Doug Winter: The 1880-O is the first of the three New Orleans eagles sandwiched between the rare, low-mintage issues of 1879-O and 1883-O.
The 1880-O eagle is a relatively easy issue to locate in VF and EF grades. It becomes scarce in the lower AU grades and it is very scarce in AU55 to AU58. In Uncirculated it is extremely rare with only four or five currently known. This includes one or two that are Choice to Very Choice.
STRIKE: This is an issue that is usually found with a good strike. The centers on both the obverse and reverse are mostly full, with strong hair and feather detail. Some of the stars may show weakness at the centers and lack complete radial line definition. On many 1880-O eagles the tops of the 8’s are weakly impressed.
SURFACES: The surfaces are nearly always very heavily abraded but it is slightly less difficult to find an 1880-O eagle with acceptable surfaces than it is an 1881-O or 1882-O. I have seen a number or 1880-O eagles that had light copper spots on the surfaces.
LUSTER: The luster is better than on the 1881-O and 1882-O eagles. Most 1880-O eagles are very frosty with some occasional areas of prooflike flash seen. I have seen a few that were reflective enough to almost be designated as a full prooflike. The luster is often disturbed by numerous abrasions on the surfaces.
COLORATION: A fairly wide range of colors have been seen on examples of this date. These range from a light green-gold to a deeper orange-gold. Some have a coppery patina at the border which gives a sort of two-tone contrast to the centers. Lower grade pieces can still be found with original color but higher grade 1880-O eagles are invariably dipped or brightened to enhance their luster.
EYE APPEAL: This date has better overall eye appeal than the other New Orleans eagles from this era. The strike is generally good and the surfaces, while generally bagmarked, do not show the extensive abrasions seen on the 1881-O or the 1882-O. This issue is characterized by good luster and natural color and higher grade pieces can be very attractive, although such coins are becoming harder and harder to find.
DIE CHARACTERISTICS: The first six stars are double punched. There are no significant die characteristics on the reverse.
MAJOR VARIETIES: There is a single variety known.
Variety One: The date is very slightly closer to the truncation than to the denticles. The mintmark is small and heavy with the right side heavier than the left. It is close to the arrow feather and placed almost at the far left side of the N in TEN.