The Col. Steven Ellsworth Collection of U.S. Half Cents to be Offered in Heritage’s May 2008 Long Beach Signature Auction

Dallas, TX: A magnificent collection of early American half cents, assembled by long-time collector and dealer Col. Steven Ellsworth, will be offered at public auction by Heritage Auction Galleries at the official auction of the Long Beach Coin Expo, May 28-31. Highlights from the Col. Ellsworth’s collection will be exhibited by Heritage at the FUN 2008 and February 2008 Long Beach conventions.

“One of the most appreciated aspects of our auction status,” noted Heritage President Greg Rohan, “is when a fellow professional numismatist consigns his personal treasures to our auctions. When a dealer with decades of experience selling coins comes to Heritage because he knows that we will achieve the highest prices possible in the marketplace, he is complimenting both our marketing skills and the voracious numismatic appetites of our clients.”

Col. Ellsworth’s interest in coins started at a very young age:

“I can remember as a six-year old gathering soda pop bottles from the fields and roads. I would pull my red Radio Flyer wagon behind me, picking up the bottles like potential nuggets of gold. I would then take them to the corner grocery store to redeem them for change. I would then go through the change searching for any years of old coins that I did not yet have.”

“At the age of 11,” added Rohan, “Col. Ellsworth had placed more than a hundred pounds of coins into an enormous piggy-bank, which was broken open at his local bank as a publicity event. From such a curious beginning came this marvelous collection!”

Col. Ellsworth continued to pursue rare coins as an adult, widening his search to auctions, coins shows, and dealers’ shops. In 1994, nearing retirement after his overseas service, Col. Ellsworth decided to fill his time by conducting tours of Civil War battlefields during the week, and acting as a ‘vest-pocket” dealer on weekends. His coin company name, “Butternut,” came from the color of Confederate uniforms after months of use. With his talent, his coin work soon became full time.

Continued Ellsworth:

“After deciding that early American copper coins offered the most challenge, and yet were still available, I began to direct most of my efforts toward collecting American colonial coins, half cents, and large cents. With that decision made, I simply sold nearly all my other coins and put the finds into superlative early copper pieces as I found them. I also realized that being a full-time professional numismatist offered me, at the same time, an opportunity to invest in myself by assembling a personal collection of early copper. And over the years, I helped many clients assemble important collections by focusing on acquisition, liquidity, and storage factors.”

Col. Ellsworth wishes “happy hunting, whether you are a collector, dealer, or collector” who becomes the new owner of these numismatic treasures. “I hope the education and pure thrill of collecting will be kept alive in all pursuits of these early American numismatic masterpieces. Be sure to take time to enjoy the hunt, and make as many friends as possible along the way.”

Half Cent Highlights from the Col. Steven Ellsworth Collection:

1794 C-5a Half Cent, AU55 PCGS, Census Level

1796 C-2 Half Cent, AU55 PCGS, With Pole Variety

1803 C-1Half Cent, MS61 NGC, Ex: Eliasberg Collection

1831 B-2 Classic Head Half Cent, Proof, PR65 Brown NGC, First Restrike

1836 B-1 Classic Head Half Cent, Proof, PR63 Brown, Original

1841 B-3 Braided Hair Half Cent, Proof, PR66 Brown NGC, Second Restrike

For more information about Heritage’s auctions, and a complete record of prices realized, along with full-color, enlargeable photos of each lot, please visit