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1878 Three Dollar Piece


  Lot # KQ003
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  • Lot # KQ003
  • System ID # 10265727
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This small gold coin is a legacy of American expansion. At the time of its design, one could purchase 300 stamps at $.03 a piece, a vital piece of the pioneer's arsenal. With the head of lady Liberty crowned with a Native American headdress decorating the obverse, and a wreath of corn, tobacco, cotton, and wheat on the reverse, the designer James B. Longacre meant this to be the first truly American coin in use and design. In his own writing, he described his thought process thusly: "Why should we in seeking a type for the illustration or symbol of a nation that need not hold itself lower than the Roman virtue or the Science of Greece prefer the barbaric period of a remote and distant people, from which to draw an emblem of nationality... Why not be American from the spring-head within our own domain?" 

Graded by Professional Coin Grading Services, MS63.

Value 3 United States dollars
Mass 5.015 g
Diameter 20.5 mm (.807 in)
Edge reeded
Composition 90% gold, 10% copper
Gold .1451 troy oz
Years of minting 1855–1889
Mint marks No mint mark, likely minted in Philadelphia.
Design Liberty as an Indian princess, large "dollars"
Designer James B. Longacre
Design date 1855
Design discontinued 1889