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Three Cent Nickels

Three Cent Nickels (1865-1889)

The Three Cent Nickel was a general circulation coin produced by the United States Mint from 1865 to 1889. From 1865 to 1873, the mint struck a three-cent Silver piece as well. Because the series was only produced by the mint for 25 years, several editions may be considered rare and very collectible. In fact, coins of rare dates may trade for over three times the premium of common-date coins.

The Three Cent Nickel was never popular with the public and was not used as much as intended in general circulation. Because of this, many of these coins can still be found in nearly pristine or Uncirculated condition, increasing their potential value.

Three Cent Nickels – What’s the Value?

The minting date of these coins can significantly impact the coin’s collectibility and value. An 1865 Three Cent Nickel in Good condition, for example, may trade for about $11. An 1880 Three Cent Nickel in Uncirculated condition may trade for over $230.

When you have your coin graded by a professional numismatist, you can get a good idea of the potential value of your Three Cent Nickel. The coin grading process is extremely thorough and accounts for any flaws or imperfections on your coin while authenticating its age and metal content.

 
Three Cent Nickels (1865-1889) obverse

Condition Affects Value of Three Cent Nickel

There are some simple methods you can employ to roughly gauge the potential grade of your coin. One trick is to look at the rim of the coin. A coin in Good condition will likely have a rim that feels worn down and parts of the rim may be completely worn away. A coin in excellent condition, however, will have a rim that remains crisp and deeply textured. You can also look at other details such as Lady Liberty’s hair.

The hair on a coin in great condition can still be felt easily and has maintained most of its detail. A coin in Good condition, however, may have hair that is noticeably worn down or bears surface scratches. To earn a grade of Extremely Fine, the coin must have almost zero imperfections. This means all details such as text and imagery must be in practically pristine condition with no surface damage or blemishes.

 

Coin Grading Provides Peace of Mind

If you have a Three Cent Nickel from a popular mint year, or a coin that appears to be in exceptional condition, you may want to consider submitting it for professional grading with a reputable grading company such as PCGS or NGC. These expert numismatists minutely examine your coin for imperfections and verify its metal content and authenticity. The small fee you incur for this service may be a worthwhile investment depending on your plans for your collection. Graded coins typically sell for higher premiums than those that have not been professionally evaluated, so your investment in the grading process could potentially pay for itself many times over.


The Future of Three Cent Nickel Values

The Three Cent Nickels were in production for just 25 years. While a dozen of these mint years turn up all the time and are relatively easy to find, 13 of them are more elusive and thus more alluring to collectors. Values for the common dates range from around $11 in good condition to $75 and higher in uncirculated condition. If you have a nickel from a collectible mintage year, your coin could potentially be worth $30 or more. Depending on condition, certain collectible editions can easily trade in the hundreds of dollars. The value of your Three Cent Nickel may shift from year to year. While many coins see a steady increase in value over the long term, in this case the growth may be very small. Because these Nickels were not as popular as other coin types, any appreciation seen in their values will likely be more gradual. That being said, coins from rarer mint years may have the potential for significant increases in value with over time, especially if they are preserved in extremely fine or uncirculated condition.



DATE GOOD FINE EXTREMELY FINE UNCIRCULATED
1865 3-Cent Nickel $18 N/A $40 $65
1866 3-Cent Nickel $18 N/A $40 $65
1867 3-Cent Nickel $15 N/A $40 $65
1868 3-Cent Nickel $15 N/A $40 $65
1869 3-Cent Nickel $15 N/A $40 $65
1870 3-Cent Nickel $20 N/A $40 $65
1871 3-Cent Nickel $20 N/A $40 $65
1872 3-Cent Nickel $20 N/A $40 $65
1873 3-Cent Nickel (Closed 3) $20 N/A $40 $65
1873 3-Cent Nickel (Open 3) $20 N/A $40 $70
1874 3-Cent Nickel $20 N/A $40 $65
1875 3-Cent Nickel $20 N/A $45 $80
1876 3-Cent Nickel $20 N/A $50 $110
1879 3-Cent Nickel $60 N/A $125 $175
1880 3-Cent Nickel $90 N/A $200 $220
1881 3-Cent Nickel $20 N/A $40 $65
1882 3-Cent Nickel $110 N/A $225 $275
1883 3-Cent Nickel $275 N/A $550 $850
1884 3-Cent Nickel $550 N/A $1,900 $2,750
1885 3-Cent Nickel $800 N/A $2,500 $3,000
1887 3-Cent Nickel $275 N/A $400 $520
1888 3-Cent Nickel $50 N/A $90 $150
1889 3-Cent Nickel $80 N/A $220 $250

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