US Coins

Mint State 66 1897-O Morgan dollar at Sotheby's sale

An 1897-O Morgan dollar graded MS-66 with a green CAC sticker sold for $262,500 at Sotheby’s auction of the Ralph and Lois Stone Collection.

Images courtesy of Sotheby’s.

An 1893-S Morgan dollar in Mint State 65 and an 1884-S dollar graded MS-67, both certified by Professional Coin Grading Service and both with green Certified Acceptance Corp. stickers recognizing quality for the grade, sold for $735,000 each and shared top billing at Sotheby’s May 21 Historic Coins and Medals auction featuring dollars from the Ralph and Lois Stone Collection. The sale totaled $5,094,629.

Among the many lots in the auction, here is one of the unusually well-preserved New Orleans Mint dollars from the mid-1890s that surpassed expectations.

The Lot:

1897-O Morgan dollar, Mint State 66, green CAC Sticker

The Price:


The Story:

This 1897-O Morgan dollar with a Certified Acceptance Corp. green sticker soared past its conservative $50,000 to $80,000 estimate, realizing $262,500. As Q. David Bowers has observed with 1897-O dollars, “Once again, the New Orleans Mint workers were just doing their job: turning out massive quantities of dollars, without regard to quality.”

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From a mintage of just over 4 million dollars, Professional Coin Grading Service has graded six in Mint State 65, five in MS-66, one MS-66+ and two MS-67 examples. This one is housed in an old green-label PCGS holder. Sotheby’s referenced the two MS-67 examples before concluding, “the current example appears to be fully their equal, if not superior.”

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For comparison, a PCGS MS-66+ example with a green CAC sticker, formerly in the Louis E. Eliasberg Collection and with deep toning, sold for $152,750 at a 2012 Heritage auction. The subject coin was encapsulated more than a decade before the introduction of plus grading, so it may be destined for an upgrade.

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