Goldberg Coins and Collectibles

Sale 60

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Lot 2820

1854-D $3 Gold. PCGS graded AU-55. Nice even light golden toning on both sides. Three mints produced this denomination the first year. Obviously, it was anticipated that the $3 would become an integral part of the American coinage system. However, reality proved otherwise. This beginning was also the end for Dahlonega (and New Orleans), since no other $3 pieces were ever struck at either facility.

The 1854-D three dollar has a very distinctive look to it completely different from the 1854 P-mints that usually line the bourse cases at coin shows. Dahlonega used what was for that day up-to-date equipment but the mint staff weren't as sure-footed as their better-trained brethren in Philadelphia. Most specimens of the 1854-D, even the Mint States, have obverse denticles that are diffuse from about the 7 o'clock to 3 o'clock position. The U in UNITED is usually weak as well, but here it is clearer than average while the curls below IBE in LIBERTY are not as sharp as on a P-mint. The reverse denticles, too, are inclined towards softness from 8 to 3 o'clock, while the center shows better detail than seen on most other examples. The date and mintmark are quite sharp. The overall quality of strike, then, is generally above average. This lustrous coin is free of problems. The texture of the surface is a blend of mint frostiness and modest graininess yet, again, is far above average for this issue. A rarity destined for a home in a major collection. Pop 19; 12 finer, 8 in 58, 1 in 60, 2 in 61, 1 in 62 (PCGS # 7970) .

The $3 denomination was designed by James B. Longacre, who became chief engraver at the Mint in 1844, after the death of Christian Gobrecht. The obverse features the head of an Indian princess, facing left, wearing a feathered headdress upon which is a band inscribed LIBERTY. The inscription UNITED STATES OF AMERICA surrounds. The same motif was later used on the Type III gold dollar 1856-1889.

The reverse displays one of Longacre's "cereal [agricultural] wreaths" enclosing 3 DOLLARS and the date. The reverse wreath was later used on the Flying Eagle cents of 1856-1858. As is demonstrated, Longacre liked to copy his own work.
Estimated Value $32,000 - 35,000.

Realized $42,550

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