What gold dollar coins are valuable? Gold dollar coins have captivated collectors for decades with their intricate designs and precious metal content. If you’ve inherited a collection or are interested in starting your own, you may be wondering what gold dollars are the most valuable.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: The most valuable gold dollar coins are the rare date/mintmark combinations like the 1849-C, 1849-D, and 1849-O. Early gold dollars and coins in pristine condition also carry high premiums.

Key Date Gold Dollars

1849-C Open Wreath Gold Dollar

The 1849-C open wreath gold dollar is one of the most valuable and scarce early issues in this dollar series. Featuring an open wreath on the reverse side with larger, bolder letters, this variety was replaced by a closed wreath later that year.

Only an estimated 15,000 1849-C open wreath coins were minted, and only around 100-200 examples are estimated to still exist today. This issue ranges in value from around $2,500 in G-4 up to $325,000+ for top MS-65 graded examples.

1849-D Gold Dollar

With only about 21,588 coins minted, the 1849-D gold dollar had an extremely low mintage, second only to the highly rare 1855-D issue. It is considered one of the key dates for the challenging Dahlonega Mint gold dollar series. Even well-worn specimens in G-4 can fetch $4,000 to $5,000 at auction.

Mint state examples with pristine surfaces sell for an astronomical six figures, making it a prize for specialist collectors. As one of the rarest early Southern gold issues with so few survivors, this date will forever remain quite elusive and valuable no matter the condition.

1849-O Gold Dollar

The New Orleans Mint struck a modest 215,000 gold dollars in 1849, the second year for this Southern branch mint. It has a lower survival rate than some other dates, caused by frequently poor striking quality and extensive melting due to heavy circulation.

There are only an estimated 600-800 examples known today. Well-circulated 1849-O dollars trade for around $1,700 and up, while MS-63 pieces bring closer to $70,000 at auction. A famous 1866-S No Motto Double Eagle coin sold for $2 million, showing these Southern Mint gold issues can be quite valuable among sophisticated collectors (source).

Other Scarce Early Issues

Other key dates gold dollars from the 1840s include the 1843 (4,000 minted), 1844 (6,500 minted), 1846 (24,000 minted), 1848 (15,000 minted) and 1849 (23,300 minted) issues. These early 1840s-1849 gold dollars had very small mintages and most were melted down, making remaining examples rather expensive and hard to find compared to later dates.

Condition Rarities

MS-65 and Better Condition

Gold dollar coins in MS-65 condition or better are quite rare and valuable for collectors. The MS-65 designation means the coin exhibits no major marks or wear and has excellent eye appeal. According to the Professional Coin Grading Service (PCGS), prices for common date gold dollars in MS-65 can range from $850 to $1,200 or more.

However, certain key dates, a variety of coins, and special issues in MS-65 command much higher market values. For example, the 1849 Open Wreath gold dollar is worth over $14,000 in MS-65. The 1855 gold dollar has an estimated value of around $4,000 in this grade.

And the rare 1856-O gold dollar is valued above $13,500 in MS-65 condition.

Proof Coins

Proof coins are specially struck versions with mirrored, frosty surfaces and extra sharp details. The US Mint intermittently produced small quantities of proof gold dollar coins from the 1840s to 1889.

Most proof gold dollars are extremely rare, especially in the finest certified grades like PR-65 and higher. Values range wildly based on date, mintage figures, survivors, and demand from series collectors.

For instance, the 1846-proof gold dollar has an estimated market value of around $13,000 in PR-65 condition. Meanwhile, the low mintage 1883 proof with just 39 coins struck sells for nearly $70,000 in PR-65. So proof gold dollars can be tremendously valuable in very high certified grades.

Designer Varieties

Type 1 vs Type 2 vs Type 3

The gold dollars minted from 1849-1854 have three major design types. The Type 1 gold dollars have the date very close to the base of the bust, with narrow letters and Liberty depicted with a headband. The Type 2 has minor changes, with the date moved slightly away from the bust and wider lettering.

The most noticeable difference is in the Type 3, with Liberty wearing a coronet rather than a headband.

Type 1 gold dollars are the most common, while the Type 3 coins dated 1854 and 1855 are more scarce. Collector interest has increased in the Type 2 variety recently, even in lower grades. The shifting date positioning and letter size differences require a keen eye to distinguish.

Checking coin grading guides like the Red Book or PCGS CoinFacts is advised.

