||1898-S $5 MS68 S NGC. CAC. This is a coin from a legendary collection that is itself destined to assume legendary status in its own right. Graded MS68 by NGC and with the added Star designation for superior eye appeal (and approved with the CAC green bean), this piece is tied for the finest certified example of the 1898-S half eagle by two grade points (one other submission of this issue is in MS68 NGC without the Star; this piece is also the sole MS68 with the CAC green approval sticker). Counting possible duplications, this coin is one of only 16 Liberty Head half eagles of all dates to attain this grade level at NGC. (There are three MS69 Liberty fives at NGC -- one 1894-S, one 1897-S, and one 1899-S -- making slim indeed the possibility of obtaining a finer-graded example of the type.) PCGS shows a single example of the 1898-S half eagle in MS68, with no Star or Plus qualifiers. The 1898-S half eagle may suffer from a misperception that it is a "common" late-19th century issue, but nothing could be further from the truth in the case of this piece. It is the finest example by three grade points that Heritage has ever had the privilege to offer, at least since we began our Permanent Auction Archives in 1993. The surfaces are largely amber-gold on each side, displaying impeccable preservation and a full strike throughout both sides. Effulgent luster prevails over all. A small alloy spot near star 13 on the obverse is as made, and it and a small reeding mark near star 12 provides the only mentionable pedigree identifiers. The reverse is even better-preserved and shows an impressive wealth of detail in the eagle's feathers, claws, the shield, and the arrows. This simply splendid coin should provide for entertaining bidding when it crosses the auction block. Census: 2 in 68 (1 in 68 S), 0 finer (8/14). Ex: Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society.
Realized $58888.65. Description courtesy of Heritage Auctions.