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Choice AU 1854-D Three Dollar
Relatively Unmarked Yellow-Orange Example
High-Demand, Low-Mintage Issue

1854-D $3 AU55 NGC. Variety 1-A. One of the many pleasures of cataloging Heritage lots is the exciting prospect of describing multiple examples of some of America's most popular and tantalizing coinage issues, many in higher grades than "common collectors" (the present cataloger included) can attain. But "looking is free," as we heard a major dealer say recently on the bourse floor. Today we get to examine side-by-side two examples of the 1854-D Dahlonega three dollar gold in AU55, one from NGC and one from PCGS.
Although the San Francisco branch mint would open in 1854 and strike its first examples of the three dollar gold issue in 1855, it would strike a smattering of later issues within the series, including coins in 1856, 1860, and 1870 (this last a currently unique specimen). But while both New Orleans and Dahlonega would strike three dollar gold issues in the denomination's debut year of 1854, neither mint would produce any further examples later in the series. While the 1854-O saw a substantial production of 24,000 coins, the 1854-D was struck in a tiny amount of 1,120 pieces, making it one of the lowest mintages in the entire series, one that was apparently not saved in any appreciable quantity.
Coming early in the series (and at a time when the few well-heeled numismatists preferred proof specimens and ignored mintmarks), the 1854-D stands in direct contrast to the issues of the late 1870s through 1889, when there were many more knowledgeable collectors acutely aware of mintage figures. Of course, only a single die pair was required for the entire production, with the date low and even in the reverse field and the 54 touching. The large D mintmark tilts ever so slightly leftward at the top; Doug Winter opines that this mintmark was also used on "one of the 1854-D half eagle varieties."
This Choice AU NGC-graded piece is quite sharply struck, although more yellow-orange than the reddish-orange PCGS example in this sale in the same grade. Few marks of any consequence appear on either side, and the merged dentils around much of the obverse rim and the V-shaped clash mark before Liberty's throat are diagnostic. The minor high-point rub on the hair below LIB and over the ear are in concert with the grade. This piece will undoubtedly see the same strong demand that any other piece in this grade -- and in this auction -- will experience.(Registry values: N7079) (NGC ID# 25M4, PCGS# 7970)

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Auction Dates
January, 2013
9th-14th Wednesday-Monday
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 6
Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
Page Views: 681

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