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1863 Three Dollar Gold, Remarkable MS66+1863 $3 MS66+ PCGS. CAC. The Indian Princess three dollar gold piece was introduced in 1854 with a design by Mint Engraver James B. Longacre. There were high hopes for the new odd-denomination coins, and three different mints struck them in their debut year.
The denomination, nonetheless, failed miserably.
It was never very popular with the general public, and some numismatists doubt the theories about its purported usefulness for purchasing 100 three-cent stamps or for obtaining 100 three cent silver pieces, which were also current in 1854.
Mintages for the series sank rapidly, and the Civil War, beginning in 1861, ensured that later issues would be struck in even smaller numbers. The recorded production figures for circulation strikes decreased every year during the five calendar years of the Civil War, from 5,959 pieces in 1861 to 1,140 coins in 1865.
The 1863 threes were struck in the amount of an even 5,000 pieces, but most of the issue saw little if any circulation; in fact, most gold and silver coins were hoarded throughout most of the Civil War and for many years thereafter. The Civil War may have accounted for the preservation of some exceptional Mint State examples, but perhaps only 15 Gem-or-finer coins survive today. The present piece is certified MS66+ by PCGS and shows the heavy clash marks on both sides that many survivors display; much of the profile of Liberty shows doubled outlines from the wreath on the reverse, slightly shifted between the two clashes in an interesting effect. A similar effect appears on the reverse.
The aesthetic appeal of this coin is truly incredible, a piece that many numismatists would revel in seeing in person. Thick luster complements surfaces that range from yellow-gold to orange-gold with glints of mint-green. As expected from the high grade, Liberty's cheek in particular but the surfaces overall are notably free of distracting marks. A small diagonal tick to the right of the 3 in the date serves as a pedigree marker but is trivial otherwise. Some strike softness appears on the bowknot, but this piece is one of remarkable quality throughout. Population: 5 in 66 (1 in 66+), 3 finer (11/12).(Registry values: N7079) (NGC ID# 7K5R, PCGS# 7984)
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