The sale of items from the legendary late collector set new participation records for a Sotheby’s UK auction.
Louis Eliasberg (1896-1976) was a Baltimore, United States, financier who collected coins from 1925 until his death in 1976.
He is the only person known to have achieved a complete collection of US regular issue coins, comprising all known dates and mint marks.
Eliasberg completed his collection in 1950. His last gold coin was an 1841 $2 1/2, bought in 1949, while an 1873-CC no arrows dime was the last silver piece, purchased in 1950.
From 1950 he concentrated on ensuring his collection was current and on upgrading some pieces.
A leading coin in his collection was a 1913 Liberty head nickel, one of only five known in existence. His proof version of the coin was named the Eliasberg specimen.
Eliasberg is thought to have bought coins from most of the main dealers of the day. His most notable buy was his purchase of the Clapp Estate Collection for $100,000 in 1942.
It is believed that Eliasberg spent around $400,000 amassing his collection.1
Sale by Eliasberg’s family
Eliasberg’s gold coins were sold in 1982 through Bowers and Ruddy. The copper, nickel, and silver pieces were auctioned by Bowers and Merena in two sales during 1996 and 1997. The entire Eliasberg collection made Eliasberg’s family $44.5 million across the three auctions.
Modern definition of a complete set
By today’s standards, the collection would not be considered complete as Eliasberg amassed a mixture of proofs and circulation strikes.2
Main article: List of notable coin collectors
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