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Three Cent Nickel

Three Cent Nickel

The three-cent nickel is a very popular and special coin that was minted during the civil war. During the civil war, many coins were hoarded, especially those that were made from silver, including the three-cent silver. This coin hoarding created a shortage of coinage, which caused economic problems for the nation.  

The three-cent nickel was produced because there were few coins with small denominations in circulation due to hoarding. At the time, a postage stamp cost three cents, so this nickel was very convenient. 

Three cent coin History

When the 3 cent coin was produced, the Treasury Department also introduced a variety of paper notes of small denominations. These ranged from a cent to half a dollar in value and helped fill the void caused by hoarding silver coins. These coins and notes were known as “fractional currency” and became very unpopular, especially the notes as the paper used for printing deteriorated quickly. 

The three-cent nickel was created in 1865 and was struck from 25% nickel and 75 % copper rather than silver to stop it from being hoarded. This coin’s design was produced by James Barton Longacre, who was responsible for many coin designs at the time as he was the Chief Engraver at the U.S. Mint. He also designed the two-cent coin, amongst others. 

The coin had high nickel content, making it look like a silver coin instead of having a yellow color that most people would associate with nickel. The three-cent nickel was specifically designed to be large as the three-cent silver coin was tiny and had received a lot of criticism. Longacre made the new coin the same size as a dime and was also criticized for this. 

The obverse of this coin featured a left-facing head of liberty, with the words ‘United States of America.’ The coin's design is exceptionally detailed, with strands of Liberty's hair visible. On the reverse is a wreath with the Roman Numeral III, for three in the middle. 

Three cent nickel mintages

Three-cent nickels were minted for a relatively short amount of time, between 1865 to 1889. In total, more than thirty-one million of these coins were struck. From 1865 until 1873, both the three-cent nickel and the silver coin were in circulation. The Coinage Act of 1873 removed the silver three cent from circulation. The new three cent nickel continued to be used until 1889. 

In 1889 the three-cent nickel was discontinued as there was a lot of controversy over the coin. Many people didn’t like the fact that it was the same size as a dime. During this year, the postage costs had dropped, and a stamp now cost just two cents. This made the three-cent coin less useful, and there was less demand for the coin. 

In the years following 1889, the Treasury reclaimed millions of three cent nickels and melted them down to make a new coin called the five-cent Liberty Head Nickels. For this reason, three cent nickels are quite rare today and in good condition, can fetch high prices at auction.

Three cent nickel value

Many of the three cent nickels that are for sale today are worn or scratched. It’s rare to find a coin that’s in uncirculated condition, and these coins sell for high prices and are challenging to find. The grading of the coin's condition is a crucial element in deciding the coin's worth.

In 1873 there were two different types of three cent nickels. As a slightly different typography was used for the date 1873 during minting. There was an open 3 version, where the three had more space between the number's ends than in the closed 3 version. These coins are the most valuable. Some years are more collectible than others due to their rarity, and these include the 1865 proof and coinage from 1883, 1884, 1885, and 1887. These coins generally cost about $100 each in uncirculated condition. Some of the rarer coins are worth over $500! 

Three cent nickel for sale

Bullion Shark stocks Three Cent nickels from all years, and these have proven to be very popular with customers, as they are quite scarce and highly sought after. These coins are all very similar, the only difference being the year they were minted.

Three Cent Nickel

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