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One per year US gold set (1834-1878)

Category:  Series Sets
Owner:  Desert Gold
Last Modified:  11/27/2012
Set Description
Collecting gold coins that were minted between the years 1834 and 1878 is both interesting and challenging for a number of reasons. As discussed below, the era between 1834 and 1878 is filled with fascinating historical events that directly impacted the quantities of gold coins that were minted, the denominations of the coins, and where those coins were stuck. While this era excludes the beautiful “old gold” coins that where minted in 1834 and prior years, it does include a number of very rare coins that are still relatively affordable. The main reason why there are so few surviving “old gold” coins is related to the rising gold price on the world markets during the 1820s and early 1830s. This led to the melting of American gold coins for their bullion content or their export to foreign countries. In order to rectify this problem, the United States Congress passed the Act of June 24, 1834, which reduced the authorized weight of American gold coins.

The gold coins that were issued after August 1, 1834 (Classic Head gold coins) were of lighter weight and therefore worth less in bullion value than their face value, so they remained in circulation instead of being melted or exported. Classic Head gold coins were produced in the quarter-eagle ($2.50) and half-eagle ($5) denominations between the years 1834-1839, and 1834-1838, respectively. Prior to the 1820s, there were no significant known sources of native gold in the United States. Therefore, the “old gold” coins were all produced at the Philadelphia mint using gold that was primarily obtained from melted foreign coins and jewelry, and bullion that was imported from Central and South America. However, in the 1820s, gold was discovered in North Carolina, which eventually led to the establishment of two new “gold only” branch mints in Dahlonega, Georgia, and Charlotte, North Carolina in 1838 to produce coins from the gold bullion found in those areas. An additional branch mint was also opened in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1839.

Later, Coronet-type (Liberty) gold coins were produced in the quarter-eagle, half-eagle, and eagle ($10) denominations between the years 1840-1907, 1839-1908, and 1838-1907, respectively. On November 13, 1861, in the midst of the Civil War, a Pennsylvania preacher named Rev. Watkinson wrote a letter to Salmon P. Chase, Secretary of the Treasury under President Lincoln. In this letter he expressed his concern that "recognition of the Almighty God" had been overlooked on the nation's coinage. He believed that proudly declaring such recognition "would relieve us from the ignominy of heathenism" and "place us openly under the Divine protection that we have personally claimed." His actions led to the addition of the motto “In God We Trust” to the half eagles and eagles in 1866 after the end of the civil war. Therefore, the half-eagle and eagle denominations can be further classified as “no motto” and “with motto” varieties for the years prior to and after the transition year 1866, respectively.
A new discovery of gold at Sutter's Mill, California in January 1848 led to further changes in the production of American gold coins. The vast quantities of gold being extracted in California were shipped to the Eastern markets where it was not only used to mint quarter eagles, half eagles, and eagles, but it was also used to produce three new denominations of gold coinage: gold dollars, three-dollar gold pieces, and double eagles ($20). The gold dollars were produced between the years 1849-1889, three-dollar gold pieces were minted from 1854-1889, and double-eagles ($20) appeared from 1850-1907. An additional branch mint was opened in 1854 in San Francisco, California to locally utilize the California gold. Because of its proximity to the mined gold, the San Francisco mint became the largest producer of the large and heavy double eagles. The large amount of gold that was mined in California meant that there was a record quantity of gold coinage struck in the 1850s.

Things changed dramatically after the start of the Civil War in 1861. In the South, 1861 was the last year that gold coins were minted at either the Dahlonega or Charlotte branch mints. It is estimated that approximately half of the coins that were minted in this terminal year at these two mints were struck when these facilities were under the control of the Confederate States of America. Neither the Dahlonega nor the Charlotte branch mint ever reopened for minting U.S. gold coins. Another southern mint that closed in 1861 was the New Orleans mint. However, unlike the Dahlonega and Charlotte branch mints, the New Orleans mint reopened in 1879 and continued its service as a U.S. branch mint until 1909. Because of their minimal gold reserves, the Confederacy had to issue paper currency (notes) that weren’t backed by gold or silver, but were only backed by good faith in the stability of the Confederate States of America. During the war, up to $60.00 in Confederate notes had to be exchanged to receive $1.00 in gold coinage. After the Confederacy was defeated, the Confederate notes became worthless.

