Rare NGC-certified 1945 Silver Threepence Doubles Its Estimate

Posted on 3/27/2020

One of only two examples known, the coin realized £62,000 (almost $74,000 USD) — more than double its presale estimate — on March 25.

A 1945 Silver Threepence certified by Numismatic Guaranty Corporation® (NGC®) realized £62,000 (almost $74,000 USD) – more than double its presale estimate – in a March 25 online-only auction presented by Baldwin’s of St. James’s. No live bidding was allowed due to the coronavirus situation.

“I was just telling somebody the fact it was in the NGC MS 63 holder sold the coin for that price,” Baldwin’s of St. James’ Managing Director Stephen Fenton said. “Especially with online-only bidding these days, grading by a respected third-party certification service gives buyers more confidence.”

The tiny silver coin, graded NGC MS 63, was found in an ordinary Whitman folder and brought to Baldwin’s of St. James’s in London in a plastic envelope, or flip. It is only the second example known to numismatists.

This 1945 Great Britain Silver King George VI 3 Pence graded NGC MS 63
realized £62,000 (almost $74,000 USD).
Click images to enlarge.

The silver threepence was unpopular in commerce because it was very small at a diameter of 16 mm (six-tenths of an inch) and a weight of 1.4 grams (five-hundredths of an ounce). A bigger, heavier, 12-sided nickel-brass threepence had been introduced in 1937 and was being minted every year.

King George VI Silver Threepence were minted from 1937 to 1945, with a peak production of almost 8 million annually in 1940 and in 1941. The issues of 1942-44 were all shipped to the British West Indies, however, and the coin’s final issue was apparently deemed redundant because of public acceptance of the 12-sided nickel-brass coin. All of the 1945 Silver Threepence were ordered to be melted, their metal used in other mint products.

Only one other survivor has come up for auction, in April 1970 at a Glendining & Co. of London sale. Its condition was described in the catalog as About Very Fine and it realized £260 (about £4,000 in today’s money). Its buyer is unknown, and that coin has not resurfaced publicly since.

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