1883-O $10 MS (PCGS# 8701)

2009 February Long Beach, CA Signature US Coin Auction #1122

  • Auctioneer:
    Heritage Auctions
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Lot Description
1883-O $10 XF45 PCGS. The 1883-O eagle has the lowest mintage of any branch mint Liberty Head eagle, with only 800 pieces coined. Writing in 1980, David Akers believed this date was the second rarest New Orleans eagle, behind the 1859-O. Evaluating more recent data, Doug Winter states the 1883-O actually surpasses the 1859-O in terms of absolute rarity. In Gold Coins of the New Orleans Mint 1839-1909, Winter estimates a surviving population of only 35-45 examples in all grades. The great majority of these coins are in circulated grades, with Mint State specimens prohibitively rare. Winter remarks, "Accurately graded EF45's are rare, while AU50 to AU55 coins are very rare." Winter believes 14-18 examples survive in XF grades, with only six to nine finer pieces. Auction appearances of this issue were few and far between until the 1940s. One early appearance was in the Beldan Roach Collection (Mehl, 2/1944), lot 416. Mehl's description reads, "1883 Practically uncirculated with a semi-proof surface. Field slightly rubbed, but I believe as perfect a specimen of this great rarity as exists. Only 800 specimens struck in all. Catalogs at $300.00. The rarest branch mint ten dollar gold piece of our entire issue. Seldom offered. Certainly worth its full listed price." Clearly, Mehl understood the importance of this issue at an early date. Present day collectors should heed his wisdom and bid accordingly. This Choice XF example displays bright, brass-gold surfaces that retain traces of prooflike luster in the protected areas. All higher grade pieces show similar prooflike luster, a result of the extremely small mintage. Excellent detail is apparent on the devices, with the exception of flatness on the curl above Liberty's ear and on some of the star centrils. Both sides reveal evenly distributed circulation marks. This piece has none of the problems that Winter described for the 1883-O, with no heavy abrasions, planchet cracks, or laminations. It is a remarkable example for t
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