(for New Orleans, Louisiana) below the eagle's tail
on the reverse.
Like the 1851-O double eagle, the 1852-O double eagle
issue is readily available in circulated condition.
Most of the coins seen are Very Fine or Extremely
Fine. About Uncirculated examples make their way to
auction with surprising frequency. The issue becomes
much rarer in the higher states of preservation. There
are fewer than two dozen examples that have been certified
as Mint State. There were 20 examples in the S.S.
Republic hoard, of which only one is Mint State. Many
of the high-grade examples for the date display partially
prooflike surfaces. The finest example seen by the
authors has been the Dallas Bank Collection specimen,
which sold uncertified in 2001 for $26,450. The authors'
auction catalog notes indicated that the coin graded
MS-63. It has been reported that an MS-61 example
sold privately in 2004 for $25,000. Key to Collecting: The 1852-O twenty,
while scarce overall, is one of the more readily available
New Orleans Mint issues. After this year the double
eagles from this mint range from very scarce to very
rare. Most known 1852-Os are VF to EF, a familiar
mantra for all double eagles of this decade except
for some notable hoard coins (mainly from the San
Francisco Mint). Uncirculated coins exist, mostly
at the lower end of the spectrum, some likely to be
evaluated as high-end AU pieces by some observers.
Perhaps the finest known is the choice (MS-63) Dallas
Bank Collection coin described below. Aspects of Striking: High grade coins
are nearly always prooflike, from polishing of the
dies in the New Orleans .Mint workshop. Sometimes
lightly struck at the obverse center and at the stars,
but more often quite sharp. Due to multiple die pairs
and press runs, no single rule is applicable to all.
Some have somewhat beveled rims, as made. Die Data: Standard four-digit logotype
punch for this year. 6 obverse and 4 reverse dies
were shipped from Philadelphia to New Orleans. As
reverse dies tended to crack more easily than obverse
dies, this might indicate that some reverses were
still on hand from the 9 sent to New Orleans in 1851.
Following this logic, it would thus indicate that
in 1851, when 9 obverse dies were sent, many if not
most obverses remained unused thus yielding a usable
supply of serviceable reverses to be carried over
to the present year (1852). Logotype and mintmark
positional differences exist. Gold Rush Treasure from the S.S. Central America
(Christie's, catalogued by QDB, December 2000) Lot
83: "1852-O AU-58 (PCGS).... This is the single
finest example among five from die S.S. Central America
treasure graded by PCGS. Date logotype firmly impressed
and centrally located both horizontally and vertically,
left edge of lower serif over space between dentils.
From the same reverse die as the 1851-O double eagle
offered above." Realized $9,200. Dallas Bank Collection (Sotheby's
/ Stack's, October 2001) Lot 6: "1852-O Choice
Brilliant Uncirculated. A glorious coin, undoubtedly
the finest known: The Akers plate coin of which he
wrote, 'the finest O .Mint $20 I have ever seen was
an S852-O, a real gem that is now in a prominent Dallas
bank collection.' Rich color with smooth, virtually
blemish-free, satiny surfaces and splendid lustrous
cartwheels in die fields. Sharplv struck in the centers,
with all design details full, including the arrow
feath¬ers on the reverse, while Liberty's features
are well frosted." Realized $26,450.
Number of Appearances:
High Grade Condition Points: 45
Comments: The 1852-O Double Eagle is the second most
common O-Mint Double Eagle after the 1851-O. However,
it just might be the most common of the 13 O-Mint
issues in full mint state. At least I have seen more
uncs of this date than I have of any other, including
the 185l-O, and it is also the case that the finest
O-Mint $20 I have ever seen was an 1852-O, a real
gem that is now in a prominent Dallas bank collection.
Still, true uncs of this date must necessarily be
considered rare and the quality one is most likely
to find is VF or EF. As is the case with all the Type
I O-Mint twenties, most 1852-O's are semi-prooflike