The Civil War also had a large effect on the mintage and use of gold coins in the Union States. The Union Government’s attempts to finance the war with borrowed money led to the hoarding of gold and resulted in the disappearance of gold coins in circulation. This led to the Legal Tender Act of 1862, which authorized the Federal government to issue a paper currency that was not backed by either gold or silver for the first time. The notes that were printed with green ink became known as “greenbacks.” However, as was the case with the Confederate notes, the value of the Union paper notes was uncertain and fluctuated as a function of how well the Union forces were doing throughout the course of the war. A low exchange rate of $2.59 in Federal notes for $1.00 in gold was reached at one point during the war. Since in 1862 the U.S. Government no longer paid out gold coins, there was a large reduction in the number of gold coins that were struck at the Philadelphia mint after 1861. The situation was very different in the West. Gold coins continued to circulate on the West coast, and the mintage of gold coins at the San Francisco branch mint surpassed the mintages that were seen at the main Philadelphia mint after 1861.

Following the end of the Civil War in 1865, the U.S. government was left with massive debts that were accumulated from the borrowing that it used to fund the war. The U.S. economy really didn’t fully recover until approximately 1878. These years (1865-1878) are often referred to as the Civil war Reconstruction Era. At the end of 1864, the New York market price for gold was $42.03 per fine ounce, whereas the U.S. official price was only $20.67 per ounce. As the U.S. economy slowly improved during the Reconstruction Era, the New York market price for gold also slowly reverted to the U.S. official price of $20.67 per ounce, which reached $20.84 by the end of 1878. As the greenback slowly approached equity with the gold dollar, legislation was enacted stating that the greenback would be freely convertible into gold starting January 1, 1879. This helped to reestablish the faith of the American people in the federal currency, so larger denomination gold coins were no longer used much in local commerce. However, after experiencing the depreciation of Union federal notes during the Civil War, and being left with worthless confederate notes after the war, foreign merchants and bankers still required payment in gold. This led to greatly increased mintages of the larger denomination gold coins (i.e., $5 and greater) after 1877. So whereas gold coinage was widely used for commercial transactions prior to the Civil War, gold coins were mainly used for international transactions after 1877.

The discovery of silver in what is now the state of Nevada in approximately 1858 also played an important role in the history of gold coinage during this era. This discovery, which turned out to be one of the richest deposits of silver ore ever found, was called the Comstock Lode. Along with the vast quantities of silver, they also found lesser amounts of gold. The silver and gold from the mines were initially transported by wagons to the San Francisco mint where it was used to produce silver and gold coins. In order to avoid the problems associated with shipping the precious metals the long distance to California, legislation was passed on March 3, 1863 to establish a new branch mint in the Nevada Territory. Unfortunately, the ongoing Civil War and lack of sufficient funding delayed the opening of the new branch mint at Carson City, Nevada until 1870. This mint had a fair short life since gold and silver coins were only produced from 1870 to 1893, when the mint was converted to an assay office.

Set Goals
This set will eventually consist of 1 US gold coin per year from 1834-1878.

Slot Name
Origin/Country
Item Description
Full Grade
Owner Comments
Pics
View Coin 1835 UNITED STATES $2.5 1835 NGC MS 60 1835 $2 1/2 MS60 NGC. McCloskey-1, R.2. The legends, stars, eagle, and hair all exhibit bright luster, and although the upper reverse field has faint hairlines, both sides are impressively void of scratches. A worthy Mint State representative of this popular type, implemented by William Kneass with later updates from Christian Gobrecht.
View Coin 1837 UNITED STATES $2.5 1837 NGC MS 62 1837 $2 1/2 MS62 NGC. McCloskey-B, R.2. The lowest arrowhead touches A3, and there are three lines in each shield stripe. Seldom are examples of the 1837 seen in Mint State, but this is one such piece, with no trace of rub and a better-than-usual strike through the normally weak center highpoints. Seldom seen finer, as NGC has certified only four pieces finer and PCGS only nine.
View Coin 1839 UNITED STATES $2.5 1839 HM-1 PCGS AU 55 1839 B-6148. A very pleasing example, with nicer surfaces than usually encountered. Original lustre is present in the fields; there are minimal hairlines or handing marks. The central devices are sharp, with just a few obverse stars showing some flatness at their centers. A thin pin scratch is noted on Liberty's cheek and a few shallow scuffs are found in the lower left reverse field, another between ES of STATES. Winter refers to this date as "....the sleeper rarity of this series...." Worthy of serious consideration.
