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1863 Gold Dollar
1863 Gold Dollar

The 1863 Gold Dollar is the first of a low series of Civil War dated gold dollars, which continued for the rest of the series as well. A total number of just 6,200 pieces were produced for general circulation, together with a total of 50 proofs produced for collectors who could afford them in the middle of the Civil War.

The gold dollar denomination is now one of the forgotten denominations. Introduced in 1849, the denomination was minted for 50 years in varying mintages. Except for the earliest issues up to the Civil War, the other issues were widely hoarded and did not circulate much. As a result, most of the pieces that are available to collectors in modern times are in AU and Mint State. The low mintages have created many rarities, and the 1863 certainly is one of them.

This issue is the scarcest gold dollar struck in the Civil War, although both the 1864 and 1865 have lower mintages. Presumably many pieces were melted either during or after the Civil War, and this issue is only slightly more available than the 1875, which is considered to be the rarest of all gold dollars with a mintage of just 400 pieces. Examples only occasionally come on the market, and gem pieces are of great rarity. In fact, this issue is much scarcer than lower mintage dates of the following decades.

Even though the number of gold dollar collectors is relatively small, pieces are still in demand for Civil War sets. However, the number of available specimens is very small, with an estimated 25-30 uncirculated coins known to exist. A limited number of AU pieces are available as well, but even when those are added this remains a very rare issue, and one of the scarcest Civil War gold coins in any condition.

The pieces that do exist in high grades usually have considerable eye-appeal, especially when they are struck from an early die state. Luster usually is very attractive, with semi-prooflike, subdued looks. Breen does not note the exact number of dies that were used for producing this issue, but does note that circulation strikes were made between June 24 and November 30. As the circulation strikes were made from leftover proof dies, it can be assumed that only one pair of dies was used for the full mintage.

These circulation strikes were made after the total number of 50 proofs, which were all made on March 23. One has to wonder if the only reason for producing circulation strikes was to keep the proofs from becoming true rarities. It is known that the Mint in the 1880’s, when silver quarters and half dollars were not need in commerce and produced in limited quantities, only produced circulation strikes to prevent the proofs to become ultra rarities. Although the time frame and historical aspect is totally different, this could also be a reason for the very limited mintage of these and many subsequent issues as well.

Of the original proof mintage, less than 25 pieces are still known to exist in all proof grades. These have always been regarded as true rarities, and priced as such. Most pieces lack frost on either one or both sides, making full Cameo pieces very are. Quality is usually average for the period, with most pieces grading between PR-62 and PR-64. Gems are scarce, and finer pieces are rarities. A NGC graded PR-67CAM is usually considered to be the finest known, and that piece sold for an amazing $34,500 in early 2007. Only a handful of pieces have been graded Deep Cameo, and the finest is a PCGS graded PR-65DCAM which sold for $20,700 in March 2008. Although this issue is still underrated compared to other Civil War dated coins, prices for this issue have slowly been moving upwards during the last few decades.

This is the definitive key date for a set of Civil War dated gold dollars. Premium quality pieces with good eye-appeal have fetched 5 figure sums at public auction during the last years, and they only come occasionally on the market. Any collector wishing to own a nice example of this issue, in any grade, should be prepared for intensive searching to find the right coin. When found, this will be one of the highlights in such a collection.



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1863 Gold Dollar - Information about 1863 Gold Dollar - Civil War Gold Dollars

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