1848-O Liberty Head Eagle. Winter-1. MS-66 (PCGS). CAC. Lovely orange-gold surfaces are enhanced by blushes of iridescent reddish-rose around the peripheries. The luster is full and frosty. The strike overall bold and more than acceptable for an 1840s gold coin from the New Orleans Mint. It is easy to see why this phenomenal coin is the finest 1848-O eagle extant.The New Orleans Mint opened for business in 1838 and over the next decade became vital to the United States coin supply, producing a variety of silver and gold denominations, although not necessarily all denominations in every year. In 1848 the New Orleans Mint struck only half dimes, half dollars, and $10 gold eagles. Production was fairly moderate for the half dimes and strong for half dollars, but the gold eagle mintage was quite small. Only 35,850 examples of what was then the largest gold denomination were struck there, compared to the year prior when 571,500 eagles were made. Southern gold coins of the Antebellum era tended to enter circulation and remain there until the Civil War drove them into hoards to await better days.The 1848-O eagle usually has a weak obverse strike often with poor definition on the high points of Libertys hair and a peculiar slightly sunken in look that sometimes lends itself to a less than average eye appeal on many examples. There are two reverse varieties known. Winter 1, as represented here, is identified by the noticeable punchmark on the third and fourth horizontal lines at the top of the shield and a grouping of die file marks above the eagles right shoulder and right below its beak. Winter 2 lacks both the die file lines and the punchmark and has some ever so slight differences in the lettering. The 1848-O is most available in circulated grades, primarily in EF or AU, and has even been seen in grades as low as Fine, a genuinely scarce if underwhelming grade for gold. The Pogue coin represents the finest of just eight Mint State examples estimated to survive by PCGS CoinFacts, corroborating Winters estimate of seven to eight Uncirculated coins. When one is found Mint State, it is almost invariably an MS-61 example or, very occasionally another of the lower tier levels. Gem specimens are more legend than reality with a solitary MS-65 reported at NGC and the present coin, the single finest reported. The next highest certified specimen at PCGS is a single MS-64+ followed by a pair of MS-64 examples. This coin is also among the finest known Type 2 No Motto eagles, tied with an 1861 and exceeded only by the almost unbelievable 1852 in MS-66+ that is also offered in this sale. This coin will soon be the centerpiece of another fine cabinet. From the D. Brent Pogue Collection. Ex our (Stacks) sale of the James A. Stack, Sr. Collection, October 1994, lot 1298; Warren Tripp; Spectrum Numismatics; our (Bowers and Merenas) Baltimore ANA Auction, July-August 2003, lot 4053.