1864 $3, DC PR (PCGS# 98027)

2012 April 18-22 US Coins & Platinum Night CSNS Signature Auction- Schaumburg #1169

  • Auctioneer:
    Heritage Auctions
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Lot Description
1864 $3 PR64 Deep Cameo PCGS. CAC. Only 50 proof three dollar gold pieces were minted in 1864, for inclusion in gold proof sets delivered on February 11. The economic and political stresses of the Civil War resulted in widespread hoarding of precious metals, and the Mint refused to issue gold proof sets at par, requiring instead that collectors pay for their sets in gold coins, which could only be purchased at a steep premium from bullion brokers. As a result of this unwieldy and expensive process, few gold proof sets were actually sold during the Civil War era. It is likely that many of the 50 sets produced in 1864 went unsold and were melted after the close of the year. Of course, the rarity of the coins became widely known at an early date. Gold proof sets of 1864 began appearing at auction at least as early as the Sixth Semi-Annual Sale (W. Elliot Woodward, 3/1865), lot 2826, "1864 Brilliant proof set, six pieces, as rare as the last." The cataloger was referring to the 1863 gold proof set sold in the previous lot, which was already a famous rarity because of the proof-only 1863 quarter eagle. The 1864 proof set sold for $62.50, only 50 cents less than the 1863, to John F. McCoy. Experts estimate only 11-14 specimens of the 1864 three dollar gold piece survive today in all grades. The present coin is a magnificent Choice proof displaying sharply detailed design elements and richly frosted texture contrasting dramatically with deeply mirrored fields. The surfaces exhibit the orange-peel texture seen on the best 19th century proofs. Only a few minor field hairlines prevent an even higher grade. A comparable specimen may not become available for years; discerning collectors will bid accordingly. Population: 3 in 64 Deep Cameo, 1 finer (3/12).
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