1862 Gold Dollar - 1862 Gold $1 NGC AU55 CAC. Here is a Choice AU, Civil War dated 1862 gold dollar. Bright mint luster is seen within the devices of both sides of the piece. The strike is above average with full details on the ends of the most of the feathers, the central numerals of the date, and the bow knot. The surfaces are clean for the grade with no notable abrasion marks or other distractions. The light and dark shades of gold color attest to the coin’s originality. The CAC sticker confirms the grade and indicates that the coin is a premium quality piece.
Prior to gold dollars being issued in 1849, private minters supplied miners with a means of converting their oar and gold dust into currency. However, since the coins produced were variable in fineness and often counterfeited, a bill was introduced in 1844 for the government to make gold dollars. Mint Director Robert Patterson was opposed. He lied when he claimed that there was no public demand for these gold dollar coins. The truth is that Patterson did not want James Longacre making new dies because it might interfere with his friend Franklin Peale’s medal-making business that was being run out of the Mint. Patterson hoped that Longacre’s job would be abolished if new coinage was not needed. Despite Patterson’s objections, Longacre prevailed and made the new dies for the gold dollar. It became an alternative to the silver dollar.
The so called Indian Princess Head gold dollar was designed by James Longacre and minted from 1854 to 1889. The first, which is actually Type 2 because there was a prior Liberty Head gold dollar, was issued until 1856. The second Indian Princess gold dollar, Type 3, was minted from 1856 to 1889.
The Type 2 gold dollar showed a head of Liberty facing left wearing a stylized feathered headdress. It is inscribed LIBERTY on the headband. She is surrounded by the legend UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. The reverse shows an open wreath of corn, cotton, maple, and tobacco tied below with a bow. The wreath encircles the denomination, 1 DOLLAR, and the date. The problem with the coin was that it did not strike up well. In fact mint state examples looked worn and, in some cases, so circulated that the date could not be read on the coin. This problem most affected the branch mint issues, which Longacre did not get to see until afterwards. The proofs that he saw did not have this as a problem. To remedy this situation, Longacre designed the Type 3 gold dollar. 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.
Desired as an authentic artifact, the 1862 gold dollar makes an excellent Civil War type coin. In its population report, as of July 2013, CAC has confirmed 4 1862 gold dollars at the AU55 grade level.
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