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Lot 3277


Image Information

Type Coin
Title Lot 3277
Date 1883
Side reverse
Grade 66
Service NGC
Service Catalog # 88047
Denomination $3
Description 1883 $3 PR66+ Cameo NGC. CAC. Numismatists and researchers have long questioned the utility of the three dollar gold denomination. They have argued that the coins too closely resembled the well-established quarter eagles and that they were convenient only for the exchange of three cent pieces or the large-scale purchase of three cent postage stamps. However, employing a more contemporary perspective and examining the popularity and commercial usage of three dollar bank notes provides insight into the rationale behind the establishment of the three dollar gold coin in 1854. Writing in The United States $3 Gold Pieces (2005), Bowers and Winter explain: {blockquote}"While early in 1853 the $3 gold coin had not been created, there was no lack of $3 paper bills. Indeed, this was one of the most popular of all denominations issued by the over 1,000 state-chartered banks in operation in the United States."{/blockquote} It makes sense, then, that a three dollar gold coin would catch on as a "hard money" replacement for the extensively circulated, though speculative and risky, paper currency. In reality, the coins never enjoyed long-lasting popularity, and mintages were perennially among the lowest of any denomination. Like other production totals from the 1880s, the 1883 claims a paltry mintage in both circulation strike and proof formats: the Mint struck just 900 business strikes and only 89 proofs. CoinFacts estimates that 60 proofs survive in all grades, while Bowers and Winter hypothesize that 55 to 70 examples are extant. Certainly, all 1883 proofs are rare whether the true number of remaining representatives is closer to the lower or upper end of that range. The NGC Census reports 32 Cameo examples certified. Of those, only four coins have been graded PR66, and this is the sole Premium Gem awarded a Plus designation, indicating that the coin is high-end for the grade and approaches the technical requirements for the next grade. Including all non-Cameo, Cameo, and Ultra Cameo proofs certified by NGC, only two coins are certified finer (8/14). The eye appeal of this remarkably well-preserved representative is nothing short of spectacular. A thick layer of mint frost covers predictably needle-sharp devices, exhibiting pronounced contrast against deeply mirrored fields. A bold wire rim encompasses the borders around each side, and the yellow-gold surfaces show areas of pale toning in the left-obverse field. Inspection with a glass reveals a few trivial ticks that serve as future pedigree markers. Locating a finer example from the short-lived and highly coveted three dollar gold coin series will prove challenging, if not impossible. Ex: Eric P. Newman Numismatic Education Society. Realized $70500.00. Description courtesy of Heritage Auctions.

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