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Choice 1877 Three Dollar Gold Piece
Possibly Finest Known
Ex: Harry Bass

1877 $3 MS64 PCGS. The 1877 three dollar gold piece is one of the rarest business-strike dates of the series, with a surviving population estimated at 70-110 examples in all grades. Probably fewer than a dozen specimens are extant in Mint State. The coin offered here is the single finest certified example at either of the leading grading services. Speaking of this coin in his three dollar gold reference, Q. David Bowers wrote:

"Harry W. Bass, Jr. owned a choice Mint State coin with what he described as a "deep mirror prooflike" surface, certainly a candidate for the finest known."

This remarkable coin was formerly sold as lot 696 in the Bass II Sale, where it was described as:

"A prooflike cameo, a glittering beauty. Only 1,468 pieces were struck making this one of the lowest mintage issues in the entire series. The present coin, combining high grade and excellent aesthetic aspects, will attract wide attention when it crosses the auction block."

We can only echo the sentiments of the Bass II cataloger, although the coin was not awarded the cameo designation when certified by PCGS. The deeply mirrored surfaces display vivid greenish-gold color, with fantastic eye appeal. A short, curving contact mark in the left obverse field is the only mark of note, and it probably prevents a Gem evaluation. This coin should certainly find a home in the finest collection of three dollar gold coins.
Purchased by Harry Bass from Stanley Kesselman, July 1974; Bass II (Bowers and Merena, 10/99), lot 696, where it realized $32,200; Bullet Auction (Heritage, 4/2001), lot 2428, realized $36,005; Long Beach Signature Auction (Heritage, 5/2001), lot 8913.(Registry values: N7079) (NGC ID# 25MY, PCGS# 7999)

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Auction Dates
June, 2011
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 12
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