Despite its near uselessness by 1879, the three cent denomination of 1851 was still produced on the newer nickel alloy from 1865 and circulated. Though congress agreed upon the nickel alloy as a temporary measure to stop hoarders and still have coin currency, the material proved very difficult to strike and often created several obstacles for the Philadelphia mint. With this in mind, it is still puzzling why the Treasury Department allowed the continuation of this coin even after it was no longer viable; postage had since increased from three-cents to five-cents, the foreign coins this denomination was intended to make change for were no longer legal tender, and consumers had stopped hoarding precious metal coins. The demand for these three-cent coins was so insignificant in fact, that the two previous mint years produced proofs only and mintage numbers continued to decrease each consequential year thereafter.
While the three-cent coin somehow lived on, the United States finally reverted completely back to the gold standard of the pre-Civil War period, which made paper money illegal tender. This was the perfect time to rid the market of the despised, easily lost and dirtied paper money since few still used it which meant there would be little business at the first Five and Dime store in Utica, New York under Frank W. Woolworth’s ownership. This was the first ever fixed price retail store that aimed to replace the commonly practiced haggling of the time. Woolworth’s first store failed unfortunately but, with the help of his brother Charles S. Woolworth, he opened a second successful store in Lancaster, PA. From this single store the brothers were eventually able to incorporate their 586 stores by 1911. This solidified the importance and ease of the decimal system in U.S. economics, making the three cent coin even more useless, but it remained for an additional ten years after 1879.