Gold(III) activation of unprotected propargyl glycosyl donors has been shown to be effective for the synthesis of saccharides. Terminal propargyl glycosides of glucose, galactose, and mannose required heating at reflux in acetonitrile with 5% AuCl(3) for reaction with various primary alcohol acceptors, the latter used in 10-fold molar excess relative to donor. Donors containing the 2-butynyl group were more reactive, giving good yields of glycoside products at lower temperatures. Secondary alcohols could also be used but with diminished efficiency. The propargylic family of donors is especially convenient because they can be easily prepared on large scale by Fischer glycosylation and stored indefinitely before chemoselective activation by the catalyst.