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Threepence of George VI

09-Apr-2009

Threepence were struck bearing the bust of George VI from 1937 to 1952 with two distinct obverse legends, one from 1937 to 1948, the other from 1949 to 1952 with 'IND IMP' dropped after the liberation of India.


The reverse and two obverse designs of the George VI threepence, enlarged 2x

The 1937 was only issued as uniface and double-sided patterns though a double-sided, circulated example is known. From 1938 to 1941, most dates are fairly scarce, especially if sought in strict Uncirculated, the 1938 is the easiest of the 4 dates, often found very well struck especially if struck from proof dies, which circulation issues often were.

From 1942 to 1944 Australia outsourced production of its threepence to the San Francisco and Denver mints. The 1942 Melbourne is the scarcest of the 7 types struck in those three years coming from a relatively low mintage of 528,000. The 1942-S and 1943-S are also very scarce and highly underrated. The 1942-D, 1943-D and 1944-S are reasonably common with large hoards found of Uncirculated examples. The 1942-D is a little scarcer in the higher, MS64 and above grades while the 1943-D and 1944-S are readily available in MS64 and often seen in MS65.

The 1947 and 1948 threepence are both fairly scarce dates in the upper grades with the 1947 coming from a relative low mintage. Rolls were found of both dates with the 1947 being graded right up to MS67 though very few mint state examples of the 1948 have turned up.

The 1949 to 1952 threepence are all reasonably scarce with the 1952 being the most common. The 1951-PL, while often found very well struck up is very underrated in MS64 or above due to the harsh Royal Mint handling processes with no certified examples. The 1949 is the key of the series rarely turning up in mint state.

The type set collector will have no trouble finding Choice examples of the 1943-D, 1944-S and for the second obverse, will face some challenges acquiring the 1952. If strong strike is desired, the 1938 and 1951-PL make excellent choices though the 1951-PL is plagued by rough fields.

The date set collector seeking top quality examples will have trouble sourcing the 1941, 1942, 1942-S, 1943, 1943-S, 1948, 1949 and 1951-PL though when do turn up are often available quite cheaply leading me to conclude they're quite underrated.

Threepence are popular among collectors of top quality pieces as their small size allows them to exit the bagging process relatively unscathed. While the George VI presents a few date challenges to this theory, for the most part, dates are available in a relatively unmarked state.

For more information on threepence, see the Blue Sheet on threepence at Threepence Values.


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