History of Three Cent Silver:
The Three Cent Silver Coin was first struck in 1851 at both the Philadelphia and New Orleans Mints and bore an “O” mintmark for the New Orleans coins. The coin was the first United States coin NOT to feature Miss Liberty on the obverse and a wreath with the denomination enclosed on the reverse.
In fact, the “trime” as it is called, features no portrait whatsoever. It is also the smallest silver coin ever struck by the United States Mint and while it did actually contain Three Cents worth of Silver at the time, its small size contributed to its demise.
Designed by James Longacre, the obverse features a six-pointed star with the date below and the reverse has the Roman numeral for three – III - within an ornamental “C” for cents. Only 1851, the first year had any coins struck at a branch mint. Until they were discontinued in 1873, all coins were struck at the Philadelphia Mint. This denomination was often used in the 1850s for purchasing postage as the First-Class Rate for postage was 3 Cents.
There are three different types of Three Cent Silvers, all of which are denoted by different outlines around the obverse star. The size of the coin helped lead to its demise as the public thought they were too small and too easy to lose. Many of the later dates (1862-1873) are scarce even in low grade due to low original mintages.
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