The better half of a match-toned pair of original superb gem Eliasberg Morgans (along with the 1902-S in this set), this is just a spectacular representative of this extremely tough late date in the series, and it is considered the finest known survivor. A lovely light gold and blue toned specimen with outstanding underlying luster; it is almost impossible to find this quality and originality in a 1903-S. Fortunately, the Clapp-Eliasberg collection included many such coins carefully preserved at or near the time of original issue. If anything, the best of the Eliasberg Morgans are still underrated! Purchased directly from the San Francisco Mint by J.M. Clapp, October 1902; to his son J.H. Clapp (1906); Clapp estate to Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr. (1942); to his son Richard A. Eliasberg (1976); Bowers & Merena, Eliasberg Sale (4/8/97:2321); Gary Wolkwitz; Heritage, Long Beach Signature Sale (6/1/01:6656); Jack Lee 2; Michael Casper Collection; Arno Collection; Heritage, FUN (1/9/09:5067).
Ron Guth: The 1903-S Morgan Dollar is a scarcer date and one which is tough to locate in all but the lowest grades. Uncirculated examples are scarce but not rare (the PCGS Population Report showed over 600 Mint State examples in November 2011), and the most frequently seen grade is MS-64. The finest 1903-S Silver Dollars certified by PCGS are a trio of MS-67's. Prooflike 1903-S Dollars are rare and Deep Mirror Prooflike examples are either exceedingly rare or may not even exist.
Researchers have identified nine different VAM varieties for this date, the most popular of which is the Micro S variety (created when the engraver uses a mnintmark for a quarter dollar on the silver dollar die).
Purchased from the San Francisco Mint in 10/1903 - John M. Clapp Collection - John H. Clapp Collectiom, sold intact in 1942 - Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr. Collection - Bowers & Merena 4/1997:2321, $30,800 - Jack Lee Collection - Arno Collection - Heritage 1/2009:5067, $86,250 - Sunnywood/Simpson Collection - Legend 10/2014:220, $74,437.50