View Coin 1840 UNITED STATES $10 1840 NGC AU 58 1840 $10 AU58 NGC. CAC. A mintage of 47,338 pieces explains the conditional rarity of the 1840 at the near-Mint level. This is a refreshingly unabraded example with ample luster throughout the reverse legends. The strike is sharp except on the lowest stars.
View Coin 1841 UNITED STATES $10 1841 NGC AU 55 1841 $10 AU55 NGC. Well-defined with only minor rub on the high points. The yellow-orange surfaces are lustrous with the expected scattered marks as well as an abrasion on the uppermost arrowhead.
View Coin 1842 UNITED STATES $2.5 1842 NGC AU 53 One of numerous unsung rarities from the early Liberty Quarter Eagle series, the 1842 (just 2,823 coins struck) is highly elusive in both circulated and Mint State grades. This minimally worn, khaki-gold survivor retains some vibrancy to the surfaces in the form of remnants of a satin-to-slightly granular finish. Boldly defined from a well-executed strike, with mostly small, wispy abrasions from time spent in circulation. From the Horseshoe Collection.
View Coin 1843 UNITED STATES $2.5 1843 NGC MS 61 The 1843-dated (MS 61) Liberty Quarter Eagle is nothing short of rare in Mint State. Just over two dozen of this 100,546-piece mintage are known in BU at both NGC and PCGS combined, and thus this MS-61 example is assured of eager bidding at auction. Both sides present alternating brilliant and satiny finishes. There are scattered abrasions noted here and there, none of which are cause for alarm at this grade level and striking detail is solid. Free from copper spotting, this is a pleasing, early Liberty Two-and-a-Half.
View Coin 1844 UNITED STATES $2.5 1844 NGC MS 61 1844 $2 1/2 MS61 NGC. An original coin with sharp stars, all the central lines in evidence, and a well-detailed portrait of Liberty. Slight softness of strike is noted on the eagle, bottom left leg, and central neck feathers. Subdued but still-glimmering luster combines with exceptionally clean surfaces to produce a piece of considerable desirability--for it is among the lowest mintage pieces of all the early Coronet style quarter eagles, with a mintage at Philadelphia of only 6,784 pieces. In fact, only a few branch-mint issues exceed it in meagerness of original issuance during the 1840s. Its eye appeal, for the grade, is remarkable as it appears completely original. The bars of the eagle's shield conceal some ancient debris, as one would expect (or hope) to find. Not noted very often (for who gets to examine many 1844 coins?) is the fact that the digit 44s are slightly larger than the 18 digits, and the second 4 leans ever so slightly to the left. Regarding its rarity, years ago Breen called it "prohibitively rare" in AU, while the recently published tome on U.S. gold by Jeff Garrett and Ron Guth describes it as rare in any grade and "extremely rare in Mint State. Just one example in Uncirculated condition has been sold at auction in the last decade," they note. Obviously, this coin represents a major opportunity for the date collector to own a coin which, for most, is simply not obtainable.
View Coin 1845 UNITED STATES $10 1845 NGC AU 58 1845 $10 AU58 NGC. As is often the case with P-mint gold, the 1845 eagle is a somewhat-overlooked rarity that becomes nearly impossible to locate once the AU threshold is reached. Few examples are graded finer than the present example, which while moderately abraded, benefits from considerable luster accented in pleasing green-gold and reddish patina. Census: 7 in 58, 3 finer.
View Coin 1846 UNITED STATES $2.5 1846 NGC MS 61 The Philadelphia quarter eagles from this decade tend to be very overlooked but they are (with the exception of the 1845) rare in Uncirculated. There are probably fewer than a dozen 1846 quarter eagles known in Uncirculated and the finest of these, last sold as Heritage 9/03: 7704 for $21,850, was purchased by me and placed in finest collection of quarter eagles ever assembled. I have seen four or five examples in MS61 holders and none are even close in quality to the piece I offer here. It has superb frosty luster and lovely natural orange-gold color. A few tiny marks keep this out of an MS62 holder but it is fresh, original in appearance and clearly among the finest known. Personally, I prefer this coin to the PCGS MS62 that Heritage sold as Lot 2608 in their March 2009 auction (at $10,925). If you are an advanced date collector of Liberty Head gold coins, you’ll realize the importance of this offering.
