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Stunning PR65 Ultra Cameo 1859 Three Dollar

1859 $3 PR65 Ultra Cameo NGC. The 1859 is the first proof three dollar gold issue offered for sale to the public, and also the first for which an official mintage is known: 80 pieces. This figure, however, has only a tenuous connection to the reality for today's collectors. As Garrett and Guth note in their Encyclopedia of U.S. Gold Coins:

"The mintage figures for Proof $3 gold pieces in 1859, 1860, and 1861 are the number of coins struck, not actually sold. In all three cases, an unknown number of unsold Proofs was left over and most likely destroyed. The number of survivors of each date supports a true mintage figure of about three-dozen coins..."

Garrett and Guth continue by noting that such a mintage would be in line with the stated mintages for 1862 and 1863 proof three dollar coins, at 35 and 39 pieces, respectively, by which time the Mint had become more attuned to the likely level of proof gold sales for each year.
While non-Ultra Cameo coins have been certified in higher numeric grades, there are no finer Ultra Cameo or Deep Cameo coins than this remarkable Gem; NGC lists two PR65 Ultra Cameo coins in its Census Report, while the PCGS Population Report shows no Deep Cameo equivalents in Gem (4/10). Leaving the population figures aside, this is simply a beautiful specimen. The canary-yellow frost of the exquisitely struck devices and the gleaming golden-black of the mirrors combine for spectacular contrast. A few tiny planchet flakes are visible, but not distracting, and while close inspection turns up a handful of hairlines, the overall effect is consistent with the grade assigned. A magnificent Gem that offers a grand opportunity for the discerning collector of 19th century proof gold.(Registry values: P5) (NGC ID# 289X, PCGS# 98022)

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Auction Dates
June, 2010
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 7
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