As the second most available Charlotte quarter eagle, this date gets no price premium for rarity which makes it ideal for type purposes. Speaking of ideal, the appearance of this coin is really attractive for the grade with rich natural coppery-reddish colors on the obverse which are contrasted by lots of dirt in the protected areas. This is the sort of a coin that was graded Choice EF even before slabbing started as it shows excellent overall detail and even has a hint of luster in the protected areas. It has become more and more difficult to find Southern branch mint gold coins of this quality yet the premium for this piece over a horrible processed EF45 is still only 10-15%.
This important coin has an interesting background and appearance. It is part of a small group of half eagles that was found in New England a short period ago. The stars of this group were an amazing pair of 1840-C (graded MS63 and MS64+, respectively, by PCGS) that were later consigned to the Heritage January 2011 sale. This 1858-C half eagle, which was also in that sale, was bought back by the consignor due to an overly-zealous reserve but it later sold privately and is now available at a more reasonable level than it would have taken to buy it at the auction. This coin has the body and skin of a virtual Gem but it has been net graded (properly) by PCGS due to some mint-made planchet roughness on the obverse and reverse; the most notable areas of roughness are on the left obverse field and the cheek of Liberty. The remainder of the coin is sensational with thick, creamy luster and virgin original color that tends towards a rich natural orange-gold hue. As a date, the 1858-C is common in circulated grades but it is very rare and much under-appreciated in Uncirculated. I estimate that there are around a dozen Mint State coins known with the finest of these being Heritage 1/04: 3038 ($29,900; as PCGS MS63) that is now in an NGC MS64 holder. The Bass II: 1106 coin, graded MS62 by PCGS, brought $23,000 back in October 1999 and an NGC MS62 sold for $18,975 in the 2003 ANA auction. The aforementioned planchet roughness on this coin makes it a piece that is not for everyone but I think this 1858-C is one of the very finest known and you aren't likely to ever see a fresher example.