Coin Specifications

Category: Three Dollar Gold (1854-1889)
Mint: Philadelphia
Mintage: 5,959
Obverse Designer: James B. Longacre
Reverse Designer: James B. Longacre
Composition: Gold
Fineness: 0.9000
Weight: 5.0150g
AGW: 0.1451oz
Melt Value: $186.32 (10/20/2017)
Diameter: 20.5mm
Edge: Reeded
Link to this coin

1861 $3 MS obverse 1861 $3 MS reverse


  
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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.


GRADE SUMMARY

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Price Guide

Last Updated: 7/12/2017

Click on a price to see historical prices, comparison charts and trends.

1861 $3 MS
  GVGFVFXF505355586061626364656667686970
Base $ 625 660 970 1350 2500 3500 4350 5250 6750 7100 8400 11500 14100 20500 41000 54500 94000 - - -
$ - - - - 6850 - - - - - - 59000 - -

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Census

 
NGC GRADE SUMMARY

Total Graded: 271
Low Grade: VF
Average Grade: 55
High Grade: 67


Upcoming Auctions

A random selection of NGC coins is shown below.

Images
Date
Grade
Auction House
Sale / Lot
11/4/2017 AU 55   Heritage Auctions 2017 November 2 - 4 US Coins Signature Auction - Dallas Session(2), 1261/Lot# 16902


Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Images
Date
Service
Grade
Auction House
Sale / Lot
Price
10/20/2004 PCGS FA 2   Teletrade Auction 1951, 1951/Lot# 2035 $632.50
11/27/2006 NGC XF 45   David Lawrence Rare Coins Internet Auction # 115: The Eagle One Sale, 120/Lot# 4422 $1,552.50
1/29/2012 PCGS AU 53   Goldberg January 29 - February 1, 2012 The Pre-Long Beach Auction, 67/Lot# 1424 $3,105.00
1/29/2012 NGC Details AU Details  Goldberg January 29 - February 1, 2012 The Pre-Long Beach Auction, 67/Lot# 1425 $1,667.50
7/26/2012 NGC AU 58   Stack's Bowers The August 2012 Philadelphia ANA World's Fair of Money Auction, 140/Lot# 12277 $4,715.00
7/11/2013 NGC Details AU Details  Heritage Auctions 2013 July 11 - 14 US Coins Signature Auction - Orlando Session(2), 1187/Lot# 3611 $1,762.50
1/6/2016 PCGS MS 63   Heritage Auctions 2016 January 6 - 11 FUN US Coins Signature Auction - Tampa Session(6), 1231/Lot# 6415 $10,575.00


NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1861 $3 MS Prooflike
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970
Base333774108112841450160017941913207621782323264834743823478363249478119063041448884
33260876114813391500166418331967211022262431292335904143529673751028718075365700
000000150016641833196721102226243129233590414352967375102871807500
000000155017291873202121442274253931983706446358108426110962424400
1861 $3 MS
 PrAgGVGFVF4045505355586061626364656667686970
Base915980104711181193142116091776211523102570272729103406409549126820796010226148562047628729
936100210701143126914831664188921802396262227883075363543675548720087151176916729232270
000000166418892180239626222788307536354367554872008715117691672900
000000172020022245248326742849324038654639618475809470133121860200
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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