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Historic Proof 1875 Three Dollar Gold Piece

1875 $3 PR64 PCGS. In 1977, Walter Breen wrote in his Encyclopedia of United States and Colonial Proof Coins that the 1875 three dollar gold piece is one of the half dozen most famous rarities in American coinage. Today, these words might not seem justified, but just three years before, in 1974, an example of this issue sold at auction for $150,000, a price that rivaled many of the most important coins ever sold. Just a few months earlier, this same price was realized for an 1804 silver dollar sold in a private transaction. Thus it was the price a single coin realized that put this issue at the forefront of American numismatics, and this price record would not be broken until 1990. It is this same historical specimen that we offer today.
This is one of Breen's "Originals" that matches all of his criteria. Breen was fond of describing both original and restrike pieces for many different issues when he could not otherwise explain a high number of survivors compared to a given mintage. His die descriptions for many of these coins were taken from coins known to originate at the Mint, such as the Smithsonian or ANS coins. Breen's reasoning followed that any other coins, not matching these physical descriptions, must be restrikes.
A remarkable example, this near-Gem proof has exquisite surfaces with only a few insignificant blemishes. Faint discoloration at the leaf tip above the right side of the 3 aids in identification. Tiny flakes in the field remain from the time that this example was struck, and they also assist in pedigree research. In 1992, the cataloger for Superior Galleries must have been especially enamored with this coin, for he stated that it is: "A coin on the threshold of absolute perfection!" It truly is a special coin with its hazy yellow-gold surfaces, deeply mirrored fields, and light cameo contrast.
Ex: Grant Pierce (Stack's, 5/1965), lot 1262, $21,000; Charles Jay (Stack's, 10/1967), lot 287; Ullmer Collection (Stack's, 5/1974), lot 421, $150,000; Freeman Collection (RARCOA, 5/1977), lot 399, $70,000; Auction '81 (RARCOA, 7/1981), lot 418, $125,000; Ed Trompeter Collection (Superior, 2/1992), lot 118, $88,000.
From The Blowing Rock Collection.(Registry values: P8) (NGC ID# 28AH, PCGS# 8039)

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Auction Dates
November, 2006
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