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Obverse of 1854-D Three Dollars     Reverse of 1854-D Three Dollars


PCGS No: 7970


Circulation strikes: 1,120
Proofs: 0

Designer: James Barton Longacre

Diameter: ±20.5 millimeters

Metal content:
Gold - 90%
Other - 10%

Weight: 77.4 grains (5.02 grams)

Edge: Reeded

Mintmark: "D" (for Dahlonega) below the wreath on the reverse

Images courtesy of, Inc.

No varieties are known or expected, as all 1854-D Three Dollars were struck from the same pair of dies.

The mintage for this date was a mere 1,120 pieces, making it one of the most desirable dates in the series.  It is the only Three Dollar Gold piece minted at the branch mint facility in Dahlonega, Georgia, adding an extra dimension of desirability.  Nevertheless, because there were no coin collectors working on date/mintmark combinations in 1854, all of the coins were released into circulation.  Thus, only a handful of truly Uncirculated examples exist, all of which must have been pulled from circulation shortly after their release.  Of those, the best is listed at the MS-62 level (a tie between the fully struck Bass coin and the PCGS MS-62 in the “Great Lakes” collection).  Most 1854-D $3 gold pieces are poorly struck, with weak details and poorly defined denticles.

We like Doug Winter’s advice concerning this date: “If I had the financial resources (and patience) I would attempt to warehouse a number of nice quality 1854-D Three Dollar gold pieces and wait for the market to come to me.”

PCGS has graded only three Uncirculated  examples of this date -- one in MS-60, one in MS-61,  and another in MS-62 (we've illustrated two  of them here.

Significant examples:
PCGS MS-62 (illustrated above).  Ex - RARCOA "AUCTION '81":386,  $72,500.00 - MARCA "George Elliott", 01/1987:1814 - Superior 01/ 1996:2277 - Hanks and Associates, Inc. - Great Lakes collection of Three-Dollar gold pieces.  This is the finest example graded by either PCGS or NGC.

PCGS MS-60 (illustrated below).  Goldberg "The California Sale", 10/ 2000:814, sold for $46,000.00, where it was described (in part) as follows: "This date is virtually impossible to locate in full mint state. PCGS has only graded 2 coins as such, this piece and one other in Mint State 62. NGC has similar numbers, with 2 coins graded as Mint State 60, and one graded Mint State 61. It is probable that some of these reported grades may be crossovers or other attempts at a higher grade representing only a couple of coins. Regardless, this is clearly one of the Finest Known specimens of the date, certainly in the top six known. Furthermore, this is the Breen plate coin, used in his wonderful Encyclopedia, with a small identifying mark in the right obverse field. The obverse dentils are weak along the upper portions, diagnostic to this date, and the leaf left of the date is also weak, from die lapping, further confirming that this piece is indeed genuine and not some sort of added mintmark or other alteration. Collectors can bid secure in the knowledge that this coin is original, and have the further assurance of the PCGS blessing of a Mint State 60 grade.
The D mintmark is quite large, apparently it was used to produce half eagles. The reverse die shows 2 or more clash marks, with Liberty's head outlined within the reverse wreath. On the obverse, minor clash marks are noted extending up near to Liberty's neck, probably from the wreath on the reverse. The fields possess frosty luster and the devices are well struck on the obverse and reverse. We note that the upper curl on Liberty's head is a bit weak, as well as the high curl over her ear. As to the identifying mark in the right obverse field, it is a fairly heavy dig midway in the field under ER of AMERICA. To the unaided eye, this is minor, but does show clearly with a glass. On the reverse, there are no problems aside from typical handling marks expected on a coin of this era.
This is the rarest regular issue $3 date, and the most valuable. Only the proof only 1875 is more costly, aside from the unique 1870-S."

NGC MS-60 (illustrated below).  Ex - Superior Galleries' "Pre-Long Beach Sale", June 5-7, 2000, Lot 2162, "muted luster with characteristic weak rim denticles, although the centers compensate for this by their sharpness; full denomination, date digits and mintmark are an expression of the central detail", sold for $47,150.00 "to the book"

Recent appearances:
NGC AU-58.  Heritage 01/2004:9007, $39,100.00

NGC AU-58.  Ex – American Numismatic Rarities, LLC’s “The Classics Sale,” July 25, 2003:686, illustrated, sold for $35,650.00

NGC AU-55.  Ex - Heritage Numismatic Auctions, Inc.'s "Philadelphia 2000 Signature Sale", August 6-7, 2000, Lot 7190, illustrated, not sold

"AU-55".  Ex - Ira & Larry Goldberg Coins & Collectibles, Inc. "The Pre-Long Beach Auction", January 25-28, 2004, Lot 3212, illustrated, sold for $12,362.50

Net VG-10, sharpness of VF-25, repaired and polished.  Ex - Bowers & Merena Galleries' "The Rarities Sale", January 3, 2001, Lot 489, illustrated, sold for $2,070.00

Sources and/or recommended reading:
"Walter Breen's Complete Encyclopedia of U.S. and Colonial Coins" by Walter Breen

"The PCGS Population Report, July 2003" by The Professional Coin Grading Service  

Obverse of 1854-D Three Dollars     Reverse of 1854-D Three Dollars

Images courtesy of Ira & Larry Goldberg Coins & Collectibles, Inc.

Obverse of 1854-D Three Dollars     Obverse of 1854-D Three Dollars

Images courtesy of Superior Galleries