Collectors absolutely love unique, special coins, this is an undeniable truth. There are few coins more unique than the 1874 Three-Cent Nickel, and the reasons for this are numerous. The main reason collectors love this coin is due to the fact that it has a face value that was only featured for a short period of time. Due to its age and ever-decreasing availability, now is the perfect time to get you hands on one of these pieces.
On the coin’s obverse, the central part of the face is dominated by a large depiction of the leftward-facing Lady Liberty. This iconic American image is depicted in incredible detail; something that is especially true when you consider the technology of the day. Surrounding the central image is a raised inscription which reads “United States of America.” Beneath all of this there is a raised indication marking the 1874 year of minting. It must be mentioned that both the obverse and reverse sides of the Three-Cent Nickel feature reeded outer edges.
The reverse side of the coin is very simplistic. In the center is the coin’s 3-cent face value, marked by a large, raised Roman numeral III. Partially surrounding the face value is a wreath, which is, like Lady Liberty, depicted with incredible detail.
For collectors, no Three-Cent Nickel is worthy of being purchased if it has not yet been graded. These coins are so old that it is imperative that collectors are fully aware of the coin’s condition, being that this has a huge bearing on its worth. Below we will introduce you to the different coin grades as well as what they mean for the 1874 Three-Cent Nickel’s appearance.
Uncirculated: A Three-Cent Nickel that is determined to be of Uncirculated grade is one that has, quite literally, never been out on the open market. Having never been exchanged and instead kept in a safe place throughout its existence, these coins will show absolutely no signs of wear and tear. In other words, they are pristine.
Extremely Fine: Extremely Fine is the grade given to coins that were never circulated, but are not free from damage. Though the damage we are talking about is often limited to a minor scratch or chip, it is enough to downgrade the piece. Still, at the end of the day these pieces are highly sought after regardless of their minor flaws.
Fine: Fine is the grade given to coins that have been circulated, but not so heavily that they have been overly damaged. You will assuredly notice some light, consistent scratching on the coin’s faces, and this is attributable to the many thousands of times these coins were exchanged. All in all, the appearance of a Fine 1874 Three-Cent Nickel is well-preserved when you consider its age.
Good: The Good grade is assigned to the absolutely most heavily worn 1874 Three-Cent Nickels. These pieces were more than likely circulated for many, many years, and as a result have been heavily damaged. In some cases, the damage you will notice is so severe that it may have compromised some of the raised imagery and lettering.
In order to determine a price for the 1874 Three-Cent Nickel, you really need not look much further than its condition. For coins so old, even the most marginal differences in the coin’s condition can mean massive price differences. In addition, the coin’s scarcity plays into the price. With that being said, almost every Three-Cent Nickel can be described as scarce. Below is a chart that will help you understand what you might be asked to pay for an 1874 Three-Cent Nickel.
1874 Three-Cent Nickel
|1874||$20||N/A||$40||$65||Source: Red Book|