Ron Guth: By 1880, production of the Three-Cent Nickel continued its precipitous decline to the point where the Mint struck only 21,000 examples in 1880 -- the lowest mintage since the type began in 1865. While some observers might attribute the decline in the mintges to a lack of demand for the Three-Cent Nickels, the return to a million-plus mintage in 1881 destroys that theory.
Despite its low mintage, the 1880 Three-Cent Nickel can be found in Mint State with relative ease. The finest examples certified by PCGS (as of December 2011) include nearly three-dozen PCGS MS-67s.
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