THE PCGS TOUR OF THE “WORLD’S FINEST MORGAN DOLLARS” EXHIBITION EXAMPLE. “THIS IS THE FINEST 92-S I HAVE EVER SEEN.” DAVID HALL (1987).
As is well-known to most numismatists, the 1892-S is a coin which is not difficult to obtain in lower grades, but is of staggering rarity in the highest grades of preservation. As Dave Bowers observed, this disparity is simply the result of the lion’s share of the 1.2 million struck being released into circulation. He further notes that this wide gulf in the low survival of high grade examples was not even apparent to knowledgeable numismatists for more than four decades following its production.
This example is acknowledged as one of the finest in existence, and was loaned by its owner, Dr. George Bodway to the PCGS Tour of the “World’s Finest Silver Dollars” (1990-1991). It was clearly one of Dr. Bodway’s favorite coins, and in the chapter he wrote for John Highfill’s The Comprehensive U.S. Silver Dollar Encyclopedia (1992 and 2017), he described the coin as part of his “Bodway Set” (p. 341): “A gorgeous white almost fully prooflike silver dollar. Completely struck with blemish free surfaces.” Bodway stated that David Hall first saw this coin at the 1987 ANA Convention, and that even though two weeks prior Hall had seen the Jack Lee example: then raw, later graded PCGS MS 68, he pronounced Bodway’s piece (the currently offered example) “…THE FINEST 92-S I HAVE EVER SEEN.” (p. 341). Bodway further reported the ANA attendants calling it “An amazing coin.”
It appears that this coin has never been offered at public auction. It was privately purchased by Ed Milas from an anonymous Midwestern collection in 1987; he sold it, via David Carter, to Dr. Bodway whose collection was sold intact to Jack Lee in 1994. The single MS 68 example (ex Jack Lee) was sold at auction in November 2005 (Heritage [$322,000]). Auction data note six auction appearances of PCGS certified MS 67 1892-S dollars in the past twenty years. This represents only two coins; five appearances of the Eliasberg piece (most recently, in 2017, at Legend Numismatic Auctions [$470,000, the highest price recorded for the date]) and one other example in 2004 (Heritage [$126,500]); the data also note the appearance, twice, of an NGC graded example. The only other recent appearance of a high grade 1892-S at auction, was a PCGS MS 64 CAC at Legend which brought a remarkable $293,750.
Certificate number: 2241206 (Generation 3.1 holder). PCGS records five comparably graded examples, and only one (MS 68) finer; NGC has graded five MS 67, and none finer. CAC has certified three at this level, and none finer. (02-18)