The lustrous surfaces of this Gem display soft golden-tan and violet patina that assumes slightly deeper hues on the reverse. The design elements are sharply struck, including Liberty's head and foot, the shield, the star radials, and the wreath. The date digits 18 are soft, but even these elements are better-defined than typically seen on this issue. A few minute marks on the left (facing) shoulder are within the parameters of the grade and serve to identify the coin.
As with the 1853 No Arrows half dime, most of the 1853-O was melted. This date is very scarce in circulated grades and extremely rare in Mint State. In his Consignor Commentary, Eugene Gardner stated: "To quote Al Blythe the date is 'extremely tough, rare in high grades.' R.7 in Mint State, and the pops bear this out. This coin is naturally toned and beautiful. The most interesting feature is how the obverse can be so strongly struck in the figure and stars, yet the 1 8 in the date is somewhat weak."
The 1861 Seated Liberty quarter has a mintage of close to 5 million pieces, as it preceded the suspension of specie payments. Philadelphia production declined annually thereafter until 1866, when a scant emission of 16,800 pieces was achieved.
As in 1863, the Philadelphia Mint struck only enough dimes to pay off bullion depositors in coin and to meet miscellaneous expenses. There is only a modest spread in value from low grades to Mint State, as few of these coins circulated. Most survivors are Mint State or close to it.
Two die pairs were used for 1864(P). Oddly enough, each pair coined both proofs and currency pieces. Many of the latter are somewhat prooflike or satiny. The example illustrated reveals strong die clashing, especially on its reverse.
The 1865 proof quarter dollar comes from a reported mintage of 500 pieces. As expected, the vast majority of these (about 280 coins) are non-Cameos.