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    Probably Finest Known 1896-O Morgan Dollar

    1896-O $1 MS66 PCGS. "No other Morgan dollar is as consistently deficient in luster, strike, and degree of surface abrasions as the 1896-O. A fully struck piece is rare; an 1896-O with minimum bagmarks is even more unusual. In the author's opinion, the 1896-O is the rarest of all Morgan dollars in truly gem condition." Those were the words of Wayne Miller in the Morgan and Peace Dollar Textbook, and those words are equally viable today. The combined PCGS and NGC population easily supports these comments. PCGS and NGC have graded just six Gem quality examples, including four MS65 and two MS66 coins. A further discussion of this issue can be found in The Official Red Book of Morgan Silver Dollars: "Striking is usually below average, insipid, and unattractive. This will be a problem and a challenge, as very few exceptions can be found. The luster is typically dull and lifeless. Again, cherrypicking is needed, in combination with strike, making the challenge even greater."
    Most of the Mint State 1896-O Morgan Silver Dollars known today have as their source the Treasury release of 1962 to 1964, as well as some others paid out in the 1950s. Nearly all of those coins stored in the Treasury for so many years are now just MS60 to MS63 at best. Of course, circulated examples of this date are quite common and can still be located for just a few dollars. Much of the mintage of 4,900,000 coins quickly entered circulation and became well worn. It is hard to determine the actual number of true Gem quality examples of this issue that survive, although PCGS and NGC have only certified six examples in Gem grades, as previously mentioned. An important reference point is the Eliasberg specimen of the 1896-O Silver Dollar, a coin that was obtained directly from the New Orleans Mint in August 1896 by J.M. Clapp, and acquired by Louis Eliasberg in 1942. That coin has been carefully preserved, literally since the day it was made, and yet only received a grade of MS64. The photograph reveals a coin with considerable weakness of strike.
    This specimen is easily the finest known example, as only one other 1896-O Dollar has been similarly certified by PCGS, if it is another example at all. It appears to be exactly opposite the general description of this issue quoted above. Both sides have exceptional frosty mint luster with brilliant silver surfaces. Although not fully struck, it is much sharper than most, if not all other examples surviving today. Aside from the usual merging of hair detail over Liberty's ear, all other design details are boldly rendered. The surface quality is also exceptional, with only the slightest abrasions on the obverse. A small mark is present on Liberty's chin, and another smaller one may be seen on the jaw. The reverse is nearly perfect, without any apparent blemishes.
    Ex: Jack Lee 2 Collection. From The Jack Lee Collection, III(#7242) (Registry values: P9, N14284) (NGC ID# 27ZU, PCGS# 7242)

    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 Jack Lee Collection, III ]

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    November, 2005
    2nd-5th Wednesday-Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 10
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 6,215

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