Michael Standish’s narrative on the 1893-S Morgan dollar in his reference work Morgan Dollar — America’s Love Affair With a Legendary Coin (2014):
“The 1895 Proof may be popularly referred to as the King of Morgan Dollars, but it’s more steward than heir to the throne. The true king is the Mint State 1893-S.”
The 1893-S is well-known to claim the series-low regular-issue mintage of only 100,000 coins, and its status as the paramount key to the series has never been questioned. Yet, it is easy to lose sight of what makes this issue so special, especially when healthy numbers of lower-grade circulated pieces are exchanged frequently among dealers and collectors. Simply, the 1893-S Morgan dollar is by a significant margin the rarest date in the series in Mint State.
All 100,000 examples were struck in January 1893, and the vast majority were released into circulation; others were likely melted as a result of the 1918 Pittman Act. It is apparent that no quantities of this date were reserved in government vaults. The only representatives that turned up in the early 1960s’ Treasury releases were a few stray circulated coins, although about this same time, in Great Falls, Montana, a small group of 28 Mint State coins (or just 20, per Bowers) was discovered in a bag of 1894-S dollars. These coins make up a significant percentage of the surviving Uncirculated population of the 1893-S, and all others appear to have survived merely by chance.
Certified population totals are likely inflated by resubmissions, although they offer significant insight into the conditional rarity of this issue. In all Mint State grades, PCGS has seen just 37 coins, including just a single Prooflike specimen in MS62; NGC records 27 Uncirculated examples, with none in the Prooflike category (5/15). The only other issue that comes close to such a low survival rate in Mint State is the 1892-S, which has a combined certified population of 115 Mint State coins at PCGS and NGC — nearly twice that of the 1893-S. Mint State 1893-S Morgans have previously appeared in our auctions only 38 times in more than two decades. Of these, only seven appearances were for an MS63 example, and there were only five individual coins therein represented. For a Morgan dollar, this is an extremely infrequent appearance rate.
The last MS63 1893-S Morgan Heritage offered was lot 80 in the April 2007 Dallas Signature sale, where it realized $149,500. This piece is numerically equal to that coin, but is in some respects superior. Housed in an old green label holder, this coin displays exceptionally clean surfaces for the grade, particularly in the fields, with only a few light marks on Liberty’s cheek worthy of mention. The luster is radiant and original, illuminating hints of light golden color on each side. Boldly rendered motifs further contribute to the eye appeal.
Population: 10 in 63, 10 finer (5/15).(Registry values: P10, N10218) (NGC ID# 255U, PCGS# 7226)
Sold for: $282,000.00 (includes BP )
Lot 3230 – 2015 July 9 – 12 Summer FUN US Coins Signature Auction – Orlando Summer FUN #1222