US Coins

Poor 1 Indian Head gold $3 for 'low ball' set

Poor 1. It is as low as it gets on Dr. William H. Sheldon’s 1 to 70 grading scale that’s used today for U.S. coins. The grade is generally defined as representing a coin that’s clear enough to identify, with a date and Mint mark that may be nearly worn smooth and a reverse that can be nearly blank as all the details have worn. Generally, it’s hard to find a Poor 1 coin that doesn’t have another problem, like corrosion/environmental damage, harsh cleaning or rim damage.  

The Coin:

1856-S Indian Head gold $3 coin, Poor 1

The Price:


The Story:

Several years ago when Professional Coin Grading Service introduced its “low ball” Registry Sets for coins in low, problem-free grades, collectors began to try to get coins into Poor 1 holders.

This 1856-S Indian Head gold $3 coin is in an older, green-label holder that predates the popularity of “low ball” sets.

It’s unusual for several reasons. Beyond its older PCGS holder, it is unusual to see gold issues this well-worn, and the $3 coin was likely a pocket piece where its details wore off over the course of years.

COIN VALUES: How much is your Indian Head gold $3 coin worth?

It is from a mintage of 34,500 pieces, among the highest in the gold $3 coin series, although the issue becomes scarcer in high grades. The designs are nearly worn smooth, with just enough details remaining to identify the date and Mint mark. It sold for $1,645 at Heritage’s Dec. 7, 2013, auction of the Donald E. Bently Collection.

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