1793 Large Cent obverse

Heritage Auctions Awarded Legendary Walter J. Husak Collection of Large Cents

Revered assemblage from renowned numismatic collector will be offered by Heritage and Early Cents Auctions during January FUN convention

Heritage Auctions will offer a significant collection of large cents when the Collection of Walter J. Husak and the Liberty Cap Foundation crosses the block January 4, 2024, as part of the FUN Convention in Orlando, Florida.

The owner of HK Aerospace, in Burbank, California, Husak began collecting coins as a teenager in the 1950s and continued until his death last year. He purchased his first large cent — a rare 1804 Draped Bust, for $600 — in 1980, and began in the 1990s what became one of the most important collections of Sheldon varieties, which Heritage sold in 2008 for more than $10 million. In 2009, he founded the Liberty Cap Foundation to benefit American coin history research and education; at about the same time, he began his second large cent collection.

The auction at FUN will be conducted by Heritage Auctions, in partnership with Chris McCawley of Early Cents Auctions. Over the 15 years since his first collection sold, Husak reacquired 35 of the coins from the original assemblage.

“Walter Husak spent most of his life collecting and becoming an unquestioned expert on large cents and Sheldon varieties,” said Greg Rohan, President of Heritage Auctions. “It is only appropriate that a collection of this historical stature should be its own event.”

“In 2008, Heritage Auctions was pleased to present the first large cent collection that Walter Husak assembled,” Heritage Auctions Consignment Director Sam Foose said. “Like most collectors, ‘Walt,’ as he was known to his friends, was not finished collecting. His second collection was well on its way to completion when he passed away last year.”

Early Cents Auctions president Chris McCawley said the collection represents a clear selection of the elite examples of numerous coins.

“Early Cents Auctions is proud to partner with Heritage in the sale of the fabulous Walter Husak collection of U.S. Large Cents,” McCawley said. “The Walter Husak collection contains some of the finest early copper coins to come on the market in the last decade and a half, since the sale of Walter’s first collection in 2008, including possibly the finest set of 1794 Liberty Cap cents ever assembled, as well as many other choice rarities and finest-knowns.”

Heritage Senior Numismatist Mark Borckardt, a 50-year member of the Early American Coppers organization, wrote the first Husak Collection catalog and is working with Bob Grellman of Early American Cents on the present catalog.

“The auction will include more than 200 Sheldon variety large cents, many of which are the finest known examples,” Borckardt said. “Most of the coins have an outstanding provenance — there are even eight coins that have a continuous provenance to the 1790s, previously from William Strickland and the St. Oswald collection.”

Large cents, which are roughly the same size as half dollars that currently are in circulation, drew significant pursuit from numismatic collectors in the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s, and grew in popularity in part because of Sheldon’s 1949 book, Early American Cents — a survey of large cent varieties created from 1793 through 1814. 

Collectors will have opportunities to study the Husak collection before heading to Florida in January. The collection will be displayed June 22-24 at the Early American Coppers Annual Convention in Portland, Oregon, and August 9-12 at the ANA Convention in Pittsburgh.

Early Cents Auctions/ECA is a team of early copper specialists consisting of Chris Victor-McCawley, Bob Grellman, Lyle Engleson, Lucas Baldridge and Travis Hollon. Together they have participated in the sale of over $100 million dollars in classic early American copper coins including the collections of Robbie Brown, Ted Naftzger, Dan Holmes and the Missouri Cabinet. Images and information about all lots in the auction can be found at HA.com/1370.

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