top of page

Fiji Three Pence, Coins From The Island Colony: 3 Pence (Fiji 1961)-Article

Updated: Dec 8, 2021

This British colonial coin represents a 6th year Fijian 3 Pence (Elizabeth II), dated 1961. The Fijian 3 Pence represented the 3rd smallest denomination coin, of the Fijian Pound. The Fijian Pound was a non-decimal currency, which included coins in the 1/2 Pence, 1 Pence (Penny), 3 Pence, 6 Pence, 1 Shilling, and 1 Florin denominations. A single Fijian Pound was equal to 240 Pence.

The Fijian 3 Pence was originally introduced in 1947. Although was briefly discontinued, before being reintroduced in 1950. The reintroduced 3 Pence is virtually similar in design, to the 1947 original. With the exception of being slightly bigger and heavier.

The coin is an usual dodecagonal (12-sided), smooth-edged design, made of brass and weighs 6.17 g. Its dimensions are 21.19 mm (0.804 in) wide and 2.01mm (0.079) in thick. Making it slightly smaller in size to a US Quarter (24.3/0.957 in), in that respect.


Fijian 3 Pence observe designed by Cecil Thomas.
Fijian 3 Pence observe by Cecil Thomas.

The observe is mostly decorative, rather than practical in its design. Simply referencing the monarch, which the rule the British Empire during the coin's minting. As was the standard practice with all pre-decimal Fijian coins, issued by the British colonial government.

The coin's center features a bust of Queen Elizabeth II, in right profile. The bust surrounded wrap-around text, reading "QUEEN ELIZABETH THE SECOND". This differs from the previous King George VI Three Pence (1950-1952). Which featured split text, that read "KING GEORGE (left) THE SIXTH (right)".

Another noted difference from the King George VI Three Pence is the lack of an artist mark.

The King George VI version of this coin features the initials "PM", below the bust's neck. Which represented renowned English artist Percy Metcalfe (1895-1870). While unmarked it's known the observe was designed by sculptor Cecil Thomas (1885-1976), of the Royal Mint London.

Fijian 3 Pence observe by James Berry.
Fijian 3 Pence observe by James Berry.

The reverse is both practical and decorative its design, in contrast to the observe. The center features a traditional hut, flanked by a pair of palm trees. Besides these trees is a decorative design, made of 3 overlapping cones. Which help to separate the upper and lower text.

These text is simple and entirely practical in its design. The upper text features the issuing country (FIJI) and mint year (1961). While the lower text (THREE PENCE) lists the coin's value. Just as the observe, the reverse features no artist initials. This design is a hold over from the King George VI 3 Pence.

Pre-Decimal Fijian Pound Guide

10 Florin=1 Fijian Pound

20 Shilling=1 Fijian Pound

240 Pence=1 Fijian Pound

40 Pence=1 Fijian Pound

20 Pence= 1 Fijian Shilling


Additional Notes

  • English sculptor and medalist Cecil Walter Thomas (1885-1976),was renown for his work in church displays and private funerary memorials.

  • The memorial tomb of Bishop Edward Stuart Talbot, is widely regarded to be Cecil Walter Thomas' greatest work..

  • New Zealand artist James Berry (1906-1979), was best known for designing the reverse art of the decimalized New Zealand Dollar coins.

  • In 1970, Fiji transitioned a British colony to a self-governing commonwealth lead by a Governor-General.

  • In 1987, Fiji transitioned to a republic after establishing the Office of the Fijian Presidency.

12 views0 comments
bottom of page