Estimated grade. Sold by David Akers Numismatics Oct '97 Price realized $3575
Doug Winter: The 1893-O has the second highest mintage figure of any half eagle from this mint. It is the most common of the three With Motto issues and the second most available New Orleans half eagle from the standpoint of overall rarity. In Uncirculated, it is the most common half eagle from New Orleans.
The 1893-O is the second most common New Orleans half eagle and the most common in higher grades. It has a reasonably high mintage of 110,000 and there are hundreds known in circulated grades. Over 100 exist in Uncirculated but most are in the MS60 to MS62 range. A properly graded MS63 is very scarce and in MS64, the 1893-O half eagle is extremely rare with just two pieces currently known to me. I have never seen a piece that I considered to be a Gem.
STRIKE: Generally, this is a reasonably well struck issue, although most have some overall flatness seen on the high spots of the obverse and reverse. There is often some weakness seen at the center of the obverse as well, with the curls around the ear not fully formed. The 1893-O tends to come with a better strike than the 1892-O or the 1894-O half eagles.
SURFACES: Virtually every known example is extremely abraded with deep detracting marks seen on the obverse and reverse fields. This date was shipped loose in bags to Europe and during the transportation process most coins were impaired by contact. I have seen a number of 1893-O half eagles that had small dark mint-made spots on the surfaces.
LUSTER: This issue has good luster but the luster is typically impaired by heavy contact marks. The texture is frosty and slightly grainy with subdued texture. The luster is better than that found on the other With Motto New Orleans eagles.
COLORATION: The natural coloration is medium to deep orange-gold. Many coins have rose-gold shadings. There is often an inner ring of color at the borders that gives a two-tone appearance.
EYE APPEAL: The typical 1893-O half eagle is well-defined and lustrous but is severely abraded. It is extremely hard to find a coin with acceptable surfaces. Many have been dipped or brightened in recent years and have an unnatural appearance as a result.
DIE CHARACTERISTICS: There are no significant die characteristics noted on the obverse or on the reverse.
MAJOR VARIETIES: There is a single variety known:
Variety One: The date is placed low in the field and is closer to the denticles than the truncation. The mintmark is placed close to the talon and high in the field mostly over the left upright of the V in FIVE. Late die states show a crack on the obverse which joins all of the stars; a number of fine cracks can be seen on the reverse as well.David Akers (1975/88): The 1893-O is the most common of the three Half Eagles of this Motto type from the New Orleans Mint, although it is not much more common than the 1894-O as the wide difference in mintages would lead one to expect. Most available specimens are high grade, i.e. EF or AU, and average uncirculated specimens are also offered from time to time. Choice or gem quality mint state examples are very scarce.