The plain 1943 Threepence was struck at the Melbourne Mint with a
of 24,912,000. In the same year an additional 8,000,000 pieces were struck at the San Francisco
Mint and another 16,000,000 pieces at the Denver Mint.
The Melbourne Mint piece features no mint-mark whereas the Denver
and San Francisco Mint feature a 'D' and 'S' mint-mark respectively
under the right-most ribbon on the reverse. The very large mintage of the Melbourne variety makes it affordable for grades
all the way up to MS64. At MS65 and beyond the variety becomes quite rare and valuable with PCGS population reports showing
less than a dozen examples at MS65.
Interestingly the Denver (1943-D) Threepence is far more common and affordable in mint-state with over one hundred MS65
examples graded by PCGS.
The very large total
of the threepence in 1943 was a response against a major national shortage of silver and copper coinage. One of the key
reasons for this shortage was the mass arrival of United States soldiers into Australia from the Middle East theatre. These
troops, along with a general increase in public spending, created an unprecedented demand for coinage. The Melbourne and
Perth Mint simply could not make supply match demand so a deal was
struck with the United States. Under President Roosevelt's Lend-Lease Policy the United States agreed to provide Australia
with a substantial quality of silver coins. Australia guaranteed to then return an equal amount of silver after the war.
President Theodore Roosevelt had created the extensive Lend-Lease Policy in 1941 as a way to assist allied forces during
the Second World War. The program allowed the United States to provide war materials including but not limited to ammunition,
airplanes, and food that could be repaid for "...in kind or property, or any other direct or in-direct benefit which the President deems satisfactory."
The program proved essential to the allied war effort with the total value of the aid reaching $49,100,000,000.
(Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2017)
United States Secretary of State and representatives from Australia, New Zealand and Great Britain signing
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