Estimated grade. Ex. Salisbury (1958) Sold by David Akers Numismatics Oct '97 Price realized $3575
David Akers (1975/88): In my opinion, this date is one of the most underrated Type III gold dollars. In the 192 auction catalogues surveyed, the 1857-D was offered ten times less than the highly regarded 1860-D. Also, the total of only four Uncs. offered is just slightly more than one third the total of eleven Uncs. offered for the 1861-D. Every specimen that I have seen is very poorly struck, particularly at the upper reverse and on both the hair and headdress of Liberty.Doug Winter: Even though the 1857-D is valued comparably to the 1858-D and 1859-D gold dollars, it is much rarer. Along with the 1850-D it is the most underrated Dahlonega gold dollar, especially in higher grades.
The 1857-D gold dollar is most often seen in Very Fine and Extremely Fine grades. This is a rare date in About Uncirculated and most About Uncirculated coins are not very choice for the grade. It becomes very rare in About Uncirculated-55 and About Uncirculated-58 and it is extremely rare in full Mint State with just half a dozen or so currently known.
STRIKE: The quality of strike on this issue is below average. The obverse is the better struck of the two sides, but is still weakly impressed. The border is the sharpest portion with nearly full milling and mostly sharp letters. The top of Liberty’s bonnet is weak as is the hair, especially around the eye and ear of Liberty.
The reverse is very weakly struck from 8:00 to 1:00 at the border, the bow and knot and the lower right side of the wreath. The 85 in the date is always weak as is the OLL in DOLLAR. The milling at the lower reverse is surprisingly sharp.
SURFACES: Raised segments on the reverse, as seen on all 1856-D gold dollars, are present on examples of this date as well. This was not a carefully manufactured issue and some show mint-made planchet problems which range from minor to severe. It is unusual to find an 1857-D gold dollar without medium to severe surface problems as well. Many show serious marks while others have scratches or signs of abuse.
LUSTER: It is not easy to locate examples which retain luster. But those that do have surprisingly good luster. It is bright and frosty with an almost pillowy texture.
COLORATION: The natural coloration is most often a rich orange-gold coloration. Other shades seen include bright yellow-gold and light green-gold. Totally original coins are almost never seen as most have been dipped or cleaned.
EYE APPEAL: Due to its poor strike and frequent planchet problems, this is an issue that can be best appreciated by knowledgeable dealers and collectors. Very few 1857-D gold dollars have even average quality eye appeal and most are decidedly below average.
PERSONAL OBSERVATIONS: Nearly all of the Uncirculated examples of this date that exist have been graded by the major services in the past few years.
This is the result of a combination of factors that include a loosening of grading standards from the ultra-conservative early years of third party encapsulation and a greater understanding by the services about the strike and surfaces characteristics of the 1857-D gold dollar.
DIE VARIETIES: Only one die variety is known.
Variety 9-L: The lettering on the obverse is very heavy with the A and the second S in STATES both filled. The reverse has a number of similarities to that found on the 1856-D, including the same mintmark punch, a filled O in DOLLAR and raised segments from 2:00 to 5:00.