David Akers (1975/88): The 1865 has the lowest official mintage of any regularly issued date prior to 1881. Even with such a small mintage, this date was clearly made for commercial reasons, in contrast to most of those of the 1880's, as evidenced by the fact that the majority of known specimens are well worn. As is the case with most rare coins, this date is usualy overgraded by a substantial margin. In my experience it would rank fifth most difficult to obtain on choice condition behind the 1855-S, 1857-S, 1860-S, and 1854-D. I have seen only two full mint state pieces and three legitimate AU's. Even strictly graded EF's are hard to come by and I would estimate that four out of five specimens that I have seen were no better than VF-30.
Richard C. Jewell Collection - American Numismatic Rarities 3/2005:628, $57,500 - Bob R. Simpson Collection