1851 gold $1 coins are relatively common as a date type, thanks to a large load of pieces that were struck at the Philadelphia mint. However, the branch-mint pieces – most especially the Charlotte (C) and Dahlonega (D) mint coins are quite scarce and are much more expensive than the other two varieties.
Liberty Head gold dollars, designed by James B. Longacre, are the smallest coin that the U.S. Mint has ever produced. In fact, they measure just 13 millimeters in diameter – compare that to a modern U.S. dime, which has a diameter of 17.9 millimeters! What’s more, a $1 gold coin weighs in at a mere 1.672 grams – less than a penny, which has just 1/100th the face value. While these tiny dollar coins may actually be worth more than their weight in gold (the bullion value for these coins is quite small, and these coins are valued higher due to their numismatic worth), they can be had more cheaply than some of the larger gold coins of a newer vintage.
Here’s a breakdown of 1850 $1 gold coins and their values:
1851, 3,317,671 minted – $250
1851-C, 41,267 – $1,150
1851-D, 9,882 – $1,350
1851-O, 290,000 – $270
*Values are for coins in Fine condition, unless otherwise noted.
Be wary of buying unslabbed C- and D-mint gold dollars. Given how scarce they are in the market today, it’s possible you may run across counterfeit pieces. Insist on buying certified specimens of rare 1851 dollar coins whenever possible.