1859-O $10 AU55 NGC....
Elusive 1859-O Eagle, AU551859-O $10 AU55 NGC. The 1859-O ten dollar gold coin comes from a small mintage (2,300 pieces), and has a small population (NGC and PCGS have certified 64 coins, all but one in circulated condition). David Akers has stated that the issue is the rarest ten dollar gold coin from the New Orleans Mint and is one of the rarest coins in the 224 coin series. Walter Breen once estimated that there were fewer than a dozen survivors, but recent discoveries indicate that the range is more like 50-75 examples in all grades. The date is still very elusive, and rarely appears at auction more than two or three times per year. Moreover, the issue is almost always seen in circulated condition, with a soft strike and many distractions. Douglas Winter, in his Gold Coins of the New Orleans Mint: 1839-1909, writes: "This date has below average eye appeal. The typical 1859-O eagle is well worn and shows scattered deep abrasions on the obverse and reverse." The 1859-O was unknown in Mint State until a single MS62 example was recovered from the wreck of the S.S. Republic.
As if to controvert Winter's assertion, the AU55 offering in this sale projects above-average eye appeal. The yellow-gold surfaces display some prooflike flashes in the protected areas, and the design features are nicely defined, including the hair at Liberty's ear and the eagle's leg feathers, areas that are often weak. The usual flatness occurs in the star centers, however. The surface quality is much better than often seen, as the marks scattered about are relatively minute, though we do note a minor obverse rim bruise at 4 o'clock. Census: 4 in 55, 2 finer (9/08).(Registry values: N7079) (NGC ID# 2642, PCGS# 8629)
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