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As early as 1937 the tiny silver threepence (measuring just 1.65cm) was being replaced by the more popular 12-sided brass coin of the same value that could easily be picked out of the pocket – even in the dark. 

Some silver threepences were struck for homeland use from 1937-1941 but those dated 1942, 1943 and 1944 were shipped to the colonies.

The Royal Mint also created a 1945 coin for use overseas before the Coinage Act of 1946 intervened and ended centuries of silver coins for Britain.

All recently minted silver threepence pieces bearing the date 1945 were thought to have been melted but one was found in 1970. No others have turned up in the intervening 50 years until this high-grade example (deemed in mint state) recently emerged in an old collection. 

This new discovery carries an estimate of £15,000-25,000 at Baldwin’s of St James’s on March 25.