David Akers (1975/88): The 1850-O is a rare date in all grades but it is not quite as rare as the 1848-O or 1849-O. It is comparable in overall rarity to the 1845-O and 1846-O and is more rare than the 1842-O, 1843-O or 1844-O. Most known specimens grade VF or EF and AU examples are very rare. Strictly uncirculated examples are extremely rare and I have not personally seen one.Doug Winter: The 1850-O eagle is not as scarce as the 1848-O or 1849-O, but it is very rare in higher grades and unique in Uncirculated.
The 1850-O eagle is relatively common in VF and EF grades. It is very scarce in properly graded AU50 to AU53 and very rare in AU55 to AU58. I am aware of only one Uncirculated piece and it is a Gem.
STRIKE: The 1850-O eagle is a poorly struck issue that has a fuzzy appearance as seen on the 1849-O. Most are flat at the central obverse with softness on the curls around the face of Liberty as well as on the top of the hair and the bun. The stars are often very flat at the centers with no radial line definition. Unlike the 1849-O which is always seen with a weak obverse, there are a few 1850-O eagles that are better struck than usual with partial definition on the stars. The reverse is always sharper than the obverse with sharp feathers seen on the wings and neck of the eagle. The right leg is often weak.
SURFACES: Virtually every known example is heavily abraded in the fields and a number have deep, detracting marks in highly visible focal points such as the cheek of Liberty.
LUSTER: The luster is frosty with a slightly reflective finish. A few are seen with semi-prooflike fields. This is a hard issue to find with good luster.
COLORATION: The natural coloration on 1850-O eagles is a light to medium green-gold. Some have orange-gold color. There are not many left with original coloration, especially in higher grades. Almost every example I have seen graded AU50 or better...has a slightly “washed out” appearance from having been cleaned at one time.
EYE APPEAL: The 1850-O eagle has below average eye appeal. Most are not well struck and they are heavily abraded. This is compounded by the fact that many pieces have been cleaned and have a processed appearance.
DIE CHARACTERISTICS: There is a small die scratch through star five. Die rust surrounds the portrait on the obverse but may not be visible on lower grade pieces. A group of die lines runs from the denticles over the E in STATES to the top of that letter. On some coins, the mintmark is lightly impressed and may not be easy to see without magnification.
MAJOR VARIETIES: There is just one die variety known:
Variety One: The date is large in size with the 5 closed. The mintmark is tall and thin and placed at a medium height in the field. It is centered above the space between the E and the N in TEN. There is no punchmark on the shield. Breen-6893.
George H. Earle Collection - Henry Chapman, 6/1912 - John H. Clapp Collection, 1942 - Bowers & Ruddy 10/1982:686, $37,400 - Superior 5/1999:3666, $100,625