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1876 $3 PR64 Cameo NGC....

2013 January 9-14 US Coin FUN Signature Auction - Orlando #1181

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Auction Ended On: Jan 10, 2013
Item Activity: 5 Internet/mail/phone bidders
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Location: Orange County Convention Center
North/South Building
9400 Universal Blvd.
Orlando, FL 32819

1876 Three Dollar, PR64 Cameo
Very Rare Proof-Only Date
1876 $3 PR64 Cameo NGC. The 1876 three dollar gold, like the 1875 three, is a proof-only issue, produced in an unknown quantity estimated at 45 coins, according to the Guide Book. The coinage of 1876 is a predilection for some collectors interested in America's Centennial, and proof gold collectors will find their specialty intersecting with that in this delightful 1876 three dollar gold, certified PR64 Cameo.
Any proof three dollar gold piece is a rarity -- even more so than 19th century proof gold in general -- and as a proof-only issue, the 1876 approaches the status of "legendary rarity." For the hardy collectors assembling a complete year set of three dollar gold coins, for the 1875 and 1876 issues, a proof must be chosen. No business strikes exist.
Q. David Bowers, estimating a proof mintage of 65-75 coins, writes in The United States $3 Gold Pieces 1854-1889 concerning the 1876 proof threes:

"The 1876 $3 is in essence déja vu 1875 all over again. Only Proofs were struck, no coins at all for circulation. The Mint stated that just 45 were made, but many numismatists believe that a few more were coined and not reported. Similar to the 1875, the 1876 is a famous rarity. Indeed, it is the second-rarest Philadelphia Mint three dollar coin, but is not the rarest Proof."

Garrett and Guth go a step further, enumerating two deliveries of 20 and 25 proofs in February and June 1876, respectively, then adding that "an unknown number of additional Proofs were made at an unknown date from a different obverse die." Regardless of the exact number produced, the issue is in great demand for all of the reasons cited above.
This near-Gem Cameo proof is sure to incite spirited bidding when it crosses the auction block. It keeps company in this series with other important rarities, not only the very rare 1875 proofs but also the unique 1870-S. The surfaces are bright orange-yellow, with tremendous reflectivity and field-device contrast. The strike is full throughout both sides. For pedigree purposes we note a couple of tiny ticks behind the head, and a thin mark in the left obverse field, below the N of UNITED. These minuscule contact marks are well within the confines of the near-Gem grade and fail to dampen the enormous eye appeal. This splendid piece represents an important opportunity for several different collector specialties. Census: 12 in 64 Cameo, 8 finer (11/12).
Ex: Long Beach Signature (Heritage, 9/2010), lot 5305, where it realized $54,625.
From The Ives Devos Collection.(Registry values: N7079) (NGC ID# 28AJ, PCGS# 88040)

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