The Three-Cent Nickel might sound unfamiliar to you because of not only how few were minted, but also due to the fact that they were minted many decades ago. Nowadays, these coins are becoming increasingly difficult to find, but are growing ever more valuable. The 1871 Three-Cent Nickel may not be sitting in every coin shop in the US, but it is desired by just about every collector.
As for the coin’s appearance, the obverse side boasts the large, central picture of Lady Liberty. Lady Liberty is facing leftward in this photo, and appears as stoic as ever. Surrounding the image in the center is a raised inscription which reads “United States of America.” Beneath Lady Liberty’s picture is a raised inscription marking the 1871 year of minting. Finally, it must be mentioned that the outer edges of both sides of the coin are reeded.
The reverse side of the 1871 Three-Cent Nickel is a bit more simplistic than the obverse. In the center, you will find the three cent face value indicated by a large Roman numeral. Mostly surrounding the face value is a wreath, which is depicted in incredible detail when you consider the technology that was available back in 1871.
With coins as old as the 1871 Three-Cent Nickel, the only item collectors care about is the condition it is in. Because these pieces are so old, they have had more than 100 years where they could have been damaged. Because of this, only graded coins will make the cut for collectors. Below we will outline the different coin grades as well as what those grades mean for the appearance of the Three-Cent Nickel.
Uncirculated: A Three-Cent Nickel graded as being Uncirculated is one that, quite literally, is in perfect condition. These coins were never circulated and, as such, have not been damaged to any degree. Though the coin’s color might have faded a bit due to age, its appearance will be flawless.
Extremely Fine: A coin worthy of the Extremely Fine grade is one that was probably never out on the open market, but also not free of blemishes. Though the imperfections might be as small as a single, tiny scratch, they will still be uncovered and noted during the grading process.
Fine: A Three-Cent Nickel from 1871 that is determined to be of Fine grade is one that was circulated for a while, but not so heavily damaged. On its surfaces you will notice light scratching from the changing of hands over the years, but apart from that all of the raised imagery and lettering will have been well-preserved.
Good: Good is the worst grade a coin can receive and usually indicates a piece that has been heavily damaged. Thanks to years of circulation, these Three-Cent Nickels will show many signs of damage that range from deep scratching, to chipping, to the complete smoothing away of some of the raised features.
In order to determine a price for the 1871 Three-Cent Nickel, the biggest factor you must consider is the condition and grade. Even though very worn versions of the 1871 Three-Cent Nickel are still valuable, the price of these coins dramatically increases as the condition improves. Below we have a chart that will give you a better idea as to what these coins cost given their grade.
1871 Three-Cent Nickel
|1871||$20||N/A||$40||$65||Source: Red Book|