Threepence (Irish coin)

Last updated
Threepence / Leath Reul
Value3 pence
Mass3.23 g
Diameter17.7 mm
Thickness1.9 mm
Composition Nickel (1928–1942)
Cupronickel (1942–1969)
Years of minting1928–1969
Catalog number
Design Irish harp
Design date1928
Irish three-pence coin.png
Design Irish hare
Designer Percy Metcalfe
Design date1928

The threepence (Irish : leath reul) or 3d coin was a subdivision of the pre-decimal Irish pound, worth 180 of a pound or 14 of a shilling. Leath reul literally means "half reul", the reul being a sixpence coin worth about the same as the Spanish real (a quarter of a peseta). As with all other Irish coins, it resembled its British counterpart, as the Irish pound was pegged to the British pound until 1979.

Irish language Goidelic (Gaelic) language spoken in Ireland and by Irish people

Irish is a Goidelic (Gaelic) language originating in Ireland and historically spoken by the Irish people. Irish is spoken as a first language in substantial areas of counties Galway, Kerry, Cork and Donegal, smaller areas of Waterford, Mayo and Meath, and a few other locations, and as a second language by a larger group of non-habitual speakers across the country.

A coin is a small, flat, (usually) round piece of metal or plastic used primarily as a medium of exchange or legal tender. They are standardized in weight, and produced in large quantities at a mint in order to facilitate trade. They are most often issued by a government.

A non-decimal currency is a currency that has sub-units that are a non-decimal fraction of the main unit, i.e. the number of sub-units in a main unit is not a power of 10.


Originally it was struck in nickel and was very hard-wearing. In 1942, as nickel became more costly, the metal was changed to cupronickel of 75% copper and 25% nickel. The coin measured 17.6 millimetres (0.69 in) in diameter and weighed 3.2400 grams (0.11429 oz); [1] this did not change with the cupro-nickel coin. [2] The coin was minted at the Royal Mint starting from 1928, and ceased to be legal tender after decimalisation on 31 December 1971. Ireland did not adopt the brass dodecagonal threepenny coin that the United Kingdom used between 1937 and 1971.

Nickel Chemical element with atomic number 28

Nickel is a chemical element with symbol Ni and atomic number 28. It is a silvery-white lustrous metal with a slight golden tinge. Nickel belongs to the transition metals and is hard and ductile. Pure nickel, powdered to maximize the reactive surface area, shows a significant chemical activity, but larger pieces are slow to react with air under standard conditions because an oxide layer forms on the surface and prevents further corrosion (passivation). Even so, pure native nickel is found in Earth's crust only in tiny amounts, usually in ultramafic rocks, and in the interiors of larger nickel–iron meteorites that were not exposed to oxygen when outside Earth's atmosphere.

Cupronickel (CuNi) is an alloy of copper that contains nickel and strengthening elements, such as iron and manganese. Despite its high copper content, CuNi is silver in colour, due to nickel's high electronegativity causing copper's d-shell electron loss.

Copper Chemical element with atomic number 29

Copper is a chemical element with symbol Cu and atomic number 29. It is a soft, malleable, and ductile metal with very high thermal and electrical conductivity. A freshly exposed surface of pure copper has a pinkish-orange color. Copper is used as a conductor of heat and electricity, as a building material, and as a constituent of various metal alloys, such as sterling silver used in jewelry, cupronickel used to make marine hardware and coins, and constantan used in strain gauges and thermocouples for temperature measurement.

The reverse design featuring an Irish hare was by the English artist Percy Metcalfe. The obverse featured the Irish harp. From 1928 to 1937 the date was split either side of the harp with the name Saorstát Éireann circling around. From 1938 to 1969 the inscription changed to Éire on the left of the harp and the date on the right. [3]

Mountain hare species of mammal

The mountain hare, also known as blue hare, tundra hare, variable hare, white hare, snow hare, alpine hare, and Irish hare, is a Palearctic hare that is largely adapted to polar and mountainous habitats.

