The Nickel Three Cent Piece was struck in a composition of 75% copper and 25% nickel. The coins generally have a silvery-gray appearance that can be a little bit dull when viewed in hand.
Each coin has a diameter of 17.9 millimeters and weight 1.94 grams (29.9 grains). The coins have a plain edge. All issues of the series were produced at the Philadelphia Mint and thus no mint marks are present.
There are a number of potential problems with coins of the series, which may have occurred at the time of striking. These include generally soft strikes, lack of detail on the high points, and the appearance of heavy die clashing. The Mint would experience similar issues when production of the Shield Nickel began in 1866.