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Unique Items – 1889 $3 Indian Head Three Dollars In Copper

Judd-1756a, Pollock-1970, Unique, PR64 Brown NGC.

The regular issue obverse and reverse design for the three dollar gold piece. Struck in copper with a reeded edge. The first notice of this pattern appeared in Numismatic News, November 26, 1985. This is an attractive Choice proof with rich chocolate-brown and olive color, graced by pale blue toning. Both sides have reflective and partially mirrored fields.

This pattern is believed to be unique and first appeared for sale in the 1987 ANA auction. It is also the only pattern issue produced in 1889, to the best of our knowledge. It is clearly an intentional pattern and not a mint error.

The weight is 76.5 grains (per the 1987 ANA catalog), almost twice the weight of a contemporary cent planchet of that time period. The cataloger of its 1987 appearance wrote: “The proof finish of the coin, and the fact that it was carefully struck on a medal press, with properly adjusted dies so as to produce a high wire edge, precludes the possibility of its being struck in error on a bronze planchet intended for a foreign coin or for some other circulating piece.”

It is also too well made to be a die trial or test piece, thus its intent is not specifically known, but may have been made in response to a special request by a favored collector-customer of the U.S. Mint.

Ex: Bowers and Merena (8/1987), lot 1505; Superior (10/1990). From The Jones Beach Collection. (#62199)

This item sold at Heritage’s 2007 January Orlando, FL (FUN) Signature Coin Auction #422 as Lot 1627 and realized $29,900

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