1865 $3 Three Dollar, Judd-441, Pollock-516, Low R.7, PR66 Brown NGC
The obverse is from the same die used to coin regular proofs in 1872. The reverse follows the regular-issue three dollar format, but the date is seen to slant upward, to the right. Struck in copper with a reeded edge. Because the obverse die was first used in 1872, it is believed that all examples of this issue are restrikes, created for sale to collectors in the 1870s. USPatterns.com estimates a population of about six pieces extant. One example has been silver-plated; another is gilt.
$14,950.00 (Jan 6, 2009 HA.com)
1865 $3 Three Dollar, Judd-443, Pollock-514, R.8, PR64 NGC
The obverse design follows the standard Indian Princess motif for three dollar gold pieces, but this die was actually first used to strike proofs in 1867. The reverse die also closely resembles the design used in regular-issue coinage, but the date is placed lower and to the right. Struck in copper-nickel with a reeded edge.
Collecting patterns can be confusing. In its 1979 auction appearance, this coin was listed as Judd-444A, with a bronze composition. The most recent edition of the Judd pattern reference has dropped the Judd-444A designation and lists this example as Judd-442, a copper piece. Recently, the coin was certified by NGC as Judd-443, a copper-nickel piece. Whatever its composition, the coin's status as a rare and important pattern is undisputed.
$43,125.00 (Jan 6, 2009 HA.com)
1885 $3 Three Dollar, Judd-1753, Pollock-1966, R.8, PR64 NGC
The design is the regular-issue Indian Princess three dollar gold piece designed by James B. Longacre, but struck in aluminum with a reeded edge.
Aluminum was for much of the 19th century considered a metal more precious than gold, due to its highly reactive nature. When found in nature, it is generally found in one of its many dozens of alloyed forms. Only in the late 1880s and early 1890s did coins made of pure aluminum become more plentiful and widespread, as new means to separate the metal from its alloys were discovered and improved upon. The comparative rarity of aluminum at the time no doubt explains this pattern's R.8 rarity ranking. USPatterns.com notes that "although listed as a regular die trial piece, these were more likely deliberately struck for sale to collectors as part of complete aluminum sets." "Silver" dollars, quarter eagles, and the present three dollar "gold" pattern dated are 1885 are all known in aluminum, but this is by far the rarest of the three issues. The patterns website estimates that only two are known, including the present example.