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The smallest coin the U.S. has ever produced; made of 75 percent silver and 25 percent copper with a circumference of only 15 millimeters, the coin was originally pressed in 1851-1889 as a convenient way to pay for a postage stamp.

At this period, the United States Postal Service was taking losses as a result of private competition so it lowered the price of a stamp from 5 to 3 cents and issued this small coin. The price drop was enough to undersell the competition but the three-cent piece quickly became unpopular.

Why? You ask? Well, they were too damn small.

Folks would lose it because of its size and, let me remind you, three cents was a big deal in those days. In fact, it would be like losing three bucks today.

Eventually, in 1889, the price of postage went up, thus negating the coin's utility. That was the last time you could get anything good for three cents. The coin was discontinued in the same year and they were melted down and re-pressed into five-cent nickels.

Who knows, you could have a piece o' da past jingling in your pocket right now.

Source- Tania Henvey, History Magazine, Sept 2002.

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