Mintage: 120 Proof: 20

Images (Courtesy of Teletrade)

PCGS VF30 Obverse Reverse

Type: 6e

Recommended Grade: Not Recommended!

The 1875 Eagle has perhaps the lowest recorded business strike mintage of any U.S. coin, at just 100 pieces. Gold coins were not commonly collected at the time, and the $10 face value was too high to save as a keepsake, so most have been lost to the ravages of time.

However, there always seems to be a few 1875 Eagles on the market at any given time. The catch is that they are typically offered at between $50,000 and $150,000, depending upon grade. These coins are usually circulated, grading from VF30 and AU53. At the time of writing (2/28/98), Heritage had just auctioned a PCGS VF30 in the January FUN auction, which apparently went into their inventory and was offered at $55,000. National Gold Exchange has a 1875 PR45 in their inventory, and National Coin has an AU53 they are selling. Another 1875 is in an upcoming Bowers & Merena auction, a PCGS AU50 in lot 2207 of their Boys Town sale.

Since the 1875 Eagle is always available, why is it so expensive, compared to other dates such as the 1864-S that may be of equal rarity. It is the mintage, which implies that only a few examples exist. But given the number of circulated 1875 Eagles that surface annually, there are probably as many as twenty survivors in circulated condition, along with less than ten non-impaired proofs. It wouldn't surprise me if the reported mintage is incorrect, and more than 120 total were issued.

Indeed, the proof specimens are much more desirable than the circulated examples. They are tightly held and rarely appear on the market. The only example that has appeared on the market in the last five years is the Byron Reed proof, which the city of Omaha, Nebraska had held for the past century.

If you are independently wealthy and are collecting Liberty Eagles, by all means purchase a choice proof for a few hundred thousand dollars when one appears miraculously for sale. Everyone else should avoid such a speculative, frustrating, over-rated and expensive coin, and use the funds instead to build their collections elsewhere, as they will go much farther.

Auction results for 1875

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