The 1856-O Liberty Double Eagle (Buy on eBay) represents another famous rarity from the New Orleans Mint. The original mintage of just 2,250 pieces was immediately placed into circulation resulting in a small surviving population. It is estimated that between 30 to 40 pieces still exist. All surviving examples are in circulated condition with the notable exception of a single uncirculated coin which has been determined to be a specimen striking.
Most surviving 1856-O Double Eagles grade from Very Fine to Extremely Fine, with around ten pieces in About Uncirculated grades. The single known uncirculated specimen features an extremely strong strike and fully reflective fields which have led the coin to be identified as a specimen striking. The coin surfaced in the possession of the direct descendants of Charles Bienvenu, who was the superintendent of the New Orleans Mint in 1856. The reason for the creation of this coin remains unknown.
The specimen striking was graded PCGS SP-63 and initially sold at auction for $215,000 in 1995. After two additional sales at escalating prices, the coin most recently sold for $1,437,500 in 2009. The regular strikes have seen prices as high as $576,150 for an example graded NGC AU-58, which sold at auction in 2008.
- Designer: John B. Longacre
- Composition: 90% Gold, 10% Copper
- Weight: 33.436 grams
- Diameter: 34 mm
- Edge: Reeded