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."