Online collections

All collections » Coins » Australia


Australian Silver Threepence

50% Silver

First year of 50% silver , a key coin in the threepence series, with this year is regarded as being scarce by most collectors .
This was the first year since 1943 that threepence were struck in Australia. Perhaps the large numbers struck by the US mints during WWII had created an excess and none were required by the Reserve Bank of Australia until 1947 with none being issued in 1945 and 1946.
Many experiments were carried out to find a alloy suitable for coinage by the Royal Mint in the 1920's when they finally settled on the quaternary alloy, known as Q-metal, it is only natural that Australia adopted this 20 years later. Since the coins had a much higher copper content the coins (blanks) were pickled in a light acid solution to provide a thin layer of silver in order to provide the same look as the old alloy. When this layer wears off through circulation the rather unattractive yellowish alloy is exposed.
In order to compensate for the lighter metals used in the new alloy the coins are minutely thicker.
Collectors should consider acquiring most of the King George VI series in Choice Uncirculated or better coins, these are still affordable with the greatest possible upside.
The George VI obverse is very difficult to grade, the rounded features, lower relief and the large variation to the degree in which this design is struck all add up to quite a challenge.
When looking at the Thomas Paget obverse the points to look at are:
  • The definition in the King's hair,
  • The King's cheek,
  • The top of the ear and at the top of the brow
  • Overall lustre, the fields, denticles and rim condition,
  • A weak strike shows in lack of definition of the hair, eye, mouth and nose.

Nominal Specifications
Composition: .500 silver
.400 copper
.050 zinc
.050 nickel
Silver Content: 0.0227 oz
Edge: Reeded
Weight: 1.41 grams
Size: 16.0 mm
Obverse: Thomas H Paget
Reverse: George Kruger Gray