David Akers (1975/88): The 1852-O has the second lowest mintage of any Type I O Mint gold dollar, and not surprisingly, also the second lowest number of total appearances. Generally very softly struck on the hair, and even strictly uncirculated examples usually appear to have "wear". Like the 1850-O, substantially undervalued, and certainly very underrated when compared to some other Type I gold dollars. For example, the 1852-O is much more difficult to find in choice uncirculated condition than the 1849-D or 1851-C, but yet in comparable condition, the 1852-O invariably sells for significantly less.Doug Winter: The 1852-O is the second rarest gold dollar from the New Orleans mint. The survival rate is considerably lower than for the 1851-O or the 1853-O and no hoards of higher grade pieces have yet to be found. It remains a very hard coin to locate in the higher Uncirculated grades.
The 1852-O gold dollar is moderately scarce in circulated grades and becomes scarce in MS61 to MS62. It is very scarce in MS63, rare in MS64 and very rare in Gem.
STRIKE: The quality of strike seen on this issue is not as sharp as on most of the other Type One New Orleans gold dollars. There is usually some weakness of strike noted on the curls on the hair around the face. On the reverse, the right side of the 8 is often weak as are the bases of the LL in DOLLAR. The borders on both sides show nearly complete denticles, although some will have weakness on the reverse from 4:00 to 7:00.
SURFACES: Most 1852-O gold dollars are abraded and many show scratches or other detracting marks on the surfaces. A number have significant cracks on the obverse; see Variety Two below for more information.
LUSTER: The luster seen on this issue is very good with most higher quality examples displaying a rich, frosty texture. Some have a somewhat granular texture. I have never seen a piece that was reflective.
COLORATION: The natural coloration ranges from medium green-gold to a rich orange-gold. It is not very hard to find pieces with original color although this is becoming more difficult all the time.
EYE APPEAL: Most 1852-O gold dollars have average quality eye appeal. It is difficult to locate one that does not have detracting marks.
DIE CHARACTERISTICS: There is a raised bar on the cheek running upwards from near the corner of the mouth. This is visible on all higher grade examples.
MAJOR VARIETIES: There are at least two major varieties known. These are as follows:
Variety One: Normal date. The mintmark is as large as on the reverse of 1851-O gold dollar. This is the more common of the two varieties.
Variety Two: The base of the 1 in the date shows repunching. Later die states of this variety show large cracks on the obverse. The latest die state (cf. Eliasberg:17/Akers plate coin) has advanced cracks which are in a partial wheel spoke configuration.
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