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United States $1, $3, $4 Gold Coins

United States $1 gold coins were a brief and fairly unpopular series minted between 1849 to 1889. The concept for the $1 gold coin was originally proposed by Alexander Hamilton in 1791. It was supposed to run alongside the $1 silver coin to represent the two legal tender precious metals at one of the most commonly used dollar amounts. Three variations on the $1 gold coin exist, all of which were designed by James Longacre, the fourth chief engraver.

The $3 gold coin, also designed by Longacre, only had one style across its lifespan. However, it did have several important variations such as the 1873 open and closed 3 varieties. Minted from 1854 to 1889, the $3 coin was widely unpopular and only really found use on the West Coast where paper money was scarce and rarely used. One of the biggest obstacles to the $3 coin was the existence of the more popular quarter eagle, or $2.50 gold piece.

Stellas, as the $4 gold coins were known both officially and colloquially, were pattern coins that were never meant to be released. Several hundred were sold illicitly to congressmen and entered circulation thereafter. Originally designed with an eye towards joining the Latin Monetary Union in 1879 and 1880, Stellas were produced in two variations designed by Charles Barber and George Morgan.


Quick Facts

  • The first run of the $1 gold coin ranks as the smallest legal tender United States coin ever minted. The diameter is just 12.7 millimeters
  • The sales record for a $3 coin is currently held by an 1855-S cameo proof, which sold at auction in 2011 for just over $1.3 million
  • An 1880 Stella sold at auction for $1,821,250 in April 2015. The particular pattern auctioned is believed to be one of only 10 ever made

