Series notes: $3 Princess Gold (Proof)

$3 Princess proof gold coins were struck for the duration of the series, which spanned from 1854 through 1889. $3 gold coins were authorized by the Act of February 21, 1853 and designed by James B. Longacre, who designed and engraved several coin series during the mid 19th century. The $3 gold coin circulated widely throughout the East and Midwest during the earlier years of its run and was popular in the West during the entire course of the series.

The overall design remained largely unchanged, with the motif showcasing a Native American princess on the obverse and a wreath of tobacco, wheat, corn, and cotton encircling the denomination and date. The only significant design variations are found in the size of the lettering in ?DOLLARS? on the reverse of the 1854 issues and latter pieces, with the denomination in much smaller font on the first-year $3 Princess than on successive pieces.

Proof issues are scarce, with only tiny mintages of less than 40 pieces during most years and many proofs with fewer than 20 apiece. While most years saw a roughly equal number of proofs, the earliest and latter issues are outliers; only a few survivors among the pieces issued from 1854 through 1858 and more than 100 each during the last half dozen years. The 1875 $3 Princess is the series? key, as it is a proof-only year that saw a mintage of just 20 pieces and only a few survivors remain, with these generally trading in the range of the high five-figure to low-six figure prices.

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