Millholland Collection

Discussion in 'US Coins Forum' started by larssten, Mar 29, 2023.

  1. larssten

    larssten Well-Known Member

    I have become more and more interested in provenance and think it is extra fun to include coins with an exciting ownership history in the collection.

    Recently, a rather special collection crossed the auction block at Stacks Bowers. The collection of James Allaire Millholland who lived 1842-1911. He was an active participant in the industrial development of the East Coast of the United States, especially in rail transportation related to mining.
    Anyway, the special thing about the collection is that it has never before been for sale and thus been off the market for over 100 years. The collection was painstakingly built up over time, catalogued, registered and stored in a classic cabinet. The toning of many of the coins also indicates a long exposure time in the cabinet. Many purchases, and especially Proof coins, were probably made directly from the US Mint.


    The collection was consigned with 550 coins in the cabinet and associated original documentation, and now sold one-by-one. Where and why it has been off the market for so long, perhaps someone else knows anything about?

    Feel free to read the entire collector profile in the link at the bottom - a real Old-School approach to coin collecting that I'm excited about.

    Many of the coins went for high prices, of course, but I was lucky enough to get a few modest examples:
    - Draped Bust Half Cent 1808 VF details
    - Capped Bust Quarter Dollar 1834 EF-45

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  3. Mr.Q

    Mr.Q Well-Known Member

    If those two coins are the ones you won, you did well. I like them, especially the quarter, very nice. Thanks, and good luck.
  4. Mountain Man

    Mountain Man Supporter! Supporter

    He had a nice collection, that's for sure.
  5. wxcoin

    wxcoin Getting no respect since I was a baby

    A few years ago I bought a proof seated liberty dime and a proof seated liberty quarter from my LCS that were part of a collection put together by a collector who died in 1948. It stayed in his family for several generations before being sold to the LCS in 2021. The collection as a whole was pretty spectacular. I wish that I had the funds to purchase more of them.

    I wonder how many of these unknown collections are still out there? I felt privileged being able to own a couple pieces from the collection.
  6. larssten

    larssten Well-Known Member

    Yes, I was the happy highest bidder on those two. Thanks a lot!
  7. larssten

    larssten Well-Known Member

    Definitively. I really liked the old-school approach to collecting. He was working on series by year and by type - with a quite broad approach. Lots of the higher denomination coins were also in very high quality - often bought directly from the US Mint as proofs.
    Mountain Man likes this.
  8. larssten

    larssten Well-Known Member

    That's great - good for you. I also feel privileged to take over the ownership of coins that used to be part of a well-kept old collection. Makes me want to treat the coin and include it in my own collection the same way the earlier owners have done.

    Good question - I guess fewer and fewer 'unknown' collections, but new collections are being built everyday so guess we will never run out. Perhaps what is different from now and say 50-100 years ago, is that people tend to sell more often..? From what I have heard at least. Also heard its a difference between Europa and America when it comes to how long a collector or his/her family holds onto a collection before its sold. 10-15 years on average in America vs. generations in Europe (according to Harlan Berk in a "100 Greatest Ancient Coins"). Guess the latter is a truth with some modifications... :)
    wxcoin likes this.
  9. Pickin and Grinin

    Pickin and Grinin Well-Known Member

    Wow, those proof Trade and Morgan dollars are incredible. Lots of plate coins on PCGS came out of that collection.
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