1913-S Indian Half Eagle, Fabulous MS66
1913-S $5 MS66 PCGS. The 1913-S Indian half eagle is one of
the great condition rarities in the series. This specimen is the
single finest example that PCGS has certified, with the NGC
Census Report showing two submissions certified in MS66.
When David Akers offered this 1913-S Indian half eagle, he called
it "the second finest example of this issue that I have seen,
surpassed only by the incredible Dr. Steven Duckor specimen I sold
with his Indian Head Half Eagle collection in Auction '90." The
current specimen is the only MS66 PCGS coin with none finer, and it
is even finer than the Duckor specimen, which has since been
certified MS65 PCGS.
Ex: Price, O'Neal
A large number of 1913-S half eagles have surfaced over the past decade, making the date appear more common than others in the series. However, nearly all of those coins are lower-grade pieces. The rarity of this issue in high grade remains considerable. Fuljenz comments in Indian Gold Coins of the 20th-Century:
"The 1913-S Half Eagle is usually seen in AU grades and it is scarce in the lower Uncirculated grades. It becomes extremely scarce in MS63 and it is very rare in MS65. Gems are extremely rare."
Although the mintmark is a trifle weak on this specimen, it is still completely visible and actually looks like an S, rather than the usual blob of metal seen on most specimens. The strike is substantially sharper than usual for the issue. The surfaces have a few trivial marks and hairlines, but they are insignificant and clearly insufficient to lower the grade. The luster is remarkable, with lovely orange and yellow color on both sides. In its 1999 auction appearance, the cataloger used a single word to describe this specimen: Incredible.
An old provenance indicates that this example has only been offered publicly on two previous occasions, in 1998 and 1999. David Akers notes that Dr. Price acquired this piece from "an old-time collection that was assembled in the 1930s and 1940s and, until purchased by Dr. Price, it had been off the market for more than 40 years."
Only three auction appearances have offered an MS66 1913-S half eagle, including the two previous appearances of this piece and the earlier appearance of the Duckor specimen in Auction '90. Behind those appearances are a small number of MS65 coins and several lower-grade pieces. When David Akers revised his Handbook, he recorded the 1999 auction appearance of this coin as the only MS66 coin in his record of Significant Examples. A roster of the finest specimens includes just two coins, the Duckor specimen and the Price specimen. The Duckor coin may now be one of the examples that is certified MS66 NGC, while the Price coin is offered here. Population: 1 in 66, 0 finer (12/12).
Ex: An old-time collection; Dr. Thaine B. Price Collection (David Akers, 5/1998), lot 32; Bowers and Merena (1/1999), lot 1447; Jim O'Neal Collection of $5 Indians / FUN Signature (Heritage, 1/2011), lot 5149, where it brought $218,500.(Registry values: N14284) (NGC ID# 25ZP, PCGS# 8526)
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