Friend. Very nice and lustrous white coin, well struck and without problems. This is a tougher date than some realize, being in the middle years of the set and not many collectors in the early 1900's were saving these coins with mint marks. Another great example sold to us directly by Dale Friend. We hold this coin with pride. Absolutely a coin obtained after making the acquaintance of Dale based on communications developed through the PCGS set registry. As with so many other dates in the series, finding a high-end 1903-O Barber half is very difficult. At MS 65+ it currently holds the position of the only example currently graded such, with only 6 coins graded higher at PCGS. Given our attention to Barber halves for 20 years, the population of 6 better coins might be slightly inflated.
David Akers: It has been written elsewhere that the 1903-O Half Dollar is generally poorly struck. However, I must say that in many years of studying Barber Half Dollars and making copious notes on them..., weak striking on the 1903-O Half Dollars is not nearly as commonplace as it is on some other O Mint issues like the 1898-O, 1900-O, 1901-O and 1902-O, for example, as well as the 1904-O and 1905-O. Compared to those issues, the 1903-O is by far the most often well struck. To be sure, some examples are a little weakly struck, but one almost never sees the flat strike on a 1903-O that the other issues typically have, and very sharp ones, like [the Price] specimen and the Eliasberg coin, are seen just as often as weakly struck ones. This issue is more available than the rarities of 1898-O, 1900-O, 1901-O, 1902-O and 1904-O, which are some of the premier issues in the series. However, it is still a rare issue in grades better than Choice Uncirculated, and relatively few exist in Gem condition. At the superb level..., the 1903-O is exceedingly rare.
Norweb Collection - Bowers & Merena 11/1988:3630 - Dr. Thaine B. Price - David Akers 5/1998:158 - Dr. Steven Duckor - Heritage 8/2010:3207, $46,000
Heritage 8/2007:1695, $16,100 - Eugene H. Gardner Collection - Heritage 5/2015:98528, $9,987.50
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