The Royal Mint has unveiled the official coin effigy of His Majesty King Charles III. The first coins to bear The King’s portrait are a special £5 Crown and 50 pence commemorating the life and legacy of Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
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 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, which will include a 50p released into general circulation in the UK.
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.
Martin Jennings, Designer of His Majesty King Charles III’s effigy, 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.”
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.”
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 and to meet demand for additional coins.
The Royal Mint has released a memorial coin range to commemorate the life and legacy of Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
To learn more about the monetary changeover to King Charles III, read this article by Michael Alexander.
And, of course, past and future coin from the United Kingdom are listed in the online database of Cosmos of Collectibles!
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