Estimated grade. Ex. Melish; Kosoff Sale (1956) Sold by David Akers Numismatics May '98 Price realized $8800
David Akers (1975/88): This is a very scarce coin and the last quarter eagle from the Dalonega Mint. As is the case with the 1857-D, a fair number of high grade specimens are known, and I have seen at least five or six that could legitimately be called uncirculated. Generally seen much more sharply struck than the D Mint quarter eagles of the mid-1850's.Doug Winter: The 1859-D is the final year in which quarter eagles were struck at the Dahlonega Mint. As with the 1857-D, this date is less rare than its small mintage would suggest, especially in higher grades.
The 1859-D quarter eagle is similar to the 1857-D in terms of its overall rarity and it surprisingly available in higher grades. It is usually seen in Extremely Fine or low end About Uncirculated. It becomes very rare in About Uncirculated-55 and it is extremely rare in full Mint State.
STRIKE: The 1859-D typically shows a better strike than the other Dahlonega quarter eagles produced in the 1850’s. The obverse center is usually quite sharp although it is not uncommon to see some weakness on the curls near the eye of Liberty and above the ear. The stars are sharp with many showing full radial lines. The denticles are slightly soft but most of them are distinct and individually separated. The reverse is also well struck. There is always weakness on the eagle’s right leg and left claw but the rest of the central details tend to be sharp. The denticles are not as sharp as they are on the obverse. The 10:00-2:00 area may be fuzzy and indistinct while the rest of the border is well detailed.
SURFACES: Many 1859-D quarter eagles have very heavily abraded fields. These abrasions are often concentrated in the obverse fields and they can be extremely detracting. Others have mint-made defects such as laminations or black grease stains in the planchet. This is a date where a smooth, clean example is seldom seen and such pieces are worth strong premiums over a “typical” quality specimen.
LUSTER: Uncleaned, high grade pieces have very good luster. Most are frosty but a few semi-reflective examples exist as well.
COLORATION: Original, uncleaned examples have been seen with coloration which ranges from medium green-gold to attractive orange-gold. There are not many remaining which have not been cleaned or dipped.
EYE APPEAL: There are some relatively high grade examples known. However, many 1859-D quarter eagles have inferior eye appeal.
DIE VARIETIES: One die variety is known.
Variety 21-M: On the obverse, the 1 in the date is close to the denticles while the 9 is very close to the denticles. The reverse is the same as described for the 1847-D Variety 9-M with the addition of a die break connecting the lower right side of the O in OF to the left base of the F in OF.