As noted above, 1897 New Orleans mint dollars are universally dunned for their poor production quality, and, as is apparent from a cursory glance at the combined PCGS and NGC population reports, of the more than thirteen thousand submissions, the number of better quality mint state examples drops precipitately above MS 63, with superb examples being very rare indeed.
This example (his own, though not so-cited) was published and illustrated by Wayne Miller in 1982 (p. 151). Described as being “slightly surpassed by a specimen in a prominent Connecticut collection.” In Miller’s view the Connecticut specimen’s superiority was a function not so much of its “luster, strike and clean surfaces” which he deemed equal to his own coin, but to the other coin’s “deep peripheral toning which frames the coin’s radiant center.” He was, however, unequivocal in his opinion that: “These two specimens are by far the finest known of this date.”
When Miller’s collection was sold by Superior in 1986, the cataloguer expressed amazement that there could be another example finer (Miller’s coin, sold uncertified in the Superior sale, was graded by them as MS67+). Subsequently, the finest certified examples appearing at auction are: the Jack Lee III example (Heritage, November, 2005, lot 2329, $126,500), graded PCGS 67 (with a prominent nick on Liberty’s cheek); the Greg Bingham example (Heritage, January 2001, lot 7977, $109,250), graded PCGS 67, it was called “Possibly the finest known” and compared to the Wayne Miller example (the currently offered specimen) as its equal; and the Eliasberg example (Heritage, August 2012, lot 5211, $152,750 [the record for the date]) graded PCGS 66+ CAC.. While all these examples are splendid, the current example appears to be fully their equal, if not superior.
This coin published: Wayne Miller, The Morgan and Peace Dollar Textbook, 1983, p. 151 (illustrated); Bruce Amspacher in his Investment Report (BAIR), Vol. 3, No. 2, July 21, 1984 (reproduced in Highfill, 2017, pp. 422-425). There graded (‘raw’) MS 68.
Certificate number: 6489931 (Generation 3 holder). PCGS cites five examples of comparable grade; one MS 66+; and two MS 67 (the finest). CAC has certified six at this level and none finer. (02-18)
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