View Coin 1847 UNITED STATES $2.5 1847 PCGS MS 61 Surprising MS61 1847 Quarter Eagle. Pale yellow, with hints of lime in the centers and orange along the peripheries amid traces of reflectivity in the fields. As usual for the date, the left (facing) leg of the eagle is softly struck. The surfaces are quite smooth for the grade. A die crack bisects the reverse, extending from the fraction along the right (facing) wing. Very scarce in Mint State.
View Coin 1848 UNITED STATES $2.5 1848 NGC MS 62 1848 $2 1/2 MS62 NGC. A sufficiently struck, well preserved, green-gold two and a half. Typical for the issue, the fields have a pleasing semiprooflikeness that show myriad die polish lines. When inspected with a loupe a minor planchet lamination is observed between stars 9 and 10, otherwise this mint-produced anomaly is not noticeable. From The Findley Collection.
View Coin 1849 UNITED STATES $2.5 1849 PCGS MS 63 1849 $2 1/2 MS63 PCGS. Although 1849 was the year of the California Gold Rush, much of that gold had not yet reached the Philadelphia Mint and so only 23,294 quarter eagles were struck. 1849 would be the last year of such a low mintage. The next year Philadelphia would strike 10 times that number, and in 1851 more than a million quarter eagles were struck. Examples of this issue are seldom seen in Mint State, and an attractive piece in MS63 is all the more desirable. Wonderful yellow-gold patina drapes each side, and the surfaces are exceptionally clean for the grade. The luster is particularly resplendent and shimmers throughout. The centers are a little soft, as typically seen, which keeps this piece from an even higher grade. A spectacular, conditionally scarce representative. Housed in a green label PCGS holder.
View Coin 1851 UNITED STATES G$1 1851 D NGC MS 63 1851-D G$1 MS63 NGC. Variety 3-E. It appears that the two varieties of the date, 3-D and 3-E, are about equally plentiful. The 1851-D is a scarce date, with a mintage of only 9,882 coins, although it is actually the second most available Type One gold dollar from Dahlonega.
This amazing piece is one of the finest we have seen, and ranks high in the NGC Census. It is fully brilliant with frosty luster, lovely light yellow surfaces, and sharp design details. Heavy clash marks are visible on both sides of this piece. Census: 5 in 63, 6 finer.
View Coin 1855 UNITED STATES $5 1855 S NGC AU 55 With the 1854-S essentially unobtainable (only three are known and the last example to trade brought $687,500 back in 1982), the 1855-S is really a first-year-of-issue for San Francisco half eagles. While 61,000 were produced, the survival rate is low and this issue saw considerable use in commerce, making it rare in properly graded AU55 to AU58 and exceedingly rare in Uncirculated. I have only seen one 1855-S half eagle in Uncirculated (a PCGS MS62 that brought $17,250 in 1999 as Bass II: 1077) and not more than four or five properly graded AU58's. The present example is completely original with pleasing natural orange-gold and light green colors over uncommonly unabraded surfaces. There is dirt in the lettering on the reverse and a good amount of soft, satiny luster below the aforementioned color. As with most of the pre-Civil War half eagles from this mint, the 1855-S is very undervalued and it would be hard to find a nicer example of this date.
View Coin 1856 UNITED STATES G$1 1856 S NGC MS 61 1856-S G$1 Type Two MS61 NGC. Breen-6044, with a normal mintmark. The obverse of this late state example has several fine die cracks in the fields. The normal mintmark and doubled mintmark varieties show relatively similar populations. This satiny Mint State piece has rich orange luster and a few faint surface marks. A wonderful example that will please the advanced collector.
View Coin 1857 UNITED STATES G$1 1857 S NGC MS 62 The 1857-S has an original mintage of 10,000 pieces, a limited total but one that is nearly three times greater than that of the 1857-D. Even so, Jeff Garrett and Ron Guth (2006) opine that the 1857-S is similar in rarity to the 1857-D (as well as the 1857-C). We believe that this issue saw considerable circulation beginning in the year of issue and that, furthermore, few examples were deliberately set aside before acquiring wear. Mint State examples are considerable rarities, even in lower grades at the BU level. In fact, the present MS-62 represents the finest in technical quality that most collectors can hope to acquire in an example of this conditionally challenging issue. Sharply struck with khaki-gold color and a bright, semi-prooflike finish. Scattered abrasions do little more than define the grade as none are singularly distracting.
