It hardly seems possible that there might be sleepers to be found in any type of silver dollar. With the popularity of silver dollars today has come much information.
The 1923-S in a grade like MS-65 is starting to look like something of a sleeper. If any date was overlooked, 1923-S seems like a pretty good candidate. In 1923 the mints were still under a great deal of pressure to produce large numbers of silver dollars. As a result, the 1923-S had a relatively high mintage of 19,020,000 pieces. The total was certainly high for a San Francisco silver dollar at the time.
The dollars of this period were not melted since the Pittman Act melting was over. Dollars were being produced not to circulate, but to serve as backing for new Silver Certificates.
With its mintage of over 19 million, the 1923-S would not have seemed like a promising date. There were very few who were interested in silver dollars anyway. It was not likely to be highly saved.
It apparently went to the vaults and kept emerging. There was still no numismatic interest, so when many $1,000 bags appeared around 1942, few coins were saved. The same would be true around 1950 when more bags appeared around San Francisco. Still more bags appeared in the final Treasury releases of 1962-64. Like so many other Peace dollars, it seemed like an available date with very little potential. The Redfield hoard produced only a small number of bags. While most were Mint State, the coins were flatly struck and usually no better than MS-63.
With bag after bag emerging from an already high mintage, there had been chances for decades to acquire nice examples of the 1923-S, but it did not happen in large numbers.
Today the 1923-S is $13 in G-4 since it is an available date. In MS-65 at $6,750, it is a premium date but not among the top Peace dollars in price in MS-65.
With that said, there are only about half a dozen more expensive MS-65 dates, and there may be reason to suspect it could easily be more expensive.
The 1924-S is currently $9,500 in MS-65. That puts it at almost $3,000 more than the 1923-S. However, the 1923-S has been seen by PCGS 67 times in MS-65, two times in MS-66 and once in MS-67. The 1924-S has been seen 61 times in MS-65 and an additional five times in MS-66. We have almost identical totals of two dates that are quite far apart in price.
A large reason for the difference may be the historic belief that the 1923-S is available because of its large mintage. This belief is how we got to the current situation. Everyone believed it was available so it was never saved. Sooner or later someone will learn that the 1923-S is not available, and it may well be a great value at its prices today.