David Akers (1975/88): As one would naturally expect from the small mintage of only 1,248 pieces, the 1863 is extremely rare in any condition. Almost half the 28 appearances at auction were proofs (many of them repeats) and business strikes are seldom available. All examples I have seen were in the VF and EF grades with heavily bagmarked, prooflike surfaces.Doug Winter: All of the Civil War era Liberty Head eagles are scarce (with the exception of the 1861) but the 1863 is a key rarity in this subset. In fact, I regard it as among the very rarest 19th century Philadelphia gold coins. Only 1,248 business strikes were issued of which an estimated 30-40 are known. The finest is the superb Bass lV: 683 ex: MARCA 8/91 that brought $52,900 in its last appearance (an amazing bargain) after Harry Bass had paid $104,500 for it back in 1991. The second finest known is an NGC MS62 from the S.S. Republic that is owned by a prominent Western collector.
Almost every example that I have seen grades EF45 or below and is characterized by excessively abraded surfaces. The luster is either soft and frosty or, less often, semi-prooflike and the strike tends to be bold with the exception of the curl directly above Liberty's ear.
Heck Dodson Collection - MARCA 8/1991:755, $104,500 - Harry Bass Collection - Bowers & Merena 11/2000:683, $52,900
S.S. Republic Shipwreck - California Collection
R.L. Miles Collection - Harry W. Bass, Jr. Collection - Bowers & Merena 10/1999:1491, $23,000