auction on October 8. With after-auction sales still
ongoing, this auction has brought consignors over $800,000 so
of this auction was, undoubtedly, the
desk that Johnny Carson sat behind on The Tonight Show, which
sold for $38,837. The buyer, who wishes to remain anonymous, is a
sentimental Midwesterner with a very special connection to Carson.
His family owned an ice-pop company which Carson would frequently
plug on-air, so this was an opportunity he just couldn't pass
Additional Carson items sold in this current auction included
The Tonight Show studio clock, which sold for $10,755;
the floor panel, complete with star spot, which brought $4,780,
upon which Carson stood each night to deliver his famous monologue;
and three recording disks containing
Carson's senior college thesis entitled "How to Write Comedy for
Radio", which Realized $4,357.
This was a great event with fabulous participation and a great
deal of interest from all corners of the globe. Collectors are
hungry for this type of memorabilia, and we're happy to be able to
provide them with great material from the exciting worlds of
movies, TV, and music.
Additional highlights of the October 8 auction included:
Adam West's Batman Costume. Realized: $35,850.
A Diamond Ring from Elvis. Realized: $28,680.
Burt Ward's Robin Costume. Realized: $23,900.
Bob Dylan "The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan" LP Columbia 1986 Mono with
Four Deleted Tracks (1963). Realized: $20,315.
Robert Johnson's Rarest- His Last Release "Love in Vain Blues" b/w
"Preachin' Blues (Up Jumped the Devil)." Vocalion 04630 (1937) 78
RPM. Realized: $20,315.
Robert Johnson's "Hell Hound On My Trail" b/w "From Four Until
Late." Vocalion 03623 (1937) 78 RPM. Realized: $19,120.
The Beatles - "The Beatles and Frank Ifield On Stage" Portrait
Cover LP Vee-Jay 1085 Stereo (1964). Realized: $19,120.
"Cleopatra" Costume Wrap. Realized: $16,730.
Johnny Burnette and the Rock "N" Roll Trio - S/T Mono LP Coral
57080 (1956). Realized: $10,755.
Duke Ellington ? "Handy Man," 9-page Hand Written Score (circa
1930s). Realized: $10,157.
Prospective consignors and sellers of top-end entertainment and
music memorabilia are invited to call Doug Norwine at
1-800-872-6467 ext. 452 or John Hickey at 1-800-872-6467 ext. 264
to discuss their material; visit www.HeritageGalleries.com
and click on the "consign" tab, or simply email Doug Norwine at
or John Hickey at JohnH@HeritageGalleries.com.
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Website Tips: MyHeritage
If you've visited the MyHeritage web page recently, you've
probably noticed that it's undergone a number of changes in order
to improve its usefulness. Now, the page summarizes a great deal of
information relevant to you as a customer, in order for you to have
a one stop guide to much of the information you wish to see. Not
sure if you have bids? This page will tell you. Outstanding
invoices? Come here and find out at a glance. You need not be on
any specific Heritage website; going to MyHeritage from
HeritageCoins works exactly the same as doing so from
HeritageComics or HeritageSportsCollectibles.
Check at the top of the MyHeritage page to see if you have bids
in any current auctions. Click on the link in order to go to a
MyBids page in the appropriate portal, showing all your bids in
these auctions. Immediately below that, you'll see a complete
listing of all items that you have tracked and not bid upon, which
will be available in MyTracked Lots. Again, clicking on the links
takes you directly to the page with the appropriate
You will see a complete listing of portals in which you have
consignments in the MyConsignment section. One click takes you
directly to a complete listing of lots.
If you have a wantlist on any Heritage site, MyHeritage will now
show you if you have matches. Click on the link for Wantlist
Matches from the appropriate site to view a complete listing. To
edit MyWantlist, click on View/Edit Wantlists.
If you have open invoices, MyHeritage will let you know. Click
on the link entitled "You have at least one open invoice" to see a
complete listing. If you've been shopping among our inventory that
is available for immediate sale, you can see a listing of what is
in your shopping cart by clicking on MyCart. Go here to review or
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Incuse: A design element indented into a coin's fields
rather than raised from them. LIBERTY is incuse on most Seated
Liberty coins. Regular issue and some proof issue platinum American
Eagles have the denomination incuse, as do several modern
commemoratives. The Bela Lyon Pratt designed Indian Head Quarter
Eagles and Half Eagles are made in what is known as incuse
relief - design elements below the level of the raised fields,
but in relief rather than merely punched in.
Pattern: An unofficial coin manufactured in limited
quantities in order to test a new design or metallic composition.
The term has expanded to include die trials of regular issue
designs in off-metals, such as a design for a circulating $10 gold
piece struck in copper. The vast majority of pattern types have
been struck only as proofs. Many pattern designs are exceptionally
beautiful and beg the question of why the design was not adopted
Patterns have been around virtually as long has coins have, and
the United States has been making them since the beginnings of the
United States Mint. The vast majority of patterns available on the
market today were manufactured in the second half of the 19th
century, when well-connected numismatists could and did arrange for
patterns to be delivered for their collections. Some coins
popularly collected as circulation issues are properly described as
patterns; their numbers include the 1856 Flying Eagle Cent, many
Gobrecht Dollars, and all $4 gold pieces.
Many recent patterns have been produced privately, often to test
metallic composition, while others produced at the US Mint, rather
than appearing as actual coins, bear the portrait of Martha
Washington, the date 1759, and no denomination.
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