Daily Star

The first-ever Solid Gold ‘Thru’penny Bit’ Coin rekindles memories of a golden era and our pre-decimal past

- Rememberin­g Decimal Day by Philip Mussell, of Coin News Magazine

Now, for the first time in 50 years the ‘Thru’penny Bit’ is making a return, but as a solid gold coin.

The first solid gold ‘Thru’ppeny Bit’ coin contains over one gram of pure gold

On February 15, 1971, Britain’s currency went decimal. Back then, it was referred to as ‘Decimal Day’ (D-Day for short).

In a stroke, the shilling of twelve pence and the pound of twenty shillings were gone, replaced by a ‘new’ pound of exactly one hundred ‘new’ pence. To welcome this change, a brand new set of coins was minted, from the little halfpenny to the big 50p, but there was no room in this line-up for what had become the nation’s favourite coin — the chunky 12-sided brass ‘Thru’penny Bit’.

The funny-shaped coin had been treated with suspicion when it was first introduced in the 1930s, but people soon grew to love it, and in 1971, many were saddened to see it go. Even today, many people still say the 3d is their favourite British coin ever.

In a nod to our modern decimal age, today’s coin dons the denominati­on of ‘new pence’ rather than “d”, and instead of brass, is crafted from solid 9-carat gold. Key elements of the coin’s design remain steadfast and true to the original, including the distinct twelve-sided shape, iconic portcullis pattern, and colour.

In contrast to the early 3d coins, which featured the youthful portrait of Queen Elizabeth II by Mary Gillick, this new decimal ‘Thru’penny Bit’, approved by Buckingham Palace in 2021, bears the portrait of our late queen in the last years of her reign. This truly is a coin of yesterday updated for the 21st century and a remarkable reminder of the incredible changes we have witnessed since this coin last jingled in our pockets!

Rememberin­g when Britain went decimal:

 ?? ?? Approved by Buckingham Palace, the solid gold ‘Thru’penny Bit’ coin is shaped just like its 12-sided pre-decimal forebear!
A coin of yesterday updated for the 21st century — this decimal three pence coin was minted for one year only. Featuring our late queen towards the end of her reign, it is remarkable reminder of the incredible changes we have witnessed since this coin last jingled in our pockets!
Approved by Buckingham Palace, the solid gold ‘Thru’penny Bit’ coin is shaped just like its 12-sided pre-decimal forebear! A coin of yesterday updated for the 21st century — this decimal three pence coin was minted for one year only. Featuring our late queen towards the end of her reign, it is remarkable reminder of the incredible changes we have witnessed since this coin last jingled in our pockets!
 ?? ?? When Bill Fiske, Chairman of the Decimal Currency Board introduced Britain’s first decimal coinage in 1971, the nation lost its favourite coin, the 12-sided Thru’penny Bit.
When Bill Fiske, Chairman of the Decimal Currency Board introduced Britain’s first decimal coinage in 1971, the nation lost its favourite coin, the 12-sided Thru’penny Bit.
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