King Charles III's coin portrait revealed by Royal Mint

The official coin effigy of King Charles III has been unveiled by the Royal Mint

Published

People will start to see the King’s image in their change from around December, as 50p coins depicting Charles gradually enter circulation to meet demand.

In the meantime, the Mint will release a memorial coin range on Monday October 3 at 9am to commemorate the life and legacy of Queen Elizabeth II.

The King’s portrait will first appear on a special £5 Crown and 50p commemorating the Queen.

Nicola Howell, chief commercial officer at the Royal Mint, said: “We expect customers will start to be able to receive the commemorative range from October and then we expect the 50p memorial circulating coin to be appearing in people’s change probably from December.”

King Charles III's coin portrait
King Charles III's coin portrait
The King’s effigy has been created by sculptor Martin Jennings
The King’s effigy has been created by sculptor Martin Jennings

The King’s effigy has been created by sculptor Martin Jennings, and has been personally approved by Charles, the Mint said.

In keeping with tradition, the King’s portrait faces to the left, the opposite direction to Queen Elizabeth II.

Chris Barker from the Royal Mint Museum said: “Charles has followed that general tradition that we have in British coinage, going all the way back to Charles II actually, that the monarch faces in the opposite direction to their predecessor.”

He described the portrait as: “Dignified and graceful, which reflects his years of service.”

The Latin inscription surrounding the effigy reads: “• CHARLES III • D • G • REX • F • D • 5 POUNDS • 2022” which translates to: “King Charles III, by the Grace of God, Defender of the Faith”.

The effigy will start to appear on circulating and commemorative coins produced by The Royal Mint over the coming months.

The reverse of the commemorative £5 coin features two new portraits of Queen Elizabeth II.

The design was created by artist John Bergdahl in collaboration with the Royal Mint.

It will form part of a wider memorial coin collection.

The reverse of the 50p 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.

Based in Llantrisant, South Wales, the Royal Mint has depicted the Royal Family on coins for over 1,100 years, documenting each monarch since Alfred the Great.

Anne Jessopp, chief executive officer of the Royal Mint, 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.

In keeping with tradition, the King’s portrait faces to the left
In keeping with tradition, the King’s portrait faces to the left
A 50 pence and £5 Crown commemorating the life and legacy of Queen Elizabeth II
A 50 pence and £5 Crown commemorating the life and legacy of Queen Elizabeth II

“Her Late Majesty ruled with heart and devotion for 70 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.”

Mr 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.”

All UK coins bearing the effigy of 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, helping to minimise the environmental impact and cost.

There are around 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 and to meet demand for additional coins.

Dr Kevin Clancy, director of the Royal Mint Museum, said: “Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has graced more coins than any other British monarch in a reign that lasted for 70 years.

“As we move from the Elizabethan to the Carolean era it represents the biggest change to Britain’s coinage in decades, and the first time that many people will have seen a different effigy.

“Over the coming years it will become common for people to find coins bearing His Majesty and Queen Elizabeth II’s effigy in their change, engaging new generations in the story of Britain’s Royal Family.”