King Charles 50p coin begins production – what does the new Royal Mint coin look like?

Manufacturing of the King Charles 50p coin has begun at The Royal Mint in Llantrisant, Wales.

The King Charles 50p
(Image credit: The Royal Mint)

Manufacturing of the first coin destined for tills, wallets and purses with the image of King Charles III has begun at The Royal Mint in Llantrisant, Wales. It enters general circulation in December 2022.

The King’s portrait will also appear on a £5 coin and 50p commemorating the life and legacy of Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. 

The 50p is entering circulation to mark the historic moment and coins featuring His Majesty and Queen Elizabeth II will co-circulate in the UK – the first time

The Royal Mint will produce 9.6 million of these memorial 50 pence pieces in tribute to Queen Elizabeth II and her age when her reign ended.

The King Charles 50p

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 that of Queen Elizabeth II.

Martin Jennings said: “It is a privilege to sculpt the first official effigy of His Majesty and to receive his personal approval for the design.

“The portrait was sculpted from a photograph of The King and was inspired by the iconic effigies that have graced Britain’s coins over the centuries. 

“It is the smallest work I have created, but it  is humbling to know it will be seen and held by people around the world for centuries to come.”

The reverse of the 50p features a design that originally appeared on the 1953 Coronation Crown which was struck to commemorate Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation at Westminster Abbey.

It 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.

What does it mean for Queen Elizabeth II coins?

The Royal Mint says there are around 27 billion coins currently circulating in the UK with the image of Queen Elizabeth II.

All UK coins with the image of Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II remain legal tender and in active circulation. 

Historically it has been commonplace for coins featuring the images of different monarchs to co-circulate and it ensures a smooth transition, with minimal environmental impact and cost.

The coins will be replaced over time as they become damaged or worn and to meet the demand for additional coins.

Anne Jessopp, Chief Executive Officer of The Royal Mint (opens in new tab), said:  “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. 

“Although technology has progressed, we continue to honour British craftsmanship passed down through the centuries. Our team of skilled modellers, tool makers and engravers will ensure that The King’s effigy will be faithfully replicated onto millions of coins

“Her Late Majesty ruled with heart and devotion for seventy years, and this memorial collection commemorates her remarkable legacy as Britain’s longest-serving monarch. To ensure everyone can hold a piece of history in their hand, the 50p will also enter circulation in the UK.”

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