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Australia George V

1922/21 Overdate Threepence reverse 1922/21 Overdate Threepence obverse

1922/21 Overdate Threepence

Approx 1000 examples known
Figure shared with:
Mint:Melbourne Mint Monarch:George V Reverse Designer:W. H. J. Blakemore Obverse Designer:Sir E. B. MacKennel Size:17mm Weight:1.41g Edge:Plain Composition:92.5% Silver
7.5% Copper


Sales History


With Australia well into the roaring 20s, the need for circulation currency, in particular the lower denominations was stronger than ever. Just over 5.5 million threepence were needed in 1922 to be struck solely by the Melbourne Mint. This meant that the mint had to start production as early as possible but 1922 dated dies were not ready until the 31st of January (Triton Technologies International Ltd, 2004) forcing the Melbourne Mint to produce threepence with 1921 dated dies . Melbourne Mint records state that the mint had three 1921 reverse dies available on the 4th of January, and an additional 1 on the 11th. If we assume a consistent production rate throughout the year, approximately half a million of the 1922 mintage would be dated 1921. These did not display the M mintmark . This conflict of years was made necessary by the strong demand for circulation currency and was not normal mint procedure. 500,000 coins is close to the limit that four dies can effectively produce and considering that 1922 dies were available by the end of January, it seems logical that these dies did not see any use after January. While officially denied by the Melbourne mint and further denied by the Royal Australian mint, some 1922 threepence display a clear 1 underneath the second 2 of the year as seen in the illustration below. It seems plausible that at least one of the 1921 dies used in January was manually re-punched with the digit 2 producing the 1922/21 overdate.

The overdated 2 of the 1922/21 threepence The overdated 2 of the 1922/21 threepence

All 1922/21 overdate threepence are struck from worn dies which indicates that the overdating process occurred after a significant number of 1921 threepence were struck, I would suggest within the last few days of the die 's working life. This is complemented by the approximate number of surviving examples being below 1,000 suggesting that the overdate was an experiment. All 1922/21 overdate threepence exhibit a small cud just above the kangaroo's knees on the reverse. As such, this point is often used as a diagnostic tool to differentiate authentic examples from forgeries.

Cud on the reverse of a genuine overdate threepence Cud on the reverse of a genuine overdate threepence

The 1922/21 overdate is almost always always found in VG to F but rarely found free of faults and thus can be quite a tough date to obtain certified in any grade and missing from most threepence collections.

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