Owner's Comments

Satiny fields of honey gold coloring. Very well struck. This is the medium S variety, much more attainable than the small s type. A tick in the obverse field below the D in united is the only observable marker for identification. Top pop.

Expert Comments

Ron Guth

The San Francisco Mint produced Three-Dollar gold pieces in four years.  Of those four, the 1856-S has the largest mintage.  However, at 34,500 coins, this is a puny amount by any standard, certainly in comparison to the multi-million and billion coin mintages of today.  

The mintmarks on the 1856-S Three-Dollar gold pieces come in three different sizes: Small, Medium, and Large.  According to Q. David Bowers and Doug Winter, 80% are of the Medium Mintmark variety, 2-3% are of the Large Mintmark variety, and approximately 15% are of the Small Mintmark variety.  The Medium and Large Mintmarks are very difficult to tell apart; the Small S is clearly smaller than any other.

Mint State 1856-S Three-Dollar gold pieces are very rare, with perhaps 10-20 known (we know of roughly ten demonstrably different examples.  The best appear to be a trio of PCGS MS64's.


David Akers (1975/88)

The 1856-S has the fifth highest mintage of the series and, not surprisingly, the fifth greatest number of auction records in our 238 catalogue auction survey. However, the overwhelming majority of those records are for low grade specimens (116 out of 177 were VF or less) and, indeed, the 1856-S is very difficult to obtain better then EF. In fact, this date is ranked third overall in rarity according to average grade, although it is more obtainable in unc. than the 1854-D, 1865, or the other S Mint three dolalr gold pieces. There are three different size mintmarks on the 1856-S, small, medium, and large. The small S is the same size as on the 1860-S while the large S is the same as on the 1855-S and 1857-S. The most common of the three varieties is the Medium S variety and both the Large S and Small S varieties are rare in any condition.
Diameter
20.50 millimeters
Designer
James Barton Longacre
Edge
Reeded
Mintage
34500
Weight
5.02 grams
Metal Content
90% Gold, 10% Copper
Region
The United States of America
Pop Higher
0
Pop Lower
507
Price Guide
PCGS Population
Auctions - PCGS Graded
Auctions - NGC Graded

Rarity and Survival Estimates

Grades
65 or Better 2500 R-4.5 36 / 41 TIE 36 / 41 TIE
All Grades 20 R-9.1 7 / 41 TIE 7 / 41 TIE
60 or Better 0 R-10.1 1 / 41 1 / 41

Condition Census

Pos Grade Thumbnail Pedigree and History
1 MS64 PCGS grade MS64 PCGS grade

Great Lakes Collection - Hanks & Associates, sold privately as an entire collection in 10/2005 - D. Brent Pogue Collection - Stack's/Bowers & Sotheby's 2/2016:3095, $54,050

1 MS64 PCGS grade MS64 PCGS grade

South Texas Collection $3.00 Gold Collection

1 MS64 PCGS grade

Superior, sold privately in 3/1978 - Harry W. Bass, Jr. Collection - Bowers & Merena 10/1999:658, $34,500

4 MS63 PCGS grade  
	MS63 PCGS grade

Bob R. Simpson Collection

4 MS63 PCGS grade