1877 Three-Dollar Gold Piece. AU-53 (PCGS).Sharply defined overall, this minimally circulated example also retains ample evidence of a prooflike finish from the dies. The fields are highly reflective for the assigned grade, the design elements set aside with a satin to softly frosted texture. The entire package is dressed in handsome orange-gold patina with tinges of pale rose, deep olive and light silver evident as the coin rotates under a light.<p>The 1870s were a period of economic instability that had noticeable effects on the nations coins. Still reeling from the Panic of 1873 and faced with the record quantities of silver coming from the Comstock Lode in Nevada, silver was taking center stage. As an already unpopular odd denomination gold coin, the production of the gold three-dollar gold piece was more pro forma than anything else as the mintage figure of a mere 1,468 specimens in 1877 will attest. Little attention was paid to these few coins once they entered commercial channels and were quickly absorbed into circulation. Only by the dawn of the twentieth century did the true scarcity of the 1877 $3 coin become appreciated and only through the efforts of dealers such as Thomas L. Elder were any retrieved from bank holdings, almost all of which at the mid-range circulated grade levels. Nowadays, this issue is rightly heralded as one of the rarest of all the regular strike three-dollar gold issues, with Mint State specimens taking center stage as one of the great condition rarities for the series. A desirable example that will be at home in any advanced cabinet.