Click to enlargeJ112/P126

This simple design was created using the obverse of the half dime 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. Michael Bourne has tested 2 examples which came back 70.46% silver, 29.54% copper & 69.52% silver, 30.48% copper respectively. If restrikes were made, presumably they would have been struck on normal 90% silver alloy 3 cent silver or half dime planchet and should weigh about 21 grains which is slightly more than normal half dime planchets of the time! Supposedly obverse dies V-4 (per Judd/Breen unconfirmed) and V-8 (per Clint Cummins) were used to strike these.

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.