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1884 Three Dollar, PR66 Cameo
Strong Contrast, Attractive Color
Only Three Examples Certified Finer

1884 $3 PR66 Cameo NGC. CAC. Only 1,000 business-strike three dollar gold pieces were minted in 1884, along with 106 proofs. Harry Bass considered the 1884 to be the rarest circulation strike issue of the 1880s, and the small supply of Mint State examples puts great pressure on the tiny proof mintage. Regarding the rarity and delivery dates of the 1884, Walter Breen reports:

"Much rarer than this mintage would suggest, and subject to much date collector pressure as only a small percentage of the 1,000 business strikes remain.--Mintage: 30 for sets Jan. 9, delivered Jan. 19; 42 on Feb. 29, 13 on June 28, 21 before Dec. 31 but delivered Jan. 10, 1885, total 106."

The coins struck in December, but not delivered until January 10 pose a problem. Mint regulations specifically prohibit selling proofs after the year in which they were dated. Both A.M. Smith and John Colvin Randall are thought to have made special arrangements to buy unsold proof coins from the mint during the 1880s. Perhaps the 21 coins delivered in January ended up with them. In any case, experts estimate only 50-65 examples survive today in all proof grades. Certainly at the PR66 Cameo level the date is extremely rare. NGC has certified only three coins in PR66 Cameo, with three finer; while PCGS has yet to see a specimen in this exalted grade (11/09).
The present coin is a magnificent specimen, with well balanced yellow-gold color, accented with a hint of red on each side. Strong contrast is evident on both sides, with notable orange-peel effect in the fields. The only flaw detectable without magnification is a tiny planchet flake in the middle of the right obverse field.(Registry values: N7079) (NGC ID# 28AT, PCGS# 88048)

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Auction Dates
January, 2010
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 8
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Page Views: 640

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