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1876 Three Dollar Gold, PR64+ Deep Cameo
Controversial Low-Mintage, Proof-Only Year

1876 $3 PR64+ Deep Cameo PCGS. CAC. Like the preceding year, the 1876 is a proof-only date in the three dollar series. Curiously, the exact mintage remains unknown for this issue. In the course of two months in 1883, John Haseltine's estimate of the number minted ranged from "only 16 struck" in April to 45 pieces in June. Clearly more were produced, and the possibility exists that some may have been minted at a later date for collectors who desired them for sets. The best guess is between 65 and 75 pieces were minted, but what is most important to collectors is not the mintage but the number that survive today. It is believed that between 45 and 60 individual pieces are known today in all grades.
Few numismatists have studied die varieties and die states of gold coins, especially proofs. Harry Bass did, though. In his 30+ years of collecting and research, he discovered there are three distinct die variants for the 1876 three dollar. This piece is from the # 2 die state/combination, meaning it is a later die state but well within the guidelines for what he considered an original striking. As such, it shows slight evidence of die rust on the obverse portrait. The so-called restrikes are from a different die and show considerable die rust in Liberty's headdress.
As expected from a Deep Cameo, the fields show illimitable depth of reflectivity with sharply contrasted, frosted devices. The usual "halo" effect is seen around the portrait of Liberty, a trait observed on several years of proof threes. Each side shows light hairlines, but these are only faintly visible and require magnification. The general lack of surface imperfections undoubtedly explains the Plus designation by PCGS. Both obverse and reverse have yellow-gold color with an occasional streak of russet patina at the margins. Population: 2 in 64+ Deep Cameo, 5 finer (6/11).(Registry values: P5) (NGC ID# 28AJ, PCGS# 98040)

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Auction Dates
August, 2011
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 9
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