US Coins

MS-65 1895-O Morgan dollar offers atypical quality

Sotheby’s May 21 Historic Coins and Medals auction featuring Morgan dollars from the Ralph and Lois Stone Collection was noteworthy for a number of reasons.

The auction, which totaled $5,094,629 in prices realized, was formed during the first decade of third-party grading, and the coins were sold in their original holders; many have additionally received a sticker from Certified Acceptance Corp. recognizing the coin’s quality.

Among the lots were three unusually well-preserved New Orleans Mint dollars from the mid-1890s that surpassed expectations, one of which is highlighted here. Read about the first  profiled coin, an 1897-O Morgan dollar, here, and the second, an 1896-O dollar, here

The Lot:

1895-O Morgan dollar, Mint State 65

The Price:


The Story:

The New Orleans Mint was prone to producing silver dollars at a high volume with relatively low quality when compared with the Philadelphia, Carson City or San Francisco Mints. The 1895-O Morgan dollar is notorious for its poor strike and dull luster, and most Mint State examples grade MS-61 or MS-62. 

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This one, graded Professional Coin Grading Service MS-65, was formerly in the famed Jack Lee Collection, and Sotheby’s wrote, “The quality of the strike is significantly more robust than most examples encountered. Although the hairs above Liberty’s ear are not completely full, the rest of the coin is as fully and evenly struck as one could hope for; the eagle’s breast feathers are well-delineated, and the beading is sharp.”

An indentation on the eagle’s chest is likely a strike-through error, where a foreign substance comes between a planchet and a die during the striking process, rather than a post-minting contact mark. 

The clean and conditionally rare dollar sold for $225,000.

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