Legendary U.S. gold coin is no longer restricted to just world-class museums 

The ‘holy grail’ for any collector is to own the rarest of the rare. Something that many would assume can only be found in display cases of the Smithsonian or the British Museum. A coin that has earned its place in the record books of great American gold treasures…

The $3 Gold Indian Princess is just such a rarity.

√ It’s the rarest U.S. gold coin ever struck for circulation!

 It’s also the first truly ‘American’ coin design in history and boasts the lowest mintage of any series struck by the U.S. government.

In 1854, United States Mint Chief Engraver James B. Longacre reached a milestone in his career. For the first time, he would choose the design for a piece of currency: in this case the newly authorized three-dollar gold coin. Longacre wanted to choose something to represent the American identity rather than imagery from the distant past. He believed that it was far more important, and more interesting, to choose a design that would represent the Western frontier and the American spirit as a whole.

√ Liberty is shown in the guise of an Indian Princess, with tightly curled hair crowned by a circle of feathers.

 The reverse design features an agricultural wreath of corn, tobacco, cotton, and wheat.

 Instead of using 2,000-year-old symbols from the past, Longacre’s refreshingly new design represented aspects of life that felt real, felt vital, and were uniquely American.

The practical uses for a $3 coin never really took hold of the public’s imagination. But it is true that this coin owes its existence to the California Gold Rush, as it would never have been struck were it not for the wealth of new gold harvested from California in the decades following the 1849 discover at Sutter’s Mill.

While the coin did not enjoy as much popularity or circulation as other coins of the era, it accomplished something far more important. Longacre’s design wove the use of Native American imagery more deeply into the fabric of the country. Decades later, this legacy would take root in the heart of President Theodore Roosevelt, who commissioned the redesign of America’s coinage and who specifically requested images of Liberty in feathered headdresses much like this $3 gold predecessor.

Issuing Authority:
The United States Mint
Year of Issue:
1854 - 1889