This Indian Princess Boasts A Deep Frosty Luster

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A $3 gold coin? During the period the $3 Indian Princess gold coins were minted, from 1854-1889, that represented a hefty sum for everyday Americans.

So, why did the U.S. Mint choose to produce a $3 coin? Numismatic experts believe the reason can be found at the post office. When this coin was first minted a U.S. postal stamp cost 3 cents. The $3 coin created a convenient way for businesses to purchase 100 stamps in a single transaction.

Despite its odd denomination, many consider the $3 Indian Princess the most beautiful gold coin struck in the 19th century.

The U.S. Mint’s chief engraver, James B. Longacre designed this coin. In fact, the $3 gold coin was the first time he had been given the freedom to create a design of his own imagination. Longacre wrote that previous to the $3 gold coin, he had been directed to adapt Roman or Greek features into U.S. coins. For the $3 gold coin, Longacre was determined to create something uniquely American.

“From the copper shores of Lake Superior to the silver mountains of Potosi, from the Ojibwa to the Araucanian, the feathered tiara is a characteristic of the primitiveness of our hemisphere as the turban is of the Asiatic,” Longacre wrote.

He was inspired to feature an “Indian Princess” on the obverse of this stunning coin. A lustrous orange-gold color, the coin shows a gorgeous Indian Princess adorned with a feathered headdress, with the words UNITED STATES OF AMERICA circling her. On the reverse, the date and denomination is surrounded by an agricultural wreath celebrating corn, tobacco, cotton, and wheat.

Minted in Philadelphia of 90% gold and 10% copper, a total of 82,304 were produced in 1878. Survival estimates for all grades totals 25,000, yet for grades 60 or better only 6,000.

Blanchard recently placed an 1878 $3 Indian Princess MS64. While the 1878 issue is one of the more commonly available dates in the series, it is known from its deep frosty luster.

In today’s market, rare coin inventory is moving fast. If you see something you like, call Blanchard today. Tomorrow it may be gone.

Collecting Tip

Historically, one of the best ways to invest in rare coins is to build a set. Often sets become more valuable that the sum of the individual coins. If you are interested in starting a gold coin set or are looking for an elusive coin to complete a set, contact a Blanchard portfolio manager today for guidance. Over the past 40 years, we have helped clients build simple and elaborate sets to help meet their financial goals.

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