Only 1,760 examples were struck and this is the fourth rarest quarter eagle from this mint, trailing the 1856-D, 1855-D and 1840-D in that order. When available, the typical 1854-D is very poorly produced and it grades in the EF40 to AU50 range. This Choice AU example is original and very wholesome with undipped green-gold surfaces that still retain a good deal of dirt in the protected areas. There is enough luster and detail to suggest an AU55 grade and I think that this coin's conservative rating by NGC is more reflective on its originality than anything else. As always, the neck feathers on the eagle are weakly impressed but this is an impressive 1854-D with legitimately good eye appeal. The last AU53 to sell at auction was a PCGS coin (ex Heritage 5/07: 2234) that brought $13,225 back in May, 2007. Since 1998, only six 1854-D quarter eagles have crossed the auction block.
Large Mintmark variety. Many examples of this date are softly struck but this piece is a nice exception to that rule with good central detail and more sharpness than usual at the edges. The surfaces are clean and satiny with natural light to medium green-gold color. As this is the most common half eagle from this mint, it would make a great type example for the collector seeking a single affordable but reasonably high grade piece from this mint. CAC has grade approved just two in this grade with three finer.
The 1854-D is the rarest Type One gold dollar from this mint. Just 2,935 were struck and fewer than 100 are known today. When available, the typical 1854-D dollar grades EF or so and is characterized by bright, unappealing surfaces. This pleasing example is among the most original 1854-D dollars that I have seen. It shows lovely natural green-gold color with considerable reddish splashes on the obverse and, more intensely, on the reverse. The strike is excellent for the issue while the planchet is unimprovable with none of the imperfections that are so common to the issues. The population figures for this date at both services are severely inflated and give the misleading impression that this date is available in AU55. It most clearly as not. Want proof? There has been just one PCGS AU55 example sold at auction in the last seven years: Goldberg 2/05: 2129, ex Goldberg 6/04: 1047. This coin sold for $8,050 and $8,913, respectively, in a market that wasn't as interested in choice, rare Dahlonega gold dollars as is the current one. If you are assembling a set of gold dollars from this mint, the chances are good that you need an 1854-D. And the chances are even better that you won't find a more wholesome, original piece than this one.