Possibly Unique 1855-S Three Dollar
A remarkable coin that shouldn’t exist. Reportedly bought over the counter by California dealer David Stagg from the veritable “little old lady.” The coin then passed thru the hands of dealer John Dannreuther and collector Jimmy Hayes before it ended up as Lot 881 of Paramount’s Auction ’84. It is presently graded NGC PR64 Cameo and most recently sold in August, 2011 as Lot #7487 of Heritage’s Chicago Signature Sale for the astounding price of $1,322,500! This date is scarce in any grade and prohibitively rare in AU or better, putting this Branch Mint Proof specimen quite literally in a class all by itself.
Why this coin was struck will probably be forever open to speculation. Unquestionably a special striking, there are no records of any others in existence. The late Walter Breen, in his 1987 book Complete Encyclopedia of U.S. and Colonial Coins, noted a second specimen in “a private collection,” but that coin has not surfaced to this day.
Read the story of the 1854-89 THREE DOLLAR GOLD PIECE