1893-S Morgan Dollar, Satiny MS65
1893-S $1 MS65 NGC. The M L Moser Collection has made news
for many years as the #1 NGC Registry Set of circulation strike
Morgan dollars, having won awards for the past seven years
according to the NGC website. The collection is replete with
"top-population" or "top-pop" coins by the dozens, and Heritage is
honored and privileged to offer this marvelous assemblage to the
collecting public. The present Gem NGC-certified 1893-S Morgan
dollar is, of course, among the capstones of the series, a coin
that needs no further introduction. It is one of only two examples
of the issue certified MS65 at NGC, and there is a single MS66
finer at that service (3/14).
Capstone of the Moser Collection
Only One Graded Finer at NGC
The 1893-S Morgan dollar is a numismatic icon today, but its beginnings were humble. The issue owes its lofty status to two watershed events that occurred in 1893 and profoundly impacted the fortunes of silver dollars in general and the 1893-S in particular: The financial Panic of 1893 caused a drastic reduction in the silver dollar mintage totals, and the publication of Augustus Heaton's work on mintmarks spurred collector interest in a previously ignored area of branch mint numismatics. The effects of these events were not fully realized for many years, but their consequences were decisive in molding the history of the 1893-S.
The 1893-S boasts a series-low mintage of 100,000 pieces as a direct result of the mandated reduction in silver coinage brought on by the financial panic. The small supply was undoubtedly reduced in later years by the extensive melting carried out under the provisions of the Pittman Act. The vast majority of coins seen today are in VF grades, indicating the issue must have circulated in some quantities for an extended period of time, but exactly when the coins circulated is something of a mystery. Q. David Bowers tells of the difficulty numismatist E.S. Thresher experienced trying to locate an example for his collection. Writing in 1925, Thresher complained a six-year search had failed to produce a single specimen of the desired date. Auction appearances of the 1893-S were rare in the early 20th century. An example in "good" condition was offered as part of lot 118 of the Lepere, Coleman, Zimmerman and Wilcox Collections (S.H. and H. Chapman, 2/1904). A superior piece, described as "Uncirculated, bright" was featured as lot 55 of the Woodin Collection (Elder, 3/1911). Aside from a few terse descriptions such as these, the auction record is bare during this early era. The evidence indicates the 1893-S was seldom encountered during the time period and did not circulate widely. Possibly the same economic factors that prompted the low mintage of silver dollars in 1893 resulted in the issue's limited release. The coins were simply unneeded in the regional economy of the time and were only gradually released into circulation, most remaining in bank vaults until after 1925. Perhaps rising demand in later years, due to factors such as the demand from the Nevada gaming industry, resulted in the gradual release of the hoarded dollars. Collector interest in Morgan dollars was low before the 1960s Treasury releases made the denomination popular. The long-stored mintage of 1893-S silver dollars probably circulated in the Rocky Mountain region without attracting numismatic interest during the second quarter of the 20th century, so that most survivors are moderately worn today. The supply was apparently exhausted by the 1960s, as no significant quantities surfaced in the Treasury releases.
The effects of Heaton's treatise on mintmarks were only gradually felt among Morgan dollar collectors. A few astute collectors were aware of the importance and rarity of the 1893-S at an early date and did not hesitate to pay significant premiums when an example was offered. One unknown collector purchased the "Uncirculated gem" specimen in lot 288 of the World's Greatest Collection (Numismatic Gallery, 1/1945), for $75 on a $25 estimate. Heaton's work eventually spread the popularity of collecting branch mint coins to all denominations, creating great demand for scarcer issues like the 1893-S. Unfortunately, by the time the enthusiasm became widespread, few examples of the 1893-S remained in Mint State. Experts estimate perhaps 100-200 Mint State examples survive today, mostly in lower Uncirculated ranges. Today the long-neglected 1893-S is recognized as the key date of the series and holds its place as the most valuable Morgan dollar.
Only one die pair is known for the 1893-S silver dollars, with specific obverse identification features that make authentication simple. Two obverse die characteristics distinguish the genuine 1893-S dollars: A raised diagonal die line begins at the left top of the upright of T in LIBERTY just below the crossbar and angles up to the right across the crossbar, meeting the extreme top of that letter nearly above the right upright of the same letter. A small rust mark or die lump appears within the left foot of the R, nearly resembling tiny "rabbit ears." Like the diagonal die line, this die lump or rust mark can be seen in nearly any grade encountered, as long as the R remains visible.
The current population data show 28 submissions in Mint State at NGC, including the present coin and one other in MS65 and one in MS66. PCGS shows 36 grading events in Mint State, including five in MS65 and one in MS67.
The present Gem ranks among seven such submissions at NGC and PCGS combined, with the one MS66 at NGC and one MS67 at PCGS finer. Although a specific Condition Census of these coins has never been attempted, so far as we know, it seems reasonable to suggest that the true population includes four or five MS65 coins. Both sides display fully brilliant silver-white luster and a faint champagne tint with satiny fields and frosty devices. The hair over Liberty's ear is a bit indistinct as usual, and the breast feathers are slightly merged, but the remaining detail on both sides is sharp. A few tiny marks are present on Liberty's cheek, but the surfaces otherwise are excellently preserved.
Ex: Sanderson Family Collection / FUN Signature (Heritage, 1/2009), lot 5025, which realized $299,000; Central States Signature (Heritage, 4/2013), lot 4378.
From the M L Moser Collection, #1 NGC Morgan Dollar Registry Set.(Registry values: P10, N14284) (NGC ID# 255U, PCGS# 7226)
View all of [The M L Moser Collection, #1 NGC Morgan Dollar Registry Set ]
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