View Coin 1858 UNITED STATES $5 1858 S NGC AU 55 Conditionally Scarce 1858-S Half Eagle, AU55. 1858-S $5 AU55 NGC. This is an appealing Choice AU example that looks surprisingly clean even under magnification. The satiny surfaces display light straw-gold color and just a few scattered abrasions. The '58-S half eagle is a rare issue that is virtually unknown in Mint State and extremely scarce in AU grades.
View Coin 1859 UNITED STATES $5 1859 S NGC AU 58 1859-S $5 AU58 NGC. An extremely rare date in higher grades, as nearly all of the 13,220 coin mintage entered circulation. The typical piece grades just XF, and NGC and PCGS have only certified three Mint State pieces. This nicely defined near-Mint piece has lustrous light yellow surfaces with splashes of rose and violet patina.
View Coin 1860 UNITED STATES $5 1860 NGC AU 58 1860 $5 AU58 NGC. Despite the Philadelphia vintage this is a low mintage, only 19,700 pieces produced. Light field chatter rather than singular marks characterize a short spate in circulation, but lovely orange-gold color and a good strike add up to excellent eye appeal.
View Coin 1862 UNITED STATES $2.5 1862 NGC AU 55 Deep rose-honey patina blankets both sides of this lightly worn, yet still overall bold-looking piece. Singularly mentionable abrasions are not seen.
View Coin 1864 UNITED STATES $5 1864 NGC AU 53 Prized 1864 Half Eagle, AU53 NGC. This Civil War-era issue of just 4,170 business strikes is conditionally rare at and above the AU53 level represented by this still-lustrous survivor. Strong striking definition has withstood the coin's modest wear, and while the orange-influenced yellow-gold surfaces show a number of light marks, the overall eye appeal is remarkable for the designation.
View Coin 1865 UNITED STATES $10 1865 PCGS VF 25 Rare 1865 Ten Dollar, VF25 - Like other Philadelphia issues struck between 1863 and 1873, the 1865 is rare. Only 3,980 business strikes were issued, and PCGS has graded just two examples finer than AU55. The present example appears sharper than VF25 since the bluntness on the curls near the ear is mostly due to the strike. Field marks are scattered and the canary-gold surfaces are mildly bright. Encapsulated in an old green label holder.
View Coin 1866 UNITED STATES $5 1866 S MOTTO PCGS AU 53 Deep honey gold with satisfying underlying lustre and fresh mint bloom in the protected areas. Tiny S mintmark. From the first year of the design type with IN GOD WE TRUST on the reverse; San Francisco produced both types of the date. Scarcer in AU or finer than the mintage of 34,920 pieces suggests. PCGS has only graded three finer specimens, all AU-58. A condition rarity, certain to generate strong bids. From the Eliasberg Collection; Earlier from Bowers and Ruddy's sale of the United States Gold Coin Collection (Louis E. Eliasberg, Sr.), October 1982, Lot 514; Barney Bluestone's sale of March 1941, Lot 415 at $8.80.
View Coin 1867 UNITED STATES $5 1867 NGC AU 55 Only 6,870 examples of this date were minted and the survival rate is even lower than one might expect for a Reconstruction Era gold coin. I believe there are fewer than 100 known in all grades and this is confirmed by the fact that there are just 34 graded at PCGS and another 53 at NGC (that’s 87 “grading events” which could translate to as few as 40-50 distinct coins). This slightly reflective example has typical surfaces for the issue but it lacks any of the deep, poorly situated marks that characterize most higher graded 1867 half eagles. The color is a light rose gold and there are vestiges of dirt in the protected areas of the reverse. The last 1867 half eagle in AU55 to sell was Heritage 2011 FUN: 6915 (slabbed by NGC) which was extensively abraded and inferior to this piece; it sold for $3,594. For under $4,000, this is a fantastic value as it is not far removed from the Condition Census and it is a legitimately rare coin in this grade.
View Coin 1868 UNITED STATES $5 1868 S NGC AU 58 Near-Mint 1868-S Half Eagle. Only Two Finer Coins at NGC. The 1868-S Liberty half eagle is a prime condition rarity, from a mintage of 52,000 pieces. This attractive near-Mint specimen shows just a touch of wear on the high points of the design elements, with lightly abraded yellow-gold surfaces and slightly subdued mint luster.
