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    Description

    1875 Three Dollar Gold, PR65 Cameo
    Classic Proof-Only Rarity
    Approximately 20-25 Examples Known

    1875 $3 PR65 Cameo NGC. Ex: Princess Collection. The 1875 three dollar gold piece is a proof-only issue with a reported mintage of just 20 pieces. Mint records indicate all the coins were delivered on February 13. However, many numismatists believe a few more coins were struck later, as the surviving population approaches 20 examples today and it is extremely unlikely that all specimens produced are still extant. Walter Breen believed examples that show evidence of die rust at OL in DOLLAR were restrikes. However, in United States Proof Coins, Volume IV, John Dannreuther notes the extra coins may have been delivered later in the year, rather than in following years, so their status as "restrikes" is questionable. Alternatively, R.W. Julian has suggested the initial mintage may have been larger than reported, with the "20 pieces" figure representing only the coins requested by the Mint Director at that time. Dannreuther notes all coins examined so far have the same 15-20 degree clockwise die rotation, suggesting they were all struck at the same time and throwing doubt on the restrike theory. PCGS CoinFacts estimates the surviving population at 17-20 examples in all grades, while Dannreuther provides a roster of 21 specimens traced. Of these, three examples are included in institutional collections at the Smithsonian Institution, the American Numismatic Association, and the Harry Bass Foundation.

    This coin first appeared on the numismatic scene when it was sold to Albert Fairchild Holden, the founder of the famous Norweb Collection, in a private transaction with prominent coin dealer Henry Chapman in 1908. It remained a highlight of that remarkable numismatic gathering for nearly 80 years, before it was offered in Part I of Bowers and Merena's auction of that collection in 1987. It later appeared in David Akers' section of Auction '88, and in a Stack's sale in 1994, before passing to the present consignor. It has been off the market for nearly 25 years.

    The 1875 three dollar gold proofs were all struck from the same pair of dies. The obverse was used previously to strike proofs in 1873 and 1874. Three die lines appear at F in OF, pointing to the rim or out into the field at different angles. Another short die line is evident at the second S in STATES. Numerous slanting die lines angle down from the front of the bust. The bottom loop of the first S in STATES is filled. The reverse exhibits a thin die line angling up in the field, parallel to the dentils between 1 and 2 o'clock. Evidence of die rust is visible on Liberty's neck and the lower curls.

    The present coin is an attractive Gem that displays all the diagnostics listed above. The sharply detailed, frosty design elements contrast boldly with the deeply mirrored fields to produce a dramatic cameo effect. The well-preserved lemon-yellow surfaces show a small circular dot of unfinished polish after the 5 in the date that can serve as a pedigree marker. Eye appeal is terrific. After the unique 1870-S, the 1875 three dollar gold piece is the rarest and most sought after issue of the series. We expect intense competition from proof gold enthusiasts when this lot is called. This coin is pictured on NGC Coin Explorer. Census: 2 in 65 Cameo, 1 in 66 Ultra Cameo finer (10/18).
    Ex: Henry Chapman; Albert Holden, circa 1908; Norweb Collection, Part I (Bowers and Merena, 10/1987), lot 721; Auction '88 (David Akers, 7/1988), lot 880; Public Auction Sale (Stack's, 3/1994), lot 1480.
    From The HBC Collection. (Registry values: N14284) (NGC ID# 28AH, PCGS# 88039)

    Weight: 5.02 grams

    Metal: 90% Gold, 10% Copper


    Learn more at the Newman Numismatic Portal at Washington University in St. Louis.

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