1864-S Coronet $10 Eagle

The 1864-S Coronet eagle is one of the most fascinating United States ten dollar gold coins, a denomination issued from 1795 to 1933. Low mintage, extreme rarity, and history… the 1864-S eagle has it all going for it.

In 1861, the first year of the Civil War, coin circulation largely came to a standstill as fear of the unknown led to massive coin hoarding in the East and Midwest, a situation that extended past the end of hostilities in 1865 and well into the Reconstruction era of the 1870’s. On the other hand, coins circulated freely in the western U.S. during this time.(1)

The San Francisco Mint’s mission in 1864 was to convert gold mined from the nearby hills into coinage as quickly as possible, meaning resources would be concentrated on the production of $20 double eagles. Nearly 800,000 double eagles rolled off the San Francisco presses that year. Eagles and half eagles took a backseat, with only 2,500 and 3,888 struck respectively, and zero quarter eagles.(2)

The small number of 1864-S eagles (as well as the 1864-S half eagle) were released into the regional economy where they served for decades, but there were no collectors to preserve examples for future generations to behold.(3) Approximately 99% of the 1864-S eagles perished and are gone forever, leaving a mere 24 surviving witnesses to the frontier of the American West.(4)

As one might expect for a landmark rarity like the 1864-S eagle, examples do not change hands frequently. However, between 2000 and 2014, the trading activity for this date was strangely quiet.(5)

Some coin experts suspected an individual collector was quietly accumulating multiple 1864-S eagles, thus removing them from the marketplace.(6) With no selling data to update trends, price guide values for the 1864-S were “stuck” for many years.

These suspicions proved to be correct when the collector’s estate was liquidated in 2014. With renewed appreciation focused on this extraordinarily special coin, prices exploded,(7) only to adjust downward a bit for a couple years thereafter.

Since then, the 1864-S eagle has been surging on a high-octane fuel mix of rarity and strong demand from prescient gold collectors. Buyers seeking a high value coin with excellent price performance potential should add the 1864-S Coronet $10 eagle to their Want Lists.

Estimated survivors in all grades: 24
? The survivor estimate from PCGS represents an average of one or more experts' opinions as to how many examples survive of a particular coin in all grades. Survival estimates include coins that are raw, certified by PCGS, and certified by other grading services.
Learn more at PCGS.
PCGS Rarity Scale: 9.0
? The 'PCGS CoinFacts Rarity Scale' assesses the relative rarity of all U.S. coins, based on estimated surviving examples. The scale runs from 1.0 to 10.0. The higher the number, the rarer the coin.
Learn more at PCGS.
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1. Stack's Bowers Galleries.  1864-S Liberty Head Eagle.  Apr 2022 Auction.

2. Heritage Auctions.  1864-S $10.  Aug 2021 Auction.

3. Stack's Bowers Galleries.  1864-S Liberty Head Eagle.  Apr 2022 Auction.

4. PCGS.  1864-S $10 (Regular Strike).

5. Heritage Auctions.  1864-S $10.  Feb 2020 Auction.

6. PCGS.  1864-S $10 (Regular Strike).

7. Heritage Auctions.  1864-S $10.  Feb 2020 Auction.

**Many very fine coin dealers sell on eBay. At any point in time, there may be over one million search results for United States coins. This includes quite a few of the recommendations on our Key Date Coin List.

If you’re thinking about purchasing a rare coin, eBay is certainly worth a look. For your convenience, the links from this site to eBay are coded to bring up only coins certified by PCGS and NGC.

As is always, always the case, never buy a valuable coin from a seller whose trustworthiness cannot be verified. Learn more about this at our chapter Best Places to Buy Coins, which also has a section on doing business on eBay.

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Coin images by Stack's Bowers Galleries.