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$3 Gold Indian Princess

The $3 Indian Princess is unique among American gold coins — not only is it the only $3 coin ever produced by the U.S. Mint, but it also boasts a highly distinctive design and several variants that make collecting it a fascinating pursuit. The U.S. Mint produced $3 Gold Indian Princesses between 1854 and 1889. Though never wildly popular among the public, they have long been an object of considerable interest to both collectors and investors. If you're looking to add a Gold Indian Princess to your collection, Mint State Gold can help. Our inventory regularly contains high-quality examples in mint state (MS) condition, including several rare variants. Browse our current selection below or contact a representative for help tracking down a specific year.

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Production History

Two pieces of legislation were responsible for bringing to fruition the only $3 gold coin in U.S. history. The first was the Postal Act of 1845, which introduced adhesive stamps to the United States and stabilized postage rates throughout the country. Six years later, when the post office lowered the national rate to three cents, there was a perceived need for currency in denominations that would facilitate bulk stamp purchases. This led Congress to authorize the minting of three cent coins and, in 1853 with the passage of the Mint Act, the $3 Indian Princess.

The $3 Indian Princess never fully lived up to its promise and was never circulated widely. Between 1854 and 1889, the U.S. Mint issued just 535,000 business strike pieces and 2058 proofs. Production occurred primarily in Philadelphia, though Dahlonega, New Orleans, and San Francisco also minted small numbers at various times during the coin's run. These are identifiable by a mint mark on the obverse face — many years are quite rare, and highly sought after by collectors.

Design Details

U.S. Mint Chief Engraver James Barton Longacre oversaw the design and production of the $3 Indian Princess. The coin's obverse featured an image in profile of what was ostensibly a Native American princess — but, in reality, was modeled on a Classical statue of Venus. On the 'princess' was a headdress that, despite the large 'Liberty' inscription, had somewhat more authentic origins. It was based on one of Jacques le Moyne du Morgue's early sketches of the Timucua tribe in northern Florida.

On the reverse of the coin is a stylized wreath made of tobacco, wheat, corn, and cotton — four of the most important crops in 19th century America. In the center of the wreath is the inscription "3 DOLLARS" and the mint date. In the second year of production, 1855, this was modified slightly, enlarging the word 'dollars.'

Why Collect $3 Gold Indian Princesses?

Though the $3 Indian Princess was not popular in its time, there are many compelling reasons to collect it today. Aside from the interest in its rarer variations, it also has investment potential for anyone looking to buy precious metals.

Whatever your reasons for buying them, you'll find a great selection of gold Indian Princess coins for sale online in the Mint State Gold store. Visit individual product pages for more information, or contact our office directly for assistance.

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