Near-Mint 1854-D Three Dollar--A Classic Gold Rarity1854-D $3 AU 58 NGC. As the only D-mint issue in the three dollar gold series, the 1854-D is a desirable coin that is high on the want list of every gold collector. Unfortunately, this issue's paltry original mintage of 1,120 pieces and poor rate of survival mean that only the most affluent collectors will be able to obtain a high quality representative. The total number of 1854-D three dollar gold pieces extant is probably no more than 95 pieces (Winter, 1997), and most of these coins grade between VF 20 and XF 40. Above the XF 45 level of preservation, the 1854-D is a major rarity, and we have only handled four other AU 58 examples over the past decade:
1. Ex: May 2000 Central States Bullet Auction (Heritage, 5/00), lot 421, where it realized $32,800. This coin, graded by NGC, is identifiable by a small abrasion in the obverse field after the F in OF.
2. Ex: 1999 Chicago ANA Sale--Chestatee Collection (Heritage, 8/99), lot 7663, where it realized $33,350. This coin was graded by PCGS.
3. Ex: February 1999 Long Beach Sale (Heritage, 2/99), lot 6217, where it realized $32,500. PCGS certified this coin.
4. Ex: 1999 FUN Sale--North Georgia Collection (Heritage, 1/99), lot 7664, where it realized $57,500. This coin was also graded by PCGS.
The present example is distinct from the four previously mentioned coins in as much as it displays bolder striking definition around the peripheries. Refreshingly original, the surfaces are bathed in orange-gold color with tinges of crimson patina scattered about. Traces of frosty luster adhere to both sides, and the overall definition, while typically soft over Liberty's brow and the reverse ribbon, is sharper than normal for the issue. The abrasions are both small in size and well scattered, although a group of small indentations in the reverse field above the S in DOLLARS are noted for pedigree purposes. A pleasing coin for the grade, and a legendary issue that always performs well at auction. (NGC ID# 25M4, PCGS# 7970)
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