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The original silver three cent piece was first issued in 1851 to facilitate the purchase of postage stamps – three cents being the cost to mail a letter. Mintages stayed reasonably high through 1862, but with the coming of the Civil War, production slowed to a trickle and remained low through the end of the series in 1873. Most of the circulation strikes from this period never even made it to circulation and were melted in 1873. So needless to say, some tough dates here after 1862. The nickel three cent coin helped to alleviate the shortage of small change during and immediately after the war. Like the three cent silver piece, mintages at the beginning were very high, and then slowly tapered off. Most dates in the 1880s are scarce. While this set has no total show stoppers or major rarities, there are enough tough dates to make it a challenge, and a real accomplishment when complete.