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.
This is the second lovely Uncirculated example of this conditionally rare issue that I have handled this year; earlier, I sold an NGC MS61 with a similar appearance as part of the Logan's Landing Collection. When you hear the grade "MS60" you typically think of a coin that is riddled with marks or which is characterized by some sort of flaw. This MS60 1847-C half eagle is fully original with attractive deep green-gold color that changes to subtle coppery-red hues in the fields when the coin is tilted towards a light source. The strike is razor sharp and the surfaces are extremely clean with just a few small, unobtrusive marks on the cheek and in the left obverse field; the reverse is clean, choice and would grade at least MS62 on its own. This is one of fewer than a dozen known examples in Uncirculated and it is certainly one of just a tiny handful that are totally original.