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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

Edward VII


The 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.
Year Mint Mintage
1910 London 4,000,000

George V

1911 - 1936

King 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:
Year Mint Mintmark Mintage
1911 London 4,000,000
1912 London 2,400,000
1914 London 1,600,000
1915 London Rare 800,000
1916M Melbourne M 1,913,000
1917M Melbourne M 3,808,000
1918M Melbourne M 3,119,000
1919M Melbourne M 3,201,000
1920M Melbourne M 4,196,000
1921 Sydney 7,378,000
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
1927 Melbourne 6,720,000
1928 Melbourne 5,008,000
1934 Melbourne 2,800,000
1934/33 Melbourne Overdate *Included in above
1935 Melbourne 2,800,000
1936 Melbourne 3,600,000

George VI

1938 - 1952

During 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:
Year Mint Mintmark Mintage
1938 Melbourne 4,560,000
1939 Melbourne 3,856,000
1940 Melbourne 3,840,000
1941 Melbourne 7,584,000
1942 Melbourne Scarce 528,000
1942S San Francisco S 8,000,000
1942D Denver D 16,000,000
1943 Melbourne 24,912,000
1943S San Francisco S 8,000,000
1943D Denver D 16,000,000
1944S San Francisco S 32,000,000
1947 Melbourne Scarce 4,176,000
1948 Melbourne 26,208,000

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)
1949 Melbourne 26,400,000
1950 Melbourne 35,456,000
1951 Melbourne 15,856,000
1951PL London PL 40,000,000
1952 Melbourne 21,560,000

Elizabeth II

1953 - 1963

With 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:
Year Mint Mintage
1953 Melbourne 7,664,000
1954 Melbourne 2,672,000

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:
1955 Melbourne 27,088,000
1956 Melbourne 14,088,000
1957 Melbourne 26,704,000
1958 Melbourne 11,248,000
1959 Melbourne 19,988,000
1960 Melbourne 19,600,000
1961 Melbourne 33,840,000
1962 Melbourne 15,968,000
1963 Melbourne 44,016,000
1964 Melbourne 20,320,000

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.