Percy Metcalfe British artist

Percy Metcalfe, CVO, RDI, was an English artist sculptor and designer. He is recognised mostly for his coin designs and his contribution to the Ashtead Pottery Collection.

Irish Free State Sovereign state in northwest Europe (1922-1937), Dominion status to 1922, succeeded by Ireland

The Irish Free State was a state established in 1922 under the Anglo-Irish Treaty of December 1921. That treaty ended the three-year Irish War of Independence between the forces of the self-proclaimed Irish Republic, the Irish Republican Army (IRA), and British Crown forces.

See also

Related Research Articles

Coins of the pound sterling Wikimedia list article

The standard circulating coinage of the United Kingdom is denominated in pounds sterling, and, since the introduction of the two-pound coin in 1994, ranges in value from one penny to two pounds. Since decimalisation, on 15 February 1971, the pound has been divided into 100 (new) pence. From the 16th century until decimalisation, the pound was divided into 20 shillings, each of 12 (old) pence. British coins are minted by the Royal Mint in Llantrisant, Wales. The Royal Mint also commissions the coins' designs.

Halfpenny (British decimal coin) British decimal coin

The British decimal halfpenny coin was introduced in February 1971, at the time of decimalisation, and was worth one two-hundredth of a pound sterling. It was ignored in banking transactions, which were carried out in units of 1p.

Threepence (British coin)

The British threepence (3d) coin, usually simply known as a threepence or threepenny bit, was a unit of currency equaling one eightieth of a pound sterling, or three old pence sterling. It was used in the United Kingdom, and earlier in Great Britain and England. Similar denominations were later used throughout the British Empire, notably in Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa.

Irish pound currency

The Irish pound was the currency of Ireland until 2002. Its ISO 4217 code was IEP, and the usual notation was the prefix £. The Irish pound was replaced by the euro on 1 January 1999. Euro currency did not begin circulation until the beginning of 2002.

Nickel (Canadian coin) Canadian coin worth 5 cents

The Canadian five-cent coin, commonly called a nickel, is a coin worth five cents or one-twentieth of a Canadian dollar. It was patterned on the corresponding coin in the neighbouring United States. It became the smallest-valued coin in the currency upon the discontinuation of the penny in 2013. Due to inflation, the purchasing power of the nickel continues to drop and currently the coin represents less than 0.5% of the country's lowest minimum hourly wage.

Farthing (Irish coin) Irish coin

The farthing was the lowest value coin of the pre-decimal Irish pound, worth a quarter of a penny, ​148 of a shilling or ​1960 of a pound. The coin had lost much of its value through inflation long before decimalisation in 1971, and during the 1960s no farthings were produced for general circulation; those minted in 1966 were produced for collectors' sets.

Halfpenny (Irish pre-decimal coin) Irish pre-decimal coin

The halfpenny coin was the second smallest denomination of the pre-decimal Irish pound, worth ​1480 of a pound or ​124 of a shilling. First issued in 1928 it ceased to be legal tender on 1 August 1969.

Penny (Irish pre-decimal coin) Irish pre-decimal coin worth 1/240 of a pound

The penny (1d) coin was the third smallest denomination of the pre-decimal Irish pound, worth ​1240 of a pound or ​112 of a shilling. To express an amount, penny was abbreviated to "d", e.g. 1d, from the Roman denarius. It was introduced in 1928 to replace its British counterpart, used when all of Ireland was a constituent country of the United Kingdom. The last year of minting was 1968 and it ceased to be legal tender on 31 December 1971.

Sixpence (Irish coin) Irish coin

The sixpence coin was a subdivision of the pre-decimal Irish pound, worth ​140 of a pound or ​12 of a shilling. The Irish name (reul) is derived from the Spanish real. In most of the 19th century, 1 pound was equal to 5 dollars, and 1 dollar was equal to 8 reales, therefore a real was equal to 1/40 of a pound, i.e. 6 pence.

