The 1849-C Open Wreath gold dollar is one of the rarest and most valuable coins in the U.S. gold series. As Doug Winter states in Gold Coins of the Charlotte Mint (2008):
The 1849-C Open Wreath gold dollar is the rarest coin ever produced by the Charlotte Mint. It is the rarest gold dollar from any mint and it also ranks as one of the rarest gold coins made as a business strike issue. Despite an example having sold for a high six-figure price in the last few years, this variety remains underpublicized among non-specialists. Among Charlotte collectors, it has assumed near-mythic proportions.”
Two pairs of dies were shipped from the Philadelphia Mint to Charlotte on June 10 and 13, 1849. The reverse of these dies was apparently the Open Wreath type and coinage of gold dollars commenced on July 3, 1849. Director Patterson received two coins from the first delivery for his inspection and expressed his opposition to the design in his reply. Patterson notified the Charlotte staff that new dies were being sent and included two examples of the new design, which were struck at Philadelphia, as examples of how the coins should look.