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British Empire & C/W: a parade of pre-decimal denominations

Started by <k>, October 21, 2011, 09:26:27 PM

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<k>

The world's only threepence with a centre hole was minted for New Guinea, in 1935 and 1944. It was made of copper-nickel, weighed 1.3g, and was 16.3mm in diameter, with a thickness of 1mm.
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<k>

The Guernsey threepence of 1956 to 1966 had a scalloped shape and was made of cupro-nickel. It weighed 3.6g, and it had a diameter of 21mm and a thickness of 1.5mm.




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<k>



The only other scalloped threepence was the one issued by Ghana in 1958 only, the year after its independence. It was made of cupro-nickel, weighed 3.3g and had a diameter of 19.5mm.

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<k>

Gambia became independent in 1965, and the following year it issued its first national coinage. The reverse design of the threepence depicted a double-spurred francolin. Even though Gambia was and is a republic, it portrayed the Queen on the obverse in her capacity as Head of the Commonwealth. It was made of nickel-brass, weighed 5.2g and had a diameter of 21.5mm. Unlike the other round brass threepence, from Jersey, it is not an especially thick or chunky coin.
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<k>

Looking back in history, the only non-Commonwealth or Empire threepence (apart from the earlier issues of Britain itself and before that of England) that I can think of is the threepence of the Transvaal Republic, portraying President Paul Kruger.
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<k>

After Zambia and Malawi became independent in the 1964, they issued a national coinage based on pounds, shillings and pence. Unfortunately, both coinages omitted a threepence denomination, for reasons unknown.
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<k>

The UK brass threepence is popular with a lot of collectors, and to finish off I include a threepence-look-alike from the Seychelles. It is the 10 cents coin, issued from 1953 to 1974. It continued in a similar format in 1976 and 1977 after independence. It is made of nickel-brass, weighs 6g and is 21mm in diameter. Like the UK threepence, it is a thick and chunky coin.
Visit the website of The Royal Mint Museum.

See: The Royal Mint Museum.

<k>

Here is a curiosity, a 1925 version of a coin that wasn't issued until 1927, the UK acorn threepence. Could it be a trial?

See: http://www.coindatabase.com/coin_detail_libras.php?cdb=M090104
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<k>

Here's a threepence from Biafra, dated 1969. Biafra tried to secede from Nigeria but was defeated.
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<k>

The sixpence was part of the now defunct pound, shillings and pence system. The British exported this system to various parts of their empire. Often the size, shape, metal and weight of the various versions of these coins was more or less uniform across the Empire: this can be observed in the shillings, florins and halfcrowns. However, the lower the denomination, the more likely the different coins were to show variations. The sixpence is a nice example, because most of them did match one another in size, shape, weight and metal, and the different designs are interesting to look at. But there were just a few that deviated in one or two ways from the standard.

The silver and cupro-nickel sixpences of the UK and the various countries of the Empire that used it varied slightly, between around 19mm and 19.5mm in diameter. If any sixpence I am displaying falls outside that range, I will say so. I'll start in the 20th century, by showing that the reverse design of Edward VII's sixpence, with a simple wreath, was the same as Victoria's. These images are from our member Tony Clayton's UK coins site.
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<k>

South Africa's first sixpence reverse of 1923/4 also featured a wreath.

Compare South Africa's design with that of the Transvaal Republic, which was not part of the British Empire (until conquered) but used the pounds shillings and pence system nevertheless.

The reverse design of the sixpence of British West Africa (a currency union, not a country) also featured a wreath. From 1913 to 1919 its sixpence was silver; from 1920 to 1936, tin-brass; and finally from 1938 to 1947, it was made of nickel-brass.
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<k>






From 1925 to 1930, the legend on South Africa's sixpence reads: "6 PENCE".

From 1931 until 1960, the final year of the sixpence, the legend reads "6D".
Notice that the protea flower is surrounded by six bundles of faggots: six pence, six bundles.
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<k>



The acorn reverse replaced this one, which lasted from 1911 to 1926.

The reverse design of the UK sixpence of 1927 to 1936 also plays the number game: six pence, six acorns.
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<k>

#28
Only three more reverse designs for the UK sixpence, and we have reached the end of its life.






George VI is king and emperor.






The king is no longer an emperor, so the reverse has to change.






The sixpence was last minted in 1970, but it survived decimalisation, being used as 2½p until it was demonetised in 1980.
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<k>

From 1910 to 1963, the reverse of the Australian sixpence carried the same design, showing the coat of arms.
The other Australian reverse designs were all changed in 1938, but the sixpence alone was not updated.
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