Coin Specifications

Category: Three Cent Nickels (1865-1889)
Mint: Philadelphia
Mintage: 1,335,000
Catalog: KM-95
Obverse Designer: James B. Longacre
Reverse Designer: James B. Longacre
Composition: Copper-Nickel
Weight: 1.94g
Diameter: 17.9mm
Edge: Plain
Numismatic specification data provided by Krause Publications NumisMaster.
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1870 3CN MS obverse 1870 3CN MS reverse

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Description & Analysis

Minting of this coin type fell a little further in 1870, as these coins were struck only as needed to replace those redeemed at banks and Sub-Treasuries. There was as yet no authorization to re-issue those coins still fit for circulation, but this would change in 1871.

The typical 1870 three-cent piece is reasonably well struck, with only Liberty's lowest curls and the Roman III being subject to weak spots. Gems are rare.

The example illustrated shows the streaky toning so common to copper-nickel coins from incomplete mixing of the alloy. Areas of copper concentration get drawn out in the planchet rolling process, and these then tone more rapidly than the properly blended areas.

Several varieties are noted for this date, and the better ones are recognized by NGC under its VarietyPlus Service.


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Price Guide

Last Updated: 8/31/2015

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

1870 3CN MS
Base $ 16.50 20.00 23.00 29.00 46.00 70.00 77.00 82.00 110 135 150 170 215 310 780 2350 9750 - - -
$ 51.00 - - 90.00 120 - - 188 240 350 950 4750 - -

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Total Graded: 426
Low Grade: VG
Average Grade: 62
High Grade: 67

Upcoming Auctions

Auction Prices Realized

A random selection of coins is shown below.

Auction House
Sale / Lot
9/23/2007 PCGS MS 64   Goldberg September 23-26, 2007 Pre-Long Beach Coin and Currency Auction, 42/Lot# 1151 $253.00
2/1/2010 NGC MS 62   David Lawrence Rare Coins Monday - Internet Auction # 450, 456/Lot# 51 $149.50
4/27/2011 NGC MS 64   Heritage Auctions 2011 April Rosemont CSNS Signature & Platinum Night US Coin Auction Session(6), 1154/Lot# 9751 $276.00
7/12/2012 PCGS MS 66   Heritage Auctions 2012 July 12-15 US Coin Summer FUN Signature Auction - Orlando Session(1), 1172/Lot# 3286 $1,380.00
11/11/2012 PCGS MS 62   Teletrade Auction 3379, 3379/Lot# 1244 $195.50
9/29/2013 PCGS VF 25   GreatCollections GreatCollections Coin Auctions 09/29/2013, 94/Lot# 141026 $31.00
1/19/2014 NGC MS 61   Heritage Auctions Internet Coin Auction Session(2), 131404/Lot# 26488 $122.20
7/11/2014 NGC Details UNC Details  Stack's Bowers August 2014 Chicago ANA, 6014/Lot# 5414 $70.00
11/30/2014 PCGS Genuine UNC   Heritage Auctions Internet Coin Auction Session(2), 131449/Lot# 23566 $36.00

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