1857-O $2.50 VF35

CERTIFICATION#: -35160
PCGS#: 7784

Owner's Comments

Estimated grade. Sold by David Akers Numismatics May '98 Price realized $2860

Expert Comments

David Akers (1975/88): Scarce and decidedly underpriced, particularly in high grade. As the auction data indicates, the 1857-O is certainly more common as a date than the 1857-D, but the vast majority of specimens in our survey (fully 41 out of 57) graded EF or less, and I have actually seen as many high grade examples of the 1857-D as I have of the 1857-O. When the next unc. 1857-O comes up for sale at auction, it will probably sell at a relatively bargain price, simply because most people do not appreciate the real rarity of this date in choice condition.Doug Winter: The 1857-O is one of the more common New Orleans quarter eagles. It is always popular as the final issue of this denomination from the New Orleans mint.

At one time, the 1857-O was very rare in higher grades but a quantity was uncovered in the Jackson, Tennessee hoard in the early 1980s. These coins grade EF40 to MS62 by today’s standards and are characterized by bright luster and orange-gold color.

The 1857-O is one of the more available New Orleans quarter eagles. It can be found in circulated grades without much of an effort although original, properly graded AU55s and AU58s are becoming scarce. This date is rare in Uncirculated with most of the pieces known falling in the MS60 to MS61 range. This date is very rare in MS62 and extremely rare in MS63. I am aware of just a single coin that grades better than this.

STRIKE: The strike is nearly always somewhat weak at the central obverse with a lack of detail on the hair around the face and on the curl below Liberty’s ear. The stars may not show full radial lines but the denticles are very sharp. On the reverse, the strike is sharper with all areas usually full except for the eagle’s right leg, which is often flat. I have seen some sharply struck 1857-O quarter eagles and the collector should be patient when purchasing this date as a decently struck piece should become available.

SURFACES: As with most New Orleans gold coins, regardless of denomination, the surfaces on the typical 1857-O are heavily abraded. Some of the coins that were found in Jackson, Tennessee hoard show scratches or digs that were incurred during the excavation process.

LUSTER: The luster on this issue is above average for a New Orleans quarter eagle. Most higher grade pieces are very frosty with a somewhat grainy texture. I have also seen a number of semi-prooflike pieces with a good deal of reflectiveness. The Bass II: 494 coin was fully prooflike and had exceptional detail.

COLORATION: There are two distinctive colors seen on 1857-O quarter eagles. The one found more often is a medium orange-gold hue. On a smaller number of coins, the color is a medium to deep green-gold. There are enough coins with good color in existence that the patient collector should be able to locate one.

EYE APPEAL: The 1857-O has generally good eye appeal. It is an issue that is found with a good strike and there are enough decent looking, comparatively high grade pieces known to satisfy the current market.

DIE CHARACTERISTICS: The 8 shows a tiny notch out of the lower right side. This is a feature seen on all coins dated 1857, regardless of mint or denomination.

DIE VARIETIES: There is one variety known:

Variety One: The date is placed slightly low and it slants down to the right. The 1 and the 7 are both distant from the neck. The reverse is the same as on 1856-O Variety Two with the mintmark partially covered by the feather. Late die states show cracks on the reverse.

Diameter: 18.00 millimeters Designer: Christian Gobrecht Edge: Reeded
Mintage: 34,000 Weight: 4.18 grams Metal Content: 90% Gold, 10% Copper

Rarity and Survival Estimates

Grades Survival Estimate Numismatic Rarity Relative Rarity by Type Relative Rarity by Series
All Grades 275 R-6.5 96 / 147 96 / 147
60 or Better 18 R-9.2 86 / 147 86 / 147
65 or Better 0 R-10.1 1 / 147 1 / 147

Condition Census

Pos Grade Thumbnail Pedigree and History
1 MS64 PCGS grade  
2 MS63 PCGS grade  
2 MS63 PCGS grade  
2 MS63 PCGS grade  
2 MS63 PCGS grade