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1881 Three Dollar Gold, PR66 Cameo
Rare Low-Mintage Date

1881 $3 PR66 Cameo NGC. The 1881 is an especially popular date in the series of three dollar gold pieces, obviously stemming from its minuscule business strike production of just 500 coins. The distribution of proofs was actually stepped up to a new high of 54 pieces in 1881, and a decent percentage remain today, perhaps numbering as high as 45-55 coins. The accepted number of proofs struck and delivered has varied considerably over the years, as pointed out in the Bowers-Winter series reference. The official delivery was recorded as 40 complete gold proof sets, all of which were delivered on February 9, plus 20 gold dollars and 10 three dollar gold pieces. These extra 10 three dollar pieces were delivered on March 29. However, Walter Breen read the records of Chief Coiner Archibald Louden Snowden, where he recorded the number to actually be 54 proofs, the number that has remained as the official and accepted proof mintage.
This specimen is among the finer pieces known of this elusive and popular date, with immaculate two-toned surfaces draped in even orange-gold patina. The surfaces are free from any noticeable or detracting blemishes. Close inspection shows the orange-peel texture seen on many proof gold coins from the latter 19th century. This effect was created by placing the planchets in an annealing furnace that had previously been used for silver or copper coins, but was overheated for gold. It is an interesting effect, and one that is seldom seen past 1900. Census: 1 in 66 Cameo, 0 finer (11/12).
Ex: New York Signature (Heritage, 11/2003), lot 7438, where it brought $36,800.
From The Flagg Family Collection.(Registry values: N7079) (NGC ID# 28AP, PCGS# 88045)

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Auction Dates
January, 2013
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