- A check of auction records going back a dozen years reveals remarkably few sales of the 1892-S Morgan dollar
in Select Uncirculated or finer conditions. Oddly, it is more unusual to see a coin offered at the MS63 level, such as the NGC graded coin
we will be offering in our April 4-6 Dallas auction
, than it is at higher Mint State 64 or 65 grades. David Bowers noted the same anomaly when writing his 1993 Encyclopedia, with higher-grade coins appearing more frequently seen than their mid-grade, Uncirculated counterparts. He suggested only 25 to 50 coins exist in Select Uncirculated condition, an estimate that seems accurate (or even a bit overstated) based on today's population reports. Given the large price differences between grades, it is a trend worth noting when assembling a Select-or-better set.
Apparently, almost all 1892-S dollars entered circulation shortly after production, and today the mintage is most often represented by coins in circulated grades. Almost no Uncirculated examples emerged from the final Treasury releases or GSA sales, and sliders were widely sold as Uncirculated coins before third-party grading evolved to help put an end to the practice. For many years, the 1892-S had a "bad reputation" of being overgraded and overvalued. The irony is those price levels seem unbelievably generous in today's market.
This untoned, silver-white example is wonderfully unabraded for the grade, with exceptional smoothness to the fields and Liberty's cheek. Soft, satiny luster is abundant over the semiprooflike surfaces. A touch of weakness over the ear does not detract from the otherwise-bold devices.