As with the 1893-O, 1894-O and 1895-O eagles, this is a date that is almost never seen above MS62 due to the fact that the majority of examples that weren't melted were shipped overseas and were extensively abraded as a result. This hand-selected example is from a small hoard of recently found 1892-O eagles and it was the single best coin due to its relative paucity of marks, good luster and nice orange-gold color.
After a 35 year hiatus, production of half eagles resumed at the New Orleans mint. Only 10,000 were struck and the 1892-O is scarce in any grade. But unlike the No Motto issues from this mint, the 1892-O is more of an absolute rarity than a condition rarity. Very few circulated examples are known and this date is most often seen in the AU58 to MS61 range. There hasn't been a slabbed AU53 example at auction since the advent of third-party grading and just two slabbed AU55's since 1987. The present example is orginal and pleasing with natural deep color at the borders ringing the lighter centers. This piece would grade at least AU55 were it not for an abrasion that runs from below the throat into the left obverse field. There are few US gold coins that are better value than the 1892-O and this is among the most affordable examples I've handled in years.
Clean for the date and grade with fewer abrasions in the fields than usual. The luster is frosty and the color is a nice blend of orange-gold at the centers and green-golod at the borders. Trends on this issue in MS62 recently shot up to $4,250 which makes no sense to me. The 1892-O eagle is almost impossible to find in grades above MS62.
The 1892-O is an historic and numismatically significant issue. It is the first half eagle produced at the New Orleans mint since the denomination was discontinued at this facility in 1857. Only 10,000 were struck and most were either melted or shipped to Europe. Of the 100-125+ that exist, virtually all are in the AU50 to MS60 range and show extensively abraded surfaces. The present example is far above-average for the issue and not far from the Condition Census for the date. It is vibrant and highly lustrous with intense orange-gold color atop scuffy surfaces. The obverse is more abraded than the reverse and both sides lack any of the mint-made stains or spots that are sometimes seen on 1892-O half eagles. The last comparable piece to sell at auction was Heritage 12/08: 2042, graded MS61 by NGC, which brought $4,600. This is the only 1892-O half eagle in this grade to have received approval by CAC and no finer pieces have received the coveted "green bean."