Estimated grade. Ex. Gaskill; New Netherlands Sale (1957) Sold by David Akers Numismatics May '98 Price realized $28600
David Akers (1975/88): This is the lowest mintage coin from the Dahlonega Mint and also one of the rarest. However, the 1856-D, although it brings far higher prices than the 1854-D or 1855-D, is actually easier to obtain in high grade. There are several uncirculated pieces known, but I am unaware of any fully mint state 1854-D and only one uncirculated 1855-D. Nevertheless, this is a very rare and desirable date that is extremely popular due to its very low mintage. All specimens that I have seen are very poorly struck with flat stars, weak denticles and little or on detail on the head of Liberty or on the neck and right leg of the eagle.Doug Winter: The 1856-D has the lowest mintage figure of any coin struck at the Dahlonega Mint. It is also the only issue from Dahlonega which has a mintage of fewer than 1,000. It is the rarest coin struck at this mint in terms of its overall rarity but it very narrowly trails the 1840-D as the rarest quarter eagle from Dahlonega in high grades.
The 1856-D quarter eagle is very rare in all grades but it is a bit more available than its extremely low mintage figure would suggest. It is most often seen in Very Fine and low end Extremely Fine grades. It is extremely rare in About Uncirculated and only one coin currently exists which has been certified as Mint State by one of the two major grading services.
STRIKE: The 1856-D is the worst struck Dahlonega quarter eagle. It could also be claimed as the single worst struck United States gold coin from any mint or era. Every known example has a very flat, somewhat concave appearance. In fact, to many collectors and dealers, the typical 1856-D quarter eagle looks counterfeit. This is understandable when one sees a piece in person. The obverse is extremely soft on the hair and the word LIBERTY. The stars are poorly formed and flat with no trace of their radial lines. The denticles are partially visible but they have a rusted, irregular appearance. The reverse is even more poorly struck than the obverse. The eagle’s neck feathers are totally indistinct while the top of the shield, the right leg and the left claw are weak. The border is flat with the denticles from 10:00 to 2:00 often indistinct.
SURFACES: The quality of the surfaces is well below-average. Many 1856-D quarter eagles have a peculiar, pebbly appearance that make the coin appear as if it had been polished or used in jewelry. There are scattered areas of roughness on both the obverse and the reverse as well as areas of rust and/or roughness.
LUSTER: 1856-D quarter eagles are seldom found with mint luster. The few pieces which do possess luster have an unappealing dull texture.
COLORATION: Uncleaned, original examples tend to have medium green-gold coloration. Some show yellow-gold to orange-gold overtones. Very few original coins are known.
EYE APPEAL: The concept of eye appeal cannot be applied to this date. A few moderately attractive coins exist but most are very unattractive. Because of this, the 1856-D is the most difficult Dahlonega quarter eagle to grade properly. Even knowledgeable experts will be strongly divided on the grade of a specific piece.
PERSONAL OBSERVATIONS: The finest example that I have ever seen is an About Uncirculated-58 coin graded by PCGS. It is in an Alabama collection. This coin, while not sharply struck, is better detailed than most examples. More remarkably, it displays a considerable amount of luster and has a greater amount of life to the surfaces than I can ever recall having seen on an 1856-D quarter eagle.
DIE VARIETIES: Only one die variety is known.
Variety 19-M: On the obverse, the 1 in the date is equally spaced between the bust and the denticles. The 6 in the date is not close to the denticles. The reverse is the same as described for the 1847-D Variety 9-M with the addition of a die crack which connects the lower right side of the O in OF to the left base of the F in OF.