US Coins

Market Analysis: Tiny gold dollar’s price not so small

A tiny 1854 Indian Head gold dollar graded MS-66 with a green CAC sticker brought a big $64,625 at Legend’s recent Exclusively Legend auction.

Original images courtesy of Legend Rare Coin Auctions.

Nineteenth century gold dollars were made in three types. The tiny Coronet type measuring just 13 millimeters in diameter was struck between 1849 and 1854, followed by the larger 15-millimeter Indian Head dollar of the Small Head design (1854 to 1856, Type Two) and Large Head design (1856 to 1889, Type Three) types. Of these three, the Type Two is the rarest, and of the six issues within the type, the 1854 and 1855 Philadelphia Mint gold dollars are the most common. In top grades, however, these become rare.

The profiled 1854 Indian Head gold dollar, graded Mint State 66 by Professional Coin Grading Service with a green Certified Acceptance Corp.  sticker, is a stunning survivor.

In 1988 David Akers observed, “Many specimens show numerous clash marks on both obverse and reverse as well as a weakness in the LL of DOLLAR and the 85 of the date.” While the clash marks are seen on this coin, the date on the offered dollar is very well struck.

Legend praised the “fully booming luster,” and the “original enriched orange color,” while noting a few isolated scuffs that keep it from an even loftier grade. Legend wrote, “This is a VERY underrated Type,” adding, “This coin will be a stand out in any Type of collection it is placed in!” It sold for $64,625 on an estimate of $60,000 to $67,500.

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