David Akers (1975/88): The 1908-S is not as rare, relatively speaking, as its low mintage would imply but it is still reasonably difficult to locate in MS-63 or better condition. There are more gems of this issue around than any of the other branch mint Indian Head half eagle and there are also a small number of really exceptional, nearly perfect specimens. The Virgil Brand hoard contained a number of gems as well as several superb pieces. In summary, this date is hard to find but not nearly as much so as many less publicized issues of the series.
The 1908-S can be one of the prettiest issues of the series. Most specimens have very good to excellent lustre and the color is typically reddish gold or coppery. There are also a number of specimens that have rich greenish gold or bright yellow gold color. The strike on a 1908-S is invariably sharp and the mintmark well defined. There are two basic surface finishes for this issue (the same is true for the 1908-S $10 and $20), satiny and "soft" frosty, the latter finish predominating by a wide margin.
Previously in the collection of David Akers, per Legend Numismatics - Heritage 7/2005:10366, not sold - Jim O'Neal Collection - Heritage 1/2011:5135 (as PCGS MS68 18307662), $126,500 - Simpson Collection