Scarce in all grades, the 1853 Dahlonega quarter eagle is rare in Mint State and unknown any finer than the MS62 level, assigned by NGC to a coin we will be offering in Heritage Auction’sOct. 15-18 Dallas Signature auction. The latest Doug Winter reference pegs the number of surviving pieces in all grades at 85 to 105 coins — a figure echoed by PCGS CoinFacts, which suggests that under 100 pieces are known. Just 3,179 pieces were struck, and the major grading services have assigned grades to 115 coins, a number which doubtlessly includes resubmissions.
Heritage has sold MS62 examples of this date a mere three times — the last time in the January 2014 FUN auction, along with two examples in 2006.
This brassy-gold coin shows a minimum of marks for the grade, with a thin line of mint grease that passes through the right side of star 7 to Liberty’s hair. Some flecks of deep-gray build-up surround the stars, while soft mint luster glows from both sides. The obverse strike is unusually sharp at the stars, with the normal soft definition on the eagle’s legs and talons as well as the curls below LIBER as is always the case for the 1853-D. Neither NGC nor PCGS report a finer submission.
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