"the little twelve-sided coins with the clump of thrift, or the portcullis of the Bank of England."

1953 threepenny bit
Public Domain1953 threepenny bit
How could anyone forget the threepenny bit, the friendly little coin which, as a child, I was always excited to receive, and with which I could buy 12 farthing chews, 6 halfpenny chews, or a small bar of Cadbury's chocolate in its royal blue and silver wrapping? But the twelve-sided gold-coloured ones with the portcullis or bunch of thrift were new-fangled, in my parents' view: they remembered when thrupenny bits were silver.

It is a fitting reminder of a way of life that one thought would last forever; the threepenny (pronounced thrippenny), or thrupenny piece, or bit, was around so many hundreds of years in one form or another that it developed variations in spelling and pronunciation.

1943 threepenny bit
Public Domain1943 threepenny bit - Credit: Welkinridge