1866 (1868) Pattern Three Dollars. Judd-C1866-2, Pollock-5085, Cunningham 15-740X. Rarity-Unique. Gold. Plain Edge. Unc Details--Filed Rims (PCGS). 100 grains. Obv: A bearded bust of President Lincoln faces right, the motto GOD AND OUR COUNTRY above and the date 1866 below. Rev: A wreath of oak and laurel surrounds the denomination expressed as a Roman numeral III. Scroll ornamentation is at the top of the wreath, above which is a six-pointed star. Delightful satin to softly frosted surfaces display a sharp to full strike throughout. Even medium gold patina on both sides, with only wispy handling marks. Closer inspection with a loupe reveals light filing here and there around the rims that confirms the PCGS qualifier. Attractive and of the utmost rarity and significance.This intriguing type continues to baffle numismatic researchers. Listed in Appendix C of the Judd pattern reference, as well as in the "Semi-Official and Private Patterns" section of the Pollock book, examples are believed to have been produced circa 1868 by medalist Joseph H. Merriam. The obverse die is certainly Merriams own work, while the reverse may have been made in the United States Mint for production of pattern three-cent pieces. Many doubt the Mint connection, with Q. David Bowers, among others, suggesting that these are numismatic fantasies. Even so, many collectors have adopted this type into the mainstream pattern series.Impressions are known in gold, silver and copper, the precious metal specimens with either a reeded or plain edge. The reeded edge gold pieces (Judd-C1866-1) are exceedingly rare with just three or four known, while the plain edge gold striking offered here is unique.This lot includes a custom white plastic holder that housed this coin prior to its certification by PCGS. The holder is printed THREE DOLLAR / GOLD / 1866 / LINCOLN / GEM / RARITY 8. <em>The holder is available to the winning bidder upon request to Stacks Bowers Galleries at the close of the auction</em>.