View Coin 1869 UNITED STATES $10 1869 NGC AU 55 A rare find in all grades, the 1869 Eagle has an original business strike mintage of just 1,830 pieces. Also conditionally rare at the Choice AU level, the coin that we are offering here would serve with distinction in an advanced gold collection. Even honey-gold color blankets both sides, the surfaces brightening to more of a medium-gold appearance when the coin dips into a light. Still sharply defined despite light highpoint rub, there are also no individually mentionable abrasions even though the surfaces present as overall scuffy from circulation. The 1869 compares favorably in the rarity category to other highly regarded Liberty Eagles such as the 1858, 1859-O, 1863-S and 1866-S Motto.
View Coin 1870 UNITED STATES $3 1870 PCGS MS 62 1870 MS-62 (PCGS).
A lovely specimen of the 1870 $3, with most luster still intact on both sides. Some handling marks as expected. Warm yellow-gold color. PCGS Population: 14; 8 finer (MS-64 finest).
View Coin 1871 UNITED STATES $5 1871 NGC AU 58 With the mints focusing on double eagle coinage, lower denomination gold pieces were largely ignored, hence only 3,200 half eagles were struck at Philadelphia in 1871. Many of that number saw extensive circulation, which makes this AU58 example one of a select few. This sharply struck piece exhibits lovely orange-yellow toning, and lots of gleaming luster in the fields. The surfaces show a number of light abrasions, but none are particularly noteworthy. A delightful, better grade example of this rare issue.
View Coin 1872 UNITED STATES $10 1872 S NGC AU 58 1872-S Liberty Eagle, AU58, Rare in High Grade. From a tiny mintage of 17,300 pieces, the 1872-S Liberty eagle is rare in high grade, and examples in AU58 condition are quite elusive. The present coin shows just a touch of wear on the well-detailed devices, and the lightly abraded surfaces display subtle mint luster.
View Coin 1873 UNITED STATES $5 1873 S NGC AU 55 The 31,000 piece 1873-S is scarce in most grades, and is virtually unobtainable in Mint State, where only one coin has been certified, an NGC MS61. The Choice AU example in this sale displays bright yellow-gold surfaces tinted with red, with traces of luster in the recesses. Generally well defined, with just a few minuscule marks.
View Coin 1874 UNITED STATES $10 1874 S NGC AU 55 Scarce, Low Mintage Issue The 1874-S Liberty Head eagle is a scarce, low-mintage date most often seen in lower circulated grades. Examples in AU55 are very rare and the issue is unknown in Mint State. The present coin shows light wear on the high points of the design, with most original detail still present. Significant mint luster remains on the lightly abraded surfaces.
View Coin 1875 UNITED STATES $2.5 1875 S NGC MS 62 Uncirculated 1875-S Quarter Eagle; Among Eight Finest Graded by NGC
Lustrous honey gold with rich rose and fiery orange highlights. Careful inspection reveals a Liberty quarter eagle that is easily worthy of another grading point, at least to the present Stack’s writer (who has been cataloguing Liberty gold here in NH since 1987). The strike is bold and the surfaces are free of all but a few trivial disturbances. From a modest mintage for the date of just 11,600 pieces, most of which became workhorses in the northern California economy of the era; the other issuing mint of the date, Philadelphia, produced a tiny circulation strike mintage of just 400 pieces! Among the eight finest examples of the date seen thus far by NGC and worthy of note as such.
View Coin 1876 UNITED STATES $10 1876 S NGC AU 55 Another highly elusive frontier-era gold issue that is unknown in Mint State, the 1876-S Eagle has an original mintage of just 5,000 pieces. An above-average survivor, this Choice AU is only lightly worn over bold, partially lustrous features. Richly colored in olive-khaki and reddish-orange shades, with mostly small abrasions that do not inhibit the eye appeal.
View Coin 1877 UNITED STATES $5 1877 S NGC AU 58 1877-S $5 AU58 NGC. This San Francisco issue is highly elusive in Mint State grades; only three such pieces appear in the combined certified population (3/08). This lovely near-Mint piece has shining lemon-gold fields that offer subtle reflectivity. The well-defined central devices exhibit just a trace of friction, and the surfaces are minimally marked overall.
View Coin 1878 UNITED STATES $10 1878 S PCGS AU 55 1878-S $10 AU55 PCGS. CAC. The low mintage and very scarce 1878-S is typically seen in XF, although a few Mint State pieces are known. This Choice AU example has a good strike and ample apricot-tinged luster. No marks individually detract.

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