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Splendid Near-Gem 1893-S Morgan Dollar

1893-S $1 MS64 PCGS. During The Great Treasury Release of 1962 to 1964, some Morgan dollar issues that were previously considered rarities became common almost overnight. The 1903-O dollar is perhaps the most famous example; barely known in Uncirculated condition prior to the Treasury's release of millions of silver dollars in the early 1960s, the 1903-O plunged from a retail price of $1,500 per Mint State coin to approximately $15 each. Similar scenarios were applicable to other previously scarce dates, although the 1893-S issue was peculiarly absent from the flurry of activity. Dave Bowers, in his Guide Book of Morgan Silver Dollars (2007), recounts the time: "... among the great Treasury release coins of 1962 through 1964, no bag or even small group was found, although many stray pieces were identified ... ." Bowers continues by noting that nearly all of the "strays" were in VF condition. In fact, Morgan dollar researchers unanimously agree that the largest concentration of 1893-S survivors are found in the VF grade range. This opinion is duly illustrated in the NGC Census Report and the PCGS Population Report, where VF examples substantially outnumber pieces in other grade ranges.
The reason for the absence of 1893-S dollars in the Treasury hoard, and for their lack of availability in Mint State condition, can only be explained through conjecture and will likely remain an unsolved mystery, considering the monumental research efforts afforded to this series in the past few decades. As the years pass, government archives are scrutinized, overseas hoards repatriated, and more books are written on the subject. And after more than 20 years of third party grading, the combined certified coin population--representing nearly 4 million Morgan dollars--has seemed to stabilize, with little change to the census of key-date issues. It is safe to conclude, therefore, that the 1893-S is--and always will be--the most desirable and elusive of all business strike Morgan dollars.
Subtle, satiny luster blankets the fields, which show semiprooflike qualities when viewed at an angle. This correlates well to Dave Bowers' statement that "about half of the known Mint State coins have a degree of prooflike character." A nearly indiscernible degree of light golden toning is evenly distributed across both sides, to the point that some would qualify this coin as "untoned." For the sake of future identification, we note a 3-mm strike through error emanating from the upper right corner of the T in UNITED and extending diagonally into the left reverse field. The specimen offered here is, at first, unbelievable. When one mentions an 1893-S dollar the word "circulated" is soon introduced to the conversation. Rarely does a near-Gem or better example enter the market. The fact that we offer another high-end 1893-S dollar in this sale--that example grading MS65--is to numismatists what a total solar eclipse is to astronomers. Amazingly, we did have such an occurrence in our March 1995 Atlanta ANA sale, where an MS64 piece was offered along side a stunning MS65 survivor. Now, nearly 14 years later, such an event unfolds before us once again.
From The Arno Collection.
See: Video Lot Description(Registry values: P10, N10218) (NGC ID# 255U, PCGS# 7226)

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Auction Dates
January, 2009
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 9
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