1850-O Gold Dollar - 1850-O Gold $1 NGC MS62. This rare, Mint State, Southern branch mint, gold 1850-O Gold Dollar is crisp and sharp looking with lots of remaining mint luster in protected areas. The coin is boldly struck with full details on Liberty’s hair below the coronet, on the wreath, and on the two central figures of the date. No wear is seen, as expected for an Uncirculated piece. The surfaces are original and clean for the grade.
James B. Longacre designed the Liberty Head gold dollar that was minted from 1849 to 1854. The obverse shows Liberty facing left. On her head is a coronet inscribed LIBERTY in incuse letters. Her hair is combed back into a hair knot. Loose hair encircles her head beneath the coronet, and several curls hang down her neck. Encircling her head are thirteen six-pointed stars. Dentils are near the edge on both sides of the coin. The reverse has an open wreath of berries tied in a bow at the bottom. A large numeral one is near the top. The word DOLLAR is underneath, and the date is below the denomination. The inscription UNITED STATES OF AMERICA is in an arc around the wreath. The mintmark is below the knot of the bow.
In 1844 Longacre was appointed Mint Engraver through the influence of Senator John C. Calhoun of South Carolina. After overcoming opposition by the Chief Coiner, Franklin Peale, who was fearful that the new Engraver would interfere with his illegal medal manufacturing business using the Mint facilities, Longacre did well. He was responsible for creating many new designs including the Indian Head cent, the two-cent piece, the Shield nickel, the Liberty Head gold dollar, the Indian Princess gold dollar, the three-dollar gold piece, and the Liberty Head double eagle.
The New Orleans Mint was authorized in 1835 by President Andrew Jackson, hero of the battle of New Orleans. The bill that Jackson signed also authorized the mints at Charlotte and Dahlonega. William Strickland, a Philadelphia architect designed all three branch mint buildings. The New Orleans Mint building was made in the solid, bulky Greek Revival style of architecture. It was the largest of the three branch mints and located at major port of entry. Unfortunately Strickland did not account for the soft ground around the site. Because of it, the building had to undergo numerous repairs throughout its history.
Pre Civil War gold from the New Orleans Mint is rare because of low original mintages and low survival rates. In its population report, NGC shows 19 1850-O gold dollars in MS62 condition with 6 better. PCGS has 4 in MS62 with 8 better, and these numbers do not account for resubmissions or crossovers.