The three-dollar piece was authorized by the Act of February 21, 1853. First struck in 1854, the coin was never popular with the general public and saw very little circulation. Today, some numismatists theorize that the $3 denomination would have been useful for purchasing postage stamps of the day (with their face value of 3 cents), or for acquiring 100 silver three-cent pieces ("trimes"), which were also in circulation at the time.
The head on the obverse represents an Indian princess with hair tightly curling over the neck, her head crowned with a circle of feathers (the band of which is inscribed 'LIBERTY'). A wreath of tobacco, wheat, and cotton occupies the field of the reverse, with the denomination and date within it. Proofs strikes were made in 1859-1889.
Designer is James B. Longacre; weight 5.015 grams; composition .900 gold, .100 copper (net weight .14512 oz. pure gold); diameter 20.5mm; reeded edge.