$3 Gold Coin
The three-dollar piece was a United States coin produced from 1854 to 1889. The $3 gold coin’s value was intended to tie in with the postal system. At the time, a first class postage stamp was worth 3¢, and were often sold in sheets of one hundred stamps. Therefore, the three-dollar piece was exactly enough money to purchase a sheet of stamps. Despite this potential use, the three-dollar coin was minted in small quantities, and was never widely circulated. Authorized by the Act of February 21, 1853, the coin was designed by James B. Longacre. The obverse depicts an Indian princess and the reverse a wreath of corn, cotton, tobacco. The three-dollar piece was .900 gold and .100 copper for a total weight of 5.015 grams. It had a diameter of 20.5 mm with a reeded edge. Quantities were minted in Philadelphia each year of production, as well as in Dahlonega, New Orleans, and San Francisco in certain years. Proofs were minted at Philadelphia from 1859 to 1889, and only proofs were minted in 1875 and 1876. 2,592 proofs were minted at San Francisco in 1860, but they were all melted down at the mint before being released. Proof specimens from other years are not unknown. The total quantity of coins minted each year ranges from 20 in 1875 to 82,324 in 1878. Today, any specimen has a value of at least several hundred dollars, and the most valuable is the unique 1870S, worth $1,000,000.
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