US Coins

Proof 1876 $3 coin at $19,200

The $3 denomination was authorized by the Act of Feb. 21, 1853, and was designed to be used alongside the 3-cent coins for purchasing 3-cent face value postage stamps.

In 1876 the Philadelphia Mint struck no gold $3 coins for circulation, and only 45 Proof pieces were reportedly struck for collectors (though existing population figures suggest that the original mintage may have been somewhat higher). This followed 1875 when just 20 Proof Indian Head $3 pieces were struck.

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The Proof 1875 and 1876 Indian Head $3 coins are well-known 19th century rarities today. 

At the Central States Numismatic Society convention in metropolitan Chicago in April, Heritage offered an 1876 $3 piece graded Proof 55 that either entered circulation briefly or served as a pocket piece.

The cataloger observed, “This example is attractive with rich, orange-gold color. The surfaces retain much reflectivity despite signs of minimal circulation and light friction in the fields.” It brought $19,200, making it a relatively affordable example of this key issue.

It is substantially cheaper than a comparably graded Proof 1895 Morgan dollar, which is similarly demanded by collectors because of the absence of a Philadelphia Mint circulation strike dollar from 1895. 

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