1848-D $5.00 PCGS AU53

Variety 21-N. The 1848-D is one of the scarcer half eagles from the Dahlonega mint and it is very hard to find well struck and lustrous. This example, which appears to be from an early die state, has no clashmarks and good details even at the centers. There is a considerable amount of luster; enough, in fact, to suggest an AU55 grade were it not for some small scuffs in the fields. Not including this coin, only four PCGS AU53's have been sold at auction since 2000. When I work with collectors assembling sets of Dahlonega half eagles, the 1848-D is always among the toughest to locate.

Ex Stacks Bowers 2012 ANA: 12359 ($3,738), Keystone collection.

1848-D $2.50 PCGS VF30 CAC

I'm not certain that there's such a thing as a "Gem VF" branch mint gold coin but if there is, this example would qualify as such. It is evenly worn with very nice deep natural green-gold color that becomes iridescent at the obverse border; the reverse lettering is full of natural dirt. This piece would grade at least VF35 were it not for a small natural planchet flaw from star seven to the hair and a small dig on the rim above the tenth star. A choice, affordable Dahlonega quarter eagle that would be perfect for a collector just beginning to "get the bug" for Dahlonega gold coins.

CAC has approved this one coin in VF30 with just five finer for a total of six in all grades. From the RYK Collection.

1848-D $5.00 NGC AU55

The unheralded 1848-D is actually one of the scarcer half eagles from this mint and it is extremely hard to find with both original color and a sharp strike. This piece is really well struck with full definition at the centers and borders. Both the obverse and the reverse have nice natural green-gold color with splashes of russet in the reverse fields. There are a few small marks in the obverse fields and on the cheek of Liberty but this is among the better examples of this date that I have offered for sale in the last few years. Whenever I put together a nice set of EF-AU Dahlonega half eagles for a collector, the 1848-D is amongst the last coins that I am able to locate.

1848-D $5.00 NGC AU55

The 1848-D is not that rare a coin in lower grades but in properly graded AU55 and above it is actually one of the five scarcest half eagles from the Dahlonega mint. Nearly every known piece in higher grades is poorly struck, unoriginal or abraded (or all three!) and it is exceedingly difficult to find a sharply struck piece with good eye appeal. The present example is very well struck with no die lapping on the obverse or clashmarks. It shows flashes of luster in the protetced areas which are offset by rich lemon-gold hues on both sides. A few marks scattered here and there in the fields are consistent with the grade and this piece is really nice for the issue. The last AU55 examples to sell at auction were Stacks 3/09:5908 (encapsulated by NGC) that brought $4,888 and Heritage 11/07: 2027 (also an NGC coin) that sold for $3,594. Both were late die state coins with marginal eye appeal. If you collect Dahlonega half eagles, you are probably aware at how difficult it is to find examples of this date with good eye appeal.