1885 $3 Three Dollar, Judd-1753, Pollock-1966, R.8, PR64 NGC....
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Judd-1753, R.8, PR64
Finest Certified, One of Two Known
Design. The design is the regular-issue Indian Princess three dollar gold piece designed by James B. Longacre, but struck in aluminum with a reeded edge.
Commentary. As we have noted elsewhere in this catalog, aluminum was for much of the 19th century considered a metal more precious than gold, due to its highly reactive nature. When found in nature, it is generally found in one of its many dozens of alloyed forms. Only in the late 1880s and early 1890s did coins made of pure aluminum become more plentiful and widespread, as new means to separate the metal from its alloys were discovered and improved upon. The comparative rarity of aluminum at the time no doubt explains this pattern's R.8 rarity ranking. USPatterns.com notes that "although listed as a regular die trial piece, these were more likely deliberately struck for sale to collectors as part of complete aluminum sets." "Silver" dollars, quarter eagles, and the present three dollar "gold" pattern dated are 1885 are all known in aluminum, but this is by far the rarest of the three issues. The patterns website estimates that only two are known, including the present example.
Physical Description. The steel-gray and powder-gray surfaces are free of any discernible color otherwise, and there are only a few tiny contact marks noted in the fields. A small dark spot on Liberty's brow provides a pedigree marker. There are only two pieces certified, this PR64 NGC specimen and a PR63 PCGS example (10/08).
Provenance. Ex: Stack's private treaty.
From The Lemus Collection, Queller Family Collection Part Two. (PCGS# 62196)
Service and Handling Description: Coins & Currency (view shipping information)