Condition Census 1855-O Half Eagle1855-O AU 58 PCGS. A superior example of this scarce issue with considerable frosty luster visible beneath lovely orange-gold color. There are some scattered marks on the obverse, but this coin has no readily visible wear and, in our opinion, it is fully Mint State. We believe this is the second finest known 1855-O five and it is clearly a highlight of this exceptional group of New Orleans half eagles.
Until recently, this date was among the rarest New Orleans half eagles. In the summer of 1996, a small hoard of perhaps a dozen pieces came onto the market. These coins were primarily in the XF 45 to AU 53 range, although a few were graded higher than this. The 1855-O is still a very scarce coin and it is a rarity in properly graded About Uncirculated. There are just one or two Uncirculated pieces known (depending on whether or not one grades this example Mint State...) and there are no rumors of any more on the horizon.
Two reverse varieties are known for 1855-O half eagles. The first has a normal shield. The second shows a tiny hollow area in the second vertical stripe. It appears to be much scarcer. The specimen we offer here is the second variety.
The current Condition Census for the 1855-O half eagle is as follows:
1. Chicago collection, Ex: Doug Winter; John Jay Pittman Collection, Part One (Akers, 10/97), lot 1010, where it brought $16,500. Graded Mint State 61 by NGC.
2. Acadiana collection, Ex: Dr. Richard Appel; possibly Ex: Norweb I (Bowers and Merena, 10/87), lot 845. Graded AU 58 by PCGS.
3. Private collection, Ex: Ed Milas Collection (Stack's, 5/95), lot 498, which brought $17,050. Graded MS 60 by NGC.
4. 1996 ANA (Heritage, 8/96), lot 8328. Graded AU 55 by PCGS.
5. (tie). A small group of pieces have been graded AU 55 and AU 58 by NGC. These are not as choice as coins #2 and #4 above.
From the Ronald W. Brown Acadiana Collection. (NGC ID# 25UT, PCGS# 8264)
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