The 1873 is a seldom-found key date in the three dollar gold series. Most pieces encountered are in XF or AU grade. Mint State coins are infrequently offered. Both proofs and business strikes are found in the Closed 3 and Open 3 varieties, with most circulation strikes Closed 3s and most proofs Open 3s. No reliable mintage figures exist. Mint records enumerate 25 proof coins, with no mention of business strikes at all. This has led to speculation over whether some coins might be restrikes. Bowers' three dollar gold reference conjectures that 600 to 900 Closed 3 business strikes were issued, probably early in the year, with the Open 3 issues made later in 1873. Others believe the Open 3s were made at a later date. The legendary B. Max Mehl had earlier commented: 'According to Mint records, only 25 pieces were struck. This, however, I do not believe is correct as a larger number was undoubtedly struck. However, it is of great rarity.'
Description and Analysis courtesy of Heritage Auctions and may not be republished without written permission.