While this date is only the second scarcest CC eagle from the 1880's, I see nice AU examples less often than I do the 1882-CC. Only 9,925 1884-CC eagles were struck and it is quite elusive in the higher AU grades. This example is very lustrous with yellow-gold color seen on both sides. There are some small surface abrasions, consistent with the grade, in the fields. The "scratches" on the neck of Liberty are, in fact, mint-made and they are seen on all known 1884-CC eagles. The last APR for a PCGS 55 is Heritage 1/11: 7111, which sold for $4,600. Carson City eagles are currently undergoing some strong demand and it has become hard to find interesting, PCGS-graded pieces for less than $7,500.
Battle Born Collection pedigree. The 1879-CC has the lowest mintage figure of any Carson City gold coin and it was traditionally regarded as the rarest eagle from this mint. Of the 1,762 produced, only four dozen or so are known. But in recent years, the popularity (and price) of this rarity has been trumped by the 1870-CC and now the 1879-CC is actually, in my opinion, extremely undervalued when compared to such issues as the 1872-CC, 1873-CC, 1877-CC and 1878-CC eagles. This is one of the more lustrous 1879-CC eagles that I have seen with very vibrant semi-prooflike surfaces that show virtually no wear. There are some contact marks in the obverse fields that are accentuated by the depth of the luster; the reverse has some minor nicks in the fields. I bought this coin in the recent Battle Born sale and thought it was an incredible bargain for a number of reasons. Firstly, I saw a PCGS EF45 1879-CC eagle recently sell for close to $30,000 and that coin wasn't close to the present example from a quality standpoint. Secondly, I saw coins in the Battle Born sale (like the 1878-CC in NGC AU58 which brought $80,500) that were not close to being as rare as the 1879-CC sell for significantly more. Remember; this is a date that used to sell for more than the 1870-CC and which is probably the second rarest CC eagle in terms of rarity. A very important Carson City eagle.
Formerly in the Battle Born collection (Lot 11029) where it brought $41,688; earlier sold to the owner of this collection by me in Augsut 2002.
This fresh-to-the-market example is remarkable for the issue as it is one of the very few 1879-O eagles that I have seen which has fully original deep natural toning. The obverse and the reverse both show deep green-gold hues that change to reddish-gold in the protected areas. The fields lack the deep, copious abrasions that are virtually always seen on this issue. There are flashes of prooflike surface within the protected area and the detail is excellent. Only 1,500 examples were made and this is the second rarest With Motto eagle from this mint, trailing only the 1883-O. In AU55, the 1883-O is now a $75,000+ coin (if you can find one) and a price ratio of around 3 to 1 makes sense for the 1879-O; an issue that was long priced at this ratio but which began to lag, price-wise, when the value for the 1883-O exploded a few years ago. At the recent Philadelphia ANA show, a dealer offered me an 1879-O in NGC AU55+ with CAC approval for nearly $30,000. I like the present example more. A very important coin for the advanced specialist.
There is only one (count them: one) legitimate overdate in all the Liberty Head eagle series: the 1853/2. This is an unquestionable overdate with evidence of the 2 clearly in the lower loop of the 3. I think this variety is clearly underrated and this surprises me, given the surge in popularity of this series. This coin is very choice for the grade with the appearance of an AU55. Unlike most 1853/2 eagles, it lacks serious marks and the surfaces exhibit a good deal of luster below light green-gold color. The last APR for an NGC AU53 is Heritage 3/12: 4106 but this coin was non-CAC and not nearly as choice as the current example. Terrific value for the collector who likes unusual coins.
CAC has approved three in this grade with five finer.
The 1841-O eagle is a significant issue for a variety of reasons. It is the first year of issue for New Orleans eagles and it has a tiny original mintage of just 2,500. It is the second rarest No Motto eagle from this mint in terms of overall rarity after the 1859-O but it is the rarest from the standpoint of high grade availability. It is unknown in Mint State and extremely rare in properly graded AU with less than ten known. While it is available from time to time in EF grades, most of these coins are dipped and very abraded with little or no eye appeal. This example has a great natural appearance with deep, even green-gold color. It shows very clean surfaces with fewer marks than normal and the strike is above average as well with good detail at the centers. In the recently-concluded Stack's Bowers 2012 ANA sale, a PCGS EF45 example of this date sold for $16,450 and I don't think it was significantly finer than the EF40 I am offering here for significantly less money. While prices have risen on this issue in the last few years, I think it is still very undervalued and I would buy an 1841-O sooner than later if you need one for your New Orleans eagle set.
Despite a low mintage of 10,630 business strikes, the 1868 is accorded just a small premium over a common date. It is certainly the most affordable Reconstruction era eagle from this mint but I find it fairly hard to locate and clearly undwervalued. This is a very appealing, high grade example with very original surfaces that show deep green-gold, orange and pale rose hues. A good deal of dirt can be seen on both sides. Great value for the savvy collector!
CAC has approved two in this grade with just three finer.
From the RYK Collection.
If a coin graded VF35 could be called a "gem" this would be it as the appearance is extremely pleasing. The obverse and reverse have an almost cameo-like look with the green-gold devices contrasted by deep russet hues at the borders. Unlike most San Francisco eagles from this era, the surfaces are remarkably clean and PCGS was pretty tough on this coin as it certainly seems to have as much detail as many other comparable coins from this era that I have seen in EF40 holders. Only 6,430 examples were made and there are probably fewer than 100 known in all grades. This coin is a wonderfully affordable combination of true rarity and great appearance.
CAC has approved just this one example in VF35 with two approved in grades higher than this.
From the RYK Collection.
The 1882-O is the most available of the three undervalued New Orleans eagles made between 1880 and 1882 but it is scarce and an excellent value. Only 10,820 were produced. This evenly worn piece has rich green-gold and orange colors over typical surfaces.
CAC has approved three in this grade with seven higher.
From the RYK Collection.
After the New Orleans eagle production soared to 263,000 in 1851, it dropped back down to 18,000 in 1852. The 1852-O eagle is tied for the fifth rarest of twenty-one No Motto issues from this mint and it becomes extremely rare in properly graded AU58 and above. I know of two or three in Uncirculated (the best is an NGC MS61 that is ex Byron Reed: 160 and it sold for over $30,000 back in 1996) and just three or four others in AU58. This example is oustanding for the date and grade with just a small amount of friction in the left obverse field keeping it from an MS61 grade. The surfaces are every clean with nearly no abrasions and nice medium orange-gold color. Very few examples in this grade have reached the market in the last decade with the last APR of note being the PCGS example sold as B+M 8/10: 1730 that brought $20,700. This is the best 1852-O eagle that I have handled in years and it will become an important addition to an advanced set of New Orleans eagles.