Doug Winter: In 1847, the mintage figure for New Orleans eagles rose to a staggering 571,500 coins. This is more than double the mintage figure for the second highest figure for eagles from this mint (263,000 in 1851). As one might expect, this is the most common No Motto eagle from New Orleans but it becomes progressively harder to find in higher grades and is actually quite rare in Uncirculated.
The 1847-O eagle is the most common No Motto issue from this mint. It is very easy to locate in grades up to and including AU53 and is only moderately scarce in the higher grades. It is a very rare coin in Uncirculated but it is the most plentiful New Orleans eagle of the type in MS63 to MS64 with as many as four to six known. There are no Gems currently accounted for.
STRIKE: This is generally a well struck coin that is much better produced than the other New Orleans eagles from the middle to the end of the 1840s. The obverse is usually weak on the curls around the face of Liberty and some are seen with a distinctive small weak spot behind the ear of Liberty and on the curl drooping from the ear. The stars are often sharp and show full radial lines. The reverse is sharp except for the eagle’s right leg and left wing tip, which may be weak.
SURFACES: The surfaces are generally heavily abraded, although not nearly as much so as on 1846-O eagles. Due to the comparatively high number of pieces known, if a collector is patient he should be able to find an 1847-O eagle that, while not immaculate, will have surfaces that are acceptable.
LUSTER: The luster on higher grade 1847-O eagles can be outstanding and some have a very rich, frosty texture while others are reflective. The pieces that are frosty are often seen with an orange-gold color while the reflective coins are always greenish-gold in hue.
COLORATION: A wide range of shades have been seen on this date. Some coins are orange-gold while others are deep green-gold. Some have a distinct dirty two-tone appearance which is the result of storage in bags. While more and more original coins are being dipped and made shiny, there are still a fair amount of original 1847-O eagles available to collectors.
EYE APPEAL: This issue has better eye appeal than most New Orleans eagles from the period. The strike is usually relatively sharp while the surfaces are not as severely abraded as on issues such as the 1845-O or the 1846-O. This makes the 1847-O a popular coin for type collectors seeking a single high quality No Motto eagle from a branch mint.
DIE CHARACTERISTICS: On a small number of examples there are a group of six heavy, distinctive die lines jutting out from the denticles around the first star. It is possible that these are from a die engraving tool and may have been deliberately placed in this area to hide something.
MAJOR VARIETIES: There are two varieties known to me. Given the high mintage figure for this date, it is likely that others exist.
Variety One: Normal Date. The date is sometimes seen with very light doubling on the base of the 1 or the 4. The mintmark is high in the field and placed above the EN in TEN. Breen-6880.
Variety Two: Repunched 18. The date numerals are not as full as on Variety One and the first digits are repunched downwards. Later die states show numerous fine die cracks joining the stars. The reverse is the same as on Variety One. Late states show more and more cracks with the last pieces showing a near shattering of the die. Breen-6881; described as “very rare.”David Akers (1975/88): The 1847-O is comparable in overall rarity to the 1847 and 1849 and is one of the very few Liberty Head No Motto Eagles that is fairly easy to obtain in VF to AU grades. Strictly uncirculated examples, while certainly not common, are occasionally available and choice and gem specimens are seen at least as often as those of 1847 and more often than those of 1849. Most specimens I have seen are greenish gold in color and are somewhat softly struck on the hair curls around Miss Liberty's face.
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