Doug Winter: In the past decade, there have been a considerable number of 1901-O eagles located overseas. Today, this is an easy date to locate in grades up to and including MS62.
The 1901-O eagle is common in any grade up to and including MS62. Properly graded MS63’s are scarce and MS64’s are rare. In Gem it appears that the 1901-O is unique, despite two MS66’s being listed in both the PCGS and NGC population data.
STRIKE: Beginning with this issue, the quality of strike for New Orleans eagles improves. The 1901-O is a date that is usually seen with a very sharp strike on the obverse and reverse. On some coins there is a bit of flatness at the obverse center but this is certainly one of the better produced gold coins from this mint.
SURFACES: Most 1901-O eagles are heavily abraded and have below average quality surfaces. There are typically clusters of deep bagmarks seen in the fields on both sides. I have seen some coins that had mint-made stains and a few with copper spots. Original, uncleaned pieces often show a peripheral “inner ring” of color.
LUSTER: The 1901-O has excellent luster. Most examples are frosty in texture while a small number are semi-prooflike. The luster on this issue is among the best seen on any New Orleans eagle.
COLORATION: The natural coloration ranges from green-gold to orange-gold. It is still reasonably easy to locate a 1901-O eagle with original color as this date seems not to have been “conserved” as much as the common dates from the 1880’s and 1890’s.
EYE APPEAL: The level of eye appeal for this date is average to above average. Most 1901-O eagles are well struck with good color and luster. Bagmarks are a problem and it can be hard to find a piece that is not peppered with abrasions. However, with some patience, the collector should be able to find a very satisfying piece in the MS60 to MS63 range.
DIE CHARACTERISTICS: There are some light die scratches through the letters in LIBERTY. The serifs of the N in UNITED are connected by a line. It is possible that this is a die crack that runs through this letter. There is some light machine doubling on the TED in UNITED.
MAJOR VARIETIES: There are two varieties known.
Variety One: The date is placed slightly low and is closer to the denticles than to the truncation. The mintmark is very high and placed far to the left, nearly touching the eagle’s talons. It is positioned between the E and the N in TEN. This is by far the scarcer of the two varieties.
Variety Two: The obverse is the same as on Variety Two. The mintmark is further to the right and placed closer to the feather than on Variety One. It is positioned above the left side of the N in ONE. On some examples, the mintmark is repunched.
Ellen D Collection (PCGS Set Registry) - Simpson Collection