The American Numismatic Association (ANA) and the Harry W. Bass, Jr. Foundation announced today that the Harry W. Bass, Jr. collection of U.S. gold coins and patterns on display at the Edward C. Rochette Money Museum in Colorado Springs, Colo., will be returned to the Foundation and sold at auction. The Money Museum has been this collection’s temporary home since October 2000.
According to F. David Calhoun, executive director and a trustee of the Harry W. Bass, Jr. Foundation, the Foundation’s board of directors recently made the decision to deaccession the Harry Bass Core Collection (HBCC) – the celebrated coin collection that Harry W. Bass, Jr. assembled – in order to concentrate on funding Dallas-area nonprofit organizations, with specific emphasis on early childhood education and literacy programs.
“The decision was bittersweet,” Calhoun said. “I’ve been associated with Harry’s collection since the 1970s. But this move will allow us to more than double our annual philanthropy budget. For a lot of nonprofits we’ve had to say “no” to previously, we’ll now be able to say “yes”. Every cent that the core collection brings at auction will go to philanthropy.”
According to Calhoun, the Harry Bass Core Collection is valued at a minimum of $50 million.
A businessman, coin collector and philanthropist, Dallas resident Harry W. Bass, Jr. (1927-1998) created one of the most complete U.S. gold coin collections ever assembled, including many one-of-a-kind specimens. Of paramount importance is a set of virtually all known die varieties of early (1795-1834) U.S. gold coin denominations ($2.5, $5, and $10) in the finest condition. The exhibit also features the only complete collection of $3 gold pieces, including the unique 1870-S; a complete type set of U.S. gold coin designs from 1834 to 1933; and a spectacular grouping of rare U.S. pattern coins.
“We have had the privilege and honor of providing a numismatic home for the Harry Bass Core Collection for nearly 22 years,” said ANA Executive Director Kim Kiick. “We are beyond thankful to the Foundation for allowing the ANA and the Money Museum to showcase this outstanding assemblage in a magnificent gallery these many years.”
The Harry Bass Core Collection will remain on exhibit at the Money Museum through June 2022. According to Kiick, the Foundation has expressed interest in assisting the museum’s efforts to retrofit and redesign the current Bass Gallery for a new exhibit by way of a grant.
The Bass family, led by Harry Bass, Sr., created and developed numerous oil and gas interests spread across five states, and the proceeds from these investments have funded many philanthropic ventures. For a number of years prior to his death in April 1998, Harry W. Bass, Jr. administered two nonprofit foundations. The first, the Harry Bass Foundation, established in 1945, was created by his father to provide support to a number of Dallas charitable and religious institutions, as well as hospitals and museums. A second foundation, the Harry W. Bass, Jr. Research Foundation, was created in 1991 as an extension of the younger Mr. Bass’s great interest in numismatics and his desire to engage in significant philanthropic endeavors in different areas. Following the death of Harry W. Bass, Jr., the two independent foundations merged to form the Harry W. Bass, Jr. Foundation to enrich the lives of citizens of Texas by providing support to qualified organizations in the areas of education, human services, civic and community, science and research, and arts and culture.
The Harry W. Bass, Jr. Foundation has selected John Dannreuther to be the representative managing the deaccession of the collection. Dannreuther will handle review and selection of an auction house and third-party grading service, along with other ancillary issues.