Australia Threepence: 1938-1952 George VI


Quick Coinage Facts

Years Minted: 1938-1952
Composition: 0.925 silver, 0.075 copper (1938-46), 0.50 silver (1947-52)
Diameter Type: 16 mm
Weight: 1.41 grams
0.0419 ounces of silver (1938-46)
0.0227 ounces of silver (1947-52)
Total Series Mintage: 294,936,000 (circulation)
Obverse Design: Bust Design
Reverse Design: Wheat Stalks
Unique Features: Reeded


With the passing of King George V and coronation of King George VI all Australian coinage received a new effigy obverse and most coiange also received a new reverse design including the threepence.

Most coins in the series were minted at the Melbourne Mint. But, from 1942 to 1944 some coins were minted by the United States San Francisco & Denver Mints to meet coinage demands of U.S. servicemen based in Australia during Word War II who spent their military pay freely in the Australian markets.

By 1951 Australia was facing another coin shortage and a request was sent to the Royal Mint of London to produce threepence coinage in addition to what was already being produced by the Melbourne Mint.


The obverse, designed & engraved by T.H. Paget, features the bust of George the VI facing left.  At the bottom of  George's neck are the designer’s initials “HP”. On the outer periphery are the words "GEORGIVS VI D.G. BR : OMN : REX F.D. IND : IMP" (latin for "George VI, by Grace of God, King of all the Britons, Defender of the Faith, Emperor of India") though this would later be changed to just "GEORGIVS VI D.G. BR : OMN : REX FIEDI DEF" (latin for "George VI, by Grace of God, King of all the Britons, Defender of the Faith").

The reverse, designed by George Kruger Gray, features three wheat stalks seperating the year of issue and a ribbon binding the three stalks which was a symbolic representation of Australia's strong agriculture. Beneath either side of the ribbon are the designer’s initials “K” and “G” while on the outer periphery is the denomination “THREEPENCE” and “AUSTRALIA”. On some issues, located just below the far right of the ribbon is the mint mark “S” (San Francisco) or “D” (Denver). For 1951 issues on either side of the stalks just above the ribbon are the mint marks “P” and “L” (London), coins minted in Melbourne did not have a mint mark.

Obverse Reverse

Major Varieties

Over the course of the series there were two major changes that created major varieties. The first change occurred in 1947 when silver content was reduced to 0.0227 ounces of silver.

The second variety occurred when India became an independent country in 1947 which caused a change in the obverse legend in 1949 to remove “IND:IMP”.

Variety 1 – 1938-1945 92.5% Silver
Variety 2 – 1947-1948 50% Silver
Variety 3 - 1949-1952 New Legend 

Old Legend New Legend

General Market Notes

Excluding proofs & errors, the key to the series is the 1942 issue.

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