Two & Three Cent Pieces


The Act of April 22, 1864 included a provision for a bronze two-cent piece, and changed the weight and composition of the cent. The Two-Cent Piece is one of the shortest run issues of United States Coinage with the motto “ In God We Trust “ appearing for the first time. The shield depicted on the obverse of the coin is similar to that of the nickel five-cent piece introduced in 1866.

The Two Cent was follow by the smallest of the United States silver coins which started production in 1851. The Silver Three Cent piece was produced by the Philadelphia Mint from 1851 through 1873.  During that time the Civil War affected the availability of United States coins. All silver coins were hoarded during the Civil War, which created a problem for post-Civil War commerce. There weren’t enough coins in circulation to make change or buy a postage stamp.

Thus, came the bill passed by congress in 1865 which allowed a new Three Cent coin to be produced that was made of nickel and copper instead of silver. It was designed to look like a silver coin, and composed of 75% Copper and 25% Nickel. The two existed together until production of the Silver Three Cent Piece stopped in 1873. Not too soon after, the Nickel Three Cent Piece was discontinued in 1889, greatly impart because it was the same size as the dime, and postage pricing had changed making the Three Cent coins less demanded. Eventually, a large amount of them were melted down and used to mint new five-cent Liberty Head Nickels.