thatcoinguy's Blog

26 Sep 2021


Coins-United States | thatcoinguy

The three cent piece (commonly referred to as a trime) was made from 1851-1889. The trime was made because the postal rate had just changed from five cents to three cents, and so this coin was an easy way to pay. The alloy was originally 75% silver, but in 1854, it was changed to 90% silver. The alloy was changed once more in 1865 to copper nickel, although circulation silver trimes were still minted until 1872. The change in alloy from silver to copper-nickel was to prevent the hoarding the trime and other silver coins went through during that time period.

The trime is one of the few US coins to have the denomination in Roman Numerals (the only other coin I can think of off the top of my head is the Liberty Head Nickel, but I am sure there are others). It is the lightest coin the US has ever made, with it sometimes weighing 4/5 to 3/4 of a gram depending on the alloy. It also has a diameter of 14mm, making it the second smallest US coin to the gold dollar, which is 13mm in diameter, All trimes were minted at the Philadelphia mint, with the exception of 1851, in which trimes were struck at the New Orleans ("O") mint. The copper-nickel three cent piece is NOT a trime, but a three cent nickel. Please do not get it wrong. Proof specimens were made in 1858 and every year onward until the series ended in 1889. The key date of the silver specimens is the 1872, and the key date of the copper-nickel versions is the 1885.



Level 6

Are you sure about that minting information??? You say Trimes were minted until 1972? ; )


Level 5

1872, sorry!

AC coin$

Level 6

Great information , nice blog thank


Level 5

Very nice information. I just never collected these. I should have. They are really nice.

Long Beard

Level 5

I've got several but have not completed the series due to other interests which side tracked me. Sad because now with my eye sight not what it once was can hardly see the tiny things without a lighted magnifier.


Level 6

Nice blog. Thanks.


Level 7

Quick but to the point. That's a nice blog. Thank you for sharing!


Level 5

No problem! I was doing the research for the EAC project, and decided it would make a nice blog.

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