Three Cent Silver (1851 – 1873)

#1 Three Cent Silver Buyer Las Vegas & Henderson

History

In 1851, Congress authorized the smallest ever circulating silver coin, the Silver Three Cent piece. The coin was referred to as a “Trime”, by the Treasury Department and that term continues to be used to this day when describing the coin. The three cent piece was issued for two main reasons. First, because of significant hoarding of silver coins, (as well as the sparsity of small denomination coins outside of the larger cities), the Three Cent coin was produced with a composition of metal that was valued significantly less than its face value. It was, in fact, the first American coin to do so. The second purpose behind issuing this small and odd denomination coin had to do with the fact that the postal service had recently released a three cent stamp for postage use and could therefore be purchased in exchange for a single three cent piece.

The Silver Three cent piece was minted from 1851 until 1873. The coin was minted in Philadelphia and New Orleans in 1851, but only in Philadelphia for the remainder of the series. The obverse of the coin displays an image of a six-sided star with a shield inside of it. The words, “United States Of America”, surround the star along the rim of the coin. The date of mintage appears below the star at the bottom of the coin. The reverse of the coin displays a large C with the Roman numeral 3, (“III”) inside of the C. An olive branch is displayed over the III and a bundle of three arrows, tied with a ribbon, appear below the III. Thirteen stars, representing the original thirteen colonies, encircle the C around the edge of the coin. The mintmark O, on the 1851 coin, appears just outside of the C between the loops. The three cent piece also varied in weight and composition during the series. It weighed .80 grams from 1851 to 1853 with a composition of 75% silver and 25% copper. In 1854 and continuing until the series ended in 1873, the weight was changed to .75 grams and the composition changed to 90% silver and 10% copper. The diameter of all Silver Three cent pieces remained the same at 14 mm.

Value

The Silver Three Cent piece was not particularly popular when it was originally issued because of their small size and thinness. During their period of circulation they were referred to in a derogatory manner as “fish scales” owing to the difficulty of picking one up from a flat surface. These coins are also not particularly popular among collectors today for the same reasons and also the fact that their thinness tends to make them wear significantly therefore making it difficult to find examples where the condition of the coin allows the dates and devices to remain clearly visible. As a result it should be noted that well worn examples may only have a value consistent with their silver content. While many common dates in the series, in good condition, can be obtained from about $25 to $40, high mint state examples of these same coins may be valued from $250 to $350. During the Civil War period from 1863 and through the remainder of the series in 1873, the mintage for each of these years was reduced significantly and a great number of them were melted. Coins in good condition from this period are valued from about $300 to $450 and mint state examples can reach values from $1,000 to $2,000. Proof coins were issued from 1854 through 1873 and are worth from about $1,000 to $5,000, (depending on the date), in high proof state with the exception of the 1854 which can reach a value of over $12,000 in exceptional condition.

Because there are so many varied opinions on the condition (or grade) of a coin, the aforementioned values reflect the highest retail prices that have been obtained for those coins that have been assessed by a third party grading company. Such coins have been authenticated, graded and encapsulated by expert coin grading companies to minimize any doubt as to their quality and value and therefore their potential worth.

We Buy Silver Three Cent Coins

We want to buy your coins and as a business it is our pledge to offer you the best value for your coins, however, always remember that the prices you may find online or in price guides usually represent the highest retail value for the coin in an already certified condition. As a trusted dealer we will have our coin specialists evaluate your coins at no cost and offer you a price that is both fair for you, but that also allows us to realize a reasonable profit.