Laibstain. Pryor. James Pryor built a set of half dollars spanning the 1794 issue to the Franklin series. His Barber halves included some extremely nice examples, such as this one. Very nice coin and well struck. Very tough to find nicer. Many examples have prominent roller marks across the cheek; this is a feature that is mint-caused, but we try to avoid coins with this feature, if we can. Has been known as a key date in Barber Halves for a very long time. Having only five others graded at gem MS 65 and only six finer, attests to the true rarity of this date. Also a great date in the circulated set in anything nicer than VG10. As an S-mint coin, it typcially comes well struck and tends to be lustrous as is this example. By far the nicest example we have seen is the Steve Duckor example that he purchased from Dale Friend.
David Akers: Although not quite as rare as the 1896-O..., the 1896-S is, nevertheless, one of the most desirable and rarest issues in the series. Even in the circulated grades, this issue is a relatively valuable one, at least in comparison to other Barber Half issues, and in all mint state grades it is rare. At the Very Choice and Gem Uncirculated grade levels, the 1896-S is very rare and almost never available except when great collections like the Dr. Thaine B. Price Collection are sold...
Dale Friend, sold privately on 9/25/2002 - Dr. & Mrs. Steven L. Duckor Barber Half Dollar Collection - Heritage 8/2010:3187, $54,625
Eugene H. Gardner Collection, Part II - Heritage 10/2014:98548 - Stack's/Bowers 7/2015:4413, $14,100 - Stack's/Bowers 11/2015:20066, $11,162.50