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):
This is the last O Mint gold dollar, and although only moderately scarce as a date, it is very difficult to obtain in full mist state. Generally softly struck (as are all Type II gold dollars) but both the planchets and the quality of striking are distinctly better for the 1855-O than they are for either the 1855-C or 1855-D. Also, full date specimens are more easily obtained.
The 1855-O is the most popular New Orleans gold dollar. It is the only issue from this mint that employs the popular Indian Head or “Type Two” design that was used from 1854 to 1856. It is also popular with gold dollar collectors because of its status as the final issue from this mint.
The 1855-O's status as a one-year type makes it popular with a collector base of gold dollar date collectors, type collectors, New Orleans specialists and collectors who like interesting coins. It is moderately scarce in the lower AU grades and visually pleasing AU58 coins are not easy to locate. It is scarce in the lower Uncirculated grades, very scarce in properly graded MS62 and rare above this. I know of three or four in MS64 and no Gems.
STRIKE: When compared to the 1855-C and 1855-D gold dollars, the strike seen on the 1855-O is better than one might expect. The obverse border is sharp with full denticles; the center of the obverse is not as well defined with weakness on the curls around the face and ear of Liberty. I have seen a number that were weak on the ERI of AMERICA. The reverse is not as well struck. The LL in DOLLAR is almost always weak, while the 8 in the date is usually not fully defined. The wreath is sharp with considerably better detail than that seen on the 1855-C or 1855-D.
SURFACES: Most southern branch mint gold dollars are found on very poor quality planchets. This is not the case with the 1855-O, which was produced on higher quality planchets which lack the defects found on the 1855-C and 1855-D. The typical 1855-O is found with strong clashmarks around the portrait and, most notably, at the center of the reverse. I have seen a number of examples that did show some minor granularity in the fields. For some reason, this is seen more often in the left obverse than anywhere else.
LUSTER: Around three-quarters of the 1855-O gold dollars have subdued, grainy luster. There are some pieces that have bold, frosty luster. It has become very hard to find these pieces as most 1855-O gold dollars on the market have been processed and now have a lifeless, artificial appearance.
COLORATION: The natural coloration is either a deep green-gold hue or medium orange-gold. There are not many 1855-O gold dollars left that have not been cleaned and stripped of their original color.
EYE APPEAL: There are a small number of very attractive 1855-O gold dollars known but most are off the market in specialized collections. The typical example offered to collectors is apt to show unattractive, stripped surfaces. Pieces that are original and choice should sell for a strong premium over average quality examples.
DIE CHARACTERISTICS: Some show strong doubling on the base of the U in UNITED. Some have a thin die break from the chin on Liberty to the N in UNITED. Depending on the die state, examples may show varying degrees of die lapping on the top of the wreath.
MAJOR VARIETIES: There is just a single variety known:
Variety One: The date is large and well spaced with the first 5 below the right side of the second L in DOLLAR and the second 5 below the A. All seen have a large mintmark that tilts slightly to the left.
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