Coin Specifications

Category: Three Dollar Gold (1854-1889)
Mint: Philadelphia
Mintage: 5,959
Catalog: KM-84
Obverse Designer: James B. Longacre
Reverse Designer: James B. Longacre
Composition: Gold
Fineness: 0.9000
Weight: 5.0150g
AGW: 0.1451oz
Melt Value: $166.81 (10/7/2015)
Diameter: 20.5mm
Edge: Reeded
Numismatic specification data provided by Krause Publications NumisMaster.
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1861 $3 MS obverse 1861 $3 MS reverse

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There are no NGC varieties for this coin.

Description & Analysis

Though the three dollar gold denomination had already fallen into near-irrelevance by 1861, the year the first shots of the Civil War were fired, the onset of that conflict was the tipping point. As noted by Q. David Bowers and Douglas Winter in their The United States $3 Gold Pieces 1854-1889, 1861 '... was the last year, until 1879, that gold coins were paid out at face value by the Philadelphia Mint. After this time, $3 coins did not circulate at all in the East and Midwest.' Bowers and Winter continue, noting that the odd denomination had become the province of 'bullion dealers, banks, and exchange offices,' which charged high rates to give out gold or silver coinage instead of paper money. The needs of those gold-vendors was not great, particularly for the peculiar three dollar gold piece, and even the paltry mintage of 5,959 pieces for the denomination in 1861 seems positively gargantuan compared to the token output of certain later years.

Description and Analysis courtesy of Heritage Auctions and may not be republished without written permission.


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Price Guide

Last Updated: 9/30/2015

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1861 $3 MS
Base $ 470 540 700 1200 2400 3200 4000 5200 6250 9300 12250 15800 23000 40500 53500 120000 - - -
$ - - - 5400 - - - - - - - - -

The World Coin Price Guide is independently compiled by Krause Publications’ NumisMaster. NGC makes this information available to its website visitors as a free service, but in no way does the information provided represent NGC’s official opinion or policy. For example, varieties listed in the World Coin Price Guide may not necessarily be recognized by NGC. Please contact NGC Customer Service with any questions.

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Total Graded: 267
Low Grade: VF
Average Grade: 55
High Grade: 67

Upcoming Auctions

Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Auction House
Sale / Lot
2/20/2005 PCGS XF 45   Goldberg February 20-23, 2005 Pre-Long Beach Coin Auction, 28/Lot# 2206 $1,610.00
11/27/2006 NGC XF 45   David Lawrence Rare Coins Internet Auction # 115: The Eagle One Sale, 120/Lot# 4422 $1,552.50
6/10/2009 PCGS AU 53   Teletrade Auction 2704, 2704/Lot# 1941 $3,105.00
2/3/2011 NGC AU 58   Heritage Auctions 2011 February Long Beach Signature US Coin Auction Session(3), 1152/Lot# 4414 $4,743.75
2/3/2011 NGC AU 55   Heritage Auctions 2011 February Long Beach Signature US Coin Auction Session(3), 1152/Lot# 4413 $3,881.25
1/29/2012 PCGS AU 53   Goldberg January 29 - February 1, 2012 The Pre-Long Beach Auction, 67/Lot# 1424 $3,105.00
2/22/2013 NGC AU 50   Stack's Bowers The March 2013 Baltimore Auction, 181/Lot# 4168 $1,645.00

NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1861 $3 MS
1861 $3 MS Prooflike
Registry Image Gallery
Grade: AU 58
Points: 2570
Owner: Whidbey Island Collection
Grade: AU 58
Points: 2570
Owner: Whidbey Island Collection
View the Registry Image Gallery

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