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):
One of the rarest of all D Mint gold dollars, and only the 1856-D and 1861-D had fewer auction appeparances in our 192 catalogue sample. In my own experience, however, I have certainly seen more examples of the 1854-D than I have of either 1855-D or 1860-D. Harry Bass would be the final authority on die varieites of this date, but all specimens that I can recall seeing had die striations on the reverse to the left of the mint mark. Strictly uncirculated specimens are extremely rare and the finest example that I am aware of is now in a private collection in Wisconsin. It is an MS65 coin and was sold by Paramount in early 1975.
Due to its very small mintage figure, the rarity of the 1854-D has been greatly overstated. In his 1965 monograph on gold dollars, Walter Breen estimated that only 25-30 1854-D gold dollars existed. While the actual number known is considerably more, this is still a rare and desirable coin.
The 1854-D gold dollar is most often found in Very Fine and Extremely Fine grades. It is quite rare in About Uncirculated and most of the examples in this grade range are not choice. This date is very rare in the higher About Uncirculated grades and it is very rare in full Mint State.
STRIKE: The 1854-D issue has an irregular and distinctive quality of strike. The obverse is considerably sharper than the reverse and it should be considered the major determining factor when grading this issue. The stars are small and very sharp while the hair shows strong overall detail. The milling is nearly complete on most specimens and shows good detail. The reverse is always seen with weakness at the left side of the wreath, the bow, OLLA in DOLLAR, and on the 854 in the date. The milling is blurry and indistinct.
SURFACES: A number of mint-made diagnostic marks can be seen on the surfaces of all 1854-D gold dollars. On this obverse, there are several raised die scratches around the stars. Large, raised die scratches can be seen on the reverse to the left of the mintmark and on up to the U in UNITED. Most show medium to heavy clashmarks at the center of the obverse. Since most 1854-D gold dollars were well circulated (and many have subsequently been cleaned or mishandled), it is hard to find an example which does not show either noticeable abrasions or hairlines.
LUSTER: This date has below average luster. Most are worn to the point that little–if any–mint luster remains. Those that still retain luster have a subdued, grainy texture.
COLORATION: Original, uncleaned pieces most often show pale rose-gold or light green-gold coloration. The 1854-D gold dollar has become extremely hard to locate with original color as most have been cleaned or dipped.
EYE APPEAL: While there are some attractive examples of this date, most have below average eye appeal. Many have been cleaned and the softly struck reverse makes this a difficult issue to accurately grade.
DIE VARIETIES: Only one die variety is known.
Variety 6-H: The obverse shows the die characteristics described above. On the reverse, the date is very large and placed high in the field. The 1 nearly touches a leaf and it is positioned between the D and the O in DOLLAR. The mintmark is fairly small and well centered.
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