Australian Silver Threepence
Issued From:1910 - 1964
Dates Not Issued:
1913, 1929, 1930, 1931,
1937, 1945, 1946.The threepence series enjoys great popularity, with collectors who have an eye for detail but generally are less expensive to acquire in high grade than the florins. The small size of the coins required particular care in the manufacture of the dies. Often the George V obverses will not show a full set of diamonds and pearls in the crown. Another problem was with the wheat stalk reverse used from 1938 to 1964, any dirt or oil on the die resulted in a weak strike
From 1910 to 1915 all the coins were struck at the Royal Mint in London and do not carry any distinguishing mintmarks. From 1916 to 1920 all issues were struck at the Melbourne Mint and carry a small "M" under the date. In 1921 there are two versions to collect, one with the "M" mintmark and one without, assumed to be from the Sydney Mint From 1922 to 1926 they were struck at both the Melbourne and Sydney mints although there is no distinguishing mintmarks. After 1927 all threepences were struck at Melbourne Mint except during WWII. In 1942 and 1943 Melbourne Denver and San Fransico Mints all produced threepences and are distinguished by a small "S" or "D" just below the ribbon underlining the date and in 1944 only the San Fransico Mint produced threepences. There are two types of 1951 threepences, due to a request to the Royal Mint to help out with a shortage, these where the only English coins in threepence to have a mintmark, being a small "PL" found either side of the wheat stalks below the lower folds in the ribbon underlining the date
1910The series commenced in 1910 with a single year of issue bearing the effigy of Edward VII the florin, sixpence and threepence arriving 1st October 1910, nearly five months after King Edward VII died.
1911 - 1936King Edward VII died on 6th May 1910 and George V assumed the British throne. Australian Threepence bearing George V's effigy were minted in London, Melbourne and Sydney during the years 1911 to 1936 with the legend:
GEORGIVS V D.G. BRITT : OMN : REX F.D. IND : IMP
|1921||Melbourne||M||*Included in above|
|1922/21||Melb / Sydney||Overdate||Rare||Est: 900|
|1923||Melb / Sydney||Scarce||815,000|
|1924||Melb / Sydney||3,952,000|
|1925||Melb / Sydney||4,347,000|
|1926||Melb / Sydney||6,158,000|
|1934/33||Melbourne||Overdate||*Included in above|
1938 - 1952During World War II, the quality of striking for most coins deteriorated. There were a number of reasons for this. Less care was taken in the preparation of the dies, the dies were used in longer production runs before being replaced, and quality controls were relaxed as more pressing matters of war took precedence.
George VI oversaw many changes to our coinage during his reign,the Arms of Australia which had adorned the reverse of all the silver issues since 1910 had been obsolete since 1912 and was being replaced. Starting in 1938 a new design was introduced, featuring three stalks of wheat and a ribbon, in 1946 the silver content on all Australian coins was reduced from 92.5% to 50% to help in paying back the massive war debt and India became an independent nation in 1947, prompting a change to the legend on the obverse from 1951 onwards.
For the years 1938 to 1948, the obverse legend was:
GEORGIVS VI : D : G : BR : OMN : REX F : D : IND : IMP
The Korean War was under way in 1950 and the USA needed large quantities of wool to provide warmer uniforms for their troops. This pushed the price of wool to new highs and created a economic boom in Australia as we were still "riding on the sheep's back" at that time. The new found wealth caused a strain on our mints and London was asked to step in and strike additional coinage in 1951
From 1949 onwards IND IMP was eliminated from the legend, (necessary because India became an independent nation in 1947)
GEORGIVS VI : D : G : BR : OMN : REX FIDEI DEF
1953 - 1963With George VI's death, his eldest daughter, Elizabeth, became Queen in 1953. The obverse design for subsequent threepence was by Mary Gillick and depicted Elizabeth II facing to the right. The reverse design introduced in 1938 continued in use until the cessation of minting in 1964. For the years 1953 and 1954, the obverse legend was:
ELIZABETH . II. DEI. GRATIA. REGINA +
The deletion of the religious title F:D: ( Defender of the Faith) caused such controversy that for the years 1955 to 1964, the obverse legend was:
ELIZABETH . II. DEI. GRATIA. REGINA. F: D: +
Most information on this page was sourced from Greg McDonald's books, please see book pages for further infomation on his highly informative guides and books.