Extraordinary 1893-S Morgan Dollar, MS64
    High-End Example of This Series Key

    1893-S $1 MS64 NGC. A memorably low production figure of exactly 100,000 pieces is only the start of the 1893-S Morgan dollar's many attractions. Its elusive nature at the Mint State level is certainly another: As of October 2010, PCGS has certified 34 examples in Mint State, with NGC adding 27 more; the likelihood of duplications in those figures approaches certainty.
    Although 10 obverse and five reverse dies were prepared for the issue, all authenticated coins are from a single pair of dies, whose diagnostics are well known. The reasons for the minuscule silver dollar issues of 1893 and the years immediately following are bound together with the bimetallism debate that raged in America (and worldwide) during the last half of the 19th century, as well as with the economic and political environment of the time.
    Going back to the debut year for Morgan dollars, 1878, the Bland-Allison Act authorizing the new design required the U.S. Treasury monthly to purchase between $2 million and $4 million worth of silver for coinage into Morgan dollars--or Bland dollars, as they were then known. From that time forward, millions of silver dollars--largely unneeded and unheeded outside of the hard-money West--began piling up in Treasury vaults. In 1890 the Sherman Silver Purchase Act superseded the Bland-Allison Act, requiring the purchase of 54 million ounces/year of silver from Western silver miners for coinage into dollars--an amount that approximated total domestic U.S. silver production. This provided an artificial price support for silver, as did the earlier Bland-Allison Act.
    The silver purchases were financed by a new issue of federal paper currency called Coin Notes, which the bearers could redeem in their choice of gold or silver. (The intricately engraved first-issue Coin Notes of 1890 are highly prized today.) Many redeemers chose gold, which served to deplete government stores of gold, while the mountains of unwanted silver continued to pile up. This situation, in combination with generally poor economic conditions, led to the so-called Panic of 1893.
    The Sherman Silver Purchase Act of 1890 was finally repealed on Nov. 1, 1893, and silver purchases were much more restricted--in turn leading to much lower Morgan dollar mintages for the next few years. Four mints in the United States turned out an amount slightly less than 30 million silver dollars in 1891 and 1892, while the next two-year period, 1893-94, accounted for 4.55 million silver dollars, or about 15% as much. The 1893-S is foremost among those low-mintage issues and widely considered the most desirable Morgan dollar in Mint State.
    The surfaces of this piece are brilliant throughout and show the usual subdued, satiny mint luster this issue is so well known for. The fields are a bit brighter than the devices, with faint die striations that give the coin moderate semireflectivity. The strike is strong throughout. The surfaces are extraordinarily clean, so much so that one has to wonder if this were a common coin would it grade even higher? This is a rare opportunity to acquire this key issue in high grade and with clean, problem-free surfaces.
    From The Las Vegas Collection, Part Two.(Registry values: P10, N10218) (NGC ID# 255U, PCGS# 7226)

    Weight: 26.73 grams

    Metal: 90% Silver, 10% Copper

    Learn more at the Newman Numismatic Portal at Washington University in St. Louis.

    View all of [The Las Vegas Collection, Part Two ]

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    January, 2011
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