Rare 1870-S $3 gold coin could fetch $4 million at Four Seasons, June 2 One of the rarest coins in American history the legendary 1870-S $3 gold piece, only two of which are known to exist will come up for bid on Saturday, June 2, at Four Seasons Auction Gallery in Ga
Colorado museum. For decades it was presumed to be unique. Until now. The coin in the souvenir book which is insured by Lloyds of London and will be brought by armed guards from a bank vault to Four Seasons Auction Gallery on June 2nd is its twin.
Both coins the Colorado coin and the souvenir book coin to be sold have similar, oddly struck S mintmarks. This lends credence to the story that the mintmark was cut into the die by hand, by Mr. Harmstead. But is the coin being sold the one placed into the cornerstone? Was it a third strike, previously unknown, that Harmstead produced on his own? No one knows.
The $3 gold coin was originally intended as a tie-in with the U.S. Postal Service. In the late 1800s, the price of a first-class stamp was 3 cents, and stamps were commonly bought in sheets of 100 (for $3). Still, the coin was minted in small quantities only 535,000 for the entire series, the smallest amount for any series of circulated U.S. coins. The 1870-S is by far the rarest.
The design of the coin by James B. Longacre is simple and unassuming. The obverse (or front) depicts a representation of Liberty wearing a headdress of an Indian princess. The reverse side shows a wreath of corn, cotton and tobacco. Unlike the Colorado coin, which has damage indicating it was probably worn on a key chain or watch fob, the coin to be sold is clean.
The gold piece will be the undisputed headliner of the auction, but it wont be the only lot in the sale, and not even the only gold coin. Many other U.S. gold pieces will cross the block, to include $1, $3, $5, $10 and $20 coins from the 1870s to the 1920s, as well as silver dollars from the same period. Silver certificate bills will also be sold (some with consecutive serial numbers).
Also offered will be early, rare Mississippi slave documents, vintage firearms (to include pistols and rifles), antique mens wristwatches, sports memorabilia, collectibles and more around 400 lots in all. A preview will be held on Friday, June 1, from 1-6 p.m., but the 1870-S $3 gold coin will only be previewed on sale day, June 2, from 9:30-11 a.m., under armed guard.
Internet bidding will be facilitated by LiveAuctioneers.com. Phone and absentee bids will also be accepted. The Four Seasons Auction Gallery is located at 4010 Nine McFarland Road in Alpharetta, Ga. A portion of the 50,000-square-foot facility is dedicated as an antique mall and design center, with space for over 100 antique designers and sellers, offering thousands of items.
Four Seasons Auction Gallery dedicates the first weekend of each month to the finest consignments, estates and private collections found locally, across the U.S. and even in Europe. Featured are American, English, European and Continental furniture, fine jewelry, rare antique paintings, vintage and collectible autos, bronzes, Oriental rugs, fine china,