P. Scott Rubin: The 1858 Eagle is a very rare coin with a circulation mintage of only 2,521 and a survival estimate of only 25 to 30 specimens. The surviving coins of this issue range from VF20 to MS64+. I know of no circulation strikes of this issue to appear at auction before 1937 and only four auction appearances before 1950.
The highest certified Mint State 1858 Eagle has been graded by PCGS as MS64+ and NGC as MS64. This coin is currently the only one graded MS60 or finer by PCGS. NGC shows this same coin as the only one they have graded above MS61.
This MS64+ 1858 Eagle was unknown until 1972. Paul Nugget purchased the coin over the counter in New York City for Manfra, Todella and Brookes (MTB) from someone who brought the coin in a leather pouch it had resided in for 114 years, according to the MTB fix price list of the Summer of 1976. This coin set the record price for any 1858 Eagle, including Proofs, when it sold for $276,000 in Heritage’s Platinum Night Sale of May, 2007. This coin now resides in the Simpson Collection.
While a number of specimens of the 1858 Eagle have surfaced since the 1970’s, the condition census has not changed. Before 1970 there were only two auction appearances of an AU 1858 Eagle and none higher. They appeared in Mehl’s 1946 Atwater Sale, as lot 1436, and in Kagin’s 1964 250th Sale, Part 3, as lot 1288.
David Akers (1975/88): Because of the hype and hoopla given to this date when it was catalogued by B. Max Mehl as well as others many years ago, the 1858 is one of the few Liberty Head Eagles that has attained a level of fame commensurate with its rarity. In fact, its reputation actually exceeds its true rarity which has often been greatly exaggerated with erroneous statements claiming that only four, six, or eight are known. Many more are known than that (25-30 business strikes would be a good guess) but the date must still be considered very rare in any grade and extremely rare from the standpoint of "condition rarity".
Almost all known 1858 Eagles grade only VF or EF and I know of only one gem uncirculated piece that was unknown to the numismatic world until 1972.
Palakika Collection - Heritage 5/2007:2343, $276,000 - Ellen D Collection (PCGS Set Registry) - Simpson Collection
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