US Two-Cent & Three-Cent Coins

Numismatic Information, Coin Values, Images


This page describes all types of the US 2-Cent and 3-Cent pieces, and includes their specifics, mintage records, key dates with coin values (in G-4 and EF-40 conditions) and images of a few types (not all) that were recovered at various locations in the North-East USA.

TWO-CENT PIECES, 1864 - 1873

The two cent piece is one of the short-lived issues of United States coinage. The Act of April 22, 1864, included a provision for the bronze two cent piece. The weight was specified as 96 grains (6.22 grams), the alloy being the same as for the cent.

Two-Cent Coin, 2 Cents

Specifics:

Diameter: 23 mm
Weight: 6.22 grams or 96 grains
Edge: Plain
Composition: 95% copper, 5% tin/zink
Quantity minted: 45,601,000
Proofs minted: 1,100 (1873 record)
Mint marks: None
Designers: James Longacre

OBVERSE: Due largerly to the increased religious sentiment during the Civil War crisis, the motto IN GOD WE TRUST appeared, for the first time on any United States coin, in a scrolled ribbon above the shield assembly. There are two varieties for the first year of issue, 1864: the small motto (with the open D in GOD), which is scarce, and the large motto (with the closed D).

Key Dates and Coin Values:

• 1864 Small motto; G-4: $55.00, EF-40: $275.00
• 1872; G-4: $80.00, EF-40: $375.00
• 1873 Closed 3, proofs only, est. 600; F-12: $850.00, EF-40: $1,100
• 1873 Open 3, restrike (est. 500); Proof-63: $2,000
Average coin values of other dates: G-4 - $10.00, EF-40 - $55.00



SILVER THREE-CENT PIECES, 1851 - 1873

This smallest of United States coins was authorized by Congress on March 3, 1851. Issues from 1854 through 1873 have an olive sprig over the III and a bundle of three arrows beneath. Nearly the entire production of non-proof coins from 1863 to 1872 was melted in 1873.

VARIETY 1 - Single-Line Star, 1851 - 1853


Three-Cent Piece Variety 1

Specifics:

Diameter: 14 mm
Weight: .80 gram or 12-3/8 grains
Edge: Plain
Composition: 75% silver, 25% copper
Quantity minted: 36,230,090
Proofs minted: None
Mint marks: 1851O only
Mints: Philadelphia, New Orleans
Designers: James Longacre

Key Dates and Coin Values:

• 1851O; G-4: $20.00, EF-40: $125.00
Average coin values of other dates: G-4 - $17.00, EF-40 - $52.00


VARIETY 2 - Triple-Line Star, 1854 - 1858

Three Cent Piece 3 Cents Variety 2

Specifics:

Diameter: 14 mm
Weight: .75 gram or 11.52 grains
Edge: Plain
Composition: 90% silver, 10% copper
Quantity minted: 4,914,000
Proofs minted: None of record
Mint marks: None
Mints: Philadelphia
Designers: James Longacre

OBVERSE:The design is essentially the same as Variety 1 except for the triple configuration line of the star.

REVERSE: The original design remained untouched but a small sprig of laurel above the Roman numeral III and a bundle of three arrows added below.

Key Dates and Coin Values:

• 1855; G-4: $22.00, EF-40: $165.00
Average coin values of other dates: G-4 - $17.00, EF-40 - $85.00


VARIETY 3 - Double-Line Star, 1859 - 1873

Silver Three-Cent Piece 3 Cents

Specifics:

Diameter: 14 mm
Weight: .75 gram or 11.52 grains
Edge: Plain
Composition: 90% silver, 10% copper
Quantity minted: 1,581,490
Proofs minted: 10,040
Mint marks: None
Mints: Philadelphia
Designers: James Longacre

The motiv and the device remained unaltered but the star had only two configuration lines. The reverse was unchanged.

Key Dates and Coin Values:

• 1863; EF-40: $325.00
• 1863 3 over 2; Proof-63: $1,000
• 1864; EF-40: $325.00
• 1869 9 over 8; Extremely rare
• 1873 Closed 3, proof only; Proof-63: $1,000
• 1863-1873; EF-40: $350.00
Average coin values of other dates: G-4 - $16.00, EF-40 - $70.00

NICKEL THREE-CENT PIECES (LIBERTY HEAD), 1865 - 1889


The three-cent pieces struck in nickel composition were designed to replace the silver three-cent coins.

Nickel Three-Cent Piece 3 Cents

Specifics:

Diameter: 17.9 mm
Weight: 1.94 grams or 30 grains
Edge: Plain
Composition: 75% copper, 25% nickel
Quantity minted: 32,378,316
Proofs minted: 46,889
Mint marks: None
Designers: James Longacre

OBVERSE: The profile of Liberty, facing left, with slightly longer tresses than the Indian head profile, is nevertheless from the same model - his daughter, Sarah - used by Longacre on many of his works.

REVERSE: The denomination is symbolically indicated with a large Roman III inside a wreath of laurel. The borders are embattled denticles and there are no other markings on the field.

Key Dates and Coin Values:

• 1879; G-4: $45.00, EF-40: $90.00
• 1880; G-4: $65.00, EF-40: $120.00
• 1882; G-4: $65.00, EF-40: $110.00
• 1883; G-4: $125.00, EF-40: $250.00
• 1884; G-4: $275.00, EF-40: $375.00
• 1885; G-4: $350.00, EF-40: $500.00
• 1887 All kinds; G-4: $235.00, EF-40: $350.00
• 1887 7 over 6; VF-20: $325.00, EF-40: $375.00
Average coin values of other dates: G-4 - $10.00, EF-40 - $20.00


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Sources: Encyclopedia Of U.S. Coins by Mort Reed and The Official Red Book of United States Coins by R.S. Yeoman.