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3 Cent Silver

3 Cent Silver

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Our Price: $79.95
Year: Vary
Diameter: 14 mm

Product Code: 10754


The three cent coin has an unusual history. It was proposed in 1851 both as a result of the decrease in postage rates from five cents to three and to answer the need for a small-denomination, easy-to-handle coin. The three cent silver featured a shield on a six sided star on the obverse and the Roman numeral III on the reverse. The coin was initially composed of 75% silver and 25% copper to ensure that the coin would be considered real currency yet not worth melting down for the silver.

The coins were physically the lightest weight coins ever minted by the United States, weighing only 4/5 of a gram and with a diameter smaller than a modern dime and only slightly greater than the smallest gold dollars. The silver coins were known as "fishscales".
The term "trimes" is often used today for these coins but that was first used by the director of the US Mint at the time of their production.

Starting in 1854, the three cent silver had its silver metal content raised to 90% in order to encourage circulation. At the same time, its weight was reduced to 3/4 of a gram by reducing thickness.

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