David Akers (1975/88): This issue is very scarce in all grades and is extremely rare in full mint state. Overall, among O-Mint issues, it ranks fourth most common after the 1851-O, 1852-O, and 1850-O, although it is more likely to be available in high grade than the 1850-O. The vast majority of known specimens grade in the VF to EF range and strictly graded AU-50 or better pieces are seldom seen. Personally, I have seen only one true unc but from the auction records it is certainly likely that another one or two may exist. All specimens that I have seen were either semi-prooflike or prooflike.Doug Winter: The 1853-O is much scarcer than the 1850 through 1852 New Orleans double eagles. It is not as rare as the 1850-O in the higher grades (in this case AU50 and above) but it is considerably scarcer than the 1851-O and the 1852-O in this range.
The 1853-O is a much scarcer coin than the 1851-O and the 1852-O double eagles. In higher grades it is actually not as rare as the less-heralded 1850-O. A number of lower grade pieces entered the market in the mid-1990s and, as a result, the 1853-O is now relatively available in Very Fine and Extremely Fine. It becomes rare in the middle About Uncirculated grades and it is very rare in Uncirculated.
STRIKE: This issue is not as well struck as the 1851-O and 1852-O double eagles. The curls around the face and the back of the neck are often weak. The top of the head and the bun are typically weak as well. The stars are well detailed with most having full radial lines. On the reverse, the tailfeathers and the left side of the banner are usually softly impressed. The mintmark is often not fully formed and shows weakness at the top. On early strikes, the stars on the left obverse have noticeable doubling.
SURFACES: Most 1853-O double eagles are heavily abraded. These marks are often deep and located in obvious places, such as the left obverse field or the cheek of Liberty. Some have been exposed to seawater or have been buried and have granular surfaces as a result. A number have mint-made planchet chips or show copper spots in the metal. Locating a piece with nice surfaces is very challenging.
LUSTER: High grade 1853-O double eagles are usually reflective. Some are semi-prooflike and others are nearly totally prooflike. The depth of the reflectiveness is not as great as on the 1852-O. The luster on many is impaired as a result of having been cleaned or dipped.
COLORATION: The natural coloration is a rich green-gold hue. There are some that have exceptionally nice color and these are worth a strong premium over the dipped, “washed out” coins that are often seen.
EYE APPEAL: This issue has below average to average eye appeal. Most are not well struck and are extremely abraded with impaired luster. A few very attractive high grade pieces are known and when these are available they bring strong prices in relation to published price guides.
DIE CHARACTERISTICS: There are no significant die characteristics on this issue.
MAJOR VARIETIES: I am aware of just a single variety:
Variety One: All 1853-O double eagles have a Closed 5 in the date. The date is high with the I nearly touching the truncation. The mintmark is tall and thin. It is positioned over the left side of the N in TWENTY and comes close to the feathers but does not touch them.
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