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Detailed information about Coin: Threepence 1979 (Maundy) from United Kingdom

Coin: Threepence 1979 (Maundy)

There were two forms of threepence, the currency issue and a special piece (like this one) for the Maundy Thursday ceremonies. Before 1937, both had the same design featuring the crowned numeral 3 on the reverse and were only distinguished by the proof-like finish of the Maundy issues. Starting in 1937, currency issues (listed on this site in the circulating coins section) had a distinctive new design while Maundy coinage retains the same reverse design to this day.

Maundy coins are specially minted in varying (but always small) mintage for ceremonial purposes and not intended as circulating currency. They are handed by the British monarch in person to selected deserving individuals once every year. They are issued in "prooflike" condition and usually remain in it, especially the more recent ones.

The Royal Maundy is an ancient ceremony which has its origin in the commandment Christ gave after washing the feet of his disciples on the day before Good Friday.

The commandment (also known as a 'mandatum' from which the word Maundy is derived) ‘that ye love one another’ (John XIII 34) is still recalled regularly by Christian churches throughout the world. The ceremony of washing the feet of the poor which was accompanied by gifts of food and clothing can be traced back to the fourth century.

It seems to have been the custom as early as the thirteenth century for members of the royal family to take part in Maundy ceremonies, to distribute money and gifts, and to recall Christ's simple act of humility by washing the feet of the poor.

Henry IV began the practice of relating the number of recipients of gifts to the sovereign's age, and as it became the custom of the sovereign to perform the ceremony, the event became known as the Royal Maundy.

Maundy money has remained in much the same form since 1670, and the coins used for the Maundy ceremony have traditionally been struck in sterling silver, save for the brief interruptions of Henry VIII’s debasement of the coinage and the general change to 50% silver coins in 1920.

The sterling silver standard (92.5%) was resumed following the Coinage Act of 1946.

The 1979 Maundy ceremony was at Winchester Cathedral.

CountryUnited Kingdom CurrencyPound Sterling
Face value3 (x Penny) TypeMaundy Threepence (Decimal)
Year1979 CurrentYes
Mintage1,294 (1294)
NameMint markMintage
Royal Mint No mint mark 1,294 (1294)
MaterialSilver DesignerJean Baptise Merlen
MonarchQueen Elizabeth II EffigyPortrait by Mary Gillick (First Portrait)
Production technologyMilled (machine-made) ShapeRound
Size (mm) Thickness (mm)
Mass (g)

Laureate bust of Queen Elizabeth II facing right ("First Portrait" Mary Gillick); around, ELIZABETH · II · DEI · GRATIA · REGINA · F : D :.

The Maundy pieces continue to use the original obverse design for Queen Elizabeth II by Mary Gillick, although the bust of the Queen on other British coins has been repeatedly replaced as she ages. At the time of decimalisation, the Royal Mint Advisory Commission recommended the retention out of affection for the Gillick design; this was accepted by the Queen.

Obverse inscription ELIZABETH · II · DEI · GRATIA · REGINA · F : D :

Within an open oak wreath, the numeral 3 below a crown and dividing the date 1979.

Reverse inscription3 1979
EdgeMilled Edge inscriptionNone
Threepence 1979 (Maundy): Catalogue Reference IDs
SourceReference ID
Krause, Standard Catalog of World CoinsGreat Britain KM# 901
Spink, Coins of England and the United Kingdom4213
Threepence 1979 (Maundy): References to Information Used
Royal Mint 2016 Mint link
Royal Mint 2016 Mintage link
Royal Mint 2016 History link
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List of all (46) coins of type: United Kingdom / Maundy Threepence (Decimal)
Threepence 1971 (Maundy) Threepence 1972 (Maundy) Threepence 1973 (Maundy) Threepence 1974 (Maundy) Threepence 1975 (Maundy) Threepence 1976 (Maundy)
Threepence 1977 (Maundy) Threepence 1978 (Maundy) Threepence 1979 (Maundy) Threepence 1980 (Maundy) Threepence 1981 (Maundy) Threepence 1982 (Maundy)
Threepence 1983 (Maundy) Threepence 1984 (Maundy) Threepence 1985 (Maundy) Threepence 1986 (Maundy) Threepence 1987 (Maundy) Threepence 1988 (Maundy)
Threepence 1989 (Maundy) Threepence 1990 (Maundy) Threepence 1991 (Maundy) Threepence 1992 (Maundy) Threepence 1993 (Maundy) Threepence 1994 (Maundy)
Threepence 1995 (Maundy) Threepence 1996 (Maundy) Threepence 1997 (Maundy) Threepence 1998 (Maundy) Threepence 1999 (Maundy) Threepence 2000 (Maundy)
Threepence 2001 (Maundy) Threepence 2002 (Maundy) Threepence 2003 (Maundy) Threepence 2004 (Maundy) Threepence 2005 (Maundy) Threepence 2006 (Maundy)
Threepence 2007 (Maundy) Threepence 2008 (Maundy) Threepence 2009 (Maundy) Threepence 2010 (Maundy) Threepence 2011 (Maundy) Threepence 2012 (Maundy)
Threepence 2013 (Maundy) Threepence 2014 (Maundy) Threepence 2015 (Maundy) Threepence 2016 (Maundy)