Recommended Items at Auction

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1853 $1.00 Gold Liberty Head Coin PCGS
Mar 02, 10:00 AM EST
1853 $1.00 Gold Liberty Head Coin PCGS
by Mebane Antique Auction
Est: $100- $10,000
$19010 Bids
1853 U.S. $1 Liberty Head Gold Dollar MS-63
Mar 18, 6:00 PM EDT
1853 U.S. $1 Liberty Head Gold Dollar MS-63
by One Source Auctions
Est: $0- $0
$3255 Bids
1856 Type 3 $1.00 Gold Indian Princess Upright 5 ICG AU55
Mar 02, 10:00 AM EST
1856 Type 3 $1.00 Gold Indian Princess Upright 5 ICG AU55
by Mebane Antique Auction
Est: $100- $10,000
$1805 Bids
1851 $1.00 Gold Liberty Head ICG EF40
Mar 02, 10:00 AM EST
1851 $1.00 Gold Liberty Head ICG EF40
by Mebane Antique Auction
Est: $100- $10,000
$1604 Bids
1855 Type 2 $1.00 Gold Indian Princess ICG AU53
Mar 02, 10:00 AM EST
1855 Type 2 $1.00 Gold Indian Princess ICG AU53
by Mebane Antique Auction
Est: $100- $10,000
$1103 Bids
1854 Type 2 $1.00 Gold Indian Princess ICG AU53
Mar 02, 10:00 AM EST
1854 Type 2 $1.00 Gold Indian Princess ICG AU53
by Mebane Antique Auction
Est: $100- $10,000
$1103 Bids
1874 Type 3 $1 Indian Princess Head Gold Dollar Coin
Mar 01, 7:00 AM PST
1874 Type 3 $1 Indian Princess Head Gold Dollar Coin
by BK Auctions
Est: $400- $475
$1503 Bids
$1.00 Silver 1879-S, Rev of '78. PCGS AU55.
Mar 09, 11:00 AM EST
$1.00 Silver 1879-S, Rev of '78. PCGS AU55.
by Mitchell Auctions
Est: $0- $0
$21 Bid
Scarce 1857 P $3 Gold Piece
Mar 15, 10:00 AM CDT
Scarce 1857 P $3 Gold Piece
by Kennedy's Auction Service
Est: $10- $100,000
$101 Bid
1861 $1 Gold Indian Princess Head Coin, MS61 Grade, Dia. 0.5" 1g
Mar 14, 11:00 AM EDT
1861 $1 Gold Indian Princess Head Coin, MS61 Grade, Dia. 0.5" 1g
by DuMouchelles
Est: $100- $200
$501 Bid
1853 $1 Liberty Head Gold Dollar Coin
Mar 01, 7:00 AM PST
1853 $1 Liberty Head Gold Dollar Coin
by BK Auctions
Est: $375- $425
$11 Bid
1863 $3 Gold Piece
Mar 09, 10:00 AM CST
1863 $3 Gold Piece
by Gold Standard Auctions
Est: $1,805- $10,000
$1,8000 Bids
1888 $3 Gold Piece
Mar 09, 10:00 AM CST
1888 $3 Gold Piece
by Gold Standard Auctions
Est: $905- $10,000
$9000 Bids
1853 Octagonal California Gold Dollar HIGH GRADE
Mar 02, 10:00 AM CST
1853 Octagonal California Gold Dollar HIGH GRADE
by Gold Standard Auctions
Est: $430- $10,000
$4250 Bids
24K GOLD ($1) One Dollar New Hampshire Goldback Piece - Neat Design!
Mar 16, 7:00 PM EDT
24K GOLD ($1) One Dollar New Hampshire Goldback Piece - Neat Design!
by Big Dog Auctions
Est: $0- $0
$10 Bids
1903 Lousiana Purchase Rare Gold Dollar NEARLY UNC
Mar 02, 10:00 AM CST
1903 Lousiana Purchase Rare Gold Dollar NEARLY UNC
by Gold Standard Auctions
Est: $255- $10,000
$2500 Bids
1922 Grant Rare Gold Dollar CHOICE AU
Mar 02, 10:00 AM CST
1922 Grant Rare Gold Dollar CHOICE AU
by Gold Standard Auctions
Est: $505- $10,000
$5000 Bids
1856-S $3 Gold Piece LIGHTLY CIRCULATED
Mar 02, 10:00 AM CST
1856-S $3 Gold Piece LIGHTLY CIRCULATED
by Gold Standard Auctions
Est: $905- $10,000
$9000 Bids
1855 $3 Gold Piece CHOICE AU
Mar 02, 10:00 AM CST
1855 $3 Gold Piece CHOICE AU
by Gold Standard Auctions
Est: $1,405- $10,000
$1,4000 Bids
1856-S $3 Gold Piece CHOICE BU
Mar 03, 12:30 PM CST
1856-S $3 Gold Piece CHOICE BU
by Gold Standard Auctions
Est: $1,155- $10,000
$1,1000 Bids
1858-D Rare Gold Dollar UNCIRCULATED
Mar 03, 12:30 PM CST
1858-D Rare Gold Dollar UNCIRCULATED
by Gold Standard Auctions
Est: $2,225- $10,000
$2,2000 Bids
1849-D Rare Gold Dollar UNCIRCULATED
Mar 03, 12:30 PM CST
1849-D Rare Gold Dollar UNCIRCULATED
by Gold Standard Auctions
Est: $2,405- $10,000
$2,4000 Bids
1850-C Rare Gold Dollar UNCIRCULATED
Mar 03, 12:30 PM CST
1850-C Rare Gold Dollar UNCIRCULATED
by Gold Standard Auctions
Est: $2,045- $10,000
$2,0000 Bids
1888 $3 Gold Piece CHOICE BU
Mar 02, 10:00 AM CST
1888 $3 Gold Piece CHOICE BU
by Gold Standard Auctions
Est: $2,005- $10,000
$2,0000 Bids

Sellers Who Sell United States $1, $3, $4 Gold Coins


Gold Standard Auctions

Gold Standard Auctions

BK Auctions

BK Auctions

Mebane Antique Auction

Mebane Antique Auction

Kennedy's Auction Service

Kennedy's Auction Service