Estimated grade. Ex. Douglas MANA Sale (1957) Sold by David Akers Numismatics Oct '97 Price realized $4400
David Akers (1975/88): Next to the 1949-D, this is the D Mint Type I gold dollar that one is most likely to be able to locate in high grade, i.e. AU or Unc. Nevertheless, it is obviously a very scarce coin, being offered only one third the time in the 192 catalogues surveyed.Doug Winter: The 1851-D is the third most common Type One Dahlonega gold dollar. It is, as well, one of the more valuable gold dollars from this mint in high grades.
The 1851-D can be located in Extremely Fine and the lower About Uncirculated grades without difficulty. Choice About Uncirculated 1851-D gold dollars are very scarce and this is a rare coin in Mint State. Nearly every Uncirculated example of this date grades Mint State-60 or slightly better and any accurately graded Mint State-62 (or better) piece is extremely rare.
STRIKE: This date is better struck than the 1849-D or 1850-D gold dollars. However, it is not uncommon to find examples that display weakness at the centers. On the obverse, the stars above the head of Liberty are generally sharp and well-formed while the stars below the head appear heavier and are flat at the centers. On the reverse, there is sometimes weakness on the LLA in DOLLAR and on the 85 in the date. Both sides show flat borders with the milling totally indistinct at the lower obverse and the corresponding areas on the reverse.
SURFACES: The surfaces on the typical 1851-D gold dollar are of a higher quality than most other Dahlonega gold dollars. A number show laminations or other mint-made defects. Many have clashmarks. On the obverse, there are often clashmarks at the center and a raised mark before the throat and another below the bun. On the reverse there are heavier clashmarks at the center and many letters show doubling.
LUSTER: Curiously, this date shows above-average luster. Higher grade, uncleaned pieces typically display rich, frosty luster. A few are seen with a slightly grainy texture.
COLORATION: 1851-D gold dollars show an extensive range of coloration. Examples have been seen with intense coppery hues, orange-gold and deep green-gold shadings. Very few remain that have original coloration.
EYE APPEAL: It is possible to locate an example that has good eye appeal. This makes the 1851-D a good possibility for inclusion in a type set, especially as it is much scarcer than the 1849-D yet it does not sell for a large premium over that date.
PERSONAL OBSERVATIONS: Many connoisseurs believe that the Duke’s Creek/Bareford example of this date is not only the finest known 1851-D gold dollar but it has the best color of any gold dollar from this mint.
DIE VARIETIES: There are two die varieties known.
Variety 3-D: The 1 and the 5 in the date show faint recutting. The date and the wreath appear heavily impressed. The R in DOLLAR is often flat.
There is often a clashmark from the top of the left wreath to the D in DOLLAR. Many show die cracks which can be very extensive on the late states.
This is the scarcer of the two varieties and it may represent the 3,147 pieces struck in February, 1851.
Variety 3-E: The date and wreath are heavy but not as much so as on variety 3-D. This is probably the result of die lapping or die wear. The 1 in the date is lightly recut at its right foot. There is no recutting on the wreath or on the lettering. This variety is often seen with a die break from the rim to the left of AMERICA running through the wreath, the 51 in the date and the first L in DOLLAR.
This is the more common of the two varieties and it may represent the 6,735 pieces struck in June, 1851.