Orange-gold mirrors and lightly dusted motifs are alive with fiery orange highlights. A greatly prized rarity in any state of preservation, just 45 Proofs of the date were produced without attendant circulation strikes. Low magnification reveals die rust in the feathers and hair of Liberty's icon. As ably noted in our (B&M) sale of the Harry W. Bass, Jr. Collection (Part II, October 1999, Lot 695): "Mint records state that 45 Proofs were struck of the 1876 $3, without any related business strikes, thus isolating 1876 as a Proof-only issue, with only the 1875 having similar status. For many years, the 1876, along with the 1875 and to a lesser extent the 1873, have been considered the key Philadelphia Mint issues of the series. Walter Breen estimated that 25 or 30 exist today, while David Akers in his study cited sale records for 45 pieces (a figure which includes duplicate listings of the same coin). It is our view that perhaps two dozen or so different specimens exist today." Choice for the grade with none of the heavy marks or scuffs typically associated with the grade. We suspect specialists in the series -- who often must wait years between appearances of the date -- will be out in force when this classic rarity comes up for bids.
Numismatic Reflections by Q. David Bowers
An attractive example at a lower level than normally seen, this 1876 rarity will be ideal for anyone lacking this date but who does not want to spend several multiples for a Gem.