Estimated grade. Ex: William M. Friessner Collection; Edouard Frossard; J.M. Clapp; Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr. Sold by Bowers & Merena Apr '97 price realized $31,900. Lot #2202.
1838 Gobrecht Dollars are the subject of considerable research and some confusion. They are classified as both Originals (struck in 1838) and Restrikes (struck in a later year, perhaps even on multiple occasions). Determination as to status depends on die alignment (the orientation of the obverse and reverse dies relative to each other) and die state (the development of die rust and cracks). As John Kraljevich noted in the May 2016 catalog of the Pogue Collection, "The divisions between “Original” and “Restrike” among these coins have been rewritten recently, and refinement of those definitions continues to attract some of the brightest minds in numismatics today."
For example, the PR64+ coin illustrated above has been called an Original because it has a "coin turn" (when the coin is flipped along the horizontal axis -- top to bottom - the eagle is flying level from right to left on the obverse. In a "medal turn", the eagle would be upside-down). However, the presence of die rust and a small crack on the reverse lead some experts to call this coin a Restrike and so it was described in the Pogue sale.
In fact, only two 1838 Gobrecht Dollars are now considered Originals: the example in the National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian Institution and the former Eliasberg example now in the collection of the American Numismatic Society. However, even these examples differ slightly in the orientation of the dies. We await further revelations from John Dannreuther, Craig Sholley, and Saul Teichman, who are leading the charge in the latest research on these fascinating coins.
American Numismatic Society
National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian Institution