Gold Dollar - In 1856 the Indian Princess design
was changed to a larger portrait with a shallower relief.
This change enabled most of the new Type 3 Gold
Dollars to be struck with strong detail. Since
many dates of the issue did not circulate well, most are
available in XF or better condition. After 1878, Mint State
coins are available because they were saved in quantity.
Charlotte and Dahlonega coins of this type are often found
with weak details and other problems. On all coins of this
issue the word LIBERTY is often affected by striking. So
are the two central numerals of the date and the ribbon
knot. Coins from the 1880s frequently have copper stains.
Many from 1860 onward have prooflike surfaces.
The Type 3 Gold Dollar
was designed by James B. Longacre. It was made to solve
the problem of weak strikes of the Type 2 Indian Princess
coin. While the design was similar to the previous issue,
Longacre lowered the relief and moved the obverse head so
as not to be opposite a reverse relief area. This coin is
called the Large Size or Large Head.
The Small Head gold dollar had a mintage
that ranged from a high of 783,943 in 1854 to a low of 1,811
for 1855-D. The Large Head gold dollar had as its highest
mintage 1,762,936 in 1856 and a low of 400 in 1875.
The 1856, Upright 5 gold dollar was made
using a half-dime logotype and an upright 5. Only a few
have been graded MS65 and better. They are rarer than the
Slant 5 variety. A total of 7 Upright 5s in MS65s have been
graded by both major grading services.
The 1856, Slant 5 variety is common in all
grades below MS65. In MS66 and above, 14 have been certified
by both services.
In 1856 John Brown and a group of abolitionist
settlers killed five settlers in Franklin County, Kansas.
Called the Pottawatomie Massacre, this was one of the episodes
in Kansas that happened before the Civil War and came to
be known as Bleeding Kansas, which was caused by the Missouri
Compromise and the Kansas-Nebraska Act.