This piece exhibits every design detail exactly as it appeared in the dies, with obvious cameo contrast between the lustrous devices and fully mirrored fields. As others have noted, it has every outward appearance of a Philadelphia Mint proof, except of course for the S mintmark on the reverse.
When Walter Breen penned his Proof Encyclopedia, published in 1977, the proof 1855-S three dollar gold was unknown to him. It made its first public appearance in the 1984 Apostrophe Sale. Breen's 1989 revision to his earlier work suggests a second proof example was known to him, but he gave no further details, other than to say it was in a "private collection." Until such time as the second piece makes its appearance, this proof 1855-S three has to be considered unique.
Jeff Garrett purchased the newly discovered gold piece at the 1984 ANA
convention and later described it as "a supremely rare Proof that any serious collector would love to own." Although he writes in Encyclopedia of U.S. Gold Coins 1795-1834 that the coin first surfaced at the 1984 ANA
convention, it actually appeared just prior to the convention; it was consigned to Paramount's session of Auction '84, held the preceding weekend. Check out certified $3 Gold on ebay
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