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1875 Liberty Head Eagle Obverse     1875 Liberty Head Eagle Reverse


PCGS Nos: 8672, 8815, 88815, 98815


Circulation strikes: 100
Proofs: 20

Designer: Christian Gobrecht

Diameter: 26.8 millimeters

Metal content:
Gold - 90%
Other - 10% 

Weight: 258 grains (16.7 grams)

Edge: Reeded

Mintmark: None (for Philadelphia) below the eagle on the reverse

Images courtesy of Heritage Numismatic Auctions

None known or expected

The 1875 Eagle is one of the classic rarities in all of American numismatics.  Fewer than 20 examples remain of the circulation strikes, none of which are better than About Uncirculated.  The finest circulation strike examples graded by PCGS are 3 AU-53's.

PCGS has examined only eight of the Proof 1875 Eagles, the finest of which are 2 Proof-64's, 2 PRCA-64's (Cameo Proofs), and 2 PRDC-64's (Deep Cameo Proofs).

Significant examples:
PCGS Proof-64 DCAM.  Ex - Bowers and Merena Galleries "The Rarities Sale", July 31, 2002, Lot 846, illustrated, sold for $117,875.00

PCGS PR-64 (illustrated above).  Ex - the Trompeter collection - Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s Central States Numismatic Society sale, May 4-5, 2000, Lot 7796, "...a pair of identifying contact marks in the obverse field by stars 4 and 5, and several well scattered alloy spots, the most noticeable of which is located in the middle of the D in UNITED on the reverse", sold for $82,800.00. 

Recent appearances:
PCGS AU-50.  Ex - Superior Galleries' "Pre-Long Beach Sale" May 27-29, 2001, Lot 4139, where it was described as follows: "1875 PCGS graded About Uncirculated 50. Prooflike. Strong strike throughout. It matters not whether this has moderate or even heavy field abrasions since any 1875 Philadelphia Mint $10 gold piece is a fantastic rarity. A mere 100 business strikes were issued, along with 20 Proofs in the Proof Sets. Such minimalism ranks it as the lowest total of any regular issue United States gold coin -- not only in the Eagle denomination, but any U.S. gold coin. Auction records seem to point to the fact five or six business strikes exist plus seven or eight Proofs. That is all. A slightly better (AU53) appeared in our June 1997 sale as lot 1541 and a slightly inferior (EF45) was sold by Heritage in October 1995, but few others have recently appeared. (In PCGS holder 5702360).  From about 1866 through 1878, $10 gold coinage was very low, producing some of the most widely acclaimed rarities such as 1872, 1873, 1875-77 at Philadelphia, and 1870 and 1873 at Carson City. The former reflect banks' failure to resume specie payments (redemption in gold or silver of federal paper money substitutes) following the close of the Civil War. The latter, those of Carson City lineage, reflect political pressure since official orders limited Carson City's coinage, with said limitation being used as an excuse to close the Mint sooner than it might otherwise (1893). Most of the scanty output from the mints went to melting pots; probably not much over 1% survives of any one date or mintmark to this period, except for proofs, where the survival ratio is about 30% to 60%, reflecting that they went to collectors."

PCGS AU-50.  Ex - Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s "Philadelphia 2000 Signature Sale", August 6-7, 2000, Lot 7338, illustrated, not sold

PCGS AU-50 (illustrated below).  Offered at the October 2001 Long Beach Coin & Collectibles Exposition by Mid-American Rare Coin Galleries for $47,500

Sources and/or recommended reading:
"Walter Breen's Complete Encyclopedia of U.S. and Colonial Coins" by Walter Breen

"The PCGS Population Report, July 2003" by The Professional Coin Grading Service

Obverse of 1875 Liberty Head Eagle     Reverse of 1875 Liberty Head Eagle

Images courtesy of Ron Guth