1859-O $10 AU55 NGC....
Important Choice AU 1859-O Ten1859-O $10 AU55 NGC. The 1859-O is easily the best-known of the antebellum New Orleans eagle issues. Its original mintage of 2,300 pieces is the lowest in that subset, and its status as one of the most elusive O-mint eagles is well-established across all grades. It proves particularly challenging in XF and better grades, according to Winter in his Gold Coins of the New Orleans Mint.
As recently as the 1980s, the 1859-O eagle was perceived by some to be fantastically rare in an absolute sense; Garrett and Guth cite Walter Breen's Encyclopedia and its claim that "fewer than 12 survive." The advent of certified grading has brought greater clarity to the population figures, and projections of 50 to 75 survivors across all grades are closer to the norm. While such numbers may be disappointing compared to the under-a-dozen figure stated by Breen, any issue with even 75 survivors is close to being rare in an absolute sense.
The present Choice AU coin has deep honey-orange surfaces, a departure from this issue's more typical green-gold, that cede to yellow at the flashy margins. Though the fields show a number of minor, scattered flaws, the central devices exhibit no overt abrasions. While the peripheral design elements are softly struck as usual, the portrait and eagle offer excellent definition.
Overall, this is an excellent example of an issue that is a condition rarity so fine. NGC has graded five AU55 coins and four finer examples, two unprovenanced AU58 representatives and a pair of pieces from the S.S. Republic, one certified as AU58 and the other as MS62; PCGS has graded just four AU55 examples and none finer (6/08).(Registry values: N7079) (NGC ID# 2642, PCGS# 8629)
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