US Coins

Market Analysis: 1855-C Indian Head gold dollar

An 1855-C Indian Head gold dollar graded PCGS MS-61 realized $20,400 and is one of just six Uncirculated survivors recorded at PCGS.

All images courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

Collectors love the 1855-C Indian Head gold dollar as the only example of the short-lived Small Head type struck at the Charlotte Mint.

Most examples circulated, a fact that is perhaps surprising when one considers the tiny size of just under 15 millimeters in diameter and weight of only 1.67 grams that would seem to make them highly inconvenient in commerce. Of course, this was an improvement on the Coronet issues first struck in 1849, which had the same weight but measured a scant 13 millimeters in diameter.

The new thinner planchet introduced in 1854 proved challenging for the U.S. Mint, and many examples of the “Type II” gold dollars are poorly struck. The design was modified in 1856, which improved strike quality.

Even nicer About Uncirculated survivors of the 1855-C Indian Head dollar are rare. Heritage writes that they “are likely fewer in number than the certified population reports would suggest.”

The offered dollar, graded Mint State 61 by Professional Coin Grading Service, had an attractive, “original olive-gold patina, with hints of deeper orange and apricot hues on each side.” PCGS has graded only six Uncirculated examples with none finer. It brought $20,400.

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