Scarce Nearly Uncirculated 1851-O Double Eagle1851-O Liberty Head Double Eagle. Winter-1. AU-58 (NGC).This lovely near-Mint example reveals ample remnants of a modestly, yet appreciably semi-prooflike finish as the surfaces rotate under a light. Warm golden-orange patina throughout, the design elements sharply defined in the absence of significant wear. After a modest mintage of 141,000 pieces in 1850, the New Orleans Mint increased double eagle output to 315,000 coins in 1851. Clearly more gold from California reached the Crescent City in the latter year, the 1851-O actually boasting the highest mintage among New Orleans Mint double eagles. Perhaps not surprisingly, this is the most frequently encountered double eagle in numismatic circles. Survivors are scarce in an absolute sense, however, and particularly relative to those of many Philadelphia Mint issues of the era such as the 1851, 1852 and 1853. As with all early Liberty Head double eagle issues, the 1851-O is typically offered in circulated grades, most examples grading EF-40 through low end AU. Mint State survivors are exceedingly rare, most of which have survived purely as a matter of chance. There was no contemporary numismatic interest in these early double eagles, especially those from the New Orleans Mint. Writing in the 2004 reference A Guide Book of Double Eagle Gold Coins, Q. David Bowers asserts that only six to 10 Uncirculated 1851-O double eagles are extant. Recent finds in Europe and elsewhere have increased the total, but to a very limited extent. We believe that the current Mint State population of this issue is on the order of 20 to 25 coins, a paltry total that confirms the significance of Choice About Uncirculated examples such as that offered here for the advanced collector of Southern gold or Liberty Head double eagles.NGC Census: 74; 20 finer, 18 of which are Mint State (MS-63 finest).PCGS# 8905. NGC ID: 268J.Click here for certification details from NGC.