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One thin trime

No, really. It’s called a trime. It’s an 1852 US silver threepenny piece. There’s also a larger version in nickel (I got one of those, too).

I had a wander through a flea market near work today and found ten little coins they were selling as a busted bracelet: three bunhead Victorias, two bedhead George IVs, two trimes, and three other. “Bunhead” is what they call early coins with Victoria on them (you can probably guess why) and “bedhead” is what I call George IVs coins, because he always looks tousled.

They all have holes bored in them, so they have next to no value to collectors. I paid £2 for the lot, and that isn’t far wrong. Collectors are silly people.


Comment from Steve Skubinna
Time: April 26, 2018, 7:50 pm

Never heard of a trime. Was that what they were called in the 1850s, or is that a retconned term?

The Washington State Ferry concessions have signs that they will accept “loonies and toonies” but no other Canadian currency. I knew what a loonie is, a one dollar coin with a waterfowl on it. No idea what a toonie was, so asked a Canuck. Two dollar coin. Two loonies.

Comment from DurnedYankee
Time: April 26, 2018, 8:09 pm

Hard currency! That’s what we like! None of them fancy portrait papers allegedly backed by the Bank of Skeedaddle or the First National Bank of Moseyon.

An intact 1857 penny only draws about $16 bucks current fiat currency (backed by Congress and the Bank of Yourwallet).

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: April 26, 2018, 8:24 pm


“The three-cent coin has an unusual history. It was proposed in 1851 both as a result of the decrease in postage rates from five cents to three and to answer the need for a small-denomination, easy-to-handle coin. The three-cent silver featured a shield on a six-sided star on the obverse and the Roman numeral III on the reverse. The coin was initially composed of 75% silver and 25% copper to ensure that the coin would be considered real currency yet not worth melting down for the silver. The coins were physically the lightest-weight coins ever minted by the United States, weighing only 4/5 of a gram and with a diameter smaller than a modern dime and only slightly greater than the smallest gold dollars. The silver coins were known as “fishscales”. The term “trimes” is often used today for these coins, but that was first used by the director of the United States Mint (James Ross Snowden) at the time of their production.”

Comment from Ric Fan
Time: April 26, 2018, 8:55 pm

What matters is that they are old, witnessed history, and will bring you luck.

Tell people that Wild Bill Hickock shot the hole in it making it priceless but you will sell it to them for a hundred bucks American dollah.

Comment from Uncle Al
Time: April 26, 2018, 9:10 pm

I like collecting coins, and my favorites are some South African krugerrands. They are only 30-40 years old, and so have no particular numismatic value yet. But each one contains one troy ounce of gold (spot market US$1,317 today) so I am pleased to have them.

Comment from Subotai Bahadur
Time: April 26, 2018, 9:30 pm

Sweas, a question about what you find in those flea markets over there. I collect Chinese “cash” pieces. They look like this:


This is a very common one from the Manchu [Ch’ing] Dynasty, the last imperial dynasty. While they are not of any real value to collectors here, because there are bloody few collectors who can figure out the dates, emperors, dynasties, and mint marks; they are getting harder to run into here. Do you see these in your flea market wanderings in Britain? Since the Brits had a large trade [opium for tea and silk] in China for a long time, they may have picked up a bunch of them as trinkets. The hole in the center was so that they could be strung on cords, 1000 to a string. Each string was equivalent to a set weight of silver, which varied according to the time and place.

I know that over here, they were used as decorations on Victorian era sewing baskets. Maybe the same over there. If they are available there, I may have to see if I can make arrangements to have someone check out flea markets for me.

Subotai Bahadur

Comment from Ric Fan
Time: April 27, 2018, 12:07 am

I didnt know Colin Dexter died a year ago. How come no one told me? I got immense pleasure from his books tho sort of depressing.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: April 27, 2018, 7:33 am

I have seen those, Subotai Bahadur. I can’t for the life of me place where. I’ll keep an eye out.

My favorite stalls at these things are little more than rag pickers. But there’s almost always something interesting mixed in with the utter garbage.

Comment from Subotai Bahadur
Time: April 27, 2018, 6:00 pm



Comment from Sigivald
Time: April 30, 2018, 8:36 pm

If a dime is ten cents, shouldn’t a trime be fifteen cents?

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