NEARLY PERFECT 1902-S HALF EAGLE
Near perfection is to be expected from coins that have been recently minted for sale to collectors. Yet for an early 20th Century circulating gold issue, near perfection such as this is almost unheard of. The surfaces shimmer with satiny luster that is uninterrupted from the fields through the devices. The slight reflectiveness and delicate finishing lines point to an early striking from fresh dies. The color is a perfect orange gold, with faint hints of rose and green. Finally, there are no contact marks, none, not even one. In fact, only a few barely visible, whisper thin hairlines keep this away from literal perfection.
PCGS has certified only this 1902-S Half Eagle as MS68. Remarkably, there is one finer, the incredible ex Eliasberg PCGS MS69. For the entire Coronet “With Motto” type, PCGS reports nine coins certified as MS68 with three MS69s higher.
Comparable recent sales include a 1908 MS68 (PCGS) at $51,406 (Heritage 4/2014:5753) and an 1898-S MS68 (PCGS) at $70,500 (Heritage 6/2015:4262), both of which show a PCGS Census of two in MS68 with none finer.