One of just 3,178 examples struck and one of the scarcer issues in the Dahlonega quarter eagle series with fewer than 100 known to exist in all grades. This coin shows a good deal of "body" with unusual semi-prooflike fields on the obverse and, to a lesser extent, on the reverse. There is minimal wear seen below splashes of reddish-gold color and not much actual wear can be detected on the high spots. The only mark worthy of mention is a small obverse dig before the eighth star; the reverse is clean and choice. Weakness of strike at the lower portion of the devices on the reverse is commonly seen on this issue. This date is very rare in Uncirculated and with MS60 Trends at $17,000, the value of this nice slider example seems obvious to me.
This attractive Choice VF coin is perfect for a lower budget type collection and it is every bit as nice as many of the common date Dahlonega half eagles that I have seen graded EF40 by both services. Light greehn in color with some dirt in the protected areas. Good value at less than $2,000
Large D. Winter Variety 29-V. 1853-D half eagles are generally seen with two "looks." On most coins, the strike is soft and the rims are beveled. On a smaller number, the strike is sharp and the rims are fully formed. The present example is clearly one of the sharpest 1853-D half eagles that I have seen and it is as sharp as you would expect a Philadelphia half eagle of this era to be. The coin is very frosty with nice medium yellow-gold and orange color. There are a few small marks near the bridge of Liberty's nose; what appears to be a scratch from star two to star four on the left side of the obverse is mint-made. This is among the three or four most common dates in the Dahlonega half eagle series but it is rare in Uncirculated and very rare in MS63. There have been six auction records since 2000 in this grade but at least three are for the same coin. The last record of note is Superior 8/07: 953 (at $15,525) which was graded MS63 by PCGS. A word or two on value: in the recent Stack's Bowers November auction, an 1854-D half eagle in MS64+ (admittedly a nicer coin than this 1853-D but a comparable date) sold for a strong $49,450 while a pair of 1852-C half eagles (which are similar in rarity to the 1853-D) graded MS63 and MS63+ by PCGS both brought between $18,000 and $19,000. After years of neglect, the market for very high grade C+D half eagles is finally turning around and collectors are beginning to recognize the great values that these coins represent.
Large D mintmark. This coin has among the more interesting back stories of any D mint half eagle that I've offered for quite some time. I purchased it from a dealer in the United States who imported it from Europe. This dealer, who is extremely knowledgeable about U.S. gold coins, says that this is one of the very few Dahlonega pieces that he has been able to buy in the last few years. He added that both Charlotte and Dahlonega coins are almost never found in Europe, despite his careful scrutiny of tens of thousands of gold coins every year. Besides the neat story, the coin itself is pleasing with lovely multi-hued reddish-gold hues on the obverse and, more extensively, on the reverse. Both sides are lightly abraded and both show a good deal of natural dirt in the protected areas. The 1853-D is one of the most common Dahlonega half eagles but you could look for years and not find an example with better color than this
Large D Mintmark. This choice slider has good luster and pleasing medium orange-gold colors on the obverse and the reverse. The strike is somewhat above-average for the issue with less beveling at the rims than usual but some overall bluntness at the centers and on the radial lines of the stars. There is just the slightest amount of friction seen on the high points of the obverse; the reverse is fully Uncirculated and grades MS61 or better on its own. The fields are a bit scuffy with a few shallow marks seen on both sides. The 1853-D is among the more available half eagles from this mint but choice, original AU58 examples like this are not easy to locate. Personally, I'd rather have this coin in my collection than the typical rubby, dipped MS61 at nearly double the price.
I searched long and hard for nice Dahlonega half eagles at the recent ANA show and there were next to none available. This tells me that these coins are currently very popular and the collectors who have been buying them over the years have no intention of selling them anytime soon. The present example is solid for the grade with nice surfaces and pleasing rich green-gold color. There is some dirt caked into the recesses of the stars and through the lettering on much of the reverse. This coin would be perfect for the type collector as it is well-made and very affordable.