I bought a pair of higher grade 1860-S double eagles at the recent Baltimore coin show and, in my opinion, this example is nicer than the other (a PCGS AU58) which I sold wholesale. This piece has deep, rich green-gold color with a good deal of remaining luster. It is somewhat weakly struck for the issue with plainly bevelled edges and a lack of detail (even for this issue) on the hair below the tiara. Still, this is a premium coin on account of its originality and I find the 1860-S to be an extremely hard issue to find with natural color and surfaces.
As with nearly all of the San Francisco double eagle of the Type One design (except for the dates that have had their populations swelled by Treasure coins), the 1860-S is a date that becomes progressively rarer as you climb the grading ladder. It is only moderately scarce in the lower to medium grades but it is a hard coin to find in properly graded AU58. Uncirculated coins are extremely scarce and almost all of the known pieces are MS60 to MS61 with deep, detracting abrasions. The present example is the single finest 1860-S that I have owned and it is quite possibly the finest that is currently available to collectors. The frosty surfaces are nearly free of marks and were it not for a few light lines in the left obverse field, I could see this coin grading a point higher. The reverse is amazing and grades MS63 to MS64 on its own. The combined PCGS/NGC population for this date in MS62 is just a dozen with a scant two coins higher. An MS63 would cost upwards of $50,000 if it became available. The last PCGS MS62 to sell was Bowers and Merena 11/09: 3856 which brought a reasonable $14,375 and only four PCGS MS62's have sold at auction since the beginning of the 1990's. A major opportunity for the serious Type One collector.
The 1860-S is one of the more difficult Civil War era Type One double eagles from San Francisco as it is not a date whose population has been swelled by significant numbers located in shipwrecks. This very lightly worn example probably saw very little--if any--circulation but it has a touch of friction on the high spots. The surfaces are very clean with the exception of a series of small abrasions on the reverse below the R in AMERICA. If you can find an average quality MS60 to MS61 example of this date, you are likely to have to pay around double the price of this nice slider and which, do you think, is the better value?
The short-lived San Francisco gold dollars are a neat, highly collectable set. All of these issues (with the exception of the ultra-popular 1856-S) are extremely scarce and very undervalued in Uncirculated. The 1860-S is certainly no exception and there were only 13,000 pieces originally minted. Most survivors are in the EF45 to AU55 range and in Uncirculated this date is very scarce. I have only seen one Gem (a PCGS MS65 that sold for $21,850 in the ANR 1/06 auction) and no more than two or three accurately graded MS64 coins. The present example is one of the few 1860-S dollars in Uncirculated with natural color and surfaces. It shows nice medium to deep green-gold and pale orange hues with satiny, unmolested underlying luster. There are no marks of note and the strike is excellent with the detail and appearance of a P mint dollar as opposed to one from the San Francisco mint. Excellent value for the savvy collector and a really nice example of the second-to-last gold dollar from this facility.
This is the final gold dollar from this mint until 1870 and just 13,000 were struck. Despite this low mintage and obvious scarcity, the 1860-S dollar is highly undervalued. This is a nice example with good details for the grade. It shows light amber-gold color with smooth, frosty surfaces and a sharp, even strike. The PCGS/NGC population figures seem highly inflated by resubmissions and this date is not often available. At just a bit over $1,000 how can you not love the value this coin offers?
Original and solid for the grade with even medium green-gold hues seen on the obverse and the reverse. A few small reeding marks can be seen on the obverse with one at the truncation and another inside of the first star. This date is not easily found with better color and surfaces than what is seen on this pleasing, affordable example.
Recently expatriated from Europe and very crusty with plenty of dirt in the recesses, especially on the reverse. This coin has enough body to grade AU58 but there is a very thin and easy to miss hairline on the obverse from the area between stars four and five on the obverse into the top of the head. The typical AU55 example of this date is bright and very heavily abraded. This piece shows nice orange-gold and rose color and lacks the dense abrasions so typical to the issue. Scarcde in properly graded AU55, very scarce in AU58 and very rare in Uncirculated.