Click to enlargeJ112/P126

This simple design was created using the obverse of the half dime, purportedly Valentine 4, combined with a simple reverse designed by William DuBois as an answer to a request by the Chairman of the Committee of Ways and Means, Sam Vinton in January 1849 for the creation of a 3 cent piece.

These were supposedly struck in an alloy of 60% silver and 40% copper and weigh 18.5 grains. To my knowledge, none of these have ever been analyzed. Restrikes were apparently made, presumably in normal 90% silver alloy, and weigh about 21 grains which is slightly more than normal half dime planchets of the time!

Part of a February 2, 1849 letter from W.E. Dubois to Matthew Stickney in the Peabody Essex Museum related to this pattern is shown below courtesy of David Stone.



"I send a sample of a three cent piece, half silver and half copper; I do not believe it will be adopted, but if it is the dies will be different. There was another alloy of 60 percent silver, with III on the reverse; I could not spare you both as only 12 or 15 of each were struck."

This appears to be accurate as only about a dozen are believed to exist.

Photo courtesy of Superior.