The United States Three Cents is an unusual denomination that first appeared in 1851, although pattern coins for the denomination were produced in 1849 and 1850. The original purpose of the Three Cents coins to provide an intermediate denomination between the Cent and Half Dime, making it easier to change some of the odd foreign coins that were legal tender in America at that time. In 1851, postal rates were dropped from five to three cents. While three Large Cents could have been used to purchase a postage stamp, the bulky copper coins were expensive to produce. Thus, a coin of three cents value had two purposes, enough to get the denomination started in 1851.
The 1888 was the penultimate year in the three cent nickel series, a series that had long since passed its usefulness in commerce. The production of proofs was bumped to 4,582 pieces in 1888. Why the mintage of this coin type rose in 1888 is a mystery, but the number made was still too small to have much impact in circulation. Indeed, the majority of survivors are Mint State or nearly so. A significant number of very high grade pieces are known, which suggests that collectors of the time set these pieces aside with knowledge that the series was to be discontinued. Most 1888 three-cent pieces were well made, with good luster and only a touch of weakness on Liberty's lower curls.One the finest certified for the date with gorgeous golden toning. These 3 cent nickels in proof are much scarer then the price would indicate. We see tremendous long term growth potential in acquiring these for your portfolio/collection.