1893-S $1 VG8 Certification #37767286, PCGS #7226
John LoveMany of the mint state examples that survive today come from a group of about 28 originals uncs that were found in an original mint bag of 1894-Ss that came into a bank in Great Falls, Montana in the early 1960's. I ended up acquiring about five pieces from the owner. The first one I paid $2800 for in about 1965 or 1966. The quality of the coins was approximately what we'd now call MS63 or MS64. This was the only find of this extremely important date that I know of. You would have thought that LaVere Redfield would have had some, but he didn't.
Q. David BowersThe 1893-S is the rarest of all Morgan dollars in higher grades. That the 1893-S is not an "impossible" rarity is because thousands of worn specimens survive. I recall being offered a group of 250 circulated pieces in 1987, the average grade being Very Fine.
I have never personally seen a quantity of mint State 1893-S dollars. However, 20 examples of 1893-S are said to have been found mixed in with a bag of 1894-S dollars which came to light in Great Falls, Montana in the early 1950s (as reported by Wayne Miller).
The Eliasberg 1893-S $1 in PCGS MS65 sold in a Legend Rare Coin Auction in October 2014 for a new record price of $646,250, surpassing the previous record held by the Norweb NGC MS67. The big question is how this new record price will affect the value of the spectacularly toned PCGS MS67 Vermeule/Lee/Coronet Collection example, which was acquired by the owner of the Coronet Collection in October 2008 for a price reported to be in excess of $1 million.
The 1893-S is the true "King" of the Morgan dollar series. The PCGS CoinFacts Board of experts estimated survival number for all grades is 9948. Dave Bowers has estimated that 6000 to 12,000 survive and I think those numbers are probably accurate. There are probably as many as 10,000 1893-S dollars in all grades.
In Mint State condition, the 1893-S is absolutely the rarest Morgan dollar. And in Gem MS65 or better it's a super rare coin. CoinFacts survival estimate is 123 Mint State survivors and 18 MS65 or better survivors. I believe that MS65ob number is way too high. I think there may very well be 100 or so MS60ob survivors, but no way is there 18 Gems. I believe the true number of MS65 or better examples is probably 6 to 7 coins.
The finest known example is the fabulous Jack Lee MS67, recently sold for over a million dollars. There are 5 or 6 others that have or would grade MS65 at PCGS. Over the years I have handled several Gems, but if there were truly more than 10 MS65ob coins then they would appear much more often than they do.
Note that this is one Morgan that is virtually unknown in prooflike condition.
Note that there are many counterfeits, usually made by adding an "S" to a 1893 Philadelphia. So authenication is highly recommended.