The Australian Threepence (or three pence) is a small silver coin which was used in the Commonwealth of Australia prior to decimalisation. It has the same dimensions and composition as the British pre-decimal threepence, from which it is derived (for a time, the coins circulated in parallel and were interchangeable in Australia - but not in the United Kingdom). 3 pence were equal to one quarter of a shilling, or 1/80th of a pound.
The reverse of this first type of Australian threepence coins features the 1908 Coat of Arms. In 1938, a new design superseded this one - featuring three stalks of grain; the old type of coins remained in circulation.
The coins were struck by three different mints; if they had mint marks for a particular year of issue, those are located under the date on the reverse:
- Royal Mint, 1910 - 1915, no mint mark
- Melbourne Mint, 1916 - 1936, letter M to 1921, then no mint mark
- Sydney Mint, 1924 - 1926, no mint mark
The coins were made of sterling silver (composition: 0.925 silver, equal to 0.0419 oz ASW). They circulated until decimalisation and were withdrawn in 1966, when Australia switched to its current Australian Dollar currency. Unlike some of the larger denominations, they were not re-denominated into units of the new currency. However, the threepence coins were never formally demonetised and are still legal tender for 2½¢.
The reverse features the Ensigns Armorial of the Commonwealth of Australia, as authorised by Royal Warrant 7th May 1908.
At centre, simple shield enclosing a cross of Saint George on which are five six-pointed stars, around the outside of which are six small escutcheons (small shields). The shield is supported by a kangaroo and an emu standing on a grassy mound. Above the shield a crest, the seven-pointed star of Federation on a wreath and on a ribbon at the base, the motto ADVANCE AUSTRALIA is inscribed.
Around above, the denomination THREEPENCE; below, between arrow heads, the date [year].