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Lot 3958

Image Information

Type Coin
Title Lot 3958
Date 1866
Country U.S.
Denomination $3

1866 $3 Three Dollar, Judd-543, Pollock-608, High R.7, PR65 NGC. CAC. Design. A regular dies trial striking after James B. Longacre's adopted design. Struck in nickel, and with a reeded edge. Commentary. This curious striking seems to have no reason to exist. That point is reinforced on the website: "Although described as a regular dies trial piece in nickel, it is more likely that this was deliberately struck for sale to collectors." They estimate a half dozen pieces are known, and some are apparently struck from business strike dies; however, none have been certified by either service as such. The weights of the few pieces known seem to indicate these pieces were struck from whatever planchets were available at the time. This piece weighs 3.7 grams. One nickel three dollar of this date has been gilt. Physical Description. Examination of this piece clearly shows the struggles the Mint was experiencing striking nickel coinage. This striking difficulty is obvious on many of the initial-year Shield nickels, many of which display striking irregularities, planchet problems, and multiple die cracks. These problems would eventually be solved, but in 1866 resolution was years in the future. The fields on this example show just the slightest reflectivity, calling into question the reports of examples struck from business strike dies. Do those pieces allegedly struck from circulation strike dies actually conform to known three dollar dies, or are they simply dull proofs? The Mint's struggles with strike detail and planchet porosity are also evident on this piece. The coin shows softness over the high points of the design, and each side is somewhat porous. Still, there are no mentionable post-striking impairments. For pedigree identifiers, we must rely on a planchet lamination on the obverse between OF and AMERICA. Just the slightest hint of even reddish patina can be seen over the otherwise brilliant surfaces. From The Eric P. Newman Collection.

From Newman I (Heritage Auctions, 4/2013), lot 3958, realized $14223.38. Image and description courtesy of Heritage Auctions,

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Image Collection Eric P. Newman Collection, Part I
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