Goldberg Coins and Collectibles

Sale 48

Lot 1239

1873 $3 Gold. Open 3. PCGS graded Proof 65 Deep Cameo. A spectacular brilliant, untoned gem example of this coveted rarity. Only 25 minted.Glistening fields rise and fall with original mint bloom. Against this are set serious, frosty design elements. At best, it is not easy to find such booming luster on any Proof $3, let alone an extremely rare 1873 vintage! So too crisp definition on the main devices counts for a lot. Mathematically exact standards are seen in the sharp hair waves and fancy bonnet perched on Liberty's head. As with other dates in this grade class, all leaves in the wreath show their intricate detail. The surrounding field is smooth as ice, molten golden in its glow, with great reflective "depth" for the connoisseur's enjoyment.

An impressive cameo Proof of this key date, then. Records show that the first group of Proofs of the Open 3 style were delivered February 18, 1873, with an unknown number struck at a later date from an advanced die state; the total estimated Proof mintage for the date style is 40 to 50 pieces. However, only 12 to 18 or so Proof Open 3 1873 $3 gold coins can be traced today. The present specimen certainly stands in the forefront of those, tied with one other and far above many of the known examples.

The Bowers reference on the $3 gold series notes: "This die pair exists in two states, the first with prominent die line from O (OF) to the border and no rust pits on reverse; the second and later state with the obverse slightly repolished to make the die line faint, and with the reverse having evidence of rust near the wreath. It is thought by John Dannreuther that these were struck later, possibly even into the late 1870s."

The present coin seems to be of the first variety without rust pits on the reverse, though here, the aforementioned die line extends from the top of the F in OF rather than the O, perhaps indicating an error in the Bowers reference. Breen's Encyclopedia of United States and Colonial Proof Coins 1722-1977, notes: "Faint die scratch extending from left upper serif of F to border". Pop 2, none finer at PCGS (PCGS # 98037) .

Humorous sidenote: In 1873, President Andrew Dickson White of Cornell University refused to allow his college's football squad to travel to Cleveland for a game against Michigan. Said President White: "I will not permit 30 men to travel 400 mi. to agitate a bag of wind."
Estimated Value $70,000 - 80,000.

Realized $212,750

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