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1888 Three Dollar, PR66 Cameo
Top-Notch Example, Highest Proof Mintage

1888 $3 PR66 Cameo NGC. By early in the decade of the 1880s, it was clear that the three dollar gold denomination was one that had outlived its usefulness, which was in any case limited, at best, from the time it debuted in 1854. The proof mintages limped along before seeing an uptick in the mid-1880s through the end of the series in 1889.

The coins struck for circulation saw only three high-mintage issues, the 1854, 1874, and 1878. The 1878, last of the three, was struck to an extent exceeding 80,000 coins, as the government, anticipating a return to "parity," or the interexchangeability of gold and silver specie with paper currency for the first time since the Civil War began, in preparation for a demand that never materialized.

The 1888 proof three dollar issue is listed as the high-water mark for the series, but the recorded mintage of 291 pieces is an anomaly; the previous year saw 160 proofs struck, while 1889 saw 129 proofs. The 1888 is nonetheless the most commonly seen issue of the series in proof format; Breen notes that "some 200 of these, made in April, went (with an equal number of gold dollars), to the Medal Clerk for 'exchanges,' this evasive expression covering God alone knows what since there is no record of 1888 accessions to the Mint Cabinet conceivably construable as worth $800 involved in this transaction."

This high-end Premium Gem proof shows fiery reddish-orange surfaces with notable contrast, a bold strike, and top-notch eye appeal. The die rust appearing on the neck is as struck, seen on all survivors. A pair of parallel marks run through the middle 8 and diagonally to the O in DOLLARS, scarcely visible without magnification. A great-looking coin for type purposes. Census: 11 in 66 Cameo (1 in 66+ Cameo), 3 finer (9/13).(Registry values: N7079) (NGC ID# 28AX, PCGS# 88052)

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Auction Dates
November, 2013
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 11
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