1860s-1930s Pristine, Fresh-to-Market Collection Offered

1895-S$1-mcclure-collectionThe extraordinary Rev. Dr. James Gore King McClure Collection of U.S. and world coins, medals and tokens – a pristine, fresh-to-market grouping of more than 3,000 coins collected between the 1860s and the 1930s – will be offered at by Heritage Auctions, beginning with the company’s June 8-13 Long Beach Expo US Coins Signature® Auction in Long Beach, CA.

The Rev. Dr. James Gore King McClure was born in Albany, NY in November 1848 and died at the age of 83 in Lake Forest, IL in January 1932. A much-admired community leader, he served variously as the pastor of the First Presbyterian Church and president of Lake Forest College in addition to being a founding president of the McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago. He was a member of the Mayflower Society, a direct descendant of Mayflower passenger John Howland – and an avid coin collector.

“This is a truly remarkable collection,” said Greg Rohan, President of Heritage Auctions, “not only because of its size and scope, but also because it has sat, largely untouched, in a safe deposit box in Illinois for decades. Dr. McClure acquired many of these coins at the time of issue, either from circulation or at the bank, and others were gifts from friends.”

McClure began collecting coins at a young age, possibly in the late 1850s, and certainly in the early 1860s. His numismatic interest continued throughout his life, encompassing U.S. and world coins, medals, and tokens.

“Certainly Rev. Dr. McClure’s collection ranks among the most important time-capsules of U.S. coins ever offered,” said Scott Schechter, Vice President of NGC. “We savored this opportunity to learn so much about numismatics in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries. Collectors of all types and levels will experience similar delight exploring his coins and in finding pedigree-pieces to add to their own holdings.”

After graduating from Yale University, and from Princeton Seminary, in 1873, McClure began his ministry in the vicinity of Albany, NY, soon accepting a position as the pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Lake Forest, Illinois and lived there until the time of his death in 1932.

As part of an article that he wrote in the 1890s, the Rev. Dr. McClure commented: “Interest in coins was a large feature of my boyhood days, and that interest, though a very minor part of life now, still exerts its influence, much as the perfume lingers about the vase that once held the flower.”

Highlights of the collection include, but are not limited to:

  • 1877-S Quarter Dollar, MS67 Star NGC – Finest S over Horizontal S by Two Points
  • 1921-S Walking Liberty Half, MS66 NGC – Tied for the Finest at NGC
  • 1794 B-1 Silver Dollar, VG10 NGC – Previously Unknown Example
  • 1836 Gobrecht Dollar, PR63 NGC – Judd-60, Die Alignment III
  • 1838 Gobrecht Dollar, PR64 NGC – Elusive Judd-85
  • 1839 Gobrecht Dollar, PR63 NGC CAC – Judd-104, Die Alignment IV
  • 1852 Seated Dollar, PR64 Star NGC CAC – Usual Restrike Variant
  • 1895 Morgan Dollar, PR64 NGC CAC – Proof-Only Key
  • 1895-O Morgan Dollar, MS65+ NGC CAC – Only One Finer NGC Example
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