‘Odd Denominational’ Coins – 3 Cent Pieces

The 3-Cent Silver piece is the smallest of the United States silver coins, called the ‘trime’ by the Treasury Department. There are 3 different varieties of the 3-cent silver piece, the first one had no lines bordering the six-pointed star on the front of the coin, the second variety had 2 lines, and the third variety had only 1 line. Issues from 1854 through 1873 have an olive sprig over the 3 and a bundle of three arrows beneath the 3. These coins can be hard to come across, considering that nearly the entire production of non-proof coins from 1863 to 1872 were melted in 1873.

3-cent piece 1

Variety 1 of the 3-cent silvers were minted from 1851 to 1853. Out of the three years they were minted they have 5 coins, the 1851-O from New Orleans is the only 3-cent silver piece to have a mint mark, and the 1852 1/inv2 which is an 1851 coin with a 2 on it upside down.

3 cent piece 2

Variety 2 of the 3-cent silvers were minted from 1854 to 1858. Out of the five years these were minted, they only have the 5 coins, no mint marks or over dates. The better one to have in this group is the 1855 with only 139,000 minted.

3 cent piece 3

Variety 3 of the 3-cent silvers were minted from 1859 to 1873. This variety has the most of the coins with 17 total coins, one of which is an over date, and another is a so-called over date, and the 1873 is a proof only issue. Most coins in this group are rare and can get pricey even in the lower grades.

Stay tuned next month for the Nickel Three Cent Pieces!

Brian Dresback,

Manager, Christopher’s Rare Coins

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