US Coins

Market Analysis: Rare gold dollar from Dahlonega

The 1861-D Indian Head gold dollar was produced under the authority of the Confederacy and perhaps 75 survive. This one in PCGS Extremely Fine 45 sold for $60,000 and has a strike-through error on the reverse.

Images courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

One of the lesser-known examples ranked by Jeff Garrett and Ron Guth in their book The 100 Greatest U.S. Coins is the 1861-D Indian Head gold dollar.

Struck at the Dahlonega Mint in Georgia, it was produced by the Confederacy in an unknown mintage of approximately 500 to 1,000 as estimated by Doug Winter in his 2013 reference on that Mint’s coinage. Of these, optimistic estimates suggest that 75 are known in all grades, and this one features light red patina on both sides and some striking weakness.

A straight “strike through” error is noted on the reverse as a diagonal line, the result of some object between the dies and the planchet during striking, and this is consistent with the uneven quality of the issue. Winter wrote, “The quality of the planchets used to strike these coins was not very high and this makes it easy to see why many have splits, cracks or other defects.”

The example in Heritage’s January Florida United Numismatists auction of the Schwenk Family 100 Greatest Coins Collection was graded Extremely Fine 45 by Professional Coin Grading Service and housed in an old “rattler” holder. It realized $60,000.

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