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Throughout the centuries, the names of many UK coins have become part of our everyday language. This exciting range delves into the histories of popular pre-decimal circulating coins and reveals the origins of the names by which we commonly know them.

Coin Names and Their Nicknames: The Threepence

First issued during the mid sixteenth century, the threepence remained in circulation until decimalisation in 1971. Commonly called the ‘thruppenny bit’ and fondly remembered in its later 12-sided specification, it is included Jo in our range of UK coins with popular nicknames.

A Pre-Decimal Favourite

Introduced in 1551, the silver threepence existed precariously until 1845 when The Royal Mint struck significant numbers of the coin for circulation. In 1937, changing habits saw the introduction of a larger threepence, which was 12-sided and made with nickel-brass. Despite dividing opinion, it superseded its smaller silver rival and became popular during the Second World War, as it was easy to identify during blackouts. Both coins were withdrawn from circulation after decimalisation in 1971, but the silver threepence survives today as part of the annual Maundy money sets.

The ’Thrupenny’ Bit

Many know the threepence as a ‘thruppenny bit,’ whilst the coin is also referred to as a ‘joey.’ It seems ‘joey’ was originally a slang term for the silver fourpence, which the radical politician Joseph Hume reintroduced in the 1830s, as he wanted more small change in circulation. This angered cab drivers because receiving the exact fare meant they couldn’t pocket a tip. When the fourpence ceased to be used in circulation, this nickname appears to have transferred to the threepence.

Did you know?

Silver threepenny pieces were last issued for circulation in the United Kingdom in 1941, but they still remain in use today as part of Maundy money.

Old Coin Nicknames

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Specification Value
Alloy Nickel Brass
Weight 6.80 g
Diameter 21.80mm
Quality Circulating
Year 1816-1970
Specification Value
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