A major private "time capsule" collection of rare coins, medals and tokens is heading to auction for the very first time with Heritage later this year.
The Rev. Dr. James Gore King McClure Collection features more than 3,000 pieces, acquired between the 1860s and the 1930s by the Presbyterian pastor.
"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’s passion for collecting began as a child in the late 1850s, and continued throughout his life as he graduated from both Yale University and Princeton Seminary, before becoming a pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Lake Forest, Illinois, where he lived and worked until his death in 1932.
During his life McClure also served as president of Lake Forest College, and was a founding president of the McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago, along with being a prominent member of the Mayflower Society and a highly respected numismatist in his own right.
In the 1890s McClure wrote of his hobby: "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."
Amongst the most notable pieces from the collection are a previously unknown 1794 B-1 Silver Dollar, VG10 NGC; the finest-known 1877-S Quarter Dollar, MS67 Star NGC; the joint-finest 1921-S Walking Liberty Half, MS66 NGC; an 1836 Gobrecht Dollar, PR63 NGC; an 1852 Seated Dollar, PR64 Star NGC CAC; and an 1895 Morgan Dollar, PR64 NGC CAC.
"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."
The collection will be offered by Heritage Auctions across several sales, beginning this summer at the Long Beach Expo US Coins Signature Auction in California on June 8-13.