Doug Winter: The 1882-O is the most available of the three undervalued, low mintage New Orleans eagles produced between 1880 and 1882. It was formerly similar in rarity to the 1880-O but has become far more available due to small hoards found in Europe during the early to middle part of the 1990’s.
The 1882-O eagle has become a relatively available coin in VF and EF grades. It is less scarce than the 1880-O and 1881-O in the lower AU grades but properly graded AU55 to AU58 examples are rare. In Uncirculated this is a very rare coin with probably no more than seven to eight pieces currently known.
STRIKE: The quality of strike varies widely on this date but it tends to be the worst struck of the 1880-1882 trio. Many are very weak on the stars and show pronounced weakness on the curls around the face and behind the ear as well. The reverse is always more sharply struck but some pieces have weakness on the feather tips. This should not be mistaken for wear.
SURFACES: The surfaces are nearly always very heavily abraded. Of the three New Orleans eagles struck in the first part of this decade, the 1882-O has the worst quality surfaces and it is not uncommon to see examples that are riddled with deep abrasions on both the obverse and the reverse.
LUSTER: The luster is often Prooflike and I have seen a few 1882-O eagles that were fully reflective on both the obverse and reverse. There are also some known that are frosty. The Prooflike coins are often extremely abraded and the reflectiveness of the fields tends to amplify the magnitude of these marks.
COLORATION: The natural coloration ranges from a bright yellow gold to medium green-gold with rose overtones. On examples that have not been cleaned, this coloration tends to be quite intense and very attractive. Unfortunately, most 1882-O eagles have been dipped or processed in the past few years and locating an original coin is now very difficult.
EYE APPEAL: The level of eye appeal is generally below average. Many 1882-O eagles are weakly struck on the obverse and have semi-prooflike or fully prooflike surfaces that are covered with abrasions. Any example with good eye appeal is very scarce.
DIE CHARACTERISTICS: There is a tiny die spur on the obverse down from a denticles to over the ninth star. Die polish can be seen in the headband and it is most visible on the BERT in LIBERTY.
MAJOR VARIETIES: There is a single variety known.
Variety One: The date is evenly spaced between the neck and the denticles. The 2 has a very distinctive “Victorian” appearance. The mintmark is the same size and shape as seen on the 1881-O but it is placed much closer to the feather tip. It is high and far to the right, positioned over the left side of the N in TEN. Later die states show a number of thin cracks joining many of the letters on the reverse.
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