Prior to the discovery of the S.S. Central America, the 1857-S eagle was unknown in Uncirculated and extremely rare in the higher AU grades. It remains a scarcer date than the 1854-S and 1856-S and there are around 125 or so known from the original mintage of 26,000.
This fresh-to-the-market example shows lovely vibrant orange-gold color with more than enough luster to justify the assigned grade. There is really very little in the way of actual wear; the fields are a touch abraded from handling but the cheek of Liberty is rounded and it lacks distinct wear. The eye appeal is exceptional for the date and grade.
A PCGS/CAC AU55 1857-S eagle sold for $5,875 as Heritage 1/15: 3293; while lustrous it was dipped and not as choice, in my opinion, as the current example.
A really nice 1857-S eagle which will satisfy even the most demanding S Mint eagle specialist.
CAC has approved three in this grade with just one finer (AU58).