1851-O U.S. 3 Cent Silver Coin - 'Trime' - 1st Year Issued, Rare New Orleans Min

1851-O U.S. Silver 3 Cent Coin or 'Trime' - Type I

Toughest Variety Of All Years/ First Year Of Issue For Series

Only Coin In Series With A Mint Mark - Rare New Orleans Mint

This auction is for the coin pictured, an 1851-O United States silver 3 cent coin from the New Orleans Mint and the first year of issue for this tiniest of silver coins. The coin shows obvious wear, which is kind of unusual, because many of these thin, small coins were lost in floorboards or other cracks before they could be spent! The obverse has more detail, but also has the scratch that the camera picks up to a much greater extent than the eye when in hand. The last photo, while not the true color, is the closest to what the scratch looks like, and even that is more than appears when held. I took many pictures trying to capture as true as possible image of this coin, but the size limits the ability to get both details & color exact, so I posted several photos using different lighting & camera settings.

The coin has virtually no toning, most likely due to the metal composition of type-I coins, which was 75% silver and 25% copper. This was changed to 90% silver & 10% copper with the subsequent two varieties. Under a 10X loupe I found no obvious evidence of cleaning, but it is a very small coin - so the possibility exists that it may

These little coins are a fascinating (but brief) part of the U.S. numismatic history. Produced from 1851 to 1873, they were a way for merchants to make change for the many foreign legal tender coins that circulated at the time, since the other options were half dimes or large copper cents. The price of a postage stamp was also 3 cents in 1851, so these would be much easier to take to the post office than three of the large cents. Their small size led to another nickname besides a 'trime' - they were also known as 'fishscales' This example (1851-O) is the only issue in the entire series that was not struck at the Philadelphia Mint.

Let's make this a TRUE AUCTION, starting at the face value, and having NO RESERVE, as well as FREE shipping.

- Please see the last 4 photos, taken with a 'Phonoscope' app on my smart phone. They are great representations of the actual coin, even if a bit large. It is really hard to hold the phone perfectly still while using that high magnification, but I did get good shots of each side of the obverse & the reverse of the coin (right and left sides).
- On the reverse pictures, the weakness in the strike can be seen on the upper half of the 'C', even though the right side of the obverse exhibits a nice strike, with the New Orleans mint mark strong.
- On the obverse photos, the scratch is quite evident, but again, it is also magnified to a very large degree ... this is a tiny coin, and the scratch is not nearly as obvious in hand. I was pleased that the close ups showed no signs of a cleaning - although there are plenty of hairlines, there aren't any fine, parallel lines that can be seen anywhere. Just a lot of haphazard hairlines that would be expected on a coin this old and in the stated condition.

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