The 1896-S Half Dollar is considered a scarcer date, especially at the Mint State level. This assertion is borne out by the PCGS Population Report, which shows the profile of the Mint State 1896-S to be very close to that of the 1897-O and the 1898-O (all three dates have similar populations in the range of grades from MS63 to MS66, and each is extremely rare in MS67 or better -- in fact, the 1896-S in MS67 is known by only one MS67 example and none better).
The strike on the 1896-S Half Dollar is usually quite strong. Luster ranges from hard and brilliant to soft and frosty. Most of the top-end examples are toned to some degree and have great eye appeal.
The best 1896-S Half Dollar is the afore-mentioned PCGS MS67 -- a lightly toned Gem formerly of the Dale Friend and Dr. Steve Duckor Collections. In 2010, that coin set a record price for an 1896-S Half Dollar of $54,625.