The Finest Known 1856-D Gold Dollar, A PCGS MS62 Example

    1856-D G$1 MS62 PCGS. Variety 8-K, the only variety for the year. (per Doug Winter's second edition and revised attribution system). All 1,460 examples produced were coined from a single pair of dies in May, 1856.

    RARITY INFORMATION: There are approximately 80 to 90 pieces known of this issue. We can account for four or five Uncirculated coins, of which the Green Pond Collection example is unquestionably the finest. In high grades, the 1856-D is one of the true rarities among the Dahlonega gold dollars.

    STRIKE: The strike is typical for the issue with some diagnostic peculiarities seen on the obverse and the reverse. The obverse has an almost illegible U in UNITED and some weakness on the curls around the face but does show exceptional definition on the denticles. On the reverse, the O in DOLLAR is somewhat blurry and the 5 in the date is weak. The denticles are weak at the top but are very sharp on the lower reverse, especially from 4 to 9 o'clock. A set of clashmarks in front of Liberty's nose suggests that this is a late die state and this is further evidenced by the fact that the surfaces show fewer raised die lines than normally seen.

    SURFACES: There are virtually no marks on the surfaces that were not produced during the minting process. In addition to the aforementioned obverse clashmarks, some light striations can be seen on the reverse as well as diagonal raised die lines at 3 o'clock. The surfaces are almost completely original and lack evidence of the cleaning or dipping that is found on nearly every known 1856-D gold dollar.

    LUSTER: Rich frosty luster can be seen on the obverse and reverse. Most examples known have a slight grainy texture, but this piece is notable for the smoothness and evenness that it exhibits.

    COLORATION: Both sides display a medium to deep orange-gold and yellowish hue with a slight break in the color in the obverse fields.

    EYE APPEAL: The eye appeal is far above average for the date and grade. The strike, despite a few diagnostic areas of weakness, is above average while the surfaces and luster are excellent. In addition to being the highest graded 1856-D gold dollar examined by PCGS, this is almost certainly the most aesthetically appealing.

    COMPARABLES: In the Bowers and Merena January 2003 auction, a PCGS MS61 example sold for $23,000. In the 1999 ANA we auctioned a very nice PCGS MS60 (probably a full MS 61 by today's standards) for $27,600.

    PEDIGREE: Green Pond collection via Doug Winter 10/01; Mike Storeim (Numismatic Professionals LLC); and before that part of a gold dollar collection that was formed with the assistance of Texas dealer Larry Hanks in the 1980s and early 1990s. This is the plate coin in the second edition of Doug Winter's book on Dahlonega gold and it is cited in the revised Condition Census as the single finest 1856-D gold dollar. (#7543) (Registry values: P2) (NGC ID# 25CC, PCGS# 7543)

    Weight: 1.67 grams

    Metal: 90% Gold, 10% Copper

    Learn more at the Newman Numismatic Portal at Washington University in St. Louis.

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    Auction Dates
    January, 2004
    7th-10th Wednesday-Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 5
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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