CAC. Laibstain. Magnificent original coin recently found (2013) in a New England museum where it sat unmolested for nearly 120 years, with other coins of its era. Recently graded and was offered in a Stack Bowers auction. This coin marks the first 1896 of any mint we have been able to acquire in over MS 65 condition. The coin has wonderful original toning, a very nice and sharp strike and beautiful colors, particularly near the rims, more uniform on the reverse. The coin speaks boldly of its originality and has a very clean cheek and very few marks are seen, even with magnification. This is the first new coin added to this set in two full years. The only example graded finer is the example formerly in the Dr. Steve Duckor set, an MS 67, previously of the Dr. Thaine Price Collection. We are very pleased that Harry Laibstain was able to find this coin for our set. The Philadelphia mint coins from 1892-1895 are relatively easily found in gem and better grade, and the 1897-1899 are, as well. The 1896 is clearly the most difficult to find in gem and better from the early years. As mentioned below, the 1900-1905 Philadelphia issues are also difficult to locate in gem, and from 1906-1912 are more easily found.
David Akers: In my experience, this is the rarest P Mint Barber Half Dollar of the decade, especially in Gem condition, and it is even more rare than many of the more highly regarded mintmarked issues of the series.