Estimated grade. Ex. Melish; Kosoff Sale (1956) Sold by David Akers Numismatics May '98 Price realized $12100
David Akers (1975/88): Invariably poorly struck at the denticles, although the head of Liberty and the eagle are usually fairly sharp. The 1853-D is very rare in all grades and is exceedingly rare in full mint state with no more than three or possibly four pieces existing in that grade.Doug Winter: The 1853-D quarter eagle is just a bit less rare than the 1852-D in terms of its overall rarity. It is similar in rarity to this date in higher grades (i.e., About Uncirculated and better) but the typical 1853-D is likely to be more worn.
The 1853-D quarter eagle is a very scarce coin which is most often seen in Very Fine and low end Extremely Fine grades. It is rare in choice Extremely Fine and it is very rare in About Uncirculated. This date is extremely hard to find in any grade above About Uncirculated-53 and only five or six fully Uncirculated pieces are currently known to exist.
STRIKE: The strike seen on the 1853-D quarter eagle is similar to that seen on the 1852-D. The obverse is sharper at the center than at the border. The hair is generally sharp except for the curls below LIBER which are often weak. The stars are softly impressed and appear poorly formed with very few showing their radial lines. The denticles are very weak from 7:00 to 1:00 but they are sharp on the remainder of the obverse. The collar used appears poorly matched to the obverse die and it is more narrow at the left than it is at the right. On the reverse, the wing and neck feathers are sharp while the right leg, the shield and the left claw mark are weak. The denticles are sharp from 12:00 to 6:00 and are very weak at the remainder of the reverse.
SURFACES: The surfaces are very heavily abraded and they have a scuffy appearance. Some show mint-made planchet problems such as laminations or grease stains. Many others have been severely hairlined from overzealous cleanings. There are two prominent die scratches on all 1853-D quarter eagles which should not be confused with scratches of non-mint origin. The first runs from the denticles and through the field to Liberty’s hair between the seventh and the eighth stars. The second runs from the denticles through the field to the hair between the ninth and tenth stars. These fade slightly on later die states but can be seen on all known examples.
LUSTER: Most are worn to the point that they have no remaining luster. High grade, uncleaned pieces have below average luster with a soft, frosty texture.
COLORATION: Original, uncleaned 1853-D quarter eagles have been seen with coloration ranging from dark green-gold to pleasing coppery-orange. As with most quarter eagle issues from this mint, it is very hard to locate an 1853-D that has most of its original coloration intact.
EYE APPEAL: This is a date which is very rarely seen with good eye appeal. This is due to the fact that most are heavily abraded, show inferior luster and are not well struck. An 1853-D quarter eagle with any degree of eye appeal trades for a significant premium over a typical example.
PERSONAL OBSERVATIONS: I have seen a small number of 1853-D quarter eagles with semi-reflective surfaces. This texture is completely different in appearance to the surfaces usually seen on Dahlonega quarter eagles from this era. These coins may have been struck immediately after the dies were (re)polished to remove rust.
DIE VARIETIES: Only one die variety is known.
Variety 16-M: On the obverse, the top of the 1 in the date nearly touches the bust while the left base of this numeral nearly touches the denticles. The bottom of the 3 is fairly close to the denticles as well. The reverse is the same as described for 1847-D Variety 9-M.