There is a good case to be made that Charlotte gold dollars do not get the attention they should, and the 1855-C is one of many examples of this.
In fairness, the gold dollars from Dahlonega that tend to get the lion’s share of the attention are lower mintage and usually tougher. That said, if you try to find a nice Mint State coin, you might be surprised at how tough the higher mintage Charlotte dates can be.
While not very attractive, the 1855-C is important. It was the only Charlotte Type 2 gold dollar, with a mintage of 9,803. The total is still above the 1855-D, which had a production of 1,811. As a result, the 1855-D has received almost all the attention.
Certainly the changes for the 1855-C were not much better. It was, after all, 1855 and there were virtually no gold coin collectors. Even if there had been a collector getting a new coin from the Charlotte facility, it would not have been an easy task. As a result, a large part of the 1855-C mintage might simply have been retired or melted.
The number of known nice examples of the 1855-C is a very different matter. David Akers noted of the 1855-C, “Invariably the planchets and the quality of striking are extremely poor and the date and the word ‘DOLLAR’ are always weak. In fact the ‘8’ is almost missing on some specimens.” It’s not a pretty picture even before we consider wear the coin might have.
Today the 1855-C is priced at $975 in F-12 while an MS-60 is at $33,000. By comparison, the 1855-D is at $3,250 in F-12 and $48,000 in MS-60.
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At Numismatic Guaranty Corporation, they have graded 103 examples of the 1855-C with just eight called Mint State and none better than MS-62. The Professional Coin Grading Service total for the 1855-C is 110 coins, which makes a combined total of just over 200 without considering re-submissions. At PCGS, the number deemed Mint State is just two coins with the better being an MS-61. Ironically, the 1855-D has four coins called Mint State by PCGS.
The case cannot be made that the 1855-C deserves to be at similar levels to the 1855-D just because PCGS has seen a couple more Mint State examples of the 1855-D. The case can, however, be made that the 1855-C is a very tough coin in any grade and nearly impossible in Mint State.