The $3 Indian Princess gold coin is considered one of the most unusual coins produced by the United States Mint. Designer James B. Longacre was faced with the challenge of creating a coin that could be differentiated from $2.50 and $5 Liberty gold coins, in size, weight and design. Longacre met this challenge in creating the only $3 U.S. coin ever minted.
Design of the $3 Indian Princess Gold Piece - The $3 gold coin, although minted during the years of the Liberty series of gold coins, is commonly referred to as the Indian Princess due to the design on the front of the gold coin. Miss Liberty is depicted as an Indian Princess with her hair tightly curled above her neck and her head crowned with a circle of feathers. The band on her forehead is inscribed with the word 'Liberty'. The reverse (back) features a wreath of tobacco, wheat, corn, and cotton, 'the principal cash crops of the time,' encircling the denomination ("3 DOLLARS") and the date.
$3 Indian Princess Minting Information - Although no one is certain why the coin was originally created, some numismatists believe it was for the purchase of 3-cent postage stamps in sheets of 100. Others theorize that it was to ease the purchase of 3-cent silver pieces in 100-coin rolls. Whatever the reason, the $3 gold piece was minted for only 36 years, making it the shortest-lived of any denomination of gold coin released for general circulation in the United States.