Reaching back to the origins with Queen Victoria, this Royal House has had five crowned monarchs and this set, The Monarchs of the House of Windsor Threepence set, includes original British threepence coins of each one – including two different types for King George VI.
The threepence was a silver coin from the time of its introduction in the mid-1500s. Queen Victoria struck it in virtually every year of her long reign. This set includes an original of one of those, featuring the Queen’s Veiled Portrait on one side and a crowned number 3 on the other. It was issued in the era 1893 to 1901 – amongst the very last years of her reign.
Her son and successor King Edward VII struck it every year of his reign from 1902 to 1910. His coins used the same reverse side design but replaced her portrait with the King’s on the obverse side. An original one of these is included in this set.
King George V’s first coins were issued in 1911 and the silver threepence was struck each year of his reign until 1936. The threepence changed only slightly in his reign, have its silver purity changed from 92.5% to 50% after World War One. The design also changed in 1927. Up until 1926 it featured a crowned number 3 (same design as for Queen Victoria and King Edward VII). From 1927 onwards it featured three acorns and three oak leaves.
King George VI also struck the threepence in silver but it was already looking like the rising value of silver meant this coin could no longer be minted from the precious metal. So, at the same time he struck threepences in silver he also had them minted in a larger size in a 12-sided shape, from nickel-brass. These are known as ‘brass’ threepences and this shape has been used as the basis for the new shaped British £1 coin which was introduced from 2017.
On his silver threepences he featured a St George shield on a Tudor rose. On the brass threepences he featured a thrift plant with three stems and flowers. King George VI is the only monarch in history ever to struck both the brass threepence and silver threepence.
Our own Queen Elizabeth II minted ONLY the brass threepence. The design featured a crowned portcullis gate – a popular symbol since Tudor times.
The threepence was popular in this reign as a good amount for a mixed bag of sweets – “a threepence bag of mixed sweets”. The threepence ended with the withdrawal of predecimal coinage and so has not been seen in circulation for over 45 years.