The Survival Estimate represents an average of one or more experts' opinions as to how many examples survive of a particular coin in three categories: 1) all grades, 2) 60 or better, and 3) 65 or better. These estimates are based on a variety of sources, including population reports, auction appearances, and personal knowledge. Survival estimates include coins that are raw, certified by PCGS, and certified by other grading services.
Numismatic Rarity converts the Survival Estimate for a particular coin into a number from 1 to 10 (with decimal increments) based on the PCGS Rarity Scale. The higher the number, the more rare the coin.
Relative Rarity By Type
Relative Rarity By Type ranks the rarity of this coin with all other coins of this Type. Lower numbers indicate rarer coins.
Relative Rarity By Series
Relative Rarity By Series ranks the rarity of this coin with all other coins of this Series. Lower numbers indicate rarer coins.
The 1850-C has the second lowest mintage figure of any gold dollar struck at the Charlotte Mint. From the standpoint of overall rarity, it is tied with the 1859-C as the second rarest gold dollar from the mint.
The 1850-C is among the scarcest Charlotte gold dollars. It is most often seen well worn with typical survivor grading Very Fine to Extremely Fine. Accurately graded About Uncirculated examples are very scarce and coins in the upper end of the range are rare. This is a very rare dare in properly graded Uncirculated...
STRIKE: More often than not, the 1850-C is found with a weak strike. On the obverse, the hair near the ear and above the eye is often flat. The rest of the hair is sharper although the top of the head may be weak as well. The stars are mostly flat with some showing partial definition missing altogether. The reverse is somewhat better stuck. The upper part of the wreath is well detailed while the lower part is weaker. The denomination and the value are sharp while the date is found either sharply or weakly impressed.
SURFACES: Many 1850-C gold dollars are found struck on granular planchets. This granularity is most often seen in the obverse field and, less often, around the value of the reverse. It is not uncommon to find examples that have mint-made planchet defects. These are usually small and somewhat inconspicuous. On coins which do not have mint-made imperfections, there are sometimes a number of detracting marks in the fields.
The 1850-C is one of the most difficult Charlotte gold dollars to find with clean surfaces and any piece that is choice and relatively free of marks is quite rare.
LUSTER: The luster is often semi-prooflike with a slightly grainy texture. I have seen a small number of reflective examples including a least three or four that are almost fully prooflike. The latter are very scarce although they do not tend to command a premium when sold.
COLORATION: Original, uncleaned pieces show medium to deep-green coloration. Some show orange-gold or coppery toning. Locating coins with original color is extremely difficult as most have been dipped or brightened at one time.
EYE-APPEAL: The typical 1850-C gold dollar has below average eye appeal, a result of mint-made planchet problems. In addition, it is hard to find an example which has a sharp, even strike and which does not show detracting abrasions or hairlines in the fields.
DIE CHARACTERISTICS: Pieces are known that show obvious roughness below the bust. This appears to be the result of some foreign matter adhering to the die at the time of strike.
DIE VARIETIES: Only one die variety is known.
Variety 1 (formerly Variety 3-C): Due to the fact that pieces are known with both heavy and light dates, it has been assumed in the past that these are two different varieties. It is my opinion that there is only one variety and that the different styles of date merely represent a lapped die. The date is placed in the middle of the field and it slants slightly downwards. The mintmark is very small, low and a bit to the left of the center of the bow knot.
The so-called heavy date coins were probably struck before the reverse was lapped while the light date coins were struck after the coins were lapped. On late die state examples, there is a large comet-like die break on the obverse from the left side of the star at 4:00 to the border. These coins are rare.
David Akers (1975/88):
This is the rarest collectible C Mint gold dollar from the standpoint of total number of pieces available. Although there are nine auction records for this date in uncirculated condition, I have never seen one that I would call full mint state, and even AU's are very rare.
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