Among the coins that have already been consigned to our June 2012 Baltimore auction is the finest PCGS-graded 1879 half eagle. A scarce date to begin with, PCGS has graded only three pieces in MS-65 with just one piece (this one) finer. The coin was a part of “The Great Lakes Collection” offered in our (Bowers and Merena) November 1998 auction sale (prior pedigree unrecorded). Since that time, it has resided with the consignor. An attractive example with strong luster, a full strike and pleasing original golden toning. We are proud to be able to offer this coin again to the current generation of Set Registry collectors. Destined for a special collection of half eagles, so if this is a coin currently on your want list, plan to participate and bid liberally.
One of the finest certified examples of the 1892-S Morgan silver dollar will be offered among further selections from the Anne Kate Collection in the Stack’s Bowers Galleries June 2012 Baltimore Auction. We sold a large part of this collection in our August 2006 Denver ANA Auction, and we are pleased to once again work with this satisfied consignor in bringing to market wonderful pieces such as this extraordinary Morgan dollar!
The Morgan silver dollar series of 1878 to 1921 is, of course, a favorite of American collectors and, while the type is ubiquitous, there are many challenges within the series. Years and years of study of the survivors of the Morgan dollar series reveal much concerning true rarity today. Certain dates are available in rather large numbers, while others are not. Large hoards have greatly affected the numbers of survivors. Certain dates and mints somehow were not saved, except by random events or opportunity. Such is the case with the 1892-S Morgan dollar. PCGS has certified a maximum of 65 coins in all the possible Mint State grades and designations of the 1892-S Morgan silver dollar and, of course, this is a tiny sum given the number of collectors out there seeking a Mint State example. Most are forced to settle on a circulated example, and even these are hard to find in higher grades such as Choice EF and AU, especially with pleasing surfaces.
Just five coins have been graded by PCGS in MS-67, with only a single example finer. Naturally, some of these grading events may represent resubmissions of the same coin. The present example is equal in grade to the example from the famous Eliasberg Collection. Both sides of the coin are toned in a blend of lilac-gold and teal that appears as medium gray at first glance, but then divides into more vivid color when examined under a light. The strike is as bold as a collector could hope to find, with full curls on Liberty and the eagle’s feathers crisp and complete. Examination of the surfaces finds no spots or specks, and the thin veil of patina fails to inhibit the luster which shines through as the surfaces rotate under a light. Liberty’s cheek is virtually pristine, along with the surrounding devices and fields, and the quality of this majestic Superb Gem stands tall. One can ignore the mintage of 1,200,000 pieces as virtually all were either placed into circulation or melted on government authority under the terms of the 1918 Pittman Act. The silver recovered from the melted examples was used by and large to coin 1921-dated Morgan silver dollars or, in some cases, the newer Peace silver dollars starting in late 1921.
While this is certainly a coin that could be the centerpiece rarity of many collections, only one bidder will own it when the auction concludes, and opportunities are rare for a coin such as this! At this impressive grade level specialists should pay careful attention. A prize for the advanced collector, and a delight to behold. Our advance congratulations to the winning bidder!