The 2-cent piece is one of the shortest issues of the United States Mint. It was also the first coin to include the motto “IN GOD WE TRUST.” The coin was first issued in 1864 with a mintage of twenty million; its run ended in 1873 with a declining mintage each year. Proof examples are known for all years.
Three-cent pieces, also called trimes, are the smallest of the United States silver coins and were the first to circulate without a depiction of Lady Liberty. First appearing in 1851 to provide an intermediate denomination between the cent and the half dime, trimes were first made of a low-grade silver, changing to 90% silver in 1854. The silver shortage of the Civil War era led to widespread hoarding of silver coins, and they were eventually discontinued by the Coinage Act of 1873. Intended to bridge the gap during the wartime hoarding, production of the 3-cent copper/nickel coin was first issued in 1865 with a mintage of eleven million. This coin was the exact same diameter as the dime, causing confusion upon the introduction of the mechanical vending machine, and by 1889, the need for this denomination drastically declined as the postage rate dropped to 2 cents.
Coin Images courtesy of PCGS CoinFacts