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Walter J. Husak Large Cents Collection
By Heritage Auctions

Heritage is delighted to present perhaps the greatest sale of large cents ever held - the Walter J. Husak Collection of Early US Cents - as a part of our upcoming 2008 February Long Beach, CA Signature Coin Auction. While far from the largest collection ever sold, nor the most comprehensive collection extending to 1857, the Husak Collection includes nearly every Sheldon die variety in the 1793-1814 series, including many Mint State pieces and numerous Condition Census examples. The only varieties missing are 1793 S-15, 1795 S-79, and 1795 S-80. The collection contains all other Sheldon numbers with subvarieties, and die states of the 1804.

When Walter Husak started this collection, he had two goals in mind. His first goal was the acquisition of coins that are attractive and pleasant representatives, preferably in the Condition Census. His second collecting goal was the acquisition of coins with exceptional pedigrees. Either one of these two goals presents a major hurdle across a wide range of dates in the large cent field, and a few of the pieces in his collection fall short of his requirements… but very few indeed! Most examples meet at least one of Mr. Husak’s goals, and quite a few meet both.

An example of the last category, and one of cataloger Mark Borckardt’s favorite coins in the entire collection, is the famous 1799 Abbey Cent. It is solidly within the Condition Census of the Sheldon-189 die marriage, and it has a continuous, uninterrupted pedigree dating back to the 1840s.

Walter Husak began collecting coins while summering at his grandparents’ farm in Iowa in 1955. He took the pay he received for his farm chores and began to buy Buffalo Nickels and Lincoln Cents, his coins of choice at the time. During this time, his father worked at the Merchants National Bank in Cedar Rapids. A fellow employee had squirreled away a few old coins that had crossed the counter, and when he heard about Walt’s interest, showed him about a half dozen Indian cents. After buying the group for $12, he showed his purchase to his grandmother, who burst into tears at her grandson having been cheated. The tale has a happy ending, however; one of the coins, a duplicate 1864-L in AU+ condition brought him $15 at the local coin shop!

After a number of years watching the hobby from the sidelines, Mr. Husak purchased a 1804 large cent in June, 1980 - his “first exposure to the large pennies.” In 1986, he attended the Robbie Brown auction and purchased his first Sheldon-13. At the end of 1994, he made the fateful decision to collect all of the Sheldon varieties, and the rest is history.

We have been proud to offer some wonderful collections of early copper in the past, such as the coins of Jules Reiver and Wes Rasmussen. The Husak collection has caused a greater stir among our numismatists than we have ever seen before.

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