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.
David Akers (1975/88):
Despite its significantly higher mintage, the 1850-O is very nearly as difficult to obtain as the 1850-D. The auction data clearly shows that nearly two thirds of the available specimens grade VF or less, and AU or uncirculated pieces are extremely elusive. This coin is invariably weakly struck in the center of both obverse and reverse. Very underrated in choice condition.
The 1850-O is a bit less rare than the 1846-O but more rare than the 1847-O. It is similar in high grade rarity to both dates but it is actually rarer above the MS60 to MS61 range.
The 1850-O quarter eagle is most often seen in EF40 to AU50 grades. It is scarce in the higher AU grades and quite rare in Uncirculated. Most of the Uncirculated pieces I have seen grade MS60 to MS61 and this issue is very rare in MS62 or better. I have personally seen three coins that are better than MS62 and all are in private collections.
STRIKE: The 1850-O is among the most difficult New Orleans quarter eagles to find with a good strike. Most are very weakly impressed at the centers and have an almost “sunken” appearance. On the obverse there is considerable weakness on the curls below and behind the ear and many of the stars are flat at the centers. The reverse typically has noticeable weakness on the eagle’s right leg and claw and on the neck feathers. I have never seen a fully struck example and only a small number that showed even an average amount of detail at the centers.
SURFACES: The surfaces on this issue are often characterized by the presence of heavy abrasions. Many also show scratches, hairlines or evidence of mishandling. Some have light to medium clashmarks at the centers. A few show raised die scratches in the fields. These are mint-made and should not be confused with detracting scratches or hairlines.
LUSTER: High grade 1850-O quarter eagles show excellent thick, frosty luster. A few are seen with slightly reflective surfaces but this “look” tends to be unattractive. Many have been cleaned or dipped at one time but there are more 1850-O quarter eagles with original luster than there are other New Orleans quarter eagles of this era.
COLORATION: The natural coloration is a medium to deep green-gold. It is not easy to locate a piece that has good color but a few high grade coins are known that exhibit attractive deep shades.
EYE APPEAL: The level of eye appeal for this date is generally below average. This is primarily on account of the weakness of strike described above. There are some very attractive pieces known but these tend to show weakness of strike. Ironically, the few comparably well struck pieces I have seen tend to be grainy, slightly prooflike coins with poor overall eye appeal.
DIE CHARACTERISTICS: The first star shows some minor doubling on the southern and northwestern points. There is some light doubling on the southern point of the second star.
DIE VARIETIES: There are six die varieties known. They are as follows:
Variety One: The 1 in the date is close to the neck but it does not touch it; the 0 in the date nearly touches the neck. The fraction bar is totally to the left of the mintmark.
Variety Two: The date is very high and it slants down to the right. The 1 touches the base of the neck while the 0 is distant. The mintmark is high and to the left of the center over the fraction and it is thicker on the right side than on the left.
Variety Three: The date is lower with the 1 and the 0 both far from the neck. It has an arched appearance and it is placed further to the right than on any other obverse of this year. The mintmark is very heavy and is placed totally to the left of the fraction bar.
Variety Four: The date is position similarly to that seen on Variety Three but the underside of the 5 shows strong doubling. The mintmark is positioned directly above the fraction bar. On this variety, the strike is often very soft and star seven is much softer struck than the other stars.
Variety Five: The18 in the date shows doubling; this is easily seen on early strikings but may fade somewhat on later strikings. The 1 is far from the neck while 0 is very close but does not touch. The mintmark is to the left of the fraction bar.
Variety Six: The obverse is the same as on Variety Five. The reverse is the same as on Variety Two.
It is possible that other die combinations exist which pair the obverses and reverses described above.
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