Coin Specifications

Category: Three Cent Nickels (1865-1889)
Mint: Philadelphia
Mintage: 1,077,000
Catalog: KM-95
Obverse Designer: James B. Longacre
Reverse Designer: James B. Longacre
Composition: Copper-Nickel
Weight: 1.94grams
Diameter: 17.9mm
Edge: Plain
Numismatic specification data provided by Krause Publications NumisMaster.
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1881 3CN MS obverse 1881 3CN MS reverse

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Description & Analysis

No satisfactory explanation has been offered that would account for the huge spike in mintage for this coin in 1881. It posted such low numbers in the years preceding and following that there seems little reason to have produced so many.

Whatever the story, 1881 three-cent pieces are very common worn. Mint State examples are fairly plentiful, though gems are only slightly more common than for the low-mintage dates. Most pieces are reasonably well made, and the large numbers produced resulted in most Mint State survivors having frosty luster rather than the semi-prooflike smoothness typical of low-mintage coins.

Several repunched dates are known for 1881, and the best of these are attributed by NGC under its VarietyPlus Service.


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Price Guide

Last Updated: 6/30/2015

Click on a price to see historical prices, comparison charts and trends.

1881 3CN MS
Base $ 15.00 18.50 21.00 28.00 43.00 65.00 70.00 75.00 90.00 135 165 215 315 650 1450 5400 - - -
$ 50.00 - - - 100.00 145 175 235 400 800 1900 - -

The World Coin Price Guide is independently compiled by Krause Publications’ NumisMaster. NGC makes this information available to its website visitors as a free service, but in no way does the information provided represent NGC’s official opinion or policy. For example, varieties listed in the World Coin Price Guide may not necessarily be recognized by NGC. Please contact NGC Customer Service with any questions.

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Total Graded: 600
Low Grade: VG
Average Grade: 61
High Grade: 66

Upcoming Auctions

Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Auction House
Sale / Lot
6/14/2000 NGC MS 65   Heritage Auctions Exclusively Internet Auction #20064, 20064/Lot# 4051 $410.00
10/9/2006 NGC MS 62   David Lawrence Rare Coins Internet Auction # 108, 113/Lot# 271 $115.00
7/6/2009 PCGS MS 65   Teletrade Auction 2715, 2715/Lot# 1151 $460.00
1/31/2010 PCGS MS 64   Goldberg January 31 - February 3, 2010 Pre-Long Beach Coin and Currency Auction, 57/Lot# 898 $241.50
10/17/2012 PCGS MS 63   Stack's Bowers The November 2012 Baltimore Auction - US and World Lots - Live and Internet Only Sessions, 144/Lot# 24299 $165.68
11/18/2012 NGC MS 62   Heritage Auctions Internet Coin Auction Session(1), 131248/Lot# 24054 $152.75
8/31/2014 NGC   GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 08/31/2014, 189/Lot# 214015 $26.00
11/2/2014 PCGS MS 65   Heritage Auctions Internet Coin Auction Session(2), 131445/Lot# 24348 $381.88

NGC Registry

NGC Registry Score 1881 3CN MS
Registry Image Gallery
Grade: MS 64
Points: 575
Owner: Whidbey Island Collection
Grade: AU 58
Points: 248
Owner: mikefromct
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