Estimated grade. Ex. Farouk (1954) Sold by David Akers Numismatics Oct '97 Price realized $3300
David Akers (1975/88): If one considers overall appearance or "eye appeal" as part of the grade, then the 1912-S could possibly be considered the rarest Indian Head half eagle in MS-64 of better condition because it is all but impossible to find a really attractive one. Actually, any Mint State 1912-S is rare and, above MS-63, the issue is almost impossible to locate. A few MS-65 gems do exist but I have never seen one any better than that.
The 1912-S is one of the most poorly made, if not the absolute most poorly made, gold issues of the 20th century. The Mint had serious die problems for this isssue and nearly all specimens have a nearly invisible, amorphous mintmark and below-average lustre. In addition, the dies usually show signs of deterioration near the rims and the overall result is not very pleasing to the eye. The only positive thing one can say is that the color of a typical 1912-S is usually quite good, light to medium orange gold being the most common, although rich yellow gold examples exist as well. Note: On a very, very few specimens, the mintmark is sharp and well defined and the strike and lustre are very good, almost up to the standards of the 1909-S and 1910-S, if not the 1908-S.