1886-O $1 MS (PCGS# 7168)

PN Silver Dollar Session

  • Auctioneer:
    Heritage Auctions
  • Lot Number:
    4976
  • Grade:
    MS65
  • Price:
    $161,000.00
Lot Description
1886-O $1 MS65 PCGS. CAC. Some issues, such as the 1921-D half dollar, are celebrated for having the lowest mintage in a series, while others like the 1921 Peace dollar are distinguished as being a first-year issue. Sometimes it is the physical characteristics of a coin that make it special, as with 1820 N-13 Large cents, which are relatively more available in high grades than other cents of that era, thanks wholly to the Randall hoard of cents found in the 1860s. The 1886-O dollar stands out as being the rarest New Orleans issue in MS65 or better condition as fewer than five Gem specimens are known to exist. The current offering belongs to that small fraternity of high-end 1886-O dollars. After more than 25 years of third-party grading, only five coins are currently documented at the MS65 level or above at both major services. NGC documents only one such coin--a lone MS66. The PCGS Population Report shows a total of four examples; three MS65 pieces and the famous MS67 Deep Mirror Prooflike coin that was considered by Wayne Miller in his 1982 reference to be "the most spectacular Morgan dollar now known." That piece sold for $231,000 in Bowers and Merena's November 1990 sale of the Chris Schenkel collection. But why is this seemingly common issue so rare in high grade? The mintage of over 10 million coins makes it hard to believe that so few 1886-O dollars exist in Gem condition. The 1881-S issue saw a comparable output of coins, yet well over 100,000 examples of that date are known in MS65 or better condition. David Bowers speculates in his Silver Dollars and Trade Dollars of the United States (1993): "At or near the time of striking in the nineteenth century, probably a few million coins, say two to four million, were placed into circulation and saw commercial use. Probably, millions of other coins, perhaps as many as six to eight million pieces, went to the melting pot under the terms of the 1918 Pittman Act." Bowers continues by stating that "in MS64 grade it is
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