David Akers (1975/88): (See PCGS CoinFacts editor's note below)
Based on the number of specimens available in all grades, the 1857-S is one of the more common Type I S-Mint Double Eagles. It is similar in overall rarity to the 1855-S, 1858-S, 1959-S and 1865-S. Most available specimens grade only VF or EF but AU examples, while certainly very scarce, can also be located. Uncirculated pieces are definitely rare and choice or gem quality examples are seldom, if ever, available. I have never seen anything other than frosty examples of this date.
PCGS CoinFacts editor's note: David Akers great book on Double Eagles was written in 1982, some 20 years before the SS Central America treasure hoard came to market. The hoard contained significant quantities of 1854-S, 1855-S, 1856-S, and 1857-S $20 gold pieces. David Akers' comments above are a representation of what rarity comments looked like prior to the discovery of the SS Central America treasure hoard. The actual number of coins (many uncirculated, especially for the 1857-S) is as follows; 1857-S 5,193 coins, 1856-S 1,108 coins, 1855-S 325 coins, 1854-S 25 coins.
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