Shilling (Irish coin) Irish coin

The shilling (1s) coin was a subdivision of the pre-decimal Irish pound, worth ​120 of a pound.

Florin (Irish coin) Irish coin, subdivision of the pre-decimal Irish pound

The florin (2s) coin was a subdivision of the pre-decimal Irish pound, worth ​110 of a pound. It was more commonly known as the two-shilling coin.

Half crown (Irish coin)

The half crown coin was a subdivision of the pre-decimal Irish pound, worth ​18 of a pound. The half crown was commonly called "two and six" due to its value of two shillings and sixpence.

Five pence (Irish coin)

The five pence (5p) coin was a subdivision of the Irish pound. It was introduced in Ireland on Decimal Day, 15 February 1971 and reused the design on the shilling coin produced for the Irish Free State in 1928. Some shilling coins remained in circulation until the early 1990s, with the same nominal value as the five pence coin.

Ten pence (Irish coin)

The ten pence (10p) coin was a subdivision of the Irish pound. It was used in the Republic of Ireland from 1969 to 2002, with its last minting issue in 2000. It replaced the florin coin, of which it shared its design. Two different designs of the coin exist, both featuring a salmon on the reverse. The second was introduced in 1993 and is smaller, due to the reduction of the coin's value by inflation.

There have been three sets of coins in Ireland since independence. In all three, the coin showed a Celtic harp on the obverse. The pre-decimal coins of the Irish pound had realistic animals on the reverse; the decimal coins retained some of these but featured ornamental birds on the lower denominations; and the euro coins used the common design of the euro currencies. The pre-decimal and original decimal coins were of the same dimensions as the same-denomination British coins, as the Irish pound was in currency union with the British pound sterling. British coins were widely accepted in Ireland, and conversely to a lesser extent. In 1979 Ireland joined the Exchange Rate Mechanism and the Irish pound left parity with sterling; coin designs introduced after this differed between the two countries.

Sixpence (British coin)

The sixpence, sometimes known as a tanner or sixpenny bit, is a coin that was worth one-fortieth of a pound sterling, or six pence. It was first minted in the reign of Edward VI and circulated until 1980. Following decimalisation in 1971 it had a value of ​2 12 new pence. The coin was made from silver from its introduction in 1551 to 1947, and thereafter in cupronickel.

The threepence or threepenny bit was a denomination of currency used by various jurisdictions in England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, valued at 1/80 of a pound or ¼ of a shilling until decimalisation of the pound sterling and Irish pound in 1971. It was also used in some parts of the British Empire, notably Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

Shilling (British coin) British pre-decimalisation coin

The shilling (1/-) was a coin worth one twentieth of a pound sterling, or twelve pence. It was first minted in the reign of Henry VII as the testoon, and became known as the shilling from the Old English scilling, sometime in the mid-sixteenth century, circulating until 1990. The word bob was sometimes used for a monetary value of several shillings, e.g. "ten bob note". Following decimalisation on 15 February 1971 the coin had a value of five new pence. It was made from silver from its introduction in or around 1503 until 1947, and thereafter in cupronickel.

The 20 sen coin (二銭銀貨) was a Japanese coin worth one fifth of a Japanese yen, as 100 sen equalled 1 yen. These coins were minted from 1870 to 1911 in 80% silver.

The one sen coin (一銭) was a Japanese coin worth one-hundredth of a Japanese yen, as 100 sen equalled 1 yen. These coins were minted from the late 19th century until the end of World War II. Like the other denominations of sen, these coins were eventually taken out of circulation at the end of 1953.


  1. Numismatic Guaranty Corporation: 1928-1935 Irish threepence
  2. Numismatic Guaranty Corporation: 1942-1968 Irish threepence
  3. "Coin types from Ireland". World Coin Gallery. Retrieved 9 November 2011.