1840 With Drapery Gold Dollar

In 1840 when the gold dollar was first minted, the coins depicted Liberty without drapery on her arms. However, later that year the dies were modified by engraver Christian Gobrecht to add drapery. This created a one-year type coin for the 1840 gold dollars showing Liberty With Drapery.

Only about 18,000 of these 1840 “WD” coins were struck.

High demand from collectors has driven prices over $350 even for examples in very worn condition. While lower mintage also contributes, this relatively scarce single-year design type fuels interest. Most 1840 gold dollars found today are of the more common No Drapery variety.

Authentication by respected grading companies like NGC is recommended for the rare With Drapery type.

Certified Coins

Collecting certified gold dollar coins can be a rewarding hobby and a potentially lucrative investment. Certified coins have been professionally graded and encapsulated by third-party grading services like PCGS or NGC to authenticate their condition and quality.

Benefits of Certified Coins

There are several key benefits to choosing certified coins:

  • Authenticity – The grading services authenticate the coins are genuine.
  • Condition – The numeric grade provides an objective assessment of the coin’s physical condition.
  • Protection – The tamper-evident holders preserve the coin’s condition.
  • Increased Value – Certified coins often command higher premiums when trading or selling.

Top Graded Gold Dollars

Some of the rarest and most valuable certified gold dollars include:

  • 1849-C Open Wreath The finest known example graded PCGS MS66 sold for over $172,500 in 2015.
  • 1861-D gold dollar Only a few exist and the finest is an NGC MS62 coin worth nearly $200,000.
  • 1870-S gold dollar – Only two 1870-S gold dollars are known to exist nowadays, one PR62 NGC example sold for $690,000 in 1982.

Key dates with especially low mintages like these can bring incredible prices when found in the top-graded condition.

Tips for Buying

Here are some tips for those looking to buy certified gold dollars:

  • Know the Sheldon Scale – Research the standard coin grading scale to understand the criteria.
  • Compare Prices – Check recent sales records to gauge fair market values.
  • Reputable Dealers – Purchase from established dealers with solid customer feedback.
  • Images and Descriptions – Review the grading service label, images, and descriptions carefully.

Taking the time to educate yourself before buying certified gold dollars is crucial. Condition rarities can mean the difference between a coin worth face value or one valued at many thousands of dollars!

Raw Coins

Raw coins refer to coins that have not been graded or certified by a third-party grading service. These coins are essentially in the same condition as when they left the mint or entered circulation. There are several things to know about raw gold dollar coins and their potential value:

Condition is Key

With raw coins, the condition is not independently verified by a grading service, so buyers need to assess the condition themselves. Well-struck gold dollars with minimal signs of wear and no major marks or impairments tend to command the highest prices even when raw.

Heavily circulated coins with significant nicks, scratches, or other damage have a lower value.

Grades Provide Guidance

While raw coins do not come with a numeric grade, comparing their appearance and quality against grading standards can provide a ballpark estimate. A raw gold dollar with subtle wear and no distractions might grade MS63 or MS64. One with heavy wear or damage could be VG, F, or below.

Such estimates help gauge potential resale value.

Rarity Matters

With raw coins, buyers need to ascertain the date, mintmark, and type. Scarce dates, lower mintage issues, and popular types like Indian Head and Liberty Head gold dollars have extra appeal and value vs common dates.

An 1854-S Indian Head gold dollar is worth far more than an abundantly minted 1858 Philadelphia issue due to its tiny mintage of just 268 coins.

Dealers Provide Guidance

Reputable coin dealers can help provide estimates on the grade, eye appeal, strike quality, surface preservation, and other attributes. Their expertise and access to trading records and price guides allow them to gauge potential wholesale and retail value ranges for raw gold dollars.

This allows collectors to pay appropriate fair market values.

Get Multiple Opinions

Since raw coins do not come with a guarantee of grade or authenticity, getting multiple opinions helps ensure an accurate assessment. Consulting several dealers at a show, reviewing images or descriptions on online auction sites, and checking price guides provide greater confidence in appraisals of condition and value.

What Gold Dollar Coins Are Valuable – Conclusion

Gold dollars make an exciting series to collect with many rare and valuable issues to discover. Focusing on low-mintage dates like 1849-C, D, and O is a good starting point, along with seeking out nicely preserved coins certified by NGC or PCGS.

With a little knowledge, you can find undervalued gold dollars and build an impressive collection over time.

Similar Posts