David Akers (1975/88): This is the lost common O Mint gold dollar. It is readily available in the lower grades and even reasonably obtainable in uncirculated condition. Gem specimens, however, are very scarce, and certainly undervalued when compared to the "common date" Type I gold dollars from the Philadelphia Mint.Doug Winter: The 1853-O is the most available gold dollar from this mint. It is so readily available in lower grades that it brings just a small premium over a common Philadelphia issue.
The 1853-O is the most common New Orleans gold dollar. It is easily found in circulated grades and can be located in the MS60 to MS62 range with no trouble. It is moderately scarce in properly graded MS63, very scarce in MS64 and very rare in MS65. I have seen two superb Gems.
STRIKE: This is the best produced gold dollar from the New Orleans mint. Many examples are very sharp with full detail noted in the peripheries and centers. There are some 1853-O gold dollars with minor weakness on the LL in DOLLAR and on the right side of the 8 and the left side of the 5 in the date. Others may show some weakness on the obverse along the rim and denticles.
SURFACES: Most 1853-O gold dollars have scattered marks on the surfaces. It is not uncommon to see pieces with light to medium scratches in the fields. Some show small mint-made copper spots. These are often seen at the center of the reverse and at the borders.
LUSTER: The luster is among the best seen on any New Orleans gold dollar. Many pieces are very frosty; others have a more subdued grainy texture. I have seen a few semi-prooflike pieces but these are often not attractive due to excessive abrasions.
COLORATION: The natural coloration on this issue is most often a medium green-gold hue. It is still not that difficult to locate an 1853-O with original color but more and more are being dipped.
EYE APPEAL: This is an issue that generally has good eye appeal. The typical example is lightly worn, has good luster and nice overall detail.
DIE CHARACTERISTICS: There are die rust spots near AME in AMERICA. There are also die file marks from ITE in UNITED to the denticles.
MAJOR VARIETIES: There is just a single variety known to me, but given the high mintage figure for this issue it is possible that others exist.
Variety One: All examples seen have a large date with the 8 directly below the first L and a large mintmark which is positioned high and tilts slightly to the right.