In the earlier parts of this great bank exhibit I discussed the building of the R.L. Miles, Jr., Collection. It was exhibited in 1968 in the newly opened building of the Virginia National Bank in 1968 in Norfolk, Virginia. The Bank had been a leader in re-establishing the area in Norfolk where the original colony was established.
Last time I reviewed the extensive silver and copper coin collection of R. L. Miles, Jr. and I feel that the size and scope of the United States gold coins deserves equal treatment. R.L. Miles, Jr. (nicknamed Skinny) was lucky, as when he was collecting from the 1940s to the 1960s, many fine, earlier formed collections were being marketed. His gold coins came from the H.R. Lee Collections (duplicates from the Eliasberg Collection), Col. E.H.R. Green, J.F. Bell, Davis-Graves, Anderson-Dupont, and others that came to market, many auctioned by Stacks, Other dealers also offered old-time collections during the 1950s and 1960s, and included B. Max Mehl, A. Kosoff, Abner Kreisberg, James Kelly, and others. These sales made great rare coins available to collectors of the day.
The collection of gold coins formed by R.L. Miles, Jr., made an exciting exhibit at the bank. One long wall in the Exhibit Hall of the bank showed the collection in all its glory. The gold shined within its holders and made a dazzling display that attracted many visitors. People gravitated to the gold display even though the silver and copper coins were also exciting.
The collection of gold coins displayed included:
U.S. gold dollars: A complete set, 1849 to 1889, all dates and mints together with major varieties, highlighted by choice examples of the Dahlonega Mint coins of 1855, 1858, 1860, and 1861.
U.S. quarter eagles ($2.50 gold): A complete set from 1796 to 1929 including choice examples of 1796, 1808, 1848 "CAL", 1863, 1875 and many others
U.S. three-dollar gold: A complete set 1854 to 1889 (no 1870-S) with superb examples of 1854-D, 1873 and 1877 and Proofs of 1875 and 1876.
U.S. half eagles ($5 gold): 1795 to 1929. One of the most complete sets ever formed, which included many examples from the E.H. R. Green Collection acquired by Stack's in 1945.
U.S. eagles ($10 gold): A virtually complete set, 1795 to 1933, featuring all the classic designs from 1795 to 1804, as well as 1858, 1870-CC, both 1907 Indian Head Rolled Edge, and Wire Edge with Periods, and the rare 1920-S, 1930-S and 1933
U.S. double eagles ($20 gold): A virtually complete set, including rarities 1854-O, 1856-O, 1883, 1884, 1930-S, 1931, 1931-D and 1932.
U.S. commemorative gold coins: Included nine gold dollars, two $2.50 gold, and the Round and Octagonal $50 gold.
The display of close to 1,000 different gold coins amazed many visitors who had never seen so many gold coins in one place before. The Bank invited people from all over the state and provided transportation for school children to visit the exhibit as well during the three-month exhibition.
In the final part of this story, I will discuss the opening days of the exhibit and a few happenings that made this display exciting.