1893-S $1 MS64 PCGS. The rarity of this issue is without question, with each of the known Uncirculated coins in constant d...
Magnificent Choice Uncirculated 1893-S Morgan Dollar1893-S $1 MS64 PCGS. The rarity of this issue is without question, with each of the known Uncirculated coins in constant demand as more and more date specialists attempt to secure a Mint State example for collections. Decades of research, frustration, and missed opportunities constantly remind experts to pursue any quality specimen with particular vigor, lest their collection goes wanting yet again. Perhaps a brief review of the facts is in order at this time. In this particular grade of Choice Mint State 64, PCGS has awarded this grade a scant five times. In even finer states of preservation, the Gem classification of Mint State 65 has been found worthy of an additional five coins, none are seen in Mint State 66, and at the top of the Population Report are a pair graded Mint State 67. There it is, a total of one dozen coins rated the equal of this magnificent coin or finer. One dozen, a mere handful from the deceptively generous mintage of 100,000 pieces. Without regard to future collectors, the ever-changing whims of government decimated this particular issue virtually to extinction. Only the 1895 Philadelphia coins were more effectively eradicated by the sweeping hand of the April 23, 1918 Pittman Act, which authorized the melting of up to 350 million silver dollars. In the wreckage that followed, a total of 259,121,554 actually were melted, creating numerous rarities from mintages that would otherwise provide a plentiful supply of most dates for collectors. No records were kept of the dates that were melted, and collectors must rely on the iron hand of experience to quantify those known of which date and in what grade. Today, collectors have the unbiased truth of the Population Report and the Census Report to guide their purchases of a particular date. This information has greatly enhanced the available knowledge to all collectors and leveled the playing field for numismatists who desire to own such a coin as this. Given the raw numbers, and considering the universe of coins of this date at an even dozen for this grade or finer, it would be reasonable to expect that a coin of this caliber would be offered every few years. Assuming the continued strength of this coin market, it would not surprise us if prices continue to escalate for this issue.
The Depression of 1893 contributed mightily to the rather low mintage of 100,000 pieces for the San Francisco mint. Demand was low for silver dollars during the period, bank vaults were already stuffed with many bags of unused Uncirculated Morgan dollars, all part of the abundance foisted on public by the influential Senators Richard "Silver Dick" Bland and William Boyd Allison. Under the guidance of the owners of the Comstock and other tremendous silver mines, the United States Mints were required to purchase domestic silver (not foreign or recycled silver from cheaper and similarly abundant sources) and coin all that cold be purchased into silver dollars. This denomination was the most desirable as silver dollars contained a slightly greater amount of silver as compared to two silver half dollars, four quarters or even ten dimes. Legislation authorized the purchase of 2 million to 4 million ounces of silver for coinage per month. Years of staggering production finally dwindled as President Grover Cleveland had the Sherman Act repealed after a special session of Congress overcame the opposition of "Silver Dick" Bland. Cleveland would have nothing to do with the many special interests which tried to turn his ear, and called for an immediate end to government waste wherever it was found. Cleveland held the silver promoters at bay, and when he left office in 1897 William McKinley took on the Presidency. McKinley skirted the silver issue as much as possible, preferring the excitement of foreign policy with the little War with Spain over Cuba occupying much of his attention.
This particular coin has surfaces that are more frosted than usually found and the fields display a slight semi-reflective glint that is most appealing as well as it is unusual. The slight reflectivity in the fields was created by the faint die striations that one can easily see with magnification. The striking details are exceptionally well defined and the otherwise brilliant surfaces show a light dusting of purple-russet patina around the obverse periphery. Perhaps this coin traces to a small group of twenty pieces which were found mixed in with a bag of 1894-S Morgan dollars, or possibly this coin was simply saved as a memento from the time of issue. Likely we will never know for sure, but here it is, a magnificent example that represents the most coveted and elusive date of the entire Morgan dollar series.
From The Jack Lee Collection, III(#7226) (Registry values: P10, N10218) (NGC ID# 255U, PCGS# 7226)
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