The United States has produced some interesting coins, and the Three Cent piece is definitely one of them.
The term “trimes” is widely used today as a nickname for these coins. That nickname was first used by the mint director James Ross Snowden at the time of their production.
The United States started to produce this coin in 1851 as a result of the decrease in postage rates (which went from five cents to three). The mint also started to offer this coin to answer the need for a small-denomination, easy-to-handle coin. This coin was released in silver (the silver content was raised in 1854) to help encourage circulation.
Silver coins were hoarded in the early 1800’s–and when the Civil War erupted, silver coins were hoarded even more. This led to the Three Cent piece getting hoarded as well. Because of this, the United States mint would eventually print fractional currency (paper money with a face value of 3 cents, 5 cents, 10 cents, 15 cents, 25 cents, and 50 cents).
The composition was changed in 1865 to nickel. The design of the coin was also changed when the composition was changed, so it’s easy to tell the nickel variety from the silver one.
Production of the trime began to taper off in the 1870’s, but mintage of the coin did not come to an end until a couple of years later in 1889.
Like with any coin, there are unlimited ways to collect this denomination. Will it be just silver examples? Nickel copies? Certain years or die varieties? It is completely up to you.
Have you run across one of these cool coins?