- The King’s portrait will first appear on the 50 pence coins, with the reverse commemorating the life and legacy of Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
- A total of 4.9 million 50 pence coins will enter circulation across 9,452 Post Office branches throughout the month of December with the remaining coins following in line with demand
- The Royal Mint anticipates a ‘new generation of collectors’ emerging from the change
The Royal Mint, the official maker of UK coins, has announced that the first coinage featuring King Charles III will start to appear in circulation in Post Offices around the UK from Thursday, December 8.
The first coin to bear The King’s portrait – and mark the historic transition from Queen Elizabeth II to King Charles III in the public’s change – is a 50 pence commemorating the life and legacy of Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth on the reverse. A commemorative version of the coin was released in October, and saw record visitors to The Royal Mint’s website in the 24 hours following.
From today, Post Office branches throughout the country will receive 4.9 million 50 pence coins bearing The King’s effigy, including the Aldwych branch, which is close to Clarence House and is the residence of King Charles III. The coin will begin distributing as change when customers make a purchase in-store. A total of 9.6 million 50p’s will enter circulation, with the rest entering in line with demand.
Rebecca Morgan, Director of Collector Services at The Royal Mint, said:
“Today marks a new era for UK coinage, with the effigy of King Charles III appearing on 50ps in circulation. It’s a fantastic opportunity for coin collectors to add to their collections, or start one for the first time. We anticipate a new generation of coin collectors emerging, with people keeping a close eye on their change to try and spot a new 50p that bears the portrait of our new King.
“The Royal Mint has been trusted to make coins bearing the Monarch’s effigy for over 1,100 years and we are proud to continue this tradition into the reign of King Charles III.”
Nick Read, Chief Executive Office of the Post Office, said:
“It is a tremendous honor for the Post Office and for Postmasters that the first coinage featuring King Charles III is being released into circulation via our extensive branch network. December is our busiest time of the year so the coin will be entering our network in a phased manner. If you don’t receive the new 50p in your change on your first visit to a Post Office you may well get it in your change on a subsequent visit, so keep a look out for it.”
The King’s effigy has been created by renowned British sculptor Martin Jennings and has been personally approved by His Majesty. In keeping with tradition, The King’s portrait faces to the left, the opposite direction to Queen Elizabeth II.
The reverse of the 50 pence features a design that originally appeared on the 1953 Coronation Crown. It was struck to commemorate Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation at Westminster Abbey and includes the four quarters of the Royal Arms depicted within a shield. In between each shield is an emblem of the home nations; a rose, a thistle, a shamrock, and a leek.
All UK coins bearing the effigy of Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will remain legal tender and in active circulation. Historically it has been commonplace for coins featuring the effigies of different monarchs to co-circulate. This ensures a smooth transition, with minimal environmental impact and cost.
There are approximately 27 billion coins currently circulating in the UK bearing the effigy of Queen Elizabeth II. These will be replaced over time as they become damaged or worn to meet the demand for additional coins.
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About The Royal Mint
The Royal Mint has an unbroken history of minting British coinage dating back over 1,100 years. Based in the Tower of London for over 500 years, by 1812 the Mint had moved out of the Tower to premises on London’s Tower Hill. In 1967 the building of a new Royal Mint began on its current site in South Wales, UK, to accommodate the minting of UK decimal coinage. Today, the Mint is the world’s largest export mint, supplying coins to the UK and overseas countries.