Three-Dollar Gold Pieces
Mid-American Rare Coin Galleries can help you enhance your collection with an exceptional $3 gold piece. We offer you the benefit of our years of experience, our vast numismatic knowledge and our discerning eye for quality and value — all to help you make informed purchasing decisions you can feel good about. View our $3 gold piece inventory now. >
The History of Three-Dollar Gold Pieces
The $3 gold piece was first minted in 1854. James B. Longacre designed the coin which is similar to the Type III gold dollar which was issued from 1856 to 1889. Almost from the start, the denomination was unpopular. Mintages dropped off drastically after 1854, but continued to be produced every year through 1889.
Collecting $3 gold pieces is challenging even for collectors with unlimited resources. Mintages of some dates were limited to mere dozens of pieces with some actually being offered for sale just once (or twice) during a lifetime. The real obstacle to collecting the full series is the inaccessibility of the 1870-S. No official records exist and only one specimen is known. It was owned by a famous Texas collector, Harry Bass, who passed away in 1998. The coin is currently on loan to the American Numismatic Association in Colorado Springs, Colorado where it is on public display in the Harry Bass Wing of their museum. A second specimen of this $3 gold piece was said to have been placed in the cornerstone of the San Francisco Mint in 1870, but that coin has never surfaced.
Other rare-date $3 gold pieces include:
- 1854-D — The only Dahlonega Mint $3 gold piece produced.
- 1875 — Only 20 Proofs were issued, making this an extremely rare coin.
- 1876 — Another tough-to-find $3 gold coin with just 45 Proofs minted.
Many other dates are also elusive, with extremely low mintages, but are within reach of many collectors if acquired in lower, circulated grades. Some of these dates include:
- 1854-O — The only New Orleans $3 gold piece
- 1865 — Mintage: 1,140 pieces
- 1877 — Mintage: 1,468 pieces
- 1881 — Mintage: 500 pieces
One final note: There are technically two designs for the $3 gold piece. In 1854, the word “dollars” appeared on the reverse in very small lettering, but from 1855 to 1889 the word appeared in much larger lettering.
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