The Three-Dollar gold coin, while it may have made buying stamps easier, was never a popular denomination during its time. Making its debut in 1854, the coin began to disappear from circulation because of the gold and silver hoarding that came with the Civil War. And because of that, mintages from the 1860s are greatly reduced compared to previous dates; in 1863, only 5,000 business strike examples (and 39 Proofs) were made.
This makes the 1863 Three-Dollar Gold Piece that GreatCollections is offering in its January 14 auction a scarce coin to begin with. The fact that it is the single finest example graded by PCGS—an eye-watering pop 1 MS68+–is what makes it truly rare. It is provenanced to the collection of notable U.S. gold expert David Akers, the “Doug Winter” of his generation.
Winter himself estimates that, out of the less than 300 1863 Three-Dollar gold coins that have survived, only several dozen are preserved in Uncirculated Mint State. At the time of writing, PCGS reports 50 grading events in all Mint State grades and 11 in MS65 and higher. The top pop coin currently being offered features a nice frosty appearance with scattered but unobtrusive hits in non-focal areas of the field. The gold is a light honeysuckle color with darker honeyed areas spread throughout. On both sides of the coin, the denticles are nearly fully struck up, with some softness at six o’clock on the obverse.
On the reverse, there is some slight weakness below the date, with softness on the ribbon and the right side of the wreath – but this is frequently encountered on coins of this date.
The majority of circulating examples–excluding coins struck early in the production run–have very pronounced clash marks on both sides, and this piece features a strikingly clear outline of United States Mint Chief Engraver James B. Longacre’s Liberty design on the reverse.
Overall, the 1863 Three-Dollar gold piece that GreatCollections is offering is a superlative representative of the issue. This coin was last offered at auction in 2014, where it realized $211,500 USD. At the time of publication, the starting bid is $300,000.
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To search through GreatCollection’s archive of over 600,000 certified coins the company has sold over the past eight years, please visit the GreatCollections Auction Archives.
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