CAC. Laibstain. Wow, what an amazing coin; an outstanding example that we really love! This very coin was once owned by Larry Shepherd, and Larry knew his Barber coins very well, being the dealer that worked most closely with John Hugon, helping Mr. Hugon build phenomenal sets. Tremendous luster, strong strike, and free of significant marks, we believe this to be the very best 1893-S half in existence, despite the Pryor/Duckor coin that graded MS 66. We evaluated the Pryor/Duckor coin when offered at auction, and found it not to be as nice as this coin. This is a very underrated coin in our opinion This might be the rarest Barber Half in mint state in gem or better (compare with dates like 1896-O, 1901-S, 1904-S ). The 1893-S is certainly rarer than its "older brother" the 1893-S Morgan Dollar in gem and better, but demand for the half-dollars is not as high as for the ubiquitous and heavily collected Morgan Dollars. Look at the population report numbers and you will see that the 1893-S half is one tough coin, even in MS 64 and MS 63. This issue does come nice and most examples we have seen are lustrous and well struck. We have also previously owned examples in MS 63 and MS 64. The 1893-S is among our favorite dates, and about as close to a "key" date as there is in this set, despite the attention the 1904-S half gets. Compared to prices paid for 1904-S halves in MS 65 and better, the 1893-S is a real sleeper, in our opinion. This exact coin represents a significant turning point in building this set. The price jump from an MS 64 to MS 65 for this date is large and requires a high level of confidence in grading to avoid a costly mistake. This was one of the first coins obtained at auction using Harry Laibstain as an advisor. We never looked back, either.
David Akers: In Gem condition, the 1893-S is one of the rarest issues in the entire Barber Half Dollar series and only a few such specimens are known... Lower quality mint state examples can be located with only a moderate amount of effort, but it is unequivocally the case that, in Gem Uncirculated condition, the 1893-S Half Dollar is much more rare than the highly prized Silver Dollar of the same date and mint.
Joel Rettew 2/1976 - James Bennett Pryor - Bowers & Merena 1/1996:257 - Dr. Steven Duckor - Heritage 8/2010:3178, $29,900