S. Benton Emery's Finest Known 1901-S Half
This is easily the finest known survivor of this notably rare issue. PCGS reports three coins certified as MS67, including this MS67+, with none finer. The other two graded PCGS MS67 are the ex Eliasberg specimen, recently crossed over from NGC MS67 (Heritage 1/2011: lot 5576 @ $25,388 as NGC MS67), likely second finest, and the Hugon-Gardner coin (Heritage 6/2014: lot 30559 @ $30,550 as PCGS MS67). None of these three is included in the CAC Census. Arguably, both this Emery-Nichols and the Eliasberg coins fit well within the MS67 standard for Barber Halves exhibited by the coins already approved by CAC over the past ten years. Furthermore, the third finest 1901-S Barber Half is likely the ex Shireman PCGS MS66, with the Hugon-Gardner PCGS MS67 fourth.
Purchased by S. Benton Emery directly from the San Francisco Mint in 1901 [per his log book]; by descent in 1914 to Emery’s son-in-law, Walter P. Nichols; Bowers and Merena “Emery and Nichols Collections”, November 1984, lot 821 @ $6,600 as “Choice Uncirculated, MS-65”; David Akers, privately January 2004; Dr. Steven L. Duckor; Heritage Auctions “Dr. and Mrs. Steven L. Duckor Barber Half Dollar Collection”, August 2010, lot 3202 @ $86,250 as PCGS MS67+; Heritage Auctions “Greensboro V”, August 2015, lot 4084 @ $51,700 to Joseph O’Connor (OCNUMIS).