David Akers (1975/88): Proofs are rare and have actually appeared at auction less often than those of some other dates with lower proof mintages. I have seen several fully proof-like 1889's, but do not feel that they would be mistaken for proofs since they lack a proof's depth of field and characteristic orange peel surface. However, there are die differences as well that would distinguish a proof from a business strike. The leaf to the left of the date on the business strikes that I have seen is partially detached and the die on the left inside of the right bow has been lapped. In contrast, the leaf to the left of the date on the proof is full, as is the left inside of the right bow. There are other differences as well, such as prominent outlines at the upper left part of the wreath and on the left ribbon end on the proofs that are missing on the business strikes. These differences should make the determination of the proof status of a given 1889 three dollar gold piece fairly easy in the few instances that such a question